by Annette Wagner, Managing Editor
Today I am writing about one of those Hidden Stories in my life which I constantly struggle with. A story that began when I was five years old. A story my child self took in as truth but one which holds no truth whatsoever. A story that feels like it has glued itself to my mind and the only way to get it out is to scrape every synapse clean. It goes like this:
Thou must MAKE MONEY.
Making money is the prime directive.
If you make money you are successful.
If you make money you are secure.
If you make money you are a good person.
If you make money everything will be ok.
This story came into my life violently. I was in the back seat of a car driving to my aunt and uncle’s house one Sunday. My dad was driving; mom was in the front seat next to him. My mom was asking us kids questions to entertain us. When she asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I excitedly bounced up and down and said, I want to be an artist! It was my secret desire even then.
My father reacted immediately in anger. He yelled at me, “You never want to be an artist. You never want to be someone who makes things with their hands. You will never make any money.” I felt like he had stabbed me in my heart and I threw myself back in the seat in crying hysterically while my mother told him to shut up. All I could think was I must be horribly wrong and bad to have made my father that angry with me.
One of the insidious impacts of this story on my life was the assertion that I would never make money as an artist. My father has always been obsessed with making money and he continually pounded the idea into our heads that our only focus in life must be to make money. Sadly, he was never actually very good at managing any money he did make so having money was always an issue too.
My poor child brain took in this story and connected being an artist with not making money and therefore not something I “should” do. It influenced my choices in life in many ways. What I majored in in college, what jobs I chose, etc. It is a very hard thing to be driven by a pattern that does not fulfill or satisfy or support me on a heart level. To be honest, I hate this hidden story with a vengeance. I’d like to poke it in the eye with a sharp stick.
I hate the way my brain falls into this pattern of assuming I must DO something to make money every time I finish a painting. It presents this list of options like, well, its obvious I must create an Etsy listing and post the price on Facebook and send out a blog post. The critic points out how much I spend, how little I make, and so on.
My reaction? To dig in my heels and stubbornly resist. Which I know isn’t particularly healthy. Which makes me feel like I am out of joint with how I am “supposed to” live life. Which is why I’ve been steadily working this pattern for the last several years to shift it into something I can live with.
I don’t have any answers. I do have intention and I happen to know in my heart and body that intention can whomp any hidden stories, no matter how insidious they are. I know this because I’ve worked with Intentional Creativity for many years now. So my plan is to intention the hell out of the “making money” story until it rolls over and becomes something that supports my heart, mind, and body in rich and creatively wonderful ways.
Annette Wagner, M.A., is a Visionary Artist, Color of Woman Intentional Creativity teacher, Art Doctor, author, and shamanic practitioner. She paints in the Contemporary Symbolism style and works extensively with metaphor, symbol, and color. She is also the Managing Editor of the Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.
Annette studies with American Master painter Sue Hoya Sellars and has a Masters in Women’s Spirituality from Sofia University. Her background includes over 25 years of hi-tech experience including 21 patents. She is owned by her dancing daughter, two cat beings, the man of her heart, and her Muse. You can view her artwork, visit her Etsy shop, and read more about Annette at:www.annettewagnerart.com