A few years ago one of my university friends made an observation about the director of our theatre program. She said, “‘X’ never saw anyone that wasn’t obvious.”
That struck a chord deep in my heart.
I was never that girl. I was the quiet one in the second row with her head down, working. I was the earnest one practicing flute, writing poetry and listening to music, creating dances in my mind. I was the shy one waiting for someone to notice me and give me a chance.
Until I wasn’t.
Even though I was quiet and shy, I had a fire inside, a creative fire, and somewhere along the line I realized that if I waited until someone saw and nurtured that in me, I could be waiting a very long time.
Maybe you’ve been waiting a very long time, waiting for someone to see your gifts, to recognize your talents, to encourage you and invite you in.
Maybe you’ve been invited in sometimes, in some ways, but not in others – and those other times have left their mark.
Maybe no one has ever recognized your creative heart and you’ve been waiting in the wings for years.
Maybe you have been noticed but unkindly, making it much better to hide your fire than to ever risk again.
But we must be who we are.
So often our world treats the arts as an extra, something you do after all your chores are done, something that is frivolous play or, if it is taken seriously at all, something that is resigned to an elite chosen few.
But what if art is a part of your soul, the very makeup of your being? Being separated from any part of yourself is damaging. When an artist is cut off from their creativity they often numb out or lash out.
When we numb out, it’s because we’ve asked the creative part of ourselves to play dead. As that part of our soul complies, more and more of who we are dulls and eventually erodes. Our life turns to grey and we find ourselves going through the motions. We wonder what’s missing and finally we forget there was ever anything else at all. After a time, we find ourselves listless, anxious, unwell. We may find ourselves crying at unexpected times. Though we have forgotten our creative fire, our body remembers and mourns.
Alternatively, we lash out. All of that creative energy needs somewhere to go. With no artistic outlet, our inner fire twists its way out of our creative soul, turning into caustic comments, snap judgements and all-around prickliness. We may still find ourselves drawn towards the arts but our creative genius weaves harsh critiques and cleverly builds airtight arguments that both attack possibility and defend the status quo. We rail against a cage of our own making.
Without the creative part of our soul, we artists find ourselves in a dark, dark place.
But we can come back to the fire. No matter how much time has past, no matter how far you have come down the road, you can return to your creative self. You can rouse the artist hidden within. You must.
Your art is waiting.
It doesn’t care how old you are.
It doesn’t care how rusty your skills.
It misses you.
It wants to be a part of your life.
So forget what anyone has ever told you. This is not about your relationship with the world. This is about your relationship with your soul. This is about devotion.
You are the keeper of your creative fire, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE].
It doesn’t have to be obvious to anyone else that you are an artist but from this day forward, let it be clear and obvious to you. Let this knowledge guide your choices and lead the way. Let the arts be your medicine. Let them reunite you with this essential part of who you are and who you will always be.
Starting today. Starting now.