I wake up this morning with a memory of kindness and warmth. There is a camaraderie amongst show artists, the type of understanding that comes from being in the trenches with one another and from the decision that we're a force against (for) the world. We are gentle with each other. We give to one another.
Being a show artist is hard. I'm relatively positive this line of work has me shaving years off the end of my life. I've aged quickly in the last four years. My body aches, my mind gets overwhelmed easily, and my constant battle with Depression and Panic Disorder becomes a raging Tyrannosaur, from which I can only freeze, breathe quietly, and hope it decides to move on to easier prey.
But all of US, the traveling artists, understand it. We wonder where our next paycheck is coming from, but we also know that we'll figure out how to take care of ourselves. We all live in fear of the rain and the wind, but we also have a humility that comes from knowing we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We gape at the zombie crowds that walk by without even seeing what we're trying to show them and because we live in this together, we are kind to each other.
Small things, because we value our independence almost as much as we value our stealthily hidden bottles of pinot. An encouraging pat on the shoulder, a proffered shot of fancy tequila, paying it forward when the wealthy and secretive philanthropist "Benny" leaves a couple of Benjamins stashed behind your paintings. But we do take care of each other.
Which means that last night, as I was fighting off the post-show exhaustion and the requisite panic attack that goes along with it, I felt ever so slightly at ease, comfortable in the knowledge that I had experienced love and kindness this weekend. And somehow - if you'll indulge me a trite cliché of a final sentence - somehow that made this strange place feel more like home.