Ask for Help
One of my many failings is a reluctance to ask for help. Self sufficiency should be a good thing, right? It is until it's not.
It's not good when it involves slogging through miles of extra work because of a reluctance to get help. I don't want to bother others with my troubles almost as much as it feeds my ego to think that I can do everything myself. Both of these are qualities of mine that I struggle with.
Yet another lesson that I need to learn every bit as much as The Fool.
The Hierophant is that expert in their field. They are the one who knows everything you're afraid to ask. The have the keys to that door that you haven't been able to open on your own.
There is no real shame in getting help if you need it. If you're sick, go to the doctor. If you're struggling with depression, please go see a therapist. If there's some skill you want or need, take a class. If there's some issue in your life, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Bother those who love you. They will help.
Often I'm asked how I became an artist since my educational background is in the crazy practical field of English literature. How did I end up passing off as a professional artist?
Long ago, when the internet was young and most of America didn't understand how to dial up America Online, I was a professional ebayer. It combined my love of computers and my passion for shopping. I bought. I sold. I enjoyed it, but over time, more and more people started buying and selling. The profit margin shrank and shrank and shrank.
I moved on to etsy as a jeweler seller. I'd loved beading for myself and started doing it professionally. Etsy was young and new and I thrived until I didn't. Gradually, the market became more and more saturated. My beading never evolved to a professional artist quality and my work became lost in a sea of beaded jewelry.
Even as the jewelry market on Etsy became saturated, I noticed that there was almost no art being sold. I developed the idea of superimposing the famous dead with famous quotes so I started doing some graphic design work so I'd have my own creations on Etsy.
The more I learned, the more I began to experiment. My work evolved and changed. I started listing my original work on Etsy but without easily searched for keywords, no one ever saw what I was making. I stumbled across a notice on Facebook that the Arts Council of Baton Rouge was going to be offering a marketing class for artists. I was extremely uncomfortable with calling myself an "Artist", but I really liked what I was doing and thought it would be very cool if I could make money doing it.
That marketing class made all the difference. If I hadn't been willing to learn from someone that knew what they were doing, I would not be working as an artist today.
I learned the difference between juried markets and non-juried markets (felt brave enough to apply to two and was accepted into both). I joined an art association and entered my first competition (won first prize and that fed my confidence enough that I started applying to art exhibitions.) My first year I won my first "Artistic Merit" prize in a professional exhibition and it was enough to make me believe that I could successfully pass myself off as an "Artist".
I asked for help. I found that help. It put me on the path that I am today and I couldn't be more grateful.
I still struggle with not wanting to bother others with my problems. I still struggle with asking for help when I need it. I know better but I still struggle.
Like The Fool, the Hierophant is another lesson that I desperately need to learn. Asking for help, seeking advice from an expert, can make all the difference.