I’ve been consciously making an effort lately to be more creative. I’ve become too comfortable with myself the past couple of years. Too complacent. And I don’t like that.
I’ve always considered myself a “creative type.” Ever since I can remember I loved reading, writing, painting — things like that.
I loved playing dress-up, putting on shows for my parents, using a brush or a broken-off antenna from the television for a microphone. When we’re children, we just immerse ourselves in creativity. We don’t think about it. We don’t worry about the outcome. We don’t see it as a means to an end.
We just play. Then somewhere along the way, we stop doing that. I don’t know if it’s from something a teacher, adult, parent — whomever that said something, intentionally or unintentionally, that crushed that little seed of magic that allowed us to create, but we let it become a truth.
I’m not casting blame because we grow up and have a choice to do this or that. You can’t keep consoling that little inner child or you’re never get anything done.
Responsible Adults are We
Life takes over and we become responsible beings, adults. We forget that Oh, I want to be a writer, actor, sculptor, mechanic, pilot, zoologist, lawyer — whatever it was that just made you light up.
We opt for the more stable course, the safer way. I’ll do that creative kid stuff some other time. When I have time. Then there are those lucky individuals (hubby is one) where they decided as tiny little ones what they wanted to be and they did it, that’s what they are.
Not me. I originally wanted to go to college to get a degree in English or Creative Writing then life got in the way, all sorts of stuff happened and I found myself going to school in my thirties for a degree that would land me the “right” job. It was a safe route for me — the responsible thing to do. I tried to make me into what everyone else thought I should do. I got much praise and admiration for it too. You can keep that going for decades.
Something’s Gotta Give
The older I get the more I’m realizing just how vital it is to do what your creative self wants. That doesn’t mean quitting a job or shirking responsibilities. It means mixing things up a bit. Doing something, even if it’s a tiny something, that you keep saying you’re going to do. And just do it. If you screw it up, so be it. Even the screwing up part will teach you something, make you braver and prompt you to take another risk. And another. And so on.
Before you know it, that sleeping giant of creativity you’ve kept buried, wakes up. It’s uncomfortable and it even makes you angry sometimes. It’s kind of like a birth and from what I hear, that’s pretty damn painful. That’s what I’ve been experiencing anyway.
Being creative also makes you vulnerable. If you choose to show your peers, your family/friends or the whole world your creative self, you risk someone criticizing your efforts. And there’s always going to be someone that does, huh?
Many years ago I decided to try out for a part in a small play. I just walked into this tiny theater company and read for the lead part. Mind you, this was in the South; we’re not talking Broadway or anything, but I got it. The lead. I didn’t have any fear and nothing hinged on me NOT getting it. I solely did it for the experience.
Why do we stop doing those things? What makes us afraid to try? Being laughed at? Someone discouraging us? The wiser I get the more I realize that’s it’s important to stretch our creative limbs regularly. To surround ourselves with like-minded people who celebrate that, encourage it and applaud our efforts and we do the same for them.
After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You just may discover something about yourself that you love, that brings you a joy you thought you’d lost. At the very least, makes you smile a little bigger or makes you laugh out aloud. That’s always a good thing.
Happy Monday everyone. And listen to this song, it’s an old one that I heard the other day. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but it always makes me smile, makes me want to run around with flowers in my hair chasing a unicorn or something.
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What was your favorite creative thing/activity as a child? If you could have any job what would it be? When is the last time you did something creative and spontaneous? Do you like your inner child or do you want to kick her/his little ass? (yeah, I borrowed that from Don Henley).
I want my inner child to kick everyone else’s ass. Haha! My inner child is more anxious than anything else, really. I think that’s why I hung out in the art room as a kid. I love that you tried out for that play and got the lead! When we get older, I think we start to realize that we’re all equals, what one person can do, another can do, sure, it takes some work and some guts, but why hold yourself back from trying? I think we either have had an experience when we’ve been laughed at or we fear , etc. The thing is, that’s the other person’s insecurity and issue. It’s just so hard to remember that sometimes and it’s enough to keep us stuck and prevent us from trying new things.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think, gee, I lived a safe life. I want to get to the end and think, I really lived! I love this post because it stirs the pot and inspires us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We all have gifts, some of us don’t even know what our gift is, and we won’t unless we try new things.
Great post, Brigitte!! Love the song, too! Haha!
can your inner child kick some ass for me too?
No prob, just let me know where to send her.
I think our inner children ought to get together and have some fun, and by fun I mean kick some ass. (too bad my inner child would curl up in the fetal position and die before she would confront anyone !!! Hahah!)
