What It's Like To Be
What It's Like To Be

A Look Into Being a Starving Artist

by Carlijn Kortekaas 2 years ago in career

Trying to make a living doing what I love.

A Look Into Being a Starving Artist

The way I stand in life is quite different from other people. I usually divide people into two groups. The ones that understand art and the ones that have no clue. But let me explain, before you start feeling attacked and all.

First of all, I have respect for everything that is living and breathing and trying to survive in this sometimes harsh world. But I am also an artist, and incomprehension is something I have to deal with on a daily basis.

When I decided at the age of 15 that I was going to start dancing for the first time of my life, I never would've thought that three years later I would have finished a first academy year and have a lot of amazing memories. I never even thought I would step foot outside of my home country, the Netherlands, for more than just a few weeks of holiday. But here I am, five months back from a very tough, but amazing year abroad.

Besides the amazing ways that organic artist such as myself come to exist, from pure joy of my works and creations ( alot of hard trainings and passionate crying sessions later ) there is also the side of this job that made me leave my second comfort zone, because it wouldn't have been enough for me as a growing and learning artist. The urge to keep growing and keep working on myself and my art has made life equally easier, but also a lot harder. The need to keep pushing myself completely through my limits, but also the part that would like some rest.

My point being, it is fine not to understand. I'm trying to explain that you can't. If you don't have the heart of an artist, you won't and you will never be able to. I respect that, because in no way possible would I be able to understand why people would ever choose to study maths at the university. With that said, I also don't act like I understand. I know I'm stupid in many, many ways and I have come to learn to live with that. I don't know how to heal someone with medicine. I don't know how to solve problems using maths, or physics or anything like this. But I am AWARE, however, that I don't know all of this. I have practiced it though, in high school, for about five years. But I know my place in this society and it is not as a practical problem-solver. My wish in this, is that people should do the same thing with arts. You don't KNOW anything about it, even though you might've seen things on the television, or followed ballet classes when you were eight. You still don't understand, because you are not the starving artist, trying to get into the best school possible for the third time. Just as much as I am not the doctor finally finishing my studies after 15 years. Just as much as I'm not psychologist, tired of having to solve other people's problems when I have so much of my own. I know I'm not, but I am an artist and I wish that people respected that I do actually know better than most people what I am talking about. I went through all this, and you think you can still tell me that "that doesn't look how dance is supposed to look?" I studied just as much for this as any other working person. So stop trying to be an artist when you are not and have respect for the people who are, just as much as I have respect for the people who do maths. Because I suck at maths.

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Carlijn Kortekaas

A skeptical, sarcastic 18-year old, trying to make a living as a dancer.

See all posts by Carlijn Kortekaas