Many years ago, I wrote my dear friend Nick an 'official' letter for his birthday on some nice stationery, in my best handwriting.
I told him he had my formal permission to fuck off and create whatever art he wanted in his life. That he wasn't beholden to any of society's ideals. That he was an artist and he had the right to make art. I even made an official stamp and everything.
He had it hung on his bedroom wall for a couple of years, and he went on to create amazing things! His band opened for Macklemore, and he still makes music all the time, and lately he made his own card game for writers!
Nick wrote me a fancy letter too, a couple of years later, to give me the same permission that had helped him so much.
I remember reading it, and feeling deeply touched by his care for me, but not being able to accept it in my heart. I knew I couldn't stray away from society, that I was bound to it like a contract. Because I knew my art would never be enough.
How interesting that I was able to give him full permission to make his art, and feel that deeply in my heart that he deserved it, but I couldn't apply the same kindness to myself?