One day we all shall meet and yes, we will kick some booty butt.
Booty butt. so funny.
I’m game. Some days my is much bolder than me so I’ll make sure mine covers yours if she regresses. ha!
I hear you. I feel the same way, Lisa and trust me, I know all about anxiety. It is a bear, isn’t it. I wish I had the cojones to do that again. Who knows, maybe I will. That’s it, it’s that “shame” thing from way back, being laughed at or made to feel as if your ideas isn’t a good one. And you’re right — it is the ISSUE of the one who is doing the shaming/condemning. I’m with you though, we’re mature, intelligent and gorgeous women so what the funkyhouse? We just need to give it a go. Yep, all of us have a little wild thang in us, huh? Thanks, Lisa.
I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot, recently, Brigitte. I decided that 2013 is the year that I MAKE time and not just photograph or play the piano or paint when everything else I have to do is done. Translated: I never get to those creative things. Yeah, you’re right. As kids we did creative things all the time. Dancing, making flower bracelets, mud pies, Creepy Crawlies…
Peter has been encouraging me (as have you and others here on blogosphere) to look into a venue for displaying and selling my photography and I think I’m going to do that. Stay tuned…
Wonderful post, Brigitte!
Hi Cathy, I think as we get older, we get a little braver. I watched an interview last night on Stevie Nicks — talk about a creative person. She’s 62 and look at her! I made mudpies too! We’d wrap mud in elephant ear leaves too. I think Peter is right — your photos are gorgeous. Go for it. Thanks, Cathy.
Mmmm I am just a beginner to this whole who am I creatively thing. I pretty much suffocated my inner self as you say for the good of adulthood. Now? Getting my toes wet but afraid to jump in– will I drown in my own wackyville?Probably..haa
Happy Monday and I LOVE the song 🙂
Yeah, I did the same thing, Audra. Time to stop that now. Drown in your own wackyville? That sounds like fun. Happy Monday back, wild thang.
Well alright then– we plunge together
my inner child was much bolder than I, she keeps egging me on, so I have no problems with her–it is this grown woman who needs to let her inner child go–although I find I do express my creativity to a point–I need to lose the ego
You should listen to her, Lou. And yeah, that ego thing, that’s it. That stops us in our tracks at times.
thanks for the great post. I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I started my blog in February and I have told very few people about it because it makes me feel so vulnerable. I don’t mind strangers reading my blog, and even select friends and family members. But work colleagues/friends? acquaintances? No way. My biggest fear: they will think it is uninteresting, boring, lame… There I said it.
I have teenage children! Aren’t I WAY too old to be feeling this way?
I feel like my inner child is actually right at the surface. Or maybe that’s the inner teenager?
Glad to know I’m not alone.
And I think you’re very brave for not only auditioning for a play, but then doing the scary work that follows getting the lead!
Hi Margaret and welcome! So glad you enjoyed it. I was afraid about blogging at first as well but you’ll find there are so many sincerely nice people in this WordPress community. I’ve made so many “friends” here and you will, in time find yourself in a community where you’ll not only feel comfortable but be encouraged and inspired. I hope you’ll stop by here again. And no, you’re not lame and you’re not at all too old to be feeling whatever you’re feeling! Thanks so much for your nice comment and I hope to see you again.
Loving your post:) I loved to explore and go on adventures as a kid. I do let me inner child out to play, especially when it comes to exploring the great outdoors. Love the cheeky monkey – ha! Happy Monday
Hi Craves — thank you! Good, we all need to let that kid out every once in awhile, huh? Thank you and Happy Monday.
I am going to enjoy your blog tremendously!
Why thanks, Millie — yours looks wonderful too!
As the self-appointed poster girl for someone that’s never let go of her inner child, I can say with authority Brig, there are plenty of forks in the road. My responsible side has always been employed, but I’ve never had a career, so I’ve always been under-employed. My years of working Any Job to cover the rent so I have the time to indulge my creativity have yet to yield a result that would allow me the financial freedom to focus solely on my creative pursuits. The responsibilities of having to work Any Job are taking a toll on my stamina. I’m growing deeper into my fifties and the late nights I spend writing catch up to me during the day at The Grind. In the back of my mind I am very conscious of the ticking clock. Also, my most recent relationship tanked partly due to my partner insisting that I am Peter Pan. She wanted me to get A Real Job making Real Money, but that’s just not me. Besides, my days of mainstream marketability, if they ever existed, are long gone now. So, my friend, beware of what you wish for. There are a lot of thorns on these roses.
