Caring for the Creative Soul

I’ve been thrown off balance by a change in routine. I’ve switched companies for my normal 9-5 and getting back into a normal and predictable work day has me utterly exhausted some evenings. Learning new things while also pulling on past experience and long-dormant skills can be a chore. Some nights I narrow my focus down to just getting to the gym and coming home for dinner, and screw the rest. Gym, shower, dinner, success. Then sleep.

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But still the creative urge continues on. Still I am drawn to my work space covered in markers and paints, papers and magazine clippings, beads and stencils and pretty pictures. Even if I do nothing but look and think, I still spend time in my craft nook, contemplating the meaning of color.

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I worried once that I wasn’t a good mother. I asked my partner if I was doing things wrong, messing them up and thus permanently scarring my child’s young and fragile psyche. He pointed out that the simple fact I worried so much proved how good of a mother I am. If I am always conscious of my progress and am actively looking for ways to improve, there is no way I can’t be a great parent to my child.

My creative existence is the same. I worry and fear. I feel that creeping anxiety flood slowly into my brain and I ask myself “Am I good enough? Do I know as much as I wish I did? Do I have some type of unique vision that actually means something?” And because I fear, I keep pushing myself to be better.

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This urge is part of my soul. This urge is my soul crying out to be heard, to be placated and satisfied. If I could dive into a giant vault of color the way Scrooge McDuck swam through his vault of money, I think I could die happy. (I’ve just betrayed the truth of my age. Don’t tell anyone.)

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We are creative so we can place some sort of personal signature on the world around us. We want to feel proud of ourselves. We want recognition and to hear another ask incredulously “How did you do that?” These are our logical reasons. But mostly we are creative because we must be. Our higher thinking brains are too busy, too complex, too easily bored by routine and predictability.

We are creative because it reminds us we are alive. I paint and draw and color because it makes me feel like a success. My time is not wasted. I drew a flower and declared it good, and I am enriched. I can go to bed happy that night.

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