I remember as a child, shutting life away and creating stories and poetry. I’d spend hours upon hours in my bedroom…writing. What a delight to be in my perfect world, enjoying myself, creating (click to Tweet). There was a constant narrative running in my head. As I observed life, I would dialogue what I saw mentally in “story form.” It was a sweet and innocent time.
I grew up in a creative household. My mother would paint, sew and decorate cakes. One year she and her friend made hundreds of sugar peek-eggs and sold them for Easter. They made enough money to appoint my writing room (my bedroom) with beautiful furniture. I would sit on the canopy bed and write stories and poetry.
As I grew I was encouraged by my parents and teachers to cultivate my passion. I enrolled in college and majored in journalism.
ENTER THE BOY
I worked at the local paper writing feature articles. It was an exciting time, exploring new fronts, always with a photographer in tow. I was consumed. Then, it dawned on me. I had a boyfriend and things were getting serious. If I kept indulging myself this way, I would probably never marry and have a family. I was living my life with such zest it left little room for another. I “unselfishly” decided to put the kibosh on this writing. It obviously would get in the way of my life.
For the next 25 years my creativity was expressed in minimal and “socially acceptable” (at least in my mind) ways. I’d find business solutions, coach clients to problem solve, create budgets and write kick-ass business letters. Painting and poems were for soft, self-indulgent types.
So naturally, I was pissed off at the soft, self-indulgents; the selfish artists, writers and people who lived with such abandon and joy. I made judgments about them and did not take them seriously. Couldn’t they see there was REAL work to be done? Come on, people, pull your weight! The rest of us are making sacrifices…you’re entirely too preoccupied with pleasing yourselves! (Click to Tweet).
25 years after I severed a crucial part of my soul through denying my passion, the boy was gone. All that remained was the resentment for artists and an emptiness of purpose. I found relief by breaking things and putting them together – creating beauty from ruin. Some call this mosaic art. I fell in love with the process, the medium, the result. This progressed and one day someone referred to me as an “artist.” At first, it was an uncomfortable feeling. Was I really one of those self-pleasing, self-indulgent types…not suffering enough to make a real contribution to society? It didn’t matter. I realized I had this one life to live and the urge, the need to create, trumped any name calling. Besides, art IS a real contribution to society. It binds cultures, creates beauty and brings JOY to the lives of those who partake (Click to Tweet). I began to paint, to write, to play. The fountain of creativity poured forth, having been “damned” for years…and it spilled into all areas of my life, showing itself though joyful living and a deep appreciation for beauty in nature, in life, in people. I was whole again. The anger, the resentment fell away.
Recently, I watched Oprah interview Brene Brown, a researcher of shame and vulnerability. Brown said one key to living wholeheartedly was to cultivate creativity. How many of us amputate our creative selves to make those “meaningful contributions to society” and are fueled by discomfort, sweat and resentment? How many of us deny our natural purpose – to create – and settle on becoming “acceptable?” Brene Brown says:
“Unused creativity is not benign. It turns into grief, rage, sorrow.”
She says creativity gets shamed out of us. Do we do that to our children? I did it to myself and was so bitter I could have shamed it out of my children…fortunately, I didn’t. One of Brown’s main points:
“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.” (Click to Tweet)
These days I work with creative types, mostly women, but some men, too. I love leading and teaching mosaic workshops where people can get away from their day to day demands and tap into that creative purpose we all have. It is healthy, it is necessary and it makes us whole again.
Live Authentically! Live Joyfully!
For more of Brene Brown I recommend “The Gifts of Imperfection” Let go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are