Yeah, I guess you’re right about that. I had a great job at one time and quit because of wanting that “creative path.” I don’t know, V, I don’t think I would have had the experiences, some of which are painful but some that have been just GREAT and exactly what I needed I suppose. I’ve worked those any jobs too. I don’t know what the answer is really but I figure it’s better to go into any endeavor with an attitude of — I’ll give this a shot because the time’s going to pass anyway, right? I don’t know about marketability with everything going to the cyper world these days, so I think you’re far from that! There are a lot of thorns along most any path you choose. It’s how you recover from all those pricks who get in your way that make all the difference. 😉
P.S. (Sorry about your breakup but obviously she didn’t realize the magic of having a Peter Pan in her life. The right one will and love you all the more for it.)
I admire your courage. Even though I have always pursued music, we “professionally” creative-types make our inner playful self small and get stuck in a rut too. The pure joy and have-to of doing what we love turns into a competition and a comparison. We quit making ourselves happy and start to live off of that praise you were talking about. I LOVE that you just walked into that theatre and read for the lead role . . . and landed it! If I always sing with that kind of enthusiasm – the kind I had as a young(er) 🙂 person – I know I’ll ultimately be more successful, and certainly happier with the process.
Anita, I try and I’m not always so brave, trust me. You should put some of your music on the blog! What kind of singing do you do? I don’t want to make the assumption just because you’re in Nashville that you sing country but I’ve not been following you that long. I love that you’re living your dream — now that is courage. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Well, my husband and I write together. I consider myself a singer/songwriter which usually means that depending on how a song is arranged, it could be country, or folk, or jazz, or pop. But you’re right; living here means it’s a good idea to add a twang every now and then. 🙂
On the left of my blog (far down) is a pic. entitled, “Hear My Original Music”. It will take you to my You Tube page with some of my songs. Thank you for asking Brigitte.
How exciting. I didn’t used to like country but country has changed so now I kind of dig it every once in a while. I will listen to your tunage and I just think it’s so great you are living your dream. If I’m ever in Nashville, I must come see you do your thang. (thing). 😀
This post didn’t show up in my reader. $#@% I could have used that song first thing this morning!! Dance, my inner child dances with wild abandon.You make Monday’s fun Brigitte!
What’s up with that? I don’t always get email alerts on blogs I follow. I freaking love that song and thanks, Honie. You’re kind of a fun and wild thang yourself. 😉
I think you know the last spontaneous, creative thing I did because I wrote about it over the weekend ;D Just getting out and painting a little plate for C was such a wonderful activity. As much as I LOVE writing and using my brain to make words, there is something very special about using my hands to craft something beautiful. I started wrapping C’s birthday gifts today and I enjoyed it so much. I had forgotten how good I am at wrapping presents and how pretty I am capable of making them look. I will certainly be making more time in the future to make lovely things!
You’re so right, Emily. Creating something — like you did — there is such a satisfaction about it. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit. I love to get old furniture and redo it. I just love making something neglected look new and giving it a new home, life. That may sound corny but it’s true. That place you went to sounds like so much fun and I think it’s so good for the soul, heart, mind and body. Look at all of us — it’s a revolution, chickie. Thanks, Em. 😀
If I remember rightly, my younger self was always imagining different worlds and creating stories about them, even if I didn’t write them down. That faded away sometime in college, but I guess I never entirely let go of those creative ramblings. Years later, they decided it was time to play again. 😉
I always look forward to your posts, Brigitte, because I know you’ll often have me thinking about things I thought I’d forgotten. And it is wonderful to remember those thoughts and places again. So thank you for your musings!
I can certainly see that in you, JM — your writing displays such a vivid imagination. I’ve never let go of my either (creative ramblings); it’s just putting them into a coherent form that is the challenge sometimes! Thanks so much, JM — I so appreciate your continuing to read my musings.
I’m not surprised at all that you’re a creative type of person….. yet another reason why I always feel like we’re on the same page thought-wise and that you always get what I’m saying.
