Creativity is a TOOL not a Prize

I have always known that I loved being creative.

From early childhood I remember working on little DIY projects from my bedroom, turning the boring into the beautiful. I remember staying up late at night to finish art projects in high school, something I would never have had the drive to do with other subjects. I remember that buzz. That adrenaline filled, bubbling feeling you get in your chest when you allow yourself to be deeply immersed in an activity and succeed in creating a result.

As I grew up however, something changed in the way I saw creativity. It didn't seem to have any real point. There was no meaningful outcome in comparison to the real world problems. Or MY real world problems. Bouts of anxiety and depression reared their ugly head from time to time throughout my life and managing myself and my emotions became more and more difficult. However, I still saw no real VALUE in being creative for fun. What was the point? It was just a mere distraction or a momentary break from the reality of life. In other words, a complete waste of time. I needed to sort the important stuff out first. THEN I'd have time for creativity. My mind had turned creativity into a reward and because I didn't give myself much value at the time, it almost impossible difficult to reward myself.

Years went by and even though back then I gave creativity little value in my life, it didn't keep me from 'treating' myself to those little bursts where I temporarily rediscovered that buzz.

I bought oil paints and played around with brushstrokes. I bought watercolours, I needed those. I got glass paint and made tacky looking wine glasses. I even hand sewed Christmas jumpers one year. I stocked up on beads and started making bracelets. I got decoupage glue and made handmade gifts. I bought a wood burner and etched wooden spoons. I smashed plates and made mosaics. I got into succulents and made succulent gardens. I bought a glue gun and went on a rampage. I bought a sewing machine and never learnt to sew. I went chalk paint crazy on a dining room table. And a bed. The list goes on and on.

I did all these things but I don't DO all these things. While each one of these bursts were intense, passionate and FULL of buzz, they were also frenzied and short lived. I didn't value myself enough to continue to allow myself to enjoy them. I was just using them as a drug. A quick fix.

 Just like a drug, these were bursts of creative mania that rushed through my body giving me the 'fix' I needed during whatever emotional roller coaster I was travelling at the time.

Just like a drug, once I got my fix, I began the come down. Embarrassed that I had yet again allowed myself to 'let go'. Ashamed that I had yet again take on another project that temporarily turned my home into chaos and my mind into a fantasy world. Angry at myself for wasting my time.

But then something changed. Since going down the path of exploring and learning how to create my own jewellery, I have changed how I view those manic bursts I had in the past. Those bursts were there trying to help me to momentarily escape and give me the fuel I needed to find balance in my life. It was my attitude towards them that was wrong. They were not a waste of time but rather a tool trying to help me take time out from the problems I had, whether I really had these problems or not.

I now see creativity as a valuable tool in my tool belt for life. A tool that is essential to help me on my journey. A tool that I need to look after and service.

I now ensure that I have times set aside to completely immerse myself in creativity and keep my special tool in good working order. I try to take the gap when I can and even if its a mere 10 minutes of writing, reading or experimenting with creating jewellery, I get that burst back which leaves me wanting more.

During these little stolen moments, I immerse myself into a different world where nothing else matters other than the gorgeous fabrics I am working with, the exciting designs my mind is putting together or the beauty of the words I am reading or writing.

There’s something magical about being able to allow myself to be completely absorbed in something where even if its only for a few minutes, I lose track of my sense of self and time.

I find my FLOW and the more flow I find, the more I want. More importantly the less overwhelming my feelings feel.