The C Word

It’s 12:55 am on Halloween of 2016 as I begin writing this. I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish, and after that there’s no way of knowing how long it will take me to post.

I started this blog over the summer to keep myself writing, and I started my Friend Friday series as a way to ensure that I did so on a regular basis. I really enjoyed doing that series (which I’m sure I’ll pick up again), but I also know it was, in a way, a cop out. I titled this blog “summer thoughts,” yet only once did I post anything outside of Friend Friday. I was writing, but I was writing about others instead of using this platform as an avenue for self-expression as I’d initially intended.  The reason for that is I’m scared shitless of putting any of my own, somewhat raw thoughts out there for consumption. But writing is one of the only ways I feel comfortable expressing myself, so you can see how this can become a vicious cycle.

The C Word: Creativity. It runs in my blood. My mother is an artist, writer and graphic designer. My father is a chef and artist.  As a child I loved to draw – and for my age, I was pretty good at it. One day I decided I wasn’t good at it because I compared myself to someone who was better, and I stopped drawing completely. I wrote (the beginnings of) many, many stories pretty much until I entered college. I tried my hand at songwriting, but I can barely play guitar and for some reason creating melodies is challenging for me. I place a lot of value on the creatives in my life. I’m in awe of people who are confident enough to do something because they like to do it, and don’t get discouraged when things don’t turn out exactly how they would’ve liked them to. I’m scared of imperfections in my own work, so I’ve essentially ceased creating except when it’s commissioned by someone or something else.

For years I’ve struggled with feeling locked inside my own head because I don’t really have a creative outlet in place. I’m very vocal when I have an issue – and I will reach out when I don’t feel alright and need to talk. But now, more than I can remember in recent history, I’m craving some kind of creative outlet in the same way one feels when you see your server carrying food but it’s food for another table.

I am surrounded by so many talented people and I love that, but I feel like I’m missing out. It’s not as though I’m simply not creative or possess a mind that’s more analytical. I am creative – but I’ve fabricated and continuously reinforced a barrier by telling myself I’m not good enough, or by being far too easily discouraged when I see people who are better at something I consider myself “good” at or want to try, or by being too hard on myself when things don’t turn out precisely as I’d pictured them in my head.

Writing for public consumption as a form of expression and creativity feels both safe (because it comes naturally to me) and scary (because putting my thoughts and feelings in the public sphere in such a straightforward way is just that). Therein lies the intrapersonal wrestling match I’m constantly having: writing in this kind of format is the easiest but most intimidating outlet. Things like drawing or songwriting are potentially more rewarding if done “right,” but I know “right” by the standards to which I hold myself is nearly unattainable so I’ll end up frustrated. The catch is that I know in order to reach those standards, I have to keep doing the things that frustrate me. Practice. Keep going. Every time you do it you’ll get a little better, learn a little more. But I want perfection on the first try – and that’s just unrealistic.

It’s now 1:25 am on Halloween 2016, I’m hungry, tired and I still haven’t done much with the paper I have due tomorrow at 2:15. I’m not sure if this has made any sense up to this point as it’s essentially a stream of consciousness, and truth be told I wasn’t even planning on writing about this. I had a completely different blog in mind, but here we are. Perhaps I’ll pick this up again later today.

It’s 12:49 pm on November 14th. I’m having a really bad day, and I don’t know what to do about it other than come here and write some words and hope it gets better. I haven’t drawn or tried writing songs in the 2 weeks since I began this blog post. I haven’t written anything that’s not related to my classes. I’m not sure what the good is in telling you this, whoever you are, except that I hope you’re not like me. I hope you keep doing creative things because you like them and that you don’t give up when it’s not “perfect.” 

I have a hard time taking my own advice, but I’m begging you to please keep brainstorming and doodling and strumming and singing and writing and keep creating, creating, creating. I’ll try, too.

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