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Did you make New Year’s Resolutions this year? This is the first year that comes close to me feeling as though I am making New Year’s resolutions. For the last several months, I’ve been working through some things that have enabled me to consciously make small shifts in my thinking and doing that will hopefully lead to bigger shifts that will continue to make me feel more fulfilled.
One thing I’m really working hard on right now is allowing myself to be more creative. I mentioned in this post that I often feel like a hummingbird in motion all of the time: doing, thinking, researching, dreaming, and creating things that I sometimes only share with one person or no one at all, but the truth is that I have only recently given myself permission to fully embrace who I really am.
I am a creative creature who has no interest in doing what everyone else is doing. It’s not that I don’t care about other people. I do care; sometimes too much. It’s just that I’m ready to fully express my unique self without caring how others may view me. I am silly, serious, opinionated, type A, organized, chaotic, excessively energetic, extraverted, introverted, spontaneous, fun-loving, and a dork at times. I’m cool with all that. We’re all an amalgam of complex and sometimes contradictory traits. I’m feeling good about letting out my colorful and sensitive personality.
I’ve worked hard to let go of the idea of trying to please other people and doing the “right” thing because that way of living doesn’t work out so well in the long run. We do things we don’t want to do, give up things we shouldn’t give up, and become bogged down and resentful if we don’t listen to our inner voice. I’m trying really hard to silence that part of me that questions my own interests and abilities.
Everyone has their own ideas of what is acceptable and good, and their ideas may be completely different from my way or your way of thinking. That’s okay—that’s life!
I’ve learned over the years that other people’s judgments and negativity has little to do with me personally and has more to do with that person’s self-esteem and ego issues. Practicing the art of detachment has done wonders for me. It’s not that I don’t take responsibility for my own actions or that I don’t care if someone acts like an ass, but I won’t let someone else’s negativity seep into me or alter my course of actions. Why let one person or even a couple have power over you? The world is wide and expansive if we allow it to be. I want to expand my world. It’s never too late!
When I was a little girl, I wrote in my journals daily, obsessively sketched dresses and gowns, created cartoon characters, and doodled for hours. “Child’s play” I thought, as I grew up. I buried my creative side deep in my being because as a child I felt those activities held low value to the people around me. That may or may not be true, but that’s what I believed. I stopped sketching and cartooning sometime around 8th grade because I had more important things to do like schoolwork, sports, getting a job, and attaining important goals. How did I decide what goals were more important than being authentically me? Where did these goals come from? Were they mine? My parents? My peers?Teachers? Societies?
It makes me sad and a little bit angry that I didn’t allow myself to fully express my individual self sooner. Being creative felt like a waste of time back in the day because I felt the pressure, we all feel at some point, to get serious about life—be responsible. What I wanted to do seemed like living in romanticized unrealistic la la land.
Looking back, my creative energy has been pleading to come out. The urge is getting stronger every year. I think that’s why I often feel like I have excessive energy begging to be used. The energy manifested itself into anxious feelings of needing to do something, but not knowing exactly what I should be doing. I have thrown that energy into other things, but that wasn’t enough.
The truth of what I want to be doing has been muddled for so long, it’s almost like I have to get to know myself again, but not really because it’s always been there deep down waiting for permission to come out to play.
People, who know me well, know that I love reading an eclectic array of books. I read every day. But, not many people know that I have also been quietly pouring over art books, visiting art galleries, and going on art tours with my oldest daughter, Bella, for years.
Recently, I couldn’t pull myself away from an untitled Sam Gilliam piece at the Seattle Art Museum. I was mesmerized. I wanted to watch the artist creating that piece. I wondered, what was he thinking about when he created that? It felt so good to be there.
When I looked into my mom’s hope chest last month (I wrote about that here), it was like opening a treasure chest of memories and feelings. That playful artistic side of me was buried in those chests. I saw her there. The memories and feelings came back and I thought:
I am creative
we are all creative in our own way.
It is as if the light has been switched on within me.
I went out and bought acrylic paints, brushes, and a 2 x 4 canvas to create art for a wall in my daughter’s room that had been calling my name for quite some time. I sat in Bella’s room by myself and sketched and then I began painting. I have no schooling and no knowledge of what exactly I should be doing. I didn’t care if I sucked; I needed to see how it would feel to create art again.
It was amazing. I felt completely relaxed, centered, and at peace. I was in the state of flow. I was so immersed in what I was doing that I was completely unaware of my surroundings. I felt as though the images on the canvas were painting themselves. I’m not saying my first finished project was great or even good, but I am saying that it felt wonderful to do something that felt so natural and needed. I found a piece of myself that I had carefully and deliberately kept locked away.
All of those voices inside me that had said things like “I’m no artist, who am I kidding, I’m not creative, who would like my stuff anyway” were silenced. It seems strange to me that I didn’t let myself dabble before. What was I afraid of? Perhaps I was afraid to love something so much that I believed as a child held no concrete value or I perhaps I was afraid of what other people may think. Maybe I was judging myself.
Enough of that weird thought process.
I’m currently creating bracelets, sketches, mixed media bookmarks, and painting acrylics on canvas for a wall in our house that needs a pop of color. I’m having so much fun! I start a 5-week painting class at a local gallery later this month. It was a Christmas gift from my mom. I couldn’t be more exited!
It’s like I’m finally allowing myself to express who I truly am—a creative creature.
Whatever it is you want to do, begin today. Just do it.
Happy New Year, everyone!