Reflexive creativity

I am obviously not being creative enough, because last night I got the urge to do something I haven’t done in a long time:  I attempted to visit a forum which caters (or catered — it’s now mostly abandoned) to people with marginalized and controversial identities.  Then I realized that I was falling back into the pattern of reflexive creativity (that is, turning my creativity back upon myself, as happens when I don’t use my external creative outlets [drawing, painting, writing, beadwork, jewelry] enough), and instead of writing about what I wanted to write about online (where negative attention would be much more likely than positive attention, and may make my online surroundings unsafe), I went back to one of my paper journals.  Particularly, the identity journal…which I hadn’t used for about a year.

With things going the way they are now, it will likely be safer for me to do this when these urges come up, instead of publishing under any unique user account like WordPress or Facebook.  It will also be easier to keep things straight where it comes to my particular perspective (that is, I won’t have to play along with the groundrules as I basically had to, when I was dealing with talking about this in groups [for the sake of inclusion] — thing is, without the groundrules, it sounds a lot more sane, and can probably progress much further than it was originally taken).

Part of what prompted this was some input I’ve been getting from a blogger or two on WordPress.  Nothing direct, just indirect, “it’s OK to think and say things others wouldn’t,” type of support.  I don’t feel safe enough to do that in public, let alone connected with a traceable identity, but then I realized that paper journals preceded blogs and may be superior to them in at least one sense, which is privacy.

I could only stand writing for about twenty minutes, last night…then, I think, I lost sight of what I had originally intended to write (I need to make a habit of making quick notes when I start…how am I supposed to remember why I started writing when I’m off on my third tangent), or I had encompassed the reason I started to write, and reached a natural breaking point.  The second sense in which paper journals feel superior to blogs (to me) is in the ease of drawing and easily adding visual input and notation into their pages.  It isn’t as easy with a lined journal, but I looked into my art journal after having written the entry in my identity journal.

I was…seriously…that stuff still blows me away.  It’s like, how can I have this talent and not be using it (and the answer is that I want to use it for good, not evil, therefore my options are limited and I need to find a secondary route of employment).

In addition, I have the seed of a story (at least its beginning) in the art journal, and was reminded of it when I looked over it again.  In turn, I had been building up to that seed, for years.

It seems that when I’m either 1) off medication, or 2) in an active phase of illness, I’m much more creative than I am when I’m stable.  I don’t really know what lies behind that — if it’s an impetus thing (something, for some reason, causing me to work things out creatively), or a coping thing (whether I’m really coping with the outside world or with some distortion of it which my imagination has made), or a brain-chemistry thing…I really just don’t know.  I know that it’s generally harder for me to function in society when I’m less-medicated, but then I gain the ability to shift back toward a generative stance where my thinking is more free than seems to be tolerated…at least, online.

Anyhow, I also asked someone today for help with finding books on creativity where someone could be trying to write, but something like trauma keeps coming up every time they try to.  Yes, there are a couple of designations in the Dewey Decimal system for that!  (I figured that if there was a cookbook specifically on seaweeds, then maybe there was a chance that there was a book on being creative while mentally ill, and how to do it without making things worse.)

I’ve basically been avoiding creative writing for a really long time…since I graduated with the degree, I think.  I had noticed that since I began the second medication I’m still on, writing was much harder for me; my mind just got a lot quieter.  In addition, and I’ve said this before, it engages part of my brain which makes up what it sees to be the most likely scenario for a given incomplete data set, which doesn’t help me in real life.  Mostly because my core beliefs are skewed because of years of peer abuse, and then the illness that kicked in (probably because of the abuse), magnifies that.

Because of this, I’ve been thinking about Dialectical Behavior Therapy…which doesn’t sound fun, but does sound as though it could help me function better…and maybe get off of some of these medications (particularly the ones which aren’t related to anxiety, though it would be a trip if I could lower that one, too).  …Though I am not sure I would still be functional off of the medication which quieted my brain:  it takes care of multiple symptom classes.

I’m trying to think of how long I lived with overt symptoms without recognizing them or treating them with meds…I really can’t remember how old I was when I began, but I had to have been at my latter University in undergraduate work.  My memories from that time (of noticing my brain working differently) are from inside college classrooms…and I know that my judgment was flawed before then (although I couldn’t tell, at the time [actually coming to recognize that I had substantial cognitive impairments took about 10 years down the line…or it felt like that]).

It would probably be clear from the above, but I just realize now that I only implied that I would like to write, again:  I didn’t actually say it.  (Show, not Tell?)

Ya huh.  In any case, one of the books we found at the Library, I already own, so I can take a look in there…and see if I’ve read it already.  My ultimate goal would be to be able to write creatively again without making myself sick, in the process…

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paintedstone

Haru ("Codey") is a second-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

2 thoughts on “Reflexive creativity”

  1. Creativity does seem to be a volatile thing, very hard to manage, create or maintain. I was the same when I had meds – zero creativity. Hopefully there is a happy medium fof you.

  2. I think I understand what you’re saying. After I started anti-anxiety meds I found it more difficult to write. I almost miss the upside of the old emotional roller coaster, but the downs were just not worth it. Things are more level now but kind of “gray”, for lack of a better description. Day to day life is so much easier, but some of the passion is gone. All we can do is keep plugging away. The world needs to hear what we have to say, even if it isn’t always agreeable. 🙂

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