Welcoming Back Our Creative Selves

Shannon Ridler Art Day

“My love of art had been slaughtered early on by a cruel art teacher.” Gail McMeekin

How many tender souls have been hurt like this? How many of us are carrying around that hurt? I often think that if we had art-ray glasses to identify this particular wound, we’d see it on everyone we encounter.

Maybe for you it was drawing. Or singing. Or dance.

Maybe you were the wrong size or shape or gender.

Maybe it was a teacher, a classmate, a parent or even you yourself that spoke the words that crushed the artist inside.

When we’re wounded in this way, a part of us shuts down. We start believing a lie – that we can’t paint or write or perform, that we are not creative.

Does it matter? So what if we don’t tap dance anymore? Big deal. So what if we mouth the words when we sing Happy Birthday to our loved ones? We pass it off with humour, jovially turning down an invitation to the dance floor because of ourĀ  two left feet. What does it matter?

It matters.

Whenever a part of us is closed off, we are not whole. When we don’t allow ourselves to experience something, we miss out. And when we are shut off from our artistic and creative expression, we lose our confidence in being creative at all. We start to doubt our ability to be a creative force in our lives and in the world – and when that happens all of us miss out.

We are all meant to experience the joy of our body’s dance, the power of our own voice, the telling of our own story, the creation of our own images. This is the language of our souls.

If you ever wanted to pick up a paintbrush, write a song, learn the drums, then it is meant for you.

If you ever wanted to recite poetry, create a sculpture, learn to clown, it is meant for you.

Start today.

It is not about being in the National Ballet or playing at Carnegie Hall or showing at the National Gallery – though that might be for you too. It is about you deeply experiencing yourself and sharing your full expression with the world. It’s about love.

The arts belong to everyone. And that means you too.

Let the healing begin.

One comment

  1. My husband and I signed up for a basic wheel throwing class. I love, love, love pottery and am fascinated by how it moves, changes form, and voila a vessel is created. I’m a raw beginner and am there with no expectation to produce anything but to have fun and experience it. It was clear in the first class that everyone else had more experience and my teacher was so worried that I would end up in tears as I was flailing. I think he was surprised to see me laughing so hard and having the best time. I believe his concern came from his experience that so many approach learning new things with such high expectations of themselves. I’m just meeting the clay for the first time and the wheel. I was happy just feeling it whiz around under my hands. The whole time I kept thinking, it feels so good to be a beginner again – as awkward as it is, I don’t ever want to forget this feeling. Thank you for encouraging others to embrace whatever they fancy and to know they are creative. Way to go Jamie.

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