Creativity takes Courage
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Growing up I was always surrounded by creativity. My mother was a very creative person and actively lived in that world. She was the one who introduced me to baking, sewing, and various artists of different mediums, teaching me many things from how to cook a 5-course meal, to gardening with the perfect soil, to sewing my own tote bag. My father’s favorite hobby is wood working as well and building. With such creative parents, it was no surprise when I decided to pursue my career as a creative in art.
There were many times I would be working on some art projects for my bachelor’s degree and I would get stuck in a creative block and wouldn’t know how to get out of it. I would pour over books and articles searching for inspiration, floundering as if I were a fish out of water in search of a drink. I would then emerge from my studio in a daze half made of caffeine and half of sleep deprivation — a dangerous combination — and it was only a matter of time before I would inevitably fall asleep wherever I was standing.
My mother would see me and calmly ask how I was doing and how my project was coming along. Her soothing voice felt as if it was a litmus test to see if I was in a state of giving up or in a state of fury.
“How is the project coming along?” she would ask, to which I would reply in a frustrated, giving up tonality:
“Complete failure! I’m completely failing, and I can’t get out or do anything good. I don’t know why I am pushing myself so hard and why I can’t come up with anything. I know my professor isn’t going to like anything that I come up with and I can’t come up with anything creative enough that will ‘Wow’ her. She is so tough on me compared to others in the class!”
My mom would listen patiently and let me get out my pent-up frustration about my own personal self and creative block for as long as it took. Once I was finished, she would almost always reply with, “Do you want to help me cook dinner or bake this dessert?” or “Can you help me run an errand real quick?” or “I could use your set of eyes on this robe I am making for the girls, what fabric do you think I should do for the inside?”
In those moments, my mother taught me that being in a creative block or being a little stuck for a small bit isn’t bad or wrong. Those moments mean that my mind is simply looking for a different outlet where my brain could create. Whether it was baking a new recipe, planting a new flower bed in our backyard, or sewing an article of clothing for one of my cousins, creativity is everywhere. Being creative is making something out of nothing. Where people fall short a lot of times is that when they get stuck, they give up instead of finding the courage to keep going. Taking a break to recharge and rest your mind is helping your creativity. Making or building something other than what you are currently working on is helping your creativity.
I think what holds a lot of us back is the fear of failure when it comes to being creative. We compare ourselves to what others have created and then immediately put ourselves down when, in reality, whatever we create is already incredible for the simple fact that we were the ones who created it. Each of us human beings are so uniquely different in our own right that when we create something out of nothing, it immediately becomes a ‘one-of-a-kind’ piece.
“There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity… It’s not about winning, it’s not about losing, it’s about showing up and being seen.”
— Brené Brown
Creativity takes courage. Henri Matisse, one of my mother’s favorite artists, said that once. Creativity takes courage. Creativity is in all of us, but we have to let go of our own fears and doubts about ourselves to truly be creative. To be creative is to find a way to persevere through whatever hardship you are facing, big or small, until you find a solution that works. Creativity is for the bold. It’s for the people who are willing to fail a few times (or maybe more than a few) and get back up in pursuit of creating something truly magical.
Today, as I continue to grow as a creative and build my business from the ground up, I still follow a lot of the guidelines and tips my mother taught me. When I start to feel down or stuck on a project, I have learned to take a break. I step aside from the project and bake something sweet for my father. I go for a walk, play with my dog, or play a video game with my partner and remind myself that the creativity will come. It always does; most of the time in the most unlikely or unexpected way.
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