I was taking my daily nature walk the other day, feeling hopeless about my contribution to the world. Thinking about all of my creative projects, I was getting caught up, focusing on all of the people who DON’T pay attention to me. And then Mama Nature, as she often does, gently graced me with her clarity and nurturing love in my moment of sadness. And the idea that both you and I should keep creating, even if no one seems to care, became so apparent. Creative expression is such a powerful, human tool. We can all access it, and we can all benefit from it. And just because you THINK no one seems to care, is no reason to stop. The flow must continue, regardless of external validations, or lack thereof. And here are five reasons why.
[PS, I am a visual artist, as well as a blogger, and podcaster. Those are my preferred mediums. However, there is no right or wrong way to create. And whatever medium works for you, works for you. So, even though I may discuss my visual art here, please know that your medium is just as valid!]
KEEP CREATING, BECAUSE IT HEALS YOU
I have been making art for my entire life. And yes, I know that this is not the case for everyone. However, I do believe that many human beings have unhealed wounds that could be tended to through creativity, if the willingness was there. My mother passed away in 2017. And as a way of processing my emotions, I made art to match my feelings.
You may enjoy my article, “4 Ways To Create Meaningful Art.”
The art that I made during this period of time, was not particularly amazing or brilliant. I like the collages I created well enough. But I know they aren’t the greatest. However, this creative process was not about that. It was about taking the gunk from inside, and getting it out, into the world. A transformation takes place when something inside of you, exits you. Think of creativity as a kind of birthing process. There are elements inside of you, emotions, energies, darknesses, and feelings, that must be known. They must exit your insides so they can breathe, and flex, and be themselves. These energies need an opportunity for the light to shine on them. That is how they are healed. What happens to them once they have left your body is not your problem any more (okay, I know this isn’t the case when you actually birth a human being, but just go with it). It is only your job to facilitate the exit. So keep going!
Death Collage 6, mixed media on paper, 11″ x 15″ 2018 © Libby Saylor
PEOPLE DO NOTICE
After I came back from my walk, later that evening, I shared my feelings with my partner. And in response, he said something that really struck me. I was listing all of my “lame” numbers and stats, and shared that I probably only have about 20 people following my podcast. And he said in all seriousness:
“It takes a lot to get 20 people to listen to you.”
That perspective was so refreshing and encouraging to me. And so true. We are often, constantly comparing ourselves, not to our peers, but to those above us. And we are always going to come up short from that angle. But honestly, 20 people don’t HAVE to listen to me. They are choosing to because they get something out of it. And that’s not nothing. You may have a handful of admirers. But those admirers might adore your projects, or words, or works of art. And if even one human being is affected in a positive way by your creations, does that not justify them? Who said that making art is for the masses? No, making art is for yourself. And if another human being is moved by your work, then that is incredible! So, keep creating, because you never know who might be benefiting from your work. It’s not like they’re always, if ever, going to reach out and tell you. You have to trust.
CREATING THINGS PREVENTS YOU FROM GETTING INTO ALL SORTS OF TROUBLE
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well when I’m bored. When I’m restless, or stressed, or emotional, I need things to do in order to keep me from sinking into darkness. And when I have dark feelings churning inside, it’s not healthy to let them stew, or try to forget about them. I know that when you are in a dark place, the last thing you might want to do is face your emotions. But wow, once they are released from inside of you, the freedom is irreplaceable. If you keep creating, you keep the flow moving, and prevent all kinds of emotional blockages.
The trick is to learn to be okay with enduring those icky feelings that you might feel, for a short period of time, once you stop trying to hide from them.
Holding in your feelings and emotions can create all kinds of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual disturbances within. Last year, I was really struggling with some stress, anxiety, and body image issues. And by the advice of my therapist, I decided to draw about it. I never draw, really, and I pretty much hate it. But she suggested I just start sketching whenever I feel icky feelings, and see what happens. Well, this is what happened, and I felt so much better afterwards!
Third Eye Chakra, graphite on paper, 11″ x 15″ 2020 © Libby Saylor
Crown Chakra, graphite on paper, 11″ x 15″ 2020 © Libby Saylor
YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE INCREASES WHEN YOU CREATE
Ok yes, when you create something you HATE, it sucks for the self-esteem. But in general, since you are in charge of what you are making, more often than not, you probably kind of dig what you create. I mean, if you don’t, then why not make something that you like? If you are always creating for you, to please you, then you can rarely go wrong. When you create for others, you rob yourself and your soul of its powerful and authentic voice.
I don’t know about you, but when I create something, I almost ALWAYS feel better after. Because every time I create something, I learn something new about myself. I am learning something about myself right now, writing these words to you. And I am releasing all of the pent-up energies inside, that have been wanting and needing to be heard. And when it’s all out in the open, I feel like I did something I can be proud of. I feel like I can move forward with my day, with my head held a bit higher.
If you aren’t feeling good about yourself after you create something, you might want to examine why you create what you create.
You may enjoy my article, “Falling In Love With My Creations.”
MAKING ART UNITES YOU WITH THE REST OF HUMANITY
Whenever I think of this concept, I always think about ancient cave paintings. Human beings were making images and communicating through visual means, long before modern technology. The oldest known cave paintings are said to be over 35,000 years old! And even though some of these mark-makings may have been more about communication than emotional expression, they are still phenomenal. They represent a human being’s natural inclination to utilize multiple bodily faculties, in order to create something new. To create anything, even a mark on a cave wall, requires the use of both brain and body (as an artist, I would add soul to that list as well). And if utilized correctly, a human being brings something into this world that NEVER COULD HAVE EXISTED OTHERWISE.
When you make art, or speak, or do anything for that matter, you are bringing something into this world that never was before. If you really want to get right down to it, your very existence is creative. Because there is only one you, and whatever you do, is something that has never been done before. These specific words have never been typed by ME until this very moment. And no one can replicate that.
So, when you create something beautiful or meaningful, it’s simply a hyper-active, super advanced, incredibly awesome version of creation. Art is a highly sophisticated form of communication and expression. It combines skill with emotions, intelligence with action. And I personally believe that when we create something, we subconsciously dip into the energies of all of the creators before us. So, a piece of our art always possesses pieces of the past.
The world needs your input and your unique perspective. Without it, this place is just a fragment less beautiful, meaningful, and special.
SO, KEEP CREATING, AND FUCK EVERYONE ELSE!
Ahem, pardon me 🙂 xo
THANK YOU FOR READING
What is your favorite form of creativity? What medium do you use that just feels natural, and flows from you with ease? Do you ever feel lousy after you create? Or, do you always feel better? What drives you to keep creating? I would love to hear your thoughts, of course! xo
Quarantine 6, mixed media on cardboard, March 2020, 3″ x 3″ © Libby Saylor
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Featured photo by daisy on Unsplash
Woman in front of a painting photo by Vlah Dumitru on Unsplash
Cave paintings photo by Don Pinnock on Unsplash