Creativity is an amazing and beautiful thing. She’s a bit wild and a lot mysterious, and I’m not sure any of us really knows or or understands how she works. Or why. She’s a little fickle, too — like trying to taste a sunbeam or catch a dancing dust mote on the tip of your littlest finger. Creativity comes at the most awkward times: When you’re in the shower … or late at night, when you’re exhausted and just want to sleep away the yuck and cares of a bad day … or during that important, oh-so-serious meeting with your boss, when you can’t focus on anything he’s saying because all you can think about is how the coffee stain on his tie is shaped like South America. I think Creativity delights in being inappropriate and in making us feel awkward and uncomfortable. She dares us to step outside of ourselves and what society expects of us.
Even so, for all her playfulness and fickleness and taunting and teasing, I think we all love Creativity and her sister, Inspiration. I know I do. I feel happy, fulfilled, and blessed when these dear ladies choose to grace me with a visit, no matter how unexpected. There’s something organic about the creative process. It’s full of heady relief and the sweet, clear tone of that moment of release — when you know, in your heart of hearts, that everything is good and right with your little section of the universe. But Creativity can hurt, too. Immediately, I know I’ll be looking for that next idea: a junkie in search of that next creative high, and there’s no rehab in the world that can save me from it. I love it so.
I want to nurture Creativity — cuddle up to it and wrap myself up in all of it. Yes, even those painful bits that make me feel like something awful has crawled in under my skin and died.
But I find the world has a habit of getting in the way. There’s so much noise in my head and in my life. People want this … My family needs that … There are errands to run and laundry and meals to cook and houses to clean and appointments to keep.
And, even worse than all of that extraneous noise, are the times — more than I like to count or admit to — when I get in my own way. The doubts and uncertainties crowd in on me: This idea is stupid. No one will like it. I’ve never been good at any of this. I’m not the talented or artistic one in my family; that’s not my place. People will laugh at me. This will be the worst idea I’ve ever had. This will be the last idea I’ll ever have.
Some of it is borne from past experience. I didn’t grow up in an environment that nurtured or encouraged Creativity. Especially the kind of Creativity that doesn’t necessarily fit into a neat, preconceived idea of what “creative” is supposed to be. The whole point of Creativity is that she devours the box. I know this as an adult; I didn’t when I was a child. Still, it often feels safer to fall back on those hard-learned lessons.
The rest of it, though, is just me. My fear. My timidness. My … whatever. And so I distract myself with silly cat pictures on the Internet (even though I’m a self-admitted dog person). I watch reruns of old TV shows that I’ve seen hundreds of times (as if the ending will magically change on this, the 101st viewing). I chat on the phone or message people through Facebook. Because I can’t let my mind sit still long enough to think and revel in the silence. I’m too terrified to let myself create.
And so, I’d like to say to the world … to the doubters in my life … to my own fear:
SHHHHHHHHHHH. Be still, and let me go.