The freedom in judging less / by Shaun Fauntleroy

Madonna, in all her unbashed glory.

Madonna, in all her unbashed glory.

One of the things The Artist’s Way has begun to restore in me is a sense of Artistic Freedom. In Week 3, we’re asked to make a list of five people we secretly admire and then detail what we admire about them. I fully indulged the request and was surprised to find Madonna on my list. When I was growing up, Madonna wasn’t "supposed” to be admired as an artist. She didn’t play any real instruments and "borrowed" the style, inventiveness, and creativity of others (namely from people of color), she traded in the commerce of spectacle…she wasn't a "real artist" and “real artists blah, blah, blah." I didn’t realize before this exercise that I secretly admired her. Whatever her talents are or aren’t, there’s no one in the business who reinvents herself as fearlessly as she does. She does…whatever she wants, and always has. I remember a story of when she was called in to audition for “Desperately Seeking Susan.” She showed up an hour late and asked for cabfare. My censor says, “That’s disgusting behavior.” My inner kid, says, “that's actually pretty badass.” There’s something about that kind of boldness that something in me wants more of. I love feeling free to learn from her without judgement and I'm learning from The Artist's Way that it is possible to be discerning with an open, inquisitive heart. It's possible to be discerning without being self-righteous. Freedom.

All this freedom is catching. The week I did that exercise I created a puppet show for my dear friend Krista's birthday, which she loved. I haven’t felt that kind of freedom to just create and put it out there in years. I’m being reintroduced to myself. Oh! There she is!