There is a faded water stained picture I have in my possession that I drew in 1978 (and yes I feel old when I realise that was 41 years ago!) It is of a group of women at the hairdresser…and I love it. I love the the smiles on their faces, the detail of the salon, including some spiffy wigs for sale…just looking at it transports me back to being a young girl and the feeling of joy and quiet satisfaction I felt when engaged in doing something I loved.
Now, I am under no illusions about my talents for drawing, and my wonky lines and crappy colouring in in this picture confirms my lack of ability. However, I love this drawing because it was probably the last time I created a piece of art and felt it was good enough. You see in my family (for better or worse), my younger sister was known as the ‘arty’ one, and I was considered the ‘brainy’ one. This may have been purely because I wore chunky tortoiseshell rimmed glasses as a kid in the seventies (before hipsters made them cool may I add) but regardless, these labels stuck for us both. I started to value my worth around being good academically at school, and viewed creativity and art as something my sister was good at and was consequently a waste of my time.
And guess what? These self imposed labels stuck for YEARS. I completely stopped drawing and creating (even though I used to love it) because I felt I was no good at it.
The amazing Elizabeth Gilbert (my literary girl crush) spoke about this in her wonderful book ‘Big Magic’, and shared the following, “All children naturally love to draw, but as time goes by, the talented and the gifted are singled out for specialness, and the rest of us put down our pencils, watercolors, and crayons forever — thereby losing a vital and exciting part of our creative interior lives.”
In other words, most of us stop drawing at a very specific point in our lives: the moment we were told (or decided for ourselves) that we weren’t good at it.
This was certainly true for me, and I can honestly say that I never attempted to draw again until a couple of years ago, when I started tentatively looking for the creative being I knew lurked deep within me. On a whim, I decided to enter an art supplies store (all the while feeling like a complete fraud) and hastily bought a sketchbook and drawing pencils. I left feeling strangely exhilarated, and as I hesitantly put my pencil to paper for the first time in so many years, I felt time stand still and once again entered that magical state known as creative flow.
Now, I’d love to say that I immediately created some amazing art (it was pretty crap actually!) but I didn’t care, I felt a long stifled feeling of creative life-force reappear, much like when I started writing again, or when I dance without abandon around my living room. These are feelings we must treasure throughout our lives, and not abandon to our long ago youth.
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner-continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you-is a fine art, in and of itself.”
I for one want to live my life like this, how about you?
If you would like to explore in more depth what creativity means to you, have you considered life coaching? Click HERE to find out more about working with me on uncovering the jewels that are hidden within..