As a kid, I did a lot of after-school activities that were all on the artsy side (music, dance, painting, etc.) but always looked at them as just being a hobby. I figured I would have to give them up sooner or later and grow up in the real world. But now, I’m realizing that creativity can be applied in all sorts of ways (and in all sorts of jobs) and that it doesn’t have to be limited to those traditional mediums. Blogging has also been a way for me to exercise one aspect of my creative side so that’s definitely something I want to continue. As always, a lovely, thought-inducing post, Brigitte. 🙂
Lillian, I feel the same about some of your writing — I get it. I think many of us who engage in creative activities view them as hobbies and I wonder why that is. But you are right, I find that I’ve used my creativity in all jobs I’ve had and I’ve had plenty and a great variety of them. And you’re right, blogging does allow us some creative leverage doesn’t it? And what’s even better when like minds recognize those things about each other. Thanks so much, Lillian — always so great to see you here.
This is wonderful, Brigitte! I LOVE the cheeky monkey photo! Thank you for the smile. Have a fabulous week my dear.
Why thank you, Christy. So glad you enjoyed it. I just love monkeys, don’t you? They’ve got that mischievous thing about them. You have a great week as well, my friend.
I do love monkeys! I would love, idealistically, to have a pet monkey, though I know how impractical that would be.
I don’t know how to attach an image to a comment, but one of my favorite monkey/quote photos is via dodensky (do you know his work? You’d love it.):
They do seem like they’d be fun but I’ve heard they’re messy little imps so it probably would be impractical. Monkey quote? Well, I’ve definitely got to check that out and via dodensky. 😀
Yeah, I miss those childhood days of freely being myself–not worrying about what anyone else thought as I swung as high as I could on my swing and sang Somewhere over the Rainbow at the top of my lungs…not caring what any of the neighbors thought as I stood in the middle of the street and bounced the ball from my jacks set as high as it could go and then chased it down the street dozens of times. Climbing a tree…just ’cause I felt like it. Collecting rolly poly bugs…because they were cool how they curled up in to perfect little balls. The joy of pure creativity and imagination. We adults should take time out of our busy lives to be kids for a little bit each day (or at least each week). Thanks for the reminder, Brigitte!
Char, would great images you’ve brought to mind. I remember climbing on the monkey bars and falling off and getting up and trying again. We’d catch lightening bugs, put them in a jar and punch holes in the top and watch them light up and fly around then let them go later that night. Thanks for your comment and nice memory!
Hey that’s my theme song! Hahaha!
I am all about this post. writing is the most outrageous thing I’ve done. I just started 2 years ago and can’t stop!
It has been divisive. Some people I thought would be there for me, didn’t understand and others are a huge support. I just keep motoring.
Too bad you don’t live in Boulder!
It’s a great song, huh? Well it seems to me you’ve been writing far more than two years. Were you a closet writer? 😉 Those people who don’t support your writing don’t matter so don’t worry. I’ve been near Denver, Aspen but never Boulder. I’ve heard people are very nice there. Thanks,Susie.
Nope. I am an artist and was a medical illustrator. I loved writing emails! Hahaha! I tested out of the English requirement in college, so I never took a course there either.
One of my friends from book club listened to one of my crazy stories and told me to start writing them down. That was three years ago. Before that, becoming a writer had never occurred to me tEVER!
I started out writing a non-fiction snarky take on life in Boulder and then started blogging. Since then, I scrapped the idea and am just about done with my first novel!
Boulder is beautiful and is nestled in a valley at the base of the foothills. Let me know if you are ever in the area!
For gawd’s sake, an artist and a medical illustrator — that is SO cool, Susie. Do you draw parts of the anatomy, the heart, what?? Why didn’t I know this about you?? Congrats on being almost done with your first novel. I’m been working on mine for quite some time. And I will most definitely let you know if I’m in Boulder.
Like you, I have had those people in my life who made me doubt myself and think that I had to do the expected thing. It’s easy to believe them. When I was younger, authority figures (or other people whose opinions mattered to me at the time) told me at various times that I had a poor vocabulary, was a poor reader, didn’t have a sense of humor and, most stinging to this day, “your writing will never improve if all you read are comic books.”
I never gave up on my creative endeavors, but for a long time they were half-hearted, because I was waiting for someone else to believe in me. That’s the wrong way to do it–it’s best to find that strength from within, but I found in my wife a woman who DID believe in me, and who allowed me to realize that I’d been leaving something that was incredibly important to me in the hands of other people, not all of whom had my interests at heart.
But at the same time, these things don’t come easy. I think one of the things about being an artist (and here I’m using the term broadly–I can’t draw to save my life) is persistence. There are a lot of people out there with some talent, but not the drive to work toward bringing that to the public, to getting good before they get big (and in which “getting big” is a secondary or tertiary concern). Criticism and adversity separates the wheat from the chaff.
Yeah, it is easy when you’re young and insecure as most of us are when we’re young! But it sounds as if those who said those things to you, Smak did not know what they were talking about. I mean, really.
