I am a helper at heart. If your’e familiar with the Enneagram, I am a 2 through and through. My natural tendency is to please people, and take care of others to my detriment…whether they actually want me to or not. So, when I decided there was a part of my life that I was no longer going to live for other people, a part that was I was only going live just specially for myself, I no idea what I was in for.
That part of my life is creativity. Here is what I’ve learned about creativity: it is critical to every single area of our lives, and true creative expression HAS to be unapologetic.
Creativity is largely about expressing our true inner self; our thoughts and emotions swirling around in our chest and our brain that are trying to be heard. For me, quieting these things in an effort to make myself small and please the people around me was no longer an option. It was physically making me sick. I was experiencing the verge of a panic attack pretty much daily, and had started to sink into the strong arms of depression.
After a lot of work, and a lot of therapy, I began to realize that in order to be healthy I would need to be vulnerable. I needed to give myself room to BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME. So, I did. In my marriage, in my career, in my friendships…in every aspect of my life down to my home decor. Is that self-indulgent? Hell yes it is, and I have never felt more free.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned on this path? If you are creating something to please the world, trash it. It is trash and we do not need it. We all have a special something that is meant to be shared, that can help or inspire others…but the ultimate goal cannot be helping and inspiring others. That is when ideas are watered down, edited and changed for the masses. DON’T DO THAT. Just do your thing…that thing that makes YOU happy. The thing that MOVES you, that excites you…the thing you can’t stop thinking about. If its well liked by others, fine. If it isn’t, ALSO FINE.
Think about social media – something that is likely a factor in all of our lives. I post fairly regularly…probably less than most. I usually have a pretty good idea of who will “like” my posts when I’m putting them out…a few handfuls of my close friends and family. Recently, I did a post about our struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss. The response to that post was massive (well for my tiny following). I was floored. I had strangers and friends that I hadn’t heard from in years liking, commenting and Private messaging. The most surprising thing was how many women actually thanked me, because they have been experiencing a similar struggle.
So, why did this happen? Because I got brave, I spoke unapologetically and expressed what I felt rumbling deep within my bones. The resonation with others was inadvertent…it was incidental. It was AMAZING and authentic and life giving…but incidental. The resonation within myself was therapeutic, soul feeding and liberating. It led to genuine connection with others because I OWNED MY STORY. Not the watered down version made comfortable for everyone else, but my true story. This, friends, is truly living.
If you are taking the step to be vulnerable and creative, you will get push back. You will most definitely have haters. Here’s what I say to that: whatever people think about it – let it go. That shit does NOT matter. Your creativity is for you. You are enough. You are allowed to BE HERE. You get to exist as big as you want to be, no apology needed.