I have spent so much time keeping myself safe.
Self-insulting and creating barriers between myself and the outside world.
In a way, that meant even holding myself back from myself.
Denying that I loved art
Denying that I wanted to write
Denying that I was a creative person
I remember how I use to treat my curiosities and cravings to express myself.
…like a shameful secret.
If someone wanted to have an insight into my hearts’ desires, all they would have needed to do was just crack open my laptop. They would find neatly organized files of all my deepest wants and interests. There would be a folder for almost anything that pulled my attention or for a future hobby and career goal. The volume of folders would be shocking because I never spoke openly about my wants. Not even to myself.
My most extensive folder would likely be for “Photography”, phototype would subcategorize into period, street, DSLR, old African American, old Hollywood, national geographic type, portrait, film, travel, architecture, etc.
There were folders for “humanities/interesting articles to revisit”, “mental health/wellness”, “sculpture/pottery”, “mixed media idea”, “vegan recipes”, “van life”, “yoga”, “printmaking”, “scientific articles”, “human rights issues”, “religion/spirituality”, “astrology” , “spirituality”, “technical writing” ,“creative writings” ; “graphic art/drawing”; “movement/dance”, “booklist”, “homestead/farming” and there’s dozens more.
These categories were how I compartmentalized parts of myself.
It was how I dealt with constant intense urges to embody all these parts of myself. It was how I coped with the inability to birth my creations and integrate my passion into my everyday life.
Instead of acting on or processing these longings, I just held onto them, researched them obsessively for over a decade, watched others in the field, and filed them away as ‘things’ I would get to one day.
Right before my dad died, I felt like I would burst because of all the information I held inside. My yearnings were pent up, and they wanted to get out.
As my dad slowly deteriorated, I gave myself space to unpacked why his life was unfolding how it was. My dad was the most passionate and fiery person I ever met in my life, so why did his flame to live slowly dim? There were many factors, but the one that presented itself the most to be me was “unfulfillment”. My dad was a phenomenal artist and craftsman who unfortunately did not have the tools or space to express those parts of himself. His creativity was stifled for many reasons, and it blunted his ability to heal. I, too, was becoming a person who was in a constant cycle of self-restraint. Although he was never given a chance to develop that arm of his personhood, I realized that I did have the resources and time to express myself. The first step has been allowing my imagination to run wild and pursuing creative endeavors I always dreamed of and not hiding anymore but releasing.
I now see my fear of being creative was rooted in my fear of vulnerability. For me, being creative means exposing who I am. It also means allowing myself to make mistakes. It’s being honest with my deepest feelings, actualizing them into words, and putting them in motion.
When I say in motion, this equates:
practicing chords on the guitar
drawing in my sketch pad, filming
shooting self portraits
dancing to music in an empty room
learning how to read my birth chart
completing an entire Masterclass course
or even as random as constructing something to burn sage in from coconut shells.
Its official now, I can’t survive unless I expose myself to myself.
Which means relentlessly creating art, writing, playing music, and even moving my body.
It also means being okay with being unsure, making mistakes, feeling insecure, having writers’ block, making grammatical errors, video editing not going smoothly, and not catching a rhythm as fast as I would like.