When I was young, I had the utmost confidence in my creativity. Arran and I were laughing on the way to Melbourne last week as I shared a story (he was laughing in horror) when I was about 10 or 11 years old, I used to make commissions from friends bringing in their white t-shirts or sweaters, where I would take them home and create art on the front with puffy pens. For those of you that weren’t around in the 80’s, these were little pens you would write on fabric with then iron and they would ‘puff’ up for a desirable look that has for some reason never come back around, thank god! I never questioned was my ‘art’ worth the high fees I was charging or was ashamed about my ‘art’ being worn around the place by other 10-year-olds, and I never wondered if the outcome of my creativity good enough.
I was wonderfully innocent, and arrogant. I also remember vividly when 8 or 9 years old doing an Antarctica project that involved a giant piece of card with drawings and information (I drew a mini penguin border and was VERY lavish with a silver glitter pen on the polar bears and wrote all the copy in a calligraphy pen), and I was so blown away by my own talent, I didn’t sleep that night, terrified I would be put up a year because it was so good, I would be made to go into year 5 and would miss my friends in year 4 so much. Sheesh.
When I first started studying Interior Architecture I was 19, I was still full of my self and my own creative ideas. And then I had Alex one of my all-time favourite teachers slowly help me understand that by gripping onto something, and being self-important and convinced we lost curiosity and grace. He showed me time and time again that the next idea just peeking around the corner might be better. He taught me to be fluid and to throw away (sometimes I cried in secret) my favourite ideas and to keep pushing and going. Even if that meant at the end, utterly exhausted going back to the initial concept. I trusted him deeply and he taught me to get away from my ideas about myself and into the moment and the slipstream of what might be, ever open and ever curious.
Creativity I have found as I have gotten older has shifted dramatically in some areas for me. As I honed my craft, and became far more experienced in the years upon years being paid as a ‘creative’, I came to truly understand that creativity is an energy and not an output. It’s an expression and a sequence, not the thing at the end.
When we become obsessed with the outcome and hold on really right we are blocking creativity. This is what seems to frequently happen to people the longer that they are rewarded or revered for their creativity. The fear around continually creating and being adored for the outcome becomes fierce. And we begin to hold our breath and ultimately suffocate.
However when we let go of the outcome, our ideas, our ego, and our fears, then we truly can experience creativity, and it will be ours forever.
Sent with love,