Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Putting that THING to work
Yesterday I talked about finding that "thing" and doing it. That "thing" is something no one can take from you unless you allow them. Here's a little bit about how I learned to put that "thing" to work.
It took me a lot of years to realize just how important creating was to my overall well being. I mean A LOT of years. I had already went through a couple pretty serious bouts of depression, was in to my second marriage and running my scrapbooking business. The days I actually took time to scrapbook/create I felt better. My moods were better. I was more productive and efficient. Here's where it got sticky.
Every single time I had an experience that was emotionally difficult the last thing I felt like doing was creating. I'd focus on the logistics of my life. I'd work more hours on the practical stuff for my business. I would completely ignore any kind of creating at all, even though I KNEW I would feel better. I like to compare it to someone who really really loves food and can't stick with a healthy diet. (Ok, I might be a little guilty there too). You know you'll feel better if you do it, you know you'll have more energy, but still you choose to ignore it.
It wasn't until going through my second divorce (yes, that's two) that I realized what I was really doing to myself. Every time I hit a rough patch I would hand over every ounce of creative energy/power to whatever or whoever I felt was causing it. I'd play the blame game. It was HIS fault I couldn't paint. It was HIS fault I couldn't create. It was because of THIS situation I couldn't move forward with my art. I would play the martyr in my own life. I'd hand off everything to a situation or person then blame them for my misery. At some point the light bulb finally went off. I told myself it was all a bunch of bullshit. I didn't have to give that part of myself away. It was mine! All mine! And really there was no situation or person that wanted that part of me anyway. The only person I was hurting was me! I knew if I just started creating again it would heal me. I would feel better. That is when I made my first piece of jewelry. Five years ago, right in the middle of my life falling apart, I found another avenue of that "thing" to pull me through.
I've had to be vigilant in protecting myself from myself sometimes. I still go through bouts of minor depression. I still have tragedies pop up in my life. I'm a hugely emotional and passionate person and I have had to fight like hell with myself to get to the work table somedays. Just like everyone else in their everyday life, sometimes I just would rather crawl back in bed and stay there. I've learned to make myself create first. I've had to learn in the tough times to hang on to that part of myself instead of trying to hang on to someone else to make me feel better. It's been a learning curve for sure. But when you know that you have something that can never ever be taken from you, you tend to treat it with a bit more respect and love. You learn to be a little more compassionate with yourself. And when the day comes that you start making a living from your craft you learn to nurture that creative river within yourself like it is a newborn because it is your livelihood and the quality of your whole life pretty much depends on it. And IT IS ALL YOURS! LIKE FOREVER! It can't be stolen. It can't really be given away (trust me, even if you try it won't be accepted graciously). You can neglect it. You can bury it. You can hide from it. You can run from it. You can ignore it. But you WILL suffer for it.
I believe creativity is a gift. I believe we a born with it and we carry it throughout our lives. For me it was gifted as a tool to help me navigate the complexities of life and myself. I intend on using it! I'm also beginning to realize the impact that gift, when being used appropriately and authentically, can have on others. It's really pretty damn amazing!