I am worth it
I was tested this weekend, as Friday night I went to get a pedicure after work and I did not feel like painting when I got home. I was like an unruly child throwing a tantrum in my head and thinking of all the excuses in the world of why I shouldn’t have to. I work hard all week, I deserve to relax! I have an art show coming up, and I want to be rested. I feel really tired, and I don’t want to get sick. I let myself complain for about an hour before I sat down at my painting table.
Painting is my happy place, but it doesn’t mean I float to my paints and canvas with a serene smile on my face and start passionately creating every time. In other words, it isn’t glamourous. It takes work and effort on my part. Most of the time, I am in baggy sweats, my hair in a pony tail, maybe I have washed my face, and maybe I have eaten. Sometimes I have to drag myself away from my guilty pleasure of zoning out to Bravo’s Real Housewives. I have a full time job in finance, and I wake up at 5AM, 5 days a week and work in an office all day. So, sometimes I am just plain tired.
Also, when I am in an analytical or planning mood, I have a hard time creating. Because planning and creating don’t go together for me. When I create I have to be open to what new inspiration will come to me. Being open is hard sometimes, because my mind wants to keep chatting in my ear about the details of life. When I am focussing on this chatter and the details, I can’t create. In order to ‘open’ myself to create, I have to clear my mind. Music does this for me, so I play music pretty loud when I am painting. But, I don’t really listen to it. I can play the same album on repeat for hours because it is more a white noise to me drowning out my chatter. Once my mind settles down, I will spend 10-15 minutes just staring at the blank canvas. The painting comes to me not as a complete picture but as an abstract curvy line. I draw that line, and that is where I start.
To me, it feels as though the painting is already on the canvas and I am just uncovering it. Once I fully enter this creative zone there is no place that I would rather be. I feel in alignment with my purpose, and it feels as if time stands still. I can paint for hours, and it seems like only a few minutes have passed.
I have come to realize that painting isn’t something that I ‘do’. Painting is something that ‘happens’. I am not the owner and master of my creativity, I am it’s partner. It is similar to a relationship with a person. I can’t sit down and demand myself to paint, just as I can’t sit down with another person and demand that they give me something. I mean, I guess I could do both of these things, but neither of them would work out that well. Just as in a relationship with a person, I have to have respect and patience for my creativity. I can sit down and be ready to paint, but then I have to wait for it to show up. When it does show up, it likes to speak first and tell me what it wants, and then I can start talking. Then it happens. Then I can create.
I feel so fortunate to have the capability to open myself to the creative world. It is such a beautiful place to spend time. But it took work to get here, and it takes work to stay here. I have learned to respect it and nurture it, and I learned this by first respecting and nurturing myself. I had to create a safe space within me for it to show up. I had to be strong enough to let go of my defenses, and allow inspiration in. Inspiration does not show up on demand. It shows up when it sees a place that it can be heard and grow.
I have been drawing since I was a little girl. I have had times throughout my adulthood that I have been creative and then stopped again. When I look back, I thought that I stopped being creative because I didn’t make it a priority. I put other people and other things first. I thought those things needed my attention and focus, and maybe they did. But if I am being honest, I stopped because I chickened out. My creative pull was too powerful, and taking me places that I had decided that I wasn’t good enough to go. I was scared to keep pursuing it because I knew it would change my life, and I wasn’t sure that I could handle the change. I was scared of the calm knowing voice of my creativity pulling me in and drowning out my fears chattering in my ear.
It has taken years of hard work to be strong enough to handle my creative power. I had to first make the commitment to myself to stay the course and keep creating no matter how loud the chatter got in my head. Then I had to strengthen my boundaries to protect my creative energy. All of this was preparing me not to ‘do’ but to be still and open so that my creativity could come in. And letting it in is the best feeling in the world.
I have spent most of my life trying to silence my creative voice, because it scared me. I still get scared sometimes, but I have made a commitment to myself to find the strength to follow my creative passion. It isn’t easy, it is work. But I am worth it.