My sister (the baby) went to one of those social painting nights. She, like so many of us, has clutched the idea that she’s not an artistic person. It is protection against the nakedness of making something our own wee selves, and then letting the judgmental eyes of others land on it. But she went, and she liked her painting, and I like it too.
And we all need to stop it. Creativity is not the monster under the bed. It’s not the winged thing with sharp teeth, and though it can carry us away, it’s not going to eat us.
It’s just a thing, that we can all try, and learn from, and enjoy. It is an exercise in frustration management and wrestling down the ego. It is learning what fits for us, and what does not, while we make junk and glory, and everything in between.
And the risk is low. We can hide or throw away the failures when no one is looking. We can gift them to our sisters at Christmas. We can use them as frisbees. We can paint over them, rewrite them, revise them, and try again. We can embrace our sucky art, and we can persist.
Personally, I am learning I must hide these awkward, fragile creatures quickly, from myself. A step back is the best friend of perspective, whereas my insecurities are quick to step in and heavily rework something into oblivion. We can just step back.
In its simplest form, creativity is nothing more than the sophisticated use of a moment. It’s a pause, a decision, a movement. When we take the fear-fueled power away from the concept, we are all being deeply creative, every day, and flexing small muscles we don’t know we have.
We can go one step further, and be intentional, and diligent, and pin up our ideas. We can soothe fear’s snappish response. We can take the lid off, allowing the work to open up. We can meet our own expansiveness, and befriend it.
And then, we can sit down, clear a space, and prepare to let ourselves be moved; even if that entails drawing the same silly line a hundred times, until it feels just right; even if that means doing it in the midst of a horrible mess; and even if it’s only in little spurts, here and there, because that might be all we will ever have.