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By: Cherish Love Robinson


October 2021

20 months and some change in.

I’m still an artist.

We’re still in a pandemic.

The world is still on fire.

We’ve figured out a way to make art in spite of this shared trauma. Zooms and incessant COVID tests are a part of our weekly ablutions.

We are annoyed but we are grateful.

We are working… again.


March 2020.

We were sheltering in place.

We had no idea when normalcy would return and we were in a constant state of, ‘Code: RED’. Our fears had been heightened. Our health was being compromised the world over. We were asked to socially distance ourselves from every and any thing that we loved. And our beloved careers? Well, we watched people turn to the arts while simultaneously and subconsciously calling it, ‘nonessential’. Personally, I didn’t take any offense to it. I mean, there was/is a global pandemic happening. I decided to turn this into a positive and look at this intermission as some sort of stay-cation. The inner introvert rejoiced. I watched T.V., drank too much wine, and the snacks? My God, the snacks! My scale has never been tipped so much and I’m a Libra! Social media was a great way to pass the time too. But as each day passed, some of my peers were losing it. Rightfully so. Everything was being canceled. First we’d hear, “a few weeks”. Then it was, “until further notice”. Then we’d hear, “June”. Ugh. Bless June 2020’s heart. Everything was given to her but nothing ever came of her. A few weeks in, I noticed that I was experiencing this beautiful yet unusual sense of peace. I wanted to know why I felt like this. So in true Cherish fashion, self-reflection is deemed befitting. I do a self-assessment every year. Normally towards the end of year as my birthday is around the same time. But in lieu of everything going on, an early mental check-in felt necessary. I have been an avid writer of manifestations and goal logging since my teens. I was on a mission for answers. 

I noticed that artists are natural keepers of emotions, experts even. We have an innate sensibility to unify humanity and storytelling. We take our art then sift through it to find its truth and sincerity. We emote that intent with clarity and precision palatable to crowds big or small. We know how to cry on command. We’ve mastered monologues. When we sing or play an instrument, we can quiet the loudest room and make them lie in the palm of our hand. A mere arabesque at the right moment can take an audience’s breath away. Who can paint the color of sadness and a museum hang it on a wall like a visual artist can? And don’t get me started on writers! How can one person write a book with ten different characters who have ten different views and the author eloquently makes me understand each person? The talent in our disciplines is endless. Our crafts have even been an escape to our own personal lives. For some, even saved it. It’s kept us out of trouble. We’ve cradled our art when there was nothing and/or no one else. We’ve learned to create any and all things out of thin air. And little by little, our successes start to seep into our self-worth. And before you know it, we’re “non-essential”. We were so attentive to the feelings of characters and audiences, that our own feelings took a backseat. And out of all the masterclasses, workshops, conferences we took; all the money and time we’ve poured into our craft, no one prepared or taught us how to draw the proverbial line in the sand of reality and escapism. 

So here’s my theory: What you do isn’t who you are. 

Isn’t it ironic that our existential artist crisis tends to happen during ambivalence? It’s easy to think little of yourself when you are ONLY looking at what you do. It’s because our ‘who I am’ hasn’t been poured into. What happens if, God forbid, you lose the activity of your limbs and are no longer able to stand in front of people to perform? Will you still see the value of you? Will you still be who you are? And furthermore, who are you?!


When I was 25 years old, I lost my voice for five and a half months. I think I cried for, like, the first 30 days. Then one day, I decided not to cry anymore. I picked myself up and got to work as best as I could. When I made peace with my fate (and had a proper diagnosis) I noticed my voice came back. (The mind heals the heart and the heart heals the soul— but that’s another blog for another day.) To this day, I have occasional bouts of hoarseness and I currently have laryngitis- yes, in the middle of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. As opposed to me freaking out and cursing my career, I’m reminded of that lesson I received so long ago: what I do is not who I am. I am still a whole person with so much to offer than just my musicianship. I realized back then that the more I got to know me, my higher self started showing up for me in ways I could not even fathom. Higher Cherish was creating new ways to use my voice often times without ever singing a note. It was freeing. It was magical. It was also sad. I mean, I am human and often missed what came so naturally. But nevertheless, the lesson was necessary. Not forsaking myself is the truest form of self-care and it led me to a passion of creative wellness. If I am to become a better artist, I need to be a better individual.


10 years later.

March 2020.

35 years old.

The universe told me I needed reminding of remembering. 

Higher Cherish showed up for me again. 

Protecting my mind because I take care of her heart.

This was why I was ok. This is why I am ok.

Clarity of self. Freedom in my growth to feel discomfort but also knowing there’s a resilience in me that will rise THROUGH it. 


Dear artist, before you were {insert what you do}, you were a special human being, full of light, love, and promising possibilities. So when and while the world burns, remember to light the world with that which burns in you. Not because you do it so well (and you do) but because of who the hell you are. Who are you?