I have a friend who growing up was an amazing artist. She was quiet and would sit in the corner drawing pictures. Her images were complex, with intricate shading and unique renditions of characters she admired.
In her family, art and creativity weren’t promoted as a viable means of self-fulfillment or income. So she put her art aside for many years and used it only once in a while for an outlet.
She’s not the only one of my friends who had this experience. I have met many people who don’t put time into their writing, photography, music or artwork because of their upbringing. Somebody told them that this wasn’t OK to do, that it’s not a worthy enterprise. Just put it away. Don’t look back. How many people do you know who took an art class or music class and it made their face light up when they talked about it, yet they were loathe to show you their work because they felt they didn’t have a right to be doing it in the first place?
I have found that creativity fulfills me in a way many things can’t. It helps me release and process events and observations about the world and turn these into something I can use to connect with others. This in turn helps others want to share their own creations with the world. It’s an endless network of electricity that feeds itself and can spark all over the world if we let it.
In American society, we admire great artists and writers, but we treat them as if they had a right and we don’t. Common sense seemingly dictates that we can’t make any money at it, so why bother.
So often money, not creativity, comes first. I think we have it all backwards. If we spend time doing fulfilling things that fuel us with inspiration, we can grow and help others in their lives. We can find fulfilling means of paying the bills. We can do what we came here to do. We can believe we all have a purpose and contribute our unique gifts to the world.
What’s holding you back? Who told you that you couldn’t write, draw or play music? How do you feel society holds us back from being who we are and doing what we love?