There was one quote towards the end of a backpost that I have been meaning to get around to talking about. The link to the post is here; the relevant quote is below:
There is one more concept that I want to just remind myself of, before I turn in for the night. That is, joy in creating versus fear of creating. This is something that I’m being forced to deal with because of this Art class. I can touch on it coming up, maybe it would be good to help work this problem out.
The fear of creating, because of not understanding the fundamental process; and because of the social responsibility angle; is something I’ve been dealing with for quite a while.
Basically, I’ve been drawing and writing for fun since I was a kid. Being a kid was not easy for me; at this point, I wonder if it ever is. But because of the way my mind works, I’m sure it was made much worse than it had to be.
Art practice is in some way healing for me. It’s challenging, and it can be scary, but my professor is very good at easing the fears of judgment and failure. Neither have I had to deal so much with the scariness around the question of where my creativity is coming from, because I’m understanding it in the moment as play or as a visual representation of mathematical/geometric thought, or as constructing something nonobjectively, or as training myself to see more attentively, or as a visual way of trying to solve a problem. It’s working out to be really awesome.
Link to fulltext here.
It seems that the way my mind works is a bit beyond the scope of its own comprehension. Given that this train of thought started in my tween years, and the narrative which led to that began in childhood, I should probably cut myself some slack. My brain wasn’t fully mature yet, and has probably only reached full maturity within the last two years. Or maybe it can get more mature. 😉 I don’t know, because I haven’t lived it yet.
What I can say is that my identity has only really gelled within the past two years. I’ve also read that the brain doesn’t stop maturing until one is in their young adulthood, of which I am on the trailing edge.
Before that, there was a lot of taking action without knowing who it was that was taking the action or why the action was being taken, if I may characterize it as such. Maybe I’m being too harsh on myself; but at the conclusion of high school I still really had no idea of who I was. For about the next decade I explored and figured out, piecemeal, what was happening. At the behest of a counselor I had when I was a teen, I tried as best I could to figure out my own explanation for what was going on.
Of course, though, being someone who wrote fiction as a means of self-exploration, I could find all too many messed-up explanations for why things were the way they were. I also — and you all, please never do this — made the mistake of attempting literary analysis of something I was in the process of writing, in hopes of learning more about who I was. Please, don’t do that to yourself. It will mess you up.
So with me, there is this tension between joy and fear in the act of creating.
Joy, because, given that I had a “dark night of the soul” which lasted about 15 years, the reason I gave myself to keep living (and not fully pass into the “other world” yet) was to be a creator. This meant to take my visions and the influences of my spirits, and somehow, bring them into this reality.
Fear, because I don’t know where my inspirations are coming from, I don’t fully understand the creative process (though I can exercise it nonetheless — with help for now, at least), and because my inspirations are linked to my spirituality. The spirituality was something that supported me through that dark night. It’s also something that continues to support me.
Two of the leads that I’ve received recently had to do with knowing the right person who knew the right people at the right time. They both volunteered information to me which, in a short span of time, eerily coincided with my opening up to said person about specific problems. They both immediately thought of me on receiving the information; and they both successfully delivered the information.
Because of this, I’m set to head to a self-defense class specifically for someone in my situation, I now know a good class to take which will likely help me get leads on nonprofit jobs, and I know the name and contact information of a nonprofit which helps out other nonprofits in the area. This is in addition to Beginning Gallery Management, which starts up in the Spring, which would give me work experience (to help with my resumé).
At this point, I have no doubt that the spirits around me are helping me. Maybe it’s just the trust in them that I’ve been afraid to give…because of not knowing if they were good, not-good, conditionally good, or good to me and not to others. But since I began to put more trust in them, things have been more falling into place than not. My health has improved, I have more reasons to live, I have a mission, I have a worldview, I have hope of a better future, and I’m coming to both know and accept myself, and know that I’m not alone in this.
The full backstory on what’s going on here is something which would probably not be best to disclose in this format…but, just to be clear, my viewpoint is not the viewpoint of any organized religion I’ve encountered in my life. I see similarities to what I’ve known of Hindu beliefs, Daoist philosophy, and my own family blend. As I’ve gotten older I also have learned to listen for spirits of places, locations, etc…
But yes. Trust is something I have a hard time with, even when it comes to humans. Historically, I’ve had a hard time trusting myself, my family, my friends, my spirits. It makes it hard to create when I’m in that state and I don’t know if what is coming out of me is good or bad. This is not in the sense of skill, but in the sense of impact. I don’t know what the cascade effects will be of what I create. But to continue to create — which I’ve taken upon myself as a life mission, flawed or not — I need to be able to set things free and let go of control. It’s hard. I can’t force everyone else to see the same thing in my art as I see. I can’t always be there to explain meaning and backstory and milieu and philosophy.
The Drawing class is something which has presented the problem of visual creativity in the sense of…interpreting a concept and making it into a visual form. My teacher…this one, at least…also emphasizes problem-solving and pushing boundaries. One thing I like about her class is that she isn’t the type to divide students’ drawings into “good art” and “bad art.” I’ve been warned about one other instructor who is this way, which reminds me of the rules I encountered in my Fiction classes which actually discouraged me from writing fiction. (That is not the point of the class!)
One thing I’ve learned about myself from my Art class is that I’m very attentive to detail, and that I try to follow rules, except where I know there is no point in trying to do so. Because of this, my process can be made more difficult, and my art can suffer. What I need to learn how to do is to see the forest and not just the little ladybug on the redwood frond. The tiny ladybug on the redwood frond would probably make for a good composition…but as for an entire vision, I need to step back and get some perspective; see the wider world and that it’s not just I who suffer. When I look at it that way, the world itself is much more tolerable; the problems I feel most acutely are problems that everyone existent within culture has to deal with, whether that’s being a person blinded to the full complexity of reality, or being a person whose existence is rendered invisible.
My voice is one voice, but it is my voice; and as others have a right to tell me they don’t like to hear what I have to say, I have a right to continue to speak, so that those who do care can hear, or read, or see. I don’t have to stay silent and silenced, never affecting anyone, never speaking to anyone. I have as much of a right to contribute to my society as anyone else.
That’s a pretty cool thought.