I guess I was (and still am) to a certain extent, a bit insecure, about my creative endeavors. I sometimes wonder if great writers, poets, writers, artists, musicians create that masterpiece and everyone is raving over their brilliance — if they too — don’t wonder how they’re going to come up with another grand creation. I bet they do. And I’m like you. I’m very fortunate to have a man in my life that believes in me, wants the best for me and thinks that I’m incredible, especially my creative endeavors.
What’s that old saying — something about success is 99% just showing up — as you’ve said, doing the work, persisting no matter how long it takes. You seem to have leaped over some of those hurdles and someone who uses the words wheat and chaff in one sentence and finishes up that way with a great comment, well hats off to you, my man. (And I sincerely mean that). Thanks, Smak.
Aw, you’re such a sweetheart!
“I sometimes wonder if great writers, poets, writers, artists, musicians create that masterpiece and everyone is raving over their brilliance — if they too — don’t wonder how they’re going to come up with another grand creation. I bet they do”
You bet your a** they do. A book you might enjoy and benefit from is Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING by David Bayles & Ted Orland. It’s a fantastic book, and one I have out to re-reread (once I finish Carrie’s book–almost done! and then another blogger friend’s book). The authors use “artmaking” in roughly the same way I used “artist” in my previous comment–as anyone who engages in creative endeavors, not necessarily the visual arts. And one thing I really loved about this book is that it’s about art (again–big sense) and creating it, not how to “make it big.” The book isn’t even concerned with whether you WANT to make it big, just about making something you believe in. It’s quite a book, and at 122 pages, a quick read (for people other than myself).
Smak, I’m putting that on my list — thank you. I’m reading The Artist’s Way now after I don’t know how many people over the past year, even strangers I’d strike up a conversation with after talking to me, would say — Have you read The Artist’s Way? I think you’d like it. I took it as a sign and though I know you don’t believe in such things, I think when something keeps showing up in your life, it’s best to pay attention. And I’m taking your recommendation to heart as well — thank you. One can never read or hear enough encouragement.
And yet, this is my first exposure to ‘The Artist’s Way.’ Does it have an author, or did it appear mysteriously out of the aether?
Calm down, Smak. No it didn’t appear out of aether. Geez. It is by Julia Cameron. But fair warning, you have to “work” at this one. There’s like lessons and stuff that seem stupid at first and you get impatient. You’re already there, obviously. Peace, my brother.
I love this post, Brigitte! My parents moved recently and gave me a box of my things from my childhood that they had stored in the attic. I couldn’t believe how many stories there were! 80-90 pages long. That little girl had never heard of writer’s block. But then somewhere along the line, life happened. Your story really resonated with me and I think our paths have been similar. I, too, wanted to go to college for Creative Writing but settled for what I thought would be a safer path — a degree in History. It meant that I didn’t have to risk failing at something so close to my heart. As I get older, I realize how important it is to pursue the things that matter — the things that make your inner child come out to play. Thanks for posting this!
Thanks, Carly. I can tell from your writing that you’ve done this (write) for many years. I’ve got journals from when I was 13! I’ve read some happy and sad times from “that girl” woman and oh boy! Why do we let others dictate what we do? And maybe you’ve hit the nail on the head — “risk failing at something so close to (our) hearts.” That’s it. But enough of that now. Hopefully, I’m wiser about such things. So nice to see you here and can’t wait to read more of your posts!!
Doing anything creative (outside my normal comfort zone) terrifies me, even though I realize at some level that all I’m really risking is some temporary embarrassment and/or some wasted time. I’m working on it…
Hi Laura, I know what you mean! It’s difficult but I suppose sometimes you just gotta go for it. Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope to see you again!
What is it that keeps our inner child in the realms of positivity and possibility? What could we do to engage him/her more in our lives?
Hi Shaki and nice to see you again. I think it’s a conscious effort that takes daily monitoring. Thanks!
How did I miss this post? Must have been during the week I took off.
It’s true; we often take the safe and secure way. That’s good, of course; we need to make a living. But our creative side can get lost in the process. It’s interesting that so many of us have this reawaken once our kids get a little older. I suppose it’s a time thing, but probably also a stage of life thing. Kind of like, it’s now or never.
That make a living part gets in the way when we’re younger and I agree, as we get older we realize how finite our time is and do have to finally make a decision — either do what you’ve always said you wanted to do or find another dream. So, I agree with you, Carrie — that is it — now or never! Thank you.