I was once told I have an unhealthy attachment to creativity.
This comment made me angry, which then made me proud because I spent centuries numbing myself from anger. Sometimes it just feels good to feel something again. After the initial, three-second anger burst wore off, I stopped to think, and then I laughed.
In reality, creativity is the essence of who we are.
The opposite of creation is not destruction; it’s death.
Destruction, or the breaking down, the demolition, the annihilation of what must be destroyed, is an essential step inherent in the process of creativity brought to life.
I think the person who made this remark may have been referring to art.
Maybe I do have an attachment to my own artistic process. But maybe that’s because my art is less about what I make and more about uncovering who I am. And this road of self-discovery is one that I absolutely, without a doubt, cannot stop treading. My very life depends on it.
We all wear masks that we’re taught to don from before we can walk. Be the happy, smiling, good girl. Go ahead and say yes. Eat everything society serves you with a big ol’ thank-you-more-please without stopping to question who or how you’re being taught to live, and who or how you would be without any such teaching.
When we break down the masks and destroy the shells, what is left underneath?
I’m finding the deeper I go, the more of an artist is there, clawing and screaming her way out.
And there are so many available mediums, the entire world becomes the artist’s playground. From the human body to food to spreadsheets to paint to anything else you use to shape the world around you. That, dear friends, is creativity.
Maybe I won’t use paint and charcoal and movement and words as my mediums forever. Regardless, I will always have the drive to create, not because it’s an external action that I’m addicted to performing, but because creativity is who I am. We are all artists deep down, whether we choose to recognize it or not.
We all have the internal drive to build and shape and mold, ultimately with the greater intention of leaving our mark here.
And I believe anyone who denies their own inner creative sense has simply stopped listening.
We grow up, as children, scribbling and sketching away. Everything makes sense and all is sacred. We inherently understand the connectedness of it all, without having need for explanation or reason.
Somewhere along the way, we can often lose touch with this childlike sense.
I tend to attract people who want to reconnect to their creative selves. These people, many of whom appear to be in some semblance of a transition phase, seem drawn to me. They want to tell me of their ideas. They feel the need to express their artistic sides to me.
I, too, am an ideas person. I have about a million and a half a day. Some stick; many fly away.
I was in the midst of a difficult life transition, several years ago. Stuck in a rut, and lost along the way, my external situation had become me, and I felt it killing me slowly. My throat was closing. I lived in a landmine of pain.
At the time, I was living in so many ways according to how I had been taught to act rather than how I felt called from within. Throughout the process, I experienced hopeless moments, full of despair. I felt as though I was in over my head in life, and had no idea how to carve my way back to myself.
During this period, I met with a healer whose eyes lit up, when I told her how I had recently found myself immersed in art. I told her how my favorite pastime, of the moment, involved stopping in estate sales and on the sides of roads to select old wooden furniture or even a scrap here or there, before bringing my findings home to repaint and fix up. I painted each and every one of these pieces white. As she heard this, her eyes grew wide and she paused before proclaiming of the symbolism behind me transforming this old, worn-down, forgotten furniture. White.
Art, time and again, brings me back to myself. Art allows me the space to transform back into who I was before the world told me how to be.
Whether it’s painting a dresser in messy strokes of upcycled white or dancing or cooking without recipes or even just coloring in the lines of somebody else’s shape, art gives me space to be, without thought or judgment or reason.
Allowed to wander around the forest of my mind for too long, I would go mad.
When I’m creating, through words or colors or bodily shapes, my thoughts get out of the way of life happening. I am present. And I feel like my existence begins to make the slightest bit of sense.
No matter our belief system, creativity affords us a connection to the divine, if we are open to it.
Our creative urges and inklings needn’t make reasonable sense, for they bring us back to the childlike state, where all things were possible and reason wasn’t necessary for day to day existence. It just was.
All life is, by definition, creative.
Creativity is not an unhealthy attachment, a useless pastime, or something you need to suppress. Creativity is bringing form to life itself.
So despite what others tell you, about the impracticality of your creative dreams, I want to encourage you something different. For in connection to your creative self, you bring light and change and breath to the world. Even when the light you shine is on darkness itself. And in so doing, you give us all meaning.
We were not placed here by chance, but rather to stir positive change through what we create.
And that creation can take an infinity of forms.
For me, today, that form is an empty frame. Which, naturally, I’m painting white. The story behind it, as yet unwritten.