What it means to be an artist right now

Trying to do my part to help the state of our country, which is nothing new, is challenging for me as a person who doesn't really assimilate into groups well.  I don't go to marches anymore because even though we chant a slogan that supposedly unites us all, I see too many competing agendas and too little critical thinking and working together.  I'm passionate about change but I don't really vibe with the idea that you have to subscribe fully to this narrative or that, or use this particular language or that.  As a sensitive person, I'm often put off and irritated by people who I perceive as using their activist identity as a platform for their ego.  Whether I'm right or not, it's hard for me to balance my reactive-ness and sensitivity and navigate these circles of people that often feel unfriendly to me.  I'm glad there are groups of friends that are sitting together in small groups in person talking about this stuff, I'm glad there are people who will pick up the phone.  Because I personally have a hard time going to a march, or to a big public discussion, or talking to family who don't believe in the same things.  I think people who are sensitive, who are perhaps artists or in recovery or have trauma in their life are feeling this same type of uneasiness, wether we're white, of color, queer, straight, gender fluid, or whatever.  It's human!  It's challenging.  I'm excited to return to Portland in December and plug into groups with people I know and above all I hope to get a little more educated, both from reading and from communicating, and be able to step into this area of my life.

People: how are you dealing with the experience of putting yourself out there?

As an artist, it becomes a whole other challenge to decide what you want to say when even those on the same "side" are divided, and you really don't want to judge people when you aren't as informed as they may be, but you also don't want to censor yourself.  With my song Shine that I released the day after the election, I tried to remind people not to lose their minds and to do simple, positive things that they enjoy and reach out to their friends via phone or in person instead of getting sucked into the wormhole of social media.  I felt like that was what people needed to hear, but moving forward I'm not sure what people will need to hear.  Also, I swallowed pretty much all of my opinion that would be provoking or angering to people in order to write that song.  Is that what I'll continue to do, or does that stuff have to come out at some point?  It's scary to put your opinion out there in your art as with anything, especially when you know that a) you're not as educated as you could/should be and b) regardless, you know you may have insight that needs to be shared.

Artists: how are you putting these feelings into your art?  what's your experience?