day 16: Artistic identity

A about a month ago, I learned about the term, “multi-hyphenate” and became curious, really curious. I did some research and felt like I finally found a term that fit me. One that helped me describe myself to ME and to the world. It was a very freeing moment, because there have been times where I felt like I wasn’t succinctly describing myself to people. I would say I was an artist, to which they would respond, “Oh, what kind of artist” and then I would go down the list of my talents and their eyes would kind of glaze over.

Sometimes in the past, I would use interdisciplinary, which I think some understood even less. In some ways interdisciplinary didn’t feel like it fit because I’ve always associated interdisciplinary with theatre and performing arts, although that isn’t necessarily the case.

There have also been times when I tried to force myself to choose between my creative abilities. It almost felt as if I was choosing between two children-it’s virtually impossible. By calling myself a multi-hyphenate creative or artist, somehow I have the freedom and confidence to move easily through these multiple aspects of my creative self, without having to feel like I need to leave any parts of my creative self behind.

One of the benefits of being a multi-hyphenate creative is that I can fulfill many of the needs I may have for different creative projects. As a writer and visual artist, I can illustrate books if I choose to. As a musician, I often produce music for my podcasts and edit my own tracks. As a social worker/therapist, I integrate so many aspects of creativity into my practice, as well as have a lens and the skills to support people in a holistic way.

Some of the other benefits that being a multi-hyphenate has is that we often bring a very unique perspectives to spaces that are highly specialized. As I continued my research, I saw this TED talk about people called “multi-potentialites” and realized, thankfully, that there are other people in the world with similar inclinations and profiles.

It feels good to be able to stand confidently in these multi-expressions of my creative self, recognizing that to have many talents is a gift and not a burden. Some may call me a jack of all trades, but that’s simply because most people don’t know what they are looking at. Many people have been forced to choose against their inspiration and some people just want to do one thing and that’s ok too. So is being a multi-hyph

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