For the longest time, I thought that I was, well, kind of… vanilla.
A khaki-colored personality in a sea of iridescent and textured lives. There was no variation, no changes in tone or never-before-seen hue.
From where I was sitting, my life hadn’t been anything particularly special. I had no stories of great adventure to tell, no deep, dark secrets, no heart-wrenching break-ups or addictions or betrayals.
I had a great family who, despite their quirks and occasional missteps, was unflinchingly loyal and fiercely loving. I met and married an incredible man who works just as hard as I do to hold tight to each other through the tough stuff.
Sure, I had my fair share of pubescent angst followed by the what-the-hell-do-I-want-to-do confusion of college and the post-grad emotional upheaval of my parents’ divorce, but overall… my life? Pretty picturesque.
And I was (and still am) deeply grateful for every single bit of it. Even the hard shit. Cue the deep bow of gratitude to the Universe.
Today, I want to share with you something incredibly near and dear to my heart.
There’s a story out there that tells us that if we don’t suffer for our art, don’t wreck our lives or entrench ourselves in the deep, dark, inescapable and entirely hopeless pain of it all, that our work is somehow… less worthy, less valuable, less art.
Our impact less impactful. Our purpose less passionate.
Anything less than a life of tortured isolation was left to the realm of hobbies or crafting.
There once was a time that I believed that story. And, for a woman who looked back on the 20-something years of her life with a wholehearted mixture of gratitude and joy-soaked awe, that meant one thing: I would never be creative.
If I wouldn’t bleed for my art, wouldn’t sweat through every sentence, wouldn’t waste away in a slew of dysfunctional relationships and deep, dark self-loathing, well, then… I couldn’t quite call myself a creative.
In comparison to the shadow-life of artistic legitimacy, my creative expression might as well have been that of a little girl with a purple crayon, drawing stick figures alongside the Disney characters in her coloring book. Which, though charming and light-hearted, would never be shared because of its felt impact or respected as art.
So, I stuck to what I knew best. I studied my butt off and graduated with honors. I threw myself into a career in non-profits and used emails and public speaking gigs as opportunities for covert creative expression. And it was… ok, I guess.
Only it wasn’t.
For the longest time, I allowed myself to be held captive by the belief that true creativity looked like chaos and darkness and a painful and inescapable mixture of blood, sweat, and tears.
I call bullshit.
We were built for creative living, my friend.
Creativity is nothing more or less than a life led by our curiosity. And creative expression is nothing more or less than the wholehearted and untethered expression of that curiosity.
True, it doesn’t always feel good or flow in the midst of your creative process.
A regular creative practice allows us to fully feel and process and give voice to the depths of who we are — which sometimes isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and joy and warmth. Sometimes, rather, it’s the deep, dark patterns of pain and regret and sadness that hold us hostage.
Creative expression is about connection, transformation, moving stories and patterns and energy in and through and out.
I wholeheartedly believe that creative expression is an essential element of a life well-lived.
When done right, creativity can lead to more energy, confidence, clarity and self-knowledge — not to mention better businesses, stronger relationships and heightened levels of happiness.
The first step to cultivating a creative practice that heals, shifts, and delights is simple: practice.
To help, I’ve created a super special (and super free!) workbook just for you.
Rather than a list of how-to’s or tips, I’ll show you how to sink into your soul and write from your heart.
This free workbook is designed to help you show up and stand out - as yourself. Download your copy today.
More to come, love.
P.S. If you know of a kindred spirit who just might need some inspiration (or at least be reminded that they, too, can create without all the doom and gloom and chaos), we'd love for you to forward this to them! It might be just what they need!