I have been working to identify the source of the voices I believe. The good ones, certainly. The voices that encourage me, help me grow, teach me. I have also been working to find the ones that do the opposite, the voices I listened to a long time ago, or the ones who taught me that I was less than who I am. This part is hard, finding what lies behind my thoughts, the voices that I internalized so long ago, the fears that have plagued me for some time.
My mentor is a great person. She is super wise, beautiful and crazy in shape. She’s my friend, my accountability, my voice in the calm. She’s amazing. Not too long ago, we met over coffee and began talking about the lies we believe and the specific instances, words, or memories that trigger those lies. For instance, if someone told you all your life that you were quiet, that you never spoke at all, that you had no opinion, and one day, when someone in your office says that you are “too quiet” and you proceed to yell from the depths of your soul that you, by God, are NOT quiet…..Ah. Houston, we have a problem.
That isn’t the best example, but hopefully, you understand what I am saying. Triggers are important because they shock us a bit. Triggers make us realize that there is something about being told that you are not creative, that you are lazy, is not right, and compels us to figure out what is going on.
We all have insecurities, voices that we have believed for so long. They have limited us from becoming free people. One of the lies I have always believed that my sister was the only one in our family who was creative. As twins, people tend to ask us comparative questions. All the time. Like, who is the better at math? Who is more creative? Who is nicer? These questions aren’t meant to be insulting or anything, and honestly, I don’t mind them anymore. But for a while, these questions really bothered me because they forced both her and I to pick proficiency. Oh, I’m the smart one because I do well in school. Or she can paint really well, so I guess she is the creative one. What I am realizing, is that for so long, I didn’t allow myself to try anything creative because I “knew” I wasn’t the creative one. I was inhibited by the voices, who didn’t mean any harm by labeling us this way, but I allowed them to tell me who I was.
Thankfully, I have amazing, encouraging people in my life, who have taught me that creativity is not just limited to one person. My sister is one of the people I look to for this encouragement: she has always believed that I was creative and slowly helped me to realize that our labels do not define us. She is an amazing artist, and she has a brave soul.
So I believe now, timidly, that I am creative. I’m not the best at anything, nor am I a professional. But I love to write and I love to go to art museums. I love color and words and poetry. I am creative enough to write a novel, a memoir, or a poem. I have to craving everyday to get up and fill empty pages, a love for all things literature. These things are hard for me to type, because for so long I denied the passion I have for writing, believing I would never be creative enough to do it. I now know that this is not true and the people who told me this did not mean any harm, but thankfully, I learned a different way to tell this story.
I want to encourage you to find the thing you love, and do it. If you want to write, write a book or poem or play. If you want to paint, please do. If you want to sing, dance, write movie scripts, re-decorate houses, sew, create anything, please do. Our world needs less of the comparative, and more of the freedom that comes from believing in our calling. Our world needs more people who are told that they ARE good at something, talented, creative, beautiful, instead of being told who they aren’t. I pray that you find your passion. We need it and we need you.
A couple of resources I love on this topic:
- Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick
- The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus
- Shauna Niequist: talk on creativity and dreams