I have missed community. I have missed connecting on that deeper level with others in an intentional way. A group of women, sitting together in a living room, sipping wine, sharing stories, laughing and listening to each other.
I woke up this morning and slammed straight into a wall of self-loathing and a head full of ‘you’re a pathetic human who can’t get your shit together’ trains of thought.
But I’m pretty sure they are related.
I have spent much of my life running from my creativity or just denying it even exists. I wrote prolifically as a child and well into my teens. I wrote stories and poetry, journalled almost everyday from thirteen to eighteen and sporadically through my twenties. But as I grew older the writing got darker and more hopeless. I think I really stopped writing because it required me to engage and acknowledge what I was feeling or struggling with emotionally and mentally. And even though I saw counsellors, psychologists and doctors throughout my twenties I, for various reasons, worked on my recovery and mental health at arms length. Writing was too painful, and I suspect, would have required harder work than I thought possible.
But I began to change that story a while ago when, in the midst of a breakdown, I chose to acknowledge my creativity and see it as a means to recovery. I eventually quit my job in order to explore what it would look like to be a ‘writer’ for a living. And in recent months I have made serious attempts to engage with my creativity in intentional ways- including joining a group to work through The Artist’s Way together and reading various other books on creativity.
Through this intentional work though, deep emotions and thought processes that I have been hiding from and that remain unresolved, have reared their ugly heads time and again. Every time I make progress in embracing my gifts and moving forward with the work I feel called to do, the enemies of self-doubt, perfectionism and self-sabotage march in fast.
So this morning as soon as I’d finished my morning cup of tea and bowl of cereal, I found myself lying curled up on the couch feeling rather sorry for myself and wondering how on earth to get up again. But my kind housemate made me a cup of tea and told me to get up and write something, anything, anyway.
And so here we are.
Being creative is scary. Living the life we were given well is scary. Having to live with the reality of my emotions and moods and the general chaos of our existence is hard work. But I’m learning that if I want a meaningful and free life then choosing to be creative, and in the process embracing that reality, is the only way.
In her book A Million Little Ways, Emily P. Freeman says:
“Christ is in you and wants to come out through you in a million little ways- through your strength and also your weakness, your abilities and also your lack.I want to be brave. I want to choose to be creative. I want to choose to pay attention to this life I’m living.
I call it art, someone else calls it rubbish.
Call it what you will. God calls us his poem. And the job of the poem is to inspire. To sing. To express the full spectrum of human experience- both the bright hope that comes with victory and the profound loss that accompanies defeat.
We must make art, even in our weakness. If we don’t, we are denying ourselves, in turn, we will deny everyone else ourselves as well.” (page 168)
So I got up and wrote this blog post.