Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging. ― Maya Angelou
Maybe some people have a knee jerk reaction to the term “grow up.” Perhaps it’s more of a case of growing into yourself. Little girls like to play dress up with mommy’s clothes. Boys like to do it too, I know because I have brothers. Now they didn’t dress in my mother’s clothes, but we had a lot of fun coming up with costumes.
When we get older we are told to put away childish things. What I want to know is…who defines childish things? I put away painting and creativity for 50 years because I bought into the lie. You mess around with finger paints, water colors, crayons, but then you grow up. Other activities are deemed more important. Making a living in a mind numbing horrible job. Pay the rent, raise the kids, wash the clothes, feed the starving hordes, buy a house, buy a car, work for a charity in your “free time” because you are supposed to give back, never mind that you giving to someone else’s idea of what is important.
I’ve been reading this book called the Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. I read it years ago, but put it away. The author points out in excruciating detail all these fallacies when it comes to creativity. She suggests treating your inner artist as a child who wants to come out and play. If we put it off this child, just like a physical child, will have a tantrum. It manifests as stress, boredom, ennui, and feeling like something is missing in your life.
To the left here is my very first every oil painting so don’t laugh! I struggled with it and finally declared it finished because any additional paint I added just seemed to make it more blurred and muddy. I learned a lot about mixing and blending colors from it.
Any way back to the Artist Way, Cameron states that we shoot ourselves in the foot when we label ourselves as lazy when we fail to let go and start creating. What it really going on is fear with a capital F. There is a huge difference there.
This rang true for me and I realized that I’d been doing it for 50 years. I’ve always loved to write so the first step I took to get away from the fear was to start a blog. And let me tell you, I almost had a stroke the first time I pushed the “publish” button. And over the past couple of years I’ve been through a gamut of emotions. But, I gave myself permission write about what I wanted to write about. Then I had to give myself permission to not write when I didn’t want to or felt I had nothing to say that I wanted bared to public scrutiny.
The last week or so writing fell by the wayside because I’ve been caught up in painting. The creative part of my brain is expressing itself in colors, textures and shapes instead of written words. It’s an interesting state of mind. I get so caught up in it that words seem foreign. Now that I’m back to painting with words, they seem to come out a bit different than before. I’m loving it and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
3 weeks ago I finally began my long-awaited art class. We’re talking waiting 50 years here. It’s odd because as compulsive as I can be I still manage to procrastinate for decades and in this case an entire half a century.
I’m loving this class and my mind is percolating with a gazillion ideas that I want to commit to canvas. Have I started even one yet? (other than the one in class) Nope. Then it occurred to me. Is this painter’s block? Oh crap. What the hell is wrong with me?
So I’ve dedicated the last 3 or 4 days to stewing about it. Had a minor spat with the Hubman that almost derailed my contemplation, but in the end it actually helped. As much as I claim to not care what people think – I really do care. ***sigh*** The spat occurred because I was holding in something that I should have gone ahead and spit it out before it festered.
So I went and sat down at my easel and stared at the blank canvas, sort of brain yoga session. What is stopping me from picking up a brush I wondered? Many things actually. Will someone think what I paint is stupid or weird or childish or inane? Will they think it’s proof that I need to be in a padded cell for the foreseeable future. Being branded as mentally disordered, this is always a nagging fear although I manage to push it into the background most of the time. Maybe I need to drag it out in the back yard and beat it with a broom? Air it out and stop trying to hide that fear.
This is the same exact thing that stops me from writing sometimes. Will someone read what I wrote say something like “oh, that’s…uh….nice.” And then roll their eyes behind my back? It has never really occurred to me before now how much courage it takes to be creative, for me anyway. Creating something means you are doing something that hasn’t been done in the exact same way you are doing it …ever. It might be similar, but never the same. That’s a scary thought.
The argumentative and negative piece of my brain comes up with the most ridiculous inner monologue. “You know this has been done before and better to boot. What makes you think you can do it? Why try to reinvent the wheel? Well, OK, Mr. Brain. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here, I just want to paint a picture. It’s a HOBBY, meaning something done for pure relaxation and enjoyment. Why do I have to make things so friggin complicated?