Unused Creativity is not Benign…

I’ve been listening to podcasts lately.  A good friend of mine kept sending me recommendations on iTunes, and since I spend an insane amount of time in my car every week (an hour each direction to work), and I’ve been getting tired of just listening to music (not that music isn’t amaaaaazing)…..

A couple have really hit me.  Like… punched me in the gut, and knocked the wind out of my sails.  I was driving along and life was all good, and the following words came out of Brené Brown’s mouth:  (I can’t remember if this was from her appearance on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, or For the Love with Jen Hatmaker — I think it was For the Love, but listen to both anyway!)

Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us.

Shame has gotten in the way of so many things for me, as I’ve reflected on what that’s looked like over my years.  Some of them I am not ready to talk about yet.  I’m just not.

But creativity?  That, I can talk about.

See, creativity is a muscle.  You have to develop it.  And there’s skill involved in it.  It’s not just talent.  It doesn’t just happen.  It’s not something you either have or don’t.  Everyone has something they like to do that flexes that creative muscle.  Some of us bake.  Some of us cook.  Some of us write.  Some of us paint.  We take pictures.  We design rooms.  We write music or we play music.  We landscape yards.  We build bookcases.  We just…. create.

But when we try to create and we don’t like the result that comes out of it, it gets really real.  It gets even more real when someone else calls us out on it.  Even if they didn’t mean to.  Our creativity gets stifled by others.  It happens when we create something, and others don’t see the value that we do.  Maybe we baked something and it didn’t turn out great, and it didn’t get eaten wherever we took it.  Maybe, like several of my Paint Nite endeavours, we’ve painted something and it did NOT turn out like the example.  Maybe we haven’t opened the case of our violin (or other, more generic, musical instrument….) since February because we feel like we’ll never be as good as ___________.  (Comparison is the thief of joy ~ Theodore Roosevelt)  Whatever the case…. I can’t help but wonder… who are we being creative FOR?

If I’m being creative because I want to impress others, I’m doing it for the wrong reason.  But if I’m being creative — if I’m designing, painting, baking, capturing, and creating…. and if I’m doing it because I know that if I don’t, I’ll wither and shrivel under the weight of judgment, grief, rage, sorrow, and shame, I will thrive.

So….. this is why I’m here.

I’m flexing my creative muscles.

I was listening to Luvvie Ajayi on Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love podcast, and she was talking about how she got started as a writer.  She said that she jumped into the blog world when it was still called web logging, and she felt like she had to do it, because it was how she processed the world.  And that hit me too, because there have been many times that I’ve expressed my need to write to process.  I’ve also thought about wanting to write a book, but I’ve even verbally admitted that I’m too afraid no one will like it, no one will read it, and it won’t be successful.  Luvvie Ajayi started me to thinking, and then Brené Brown hit it home.  Who am I writing for?  Why am I writing?  I love this!  I LOVE this!  So why am I hiding behind the fear that no one else will like it, if I should be doing it because my soul needs it, craves it, and begs me to get stuff off my chest by clacking my keyboard?

I don’t know the answer to that question.  I don’t know where the niggling voice of shame comes from that says no one will like it if I hit publish, and I should just sit on my deepest thoughts.  It’s likely that they don’t all belong on the internet, but some of them do – many of them do – and I am going to be brave.

I am going to write more than book reviews.

I am going to say no thank you to the voice that tells me I’m not good enough.  No, that’s not true.  I’m going to be much more forceful with that voice.  It has no place here.

Hi, my name is Laura.
I’m a writer.
I’m a painter.
I’m a photographer.
I’m an artist.
I’m designing my own basement renovation.
I’m a baker.
I’m a cook.
I’m a musician.
I will stop hiding from these things that I love.
I am creative.
I will create.



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