Creativity is in my DNA: Literally. My dad is an artist, sculptor and painter. My mama, is also very creative, even though she will deny it when I bring it up; as if admitting it would take something away from my father’s talents.
Both of my parents are very disciplined, well educated, intelligent people, so it was always difficult for them to deal with he fact that their daughter wasn’t a math wiz (like her mom),or didn’t have the patience to sit through boring lessons of drawing balls, bowls, and vases that my dad had set up for me.
He, on the other hand, could sit and sculpt or paint for hours at a time, without having to get up and go to the bathroom, a cigarette clenched in his teeth, talking through his creative process with his best friend and fellow artist.
I didn’t consider myself an artist till I was well into my 30s. I was creative, sure: I loved drawing happy little faces, and cartoon like characters which helped me to reach the elementary school children I taught. I’d make my classroom look pretty and inviting.
At times, I dabbled in some arts and crafts, making my own christmas and birthday presents for my friends and family, but if someone asked me back then if I considered my self an artist, I would have immediately said “No, I’m just creative”.
So what changed in my perspective of who I am? When did being “just creative” evolve into being “an artist”?
When I think back, I realize that, for me, several factors came together at the right time and the right place. I became really comfortable with who I was, unafraid to experiment with things that I had considered outside my comfort zone.
I had removed myself from an unhealthy relationship where I felt like I was being swallowed alive by my mentally unstable husband's needs and wants. Narcissists are dangerous for so many reasons, but for me his constant need for approval, terrible mood swings, and ability of making me feel like i was always at fault, wrong, stupid, unfair, not good enough for any one because I was damaged. He made me so involved with his problems, keeping everything "just perfect" so as to not upset him, that I forgot about everything else. There was no time to think...for myself.
(Took this picture on our trip to Disney, and when I looked at it, I realized Im being swallowed whole by a narcissist.)
So I took the time to discover myself, and not feel guilty about doing it. Not feel selfish or ashamed that I was focusing too much on myself and not enough on the others I loved. I realized the idea of “us”, which I held true for so long: “Us” was my identity for a very long time, in an unhealthy, verbally abusive marriage, and then a stressful, equally unhealthy relationship. I found myself first, and then I found those who “get me”.
My daughter with all her friends at a slumber party.
I rediscovered my intuition, and I began to understand that, for me, perfectionism wasn’t what makes one an artist: Creativity in itself is imperfect, unique, and mistakes can turn out to be the most precious addition to a work that your heart and mind are birthing. I had to re-learn that its ok to not get it all right all the time.
A few years after my divorce, I had to leave yet another stifling relationship, because I realized eventually my "just creative" side would disappear, and I knew I wanted more. When I told himI could not stay, I felt like I grew wings...once again I learned to let go of something that was not good for me.
My daughter and I moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. There I enjoyed my little girl, went through self-discovery, unlearning, and re-learning, and only allowing people into my life who encouraged me and letting go of those who had held me down.
This was a very important change for me, as I had empathized and tried to help everyone and anyone who asked, or even looked like they may have needed help. I was spread thin, not able concentrate on myself, letting people pull me in different directions. It was like I was blindfolded and spun around, in the middle of a busy city street.
I didn’t make the time to get to know myself. Still, too many unfriendly ‘friends’ and ‘friendly’ enemies were part of my circle, and the circle was getting tighter and tighter around my neck, choking me. Stifling me. I had to let go. For the first time in a long time I was not afraid to be alone. I wanted fewer friends; only those whom I knew “had my back”. I became acutely aware that when a person was not good for me, that I must not say that they were not good people; they were just not good for me.
My circle of friends is small now. I love them, and they love me. I found a more productive way to help people, without having to tear pieces of myself away in the process. My art, my creativity, my innate desire to help and share what I’d learned; I do it through my art, writing, my poetry, and my designs.
I’d offer this to others, trying as often as possible to include something extra; a surprise, a “freebee”… and the look on that person’s face feeds my soul, my creativity, my passion. The feeling that you have influenced someone in the way you intended, making that person happy and putting a smile on their face is truly priceless.
My art actually influenced others in a positive way, and I wanted that to continue most of all. I think this is what made the most difference for me: the fact that I am able to touch others in a positive way, creating smiles, hope, and adding beauty.
Not everyone loved my work, of course, and I don’t expect that at all, but everyone was changed by it in some way.
I’ve finally found my niche, my passion, my calling, and that is what keeps a creative person going.
I need to paint, create, influence… to get my message out there. And when I stopped being afraid and surrounded myself with people who were honest, kind, and loving I discovered that I could do so much more than I had ever known. You can as too.
There is a gift in all of us. Yours is different from mine, but that’s the beauty of it: The road to discovering your “creative” is the road to discovering the beauty inside yourself. Take the steps of manifest the most optimum environment for your creativity to emerge. Eliminate the fear of displeasing others. Surround yourself with people who “get you”, love you, and encourage you. Do not fit into any “we” or “us” until you are very sure, and very clear as to who you are.
Let’s all discover our creativity, so that we can all contribute to the creation a beautiful world!
Please comment below with your thoughts and ideas. It would mean the world to know I have helped somehow.