by Liz Clayton Scofield
Liz Clayton Scofield is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, thinker, all-around adventurer, and nomad. They hold an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington. See their art at
Because I love you, I no longer fret to find meaning, create meaning, desperate always to generate meaning to make life meaningful. There simply is meaning: in looking in your eyes, in breathing you, in the conversations that unfold, in touch. I need less assurance that my life matters. I matter and I do not matter because I love you.
This does not mean you are the reason for living or the only meaning of life or that I will stop creating because I have become complicit through my love for you. Rather I want to create more, so that I can communicate to you how much I love and that my love for you inspires love deeper for the world, for all beings, joy, for the sun and moon and stars. This love inspires me to do and be and make and love entirely and continue becoming, because to love you is to grow with you and always keep growing with you and for myself. It is the promise of our love.
Because I love you, though, I no longer feel the necessity to attempt to validate my existence, to prove myself as an artist day in and day out. Loving you and becoming together is enough art to convince myself. All else sprouts from this fertile bed.
I’ve got my hand deep in my pocket looking for words. Got a ball of fuzz and a bunch of peppermints from this time last year, when my heart was breaking and I was falling in love with something, trying to find a sense of home. I was in Atlanta then, on the cusp of jumping ship. A year later, I’m still working on that sense of home, wondering what that is after all: some vague idea that I still so desire; a mythology.
Two years ago, I was in Bloomington curled up on the concrete floor of my studio, crying desperately, stuck in the frustration of overwhelming anxiety preventing me from the one thing that I most wanted: to Do. A concrete floor is one of my favorite places to cry. The cold on your skin reminds you of physical feeling, connection—a grounding sensation. Overcome by my desire to Do, lost in my inability to Do, I lay there, cold and crying. I felt disconnected from my practice as an artist. I felt disconnected from community.
Today I feel a little caught up and lost in my wandering. On a cold, dreary day, after the groundhog has declared six more weeks of winter, I feel a little lonely, a little homesick. I miss sitting in quiet with a friend who’s known me through lifetimes; I miss a city that I’ve known long enough to complain about how it’s changed: Home?
Artistic practice can be lonely and isolating. As artists, we build communities and thrive in collaboration and conversation as ways to connect and create, to remember to wander outside of ourselves, to find grounding and communion with others. Loneliness, after all, is not being alone but rather feeling disconnected, alienated, different from those around you. Stereotypes of artists abound: the tortured, the starving, the eccentric, the wild. Marked, different, uninhibited, misunderstood.
Wandering can be lonely, too. Wandering/artistic practices require care and love to sustain. When we practice compassion as artists, we remember that others, too, are seeking the connection, community, love, care, and support that we too are seeking. We are reminded to give the care to others that we ourselves desire. When we show up as ourselves, for ourselves, and open to others, we can forge the communities we need to survive as artists.
Today I am reminding myself to show up for myself: I am putting on my shoes and a water-resistant coat, and I’m going out into the world. I’m rubbing up against the energy of others and writing, because I am here to wander on another day. I am practicing the love and care for myself so I remember how to practice it for others. I’m remembering the sensation of crying on a cold studio concrete floor two years ago, overwhelmed, facing the impossibility of making a single mark, facing the crippling sensation of Not-Mattering/Meaninglessness. I’m giving myself some space to miss the familiarity of a city, of worn-in friendships, of comfort. I’m taking a breath.
Exhale—I’m honoring myself for the tools I’ve developed in these past two years (and the lifetimes before)—
– inhale—for facing the anxiety of a blank page and writing about this wandering tale and the skills picked up along the way—
– exhale—and continuing to share them with you—
– inhale—in an effort to participate in this conversation of wandering, love, compassion, and support—
– exhale—to nurture the art that sprouts when we show up and care for one another.