Last month, one of the prompts for the Year of Creativity’s theme of space was to write a letter to your creative self. To be honest, I found it awkward- writing to myself, calling myself a creative, a writer. I still have a hard time owning it, I have a hard time living up to it. Maybe it’s because I am only 6 months into this creative life, this writing life. It is hard, some days it hurts. But it is one that I am learning to love more and more each day. It is one that is leading me to my true self, as silly as that sounds. A huge part of me was afraid that I would run out of things to say after a few months, that the words would be a struggle, which would prove to me that I was a fraud. But, every day something sparks an idea, the words rush out of me as fast as they can. I get a rush everytime that happens, every time an idea comes to me, an essay flows out of my mind and onto the page. Whenever it seems easy (it is never easy), I think I may have something here. I’ve been putting myself out there more and more as my confidence grows and it isn’t going the way I had hoped. I knew rejection would sting, but sometimes it downright hurts. I’m trying to not let it define my success as a writer. I started this journey for myself, to figure things out, to clear space in my head, to feel like I am accomplishing something. I am the only one who can say if it is a success or not, I have to create the standards. And my standards are pretty low, but I am still finding ways to grow, which is the point. There are times when I am afraid of putting myself out there, but I am never afraid to grow and learn (and sometimes hurt). It is all part of a grand lesson I am trying to teach myself, what that lesson is- I haven’t figured it out yet (I haven’t learned the lesson yet!). All I know is I don’t want to stay small. I have stayed small my whole life, never moving outside of a very small circle, and I don’t want to live that way anymore. So, I am owning my creative self, my writer title. As scary and exciting as it is.
Dear Creative Self,
You are really afraid, aren’t you? You have spent so much of your life thinking you didn’t have a creative bone in your body. You didn’t see it growing and becoming part of you. For years, you have been honing in on the idea that you are not creative, that you can’t make art. You failed to realize that writing was your art. Now, you are having to forget everything you ever thought about creativity. Now, you are a creative. You are a writer. You have begun to live your life by this truth. It has been the most freeing, frightening, and fantastic thing you have done for yourself in well over a decade. You are coming into yourself, figuring out who you are and what you want from this life. But you are fighting a lot of doubt and fear. You stare at your blank notebooks and think you don’t have anything of substance to say. You stare at a blank screen and think your voice isn’t needed. You want to give up, to quit, to go back to thinking you aren’t the creative type, that you can’t be a writer.
But something keeps you from walking away.
You put pen to paper or your fingers start tapping away on the keyboard. For a while, the doubt and the fear it all melts away. You are able to think clearly for the first time that day, words spill from your fingertips, the pen glides across the page, it becomes your meditation as you wipe away anything that tells you-you aren’t enough. You refuse to lean into the fear, the doubt, the lies.
You have thoughts bumping into thoughts. They drive you crazy until they escape from your fingertips. Once they do, you feel lighter, you feel free. You come away understanding yourself a little bit better.
The fear of failure, of rejections, threaten to take it all away. You don’t want to let that happen, you don’t want to let the fear win. You push through, you silence the inner critic with every tap tap tap on the keyboard, with every notebook you fill up. Writing has helped you find yourself, helped you find your voice. Writing has given you a chance to practice self-care, to make yourself a priority every night. Slowly, you are learning who you are, what you want and how to make it happen, and most importantly, how to be a better person, mama, wife.
The blank screen, the blank notebooks- your words find their way to the page, you find yourself on the page every day. Writing is your therapy, your meditation, your peace. Maybe the world doesn’t need your voice, but you do.