Written By Angelique Fullwood
Beyonce is somewhat revered as a living legend to her fans. One thing that has propelled her out of this world image, is the air of mystery surrounding her personal life- something she intentionally engineered so as not to feed into the tabloid culture. But the main reason people respect Beyonce and hold her in such high regard is because of her commitment to being an artist, an honest one at that, and she’s the very best at her craft.
In her documentary titled Life Is But A Dream, Beyonce gets intimate and real in a way she’s never done before and I thought it was very refreshing. As expected we get to see how extraordinary her life is, but one thing no one was able to predict was how surprisingly relatable she is. She shows the struggle of being an artist and trying to balance her humanity at the same time; I can’t help but identify with that. Obviously I’m in no way trying to compare myself (I mean, she’s Beyonce!)Our art is different, but there are universal truths about artists in all fields. I’m friends with artists and I study artists, I’m influenced by their work because it plays a huge part of my everyday life. During the film, Beyonce reveals this side to her, and as she’s doing it there were a lot of moments that were very familiar to me, and there were moments that I imagined will be something I will get to experience as I grow as a writer and as a person.
Things I know from talking to other artists and understanding myself as an artist is that we’re always going to be misunderstood. A lot of the things that we do aren’t practical or won’t make sense and sometimes if we were to really sit and think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to us either. But, just as Beyonce expresses in her film, God gave us these talents for a reason and a purpose, and that purpose might not reveal itself until after we go through whatever we have to go through and experience whatever it is we are suppose to experience, and then we can look back and see what we’ve produced and we’ll have our “AH-HA!” moment. Art has its own intrinsic value and being an artist there’s an obligation to playing a part in something bigger than ourselves that we are responsible for, and we devote so much to our crafts that we struggle the hardest to come to terms with our identity and trying to balance that.
We have to be able to be brave as creators. Every artist strives to be honest and genuine when it comes to producing our work so we’re sensitive to it, we’ll work on it and edit what needs to be edited, and send it off where it’s susceptible to criticism. Depending on how much of yourself you put out there and how honest you are with yourself, it can be a very scary thing. One of my favorite moments from the film was when Beyonce was relieved about the positive feedback from a meeting on her last album ‘4’, and she’s walking down the hallway very excited and says to the camera, “I’m so glad to have got that over with… I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit!”
Personally, I am not the bravest person. I’m terrified of a lot of things, and I realize that this fear that I have is hurting me because I’m not able to express myself as well as I could. I feel incomplete and empty all the time as a result. I realize that I can’t flourish if I’m not able to get over this fear of being emotional and raw and vulnerable. I’m so concerned with trying to not come off as a crazy person or being labeled weird and etc because I’m a perfectionist, and not even just with my art but in other areas of my life as well. In my academics especially, during high school and college I had a lot expected of me, and I also expected a lot from myself, which brought me to a point where so much pressure was placed that I was constantly afraid of failure.
Being afraid to fail only keeps me from being the person that I was made to be. It’s self-sabotage. It’s kept me from maintaining any kind of personal relationships or friendships. It’s hurting my relationship with my father. It’s a frustration that I deal with everyday. And then it’s hard to write anything when I’m not inspired, or when I’m too afraid to use this negative energy as inspiration.
But then something magical happens when I do muster up the strength to push myself. I’ll find my laptop or journal when I’m feeling all these feelings and I start writing everything down and it turns into such a spiritual experience when I get into my zone. When the thoughts in my head appear on the paper or on the screen and I find myself being honest and really expressing exactly how I feel right then and there- it’s a magical moment. The energy will flow and everything feels right. It’s a happy reminder that I should indulge myself more into my passion because nothing else would make me feel this way. Whenever I’m in the zone, the worries I would usually have in questioning my talents or my abilities- like thinking if I’m good enough, or smart enough, or unique enough, or impressive- they all disappear. Everything flows and in the end, practically every single time, it works and it clicks and I walk away feeling proud of whatever I just created.
Life Is But A Dream is Beyonce’s leap of faith, it’s an inspiration for any artist to stay committed and be fearless as we go out in the world and be who we’re meant to be. It’s about learning to trust yourself, knowing yourself, and loving yourself. It is easier said than done, but it’s possible and you may not be known as “Mistress of the Universe” like Queen B, but you can be successful by your own definition.