Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Past creativity re-evaluated.

Before I get ready to share my take on where my identity and life has taken me with the the internets (but moreso the people I care about who'd actually read this), I'd like to share something that approaches it, just like the music post I just put up.

Since about age 15, when my creative faculties were petering out and I desperately feared that I was losing it forever (which apparently meant that I was becoming something empty and not myself and I didn't deserve to live. I was really cute at that age), I had the attitude that nothing I created was of worth. Every image I drew was convoluted, attempts to make reality and failing, or copying masters without inserting anything deeper from my mind. Art, which should be for expressing that which you can't do in conversation, expressed nothing within me. Not even writing, which is the easier form because it's closer to expressing yourself in words to a friend.

Trivially, this meant I looked at my old art and writing, and the stuff I was writing then, and wanted to destroy it all. I was desperately ashamed of everything I made because they were talentless crap - less trivially, because they were devoid of substance, if not content. Luckily my mother - though it annoyed me to no end at the time - forced me to keep things, if nothing else than just for her.

This feeling extended itself in such a way that exacerbated my dying creative exercise. It got to the point that immediately after creating something, or in the process of doing it, or even before I BEGAN, I made myself certain it wasn't worth my time and I should give up before making a fool of myself. So I have a lot of incomplete stuff and just plain scratched-out beginnings on dirty paper full of eraser marks. There are a few exceptions but even those I avoided re-reading or looking at. This was easily applied to music as well, because I only did covers (as now) and felt like it was foolish to just try to mimic other people's art because I could add nothing, and I was incapable of increasing my skill, or having any in the first place. I loathed the people who insisted otherwise, like the people who insisted I once had and STILL had great skill as a writer and artist.

The funny thing is that this lasted as far as...well, a few months ago, even after my depression healed significantly. I think it's because, even as I was recovering in this sense, I still struggled very hard to express myself, in words but mostly beyond them. I tried to force myself, to do things like free-form writing which people told me was the best way to become a practicing writer again - as a great writer said, "A writer is a person for whom writing is excessively difficult". But nothing worked. And I used the fact that I was so embedded in being functional and a whole person with other aspects of my life as an excuse for not being creative: I had relationships, work, motivation to succeed, desire for a future and the ability to enjoy myself in the midst of stress. I don't see this as an "excuse" anymore.

But now, even though I still play covers of songs - though now I know how significant the addition of my own voice is, a voice I can now use with pride - even though I barely draw, even though I've only written two or three new bits of expressive fiction and non-fiction, I know it's coming back. I have enough space and introspective desire to be an artist capable of expressing myself in plain words and in the transcendent ways art allows one to express the life and views that make up a full person who knows herself.

And an interesting development in this came in reading some old stories and poems and essays I wrote when I was 15. I was on the plane and in for a laugh - which is usually my reaction to my foolish old work. But I was also wondering if there was substance then, despite the walls that locked me in from even my own feelings, and despite the self-loathing limitations I imposed. And I was shocked to find it in EVERY bit of work I read. And in the artwork I found in my notebook from a year ago. These stories and poems I dismissed as flippant now speak to me in ways that I never imagined. They show me not only that I was a full person then, as much as I hid it away and refused to let it shine, but that that person persists to this day, and has made me what I am now. I am not a new person, a new adult. I am Felice. I am what Felice always was, and the potential she had within her. It's the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.

So I'll post a few of these interesting findings for a while as I gather myself enough to express myself in ways that don't involve screaming The Beatles on the ukulele. BEWARE.

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