I found my creativity at an early age. As a dreamy introvert, it wasn’t uncommon for me to have a day full of imagination and daydreaming. I could make paper dolls out of the simplest materials and my notebooks were filled with sketches of princesses and fairies. I could see animals in every cloud and rainbows in every sprinkler. The lovely little girl that I was couldn’t have fathomed that I might ever struggle to find joy in the world around me.
There was a long period in my life, after I found love and had my children, that I didn’t create at all. I consider this to be one of the darkest periods in my life. I thought that I needed to be a “responsible” adult at all times, so I put most of my dreaming aside and focused on “real life.” Let’s just say that it didn’t go well for me.
Now that I have made some mistakes, slew some of life’s monsters and gained some experience points, I finally know better. I found that if I don’t let my creativity out, I don’t really like the person I become. So I exercise my creative spirit, just like one would exercise the body to feel healthy.
At first my creative comeback was really difficult for me. I had artist’s block or white canvas syndrome or whatever you want to call it. There were so many things I wanted to do or try that I didn’t even know where to start. I still feel that way sometimes. The key to succeeding in my creative journey was, and still is, to figure out what gives me inspiration. Or on the other side of the same token, what brings me joy.
It took me a while, but I did figure out that one of the things that really helps me find joy is to take pictures (with my phone) of anything I find beautiful or interesting. I try to make them as artistic as possible so I can use them later, either as art reference or just to look at and be decorative, but I’m not trying to be a professional photographer. I’m also not really talking about taking pictures of my family (I do that, but it has a different function.) I focus more on interesting textures, colors or overall mood. Sometimes I take pictures of flowers (oh who am I kidding, I take tons of pictures of flowers,) but I also take pictures of textures like stone walls with climbing vines, pretty fabric or colorful insects. I don’t always use these photos for anything, but I keep them in a folder marked “inspiration” and look through them from time to time.
I often take pictures when I’m out and about, sometimes that means a vacation, but more often than not it just means taking a walk on my lunch break. I’ve learned to notice the little things, like a butterfly on an overlooked little flower, or a beautiful texture in the path I’m walking on. There are so many things around us that we hardly notice or don’t even see, that we miss out on the small joys that are right in front of us. I have to remember this all the time. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the moment, in the struggle, and totally forget about everything else.
I’m not going to lie and say that now I always feel creative and inspired. Just like I have issues with overeating and not moving my body, I have issues with finding joy and inspiration. But it helps to have tools and ways to go about finding or bringing joy into my life. And if I focus on the small things and taking one step at a time, I feel like I am actively making changes. Besides, the benefits of letting my creative self be free and happy outweigh any monster problem I could encounter or wily struggle I have to overcome.
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