One of the questions I get asked the most is how I fit art and blogging and all of the other creative things I do into my daily life. At some point that usually leads on to a discussion on living a life we love and feel we were meant for. So many people want to be more creative, but don’t think that they are creative at all (well, I have something to say about that!), or think that creative pursuits have to be crammed into the darkest nooks and crannies of life. I know all about that because I’ve been there.
People assume I have always lived a creative life. The truth is I turned my back on it for years. When I started working full time, got married and set up home, I gave up on a lot of things I had enjoyed up until then. In my mind, being a responsible adult meant not doing those things. Alan, bless him, tried to coax me back into it by buying me my first ever easel. I still didn’t bite.
Then I became bedridden and housebound for several years.
When I started recovering from being bedridden, I promised myself that from there on in I’d always be me, no matter what. Even so, it took another 9 years until I realised I needed to be creative every day.
By the the power of blogs, I can show you how that journey began.
The other day I came across this post from my first ever blog, which is long since gone, but I thankfully saved as word documents before I hit delete, and was floored by how far I’ve come in the past few years. Aoife was two, and still only known as Fidget online.
If you read my rather negative post yesterday, you know I have been fighting depression lately. Yesterday darkness won.
But living under a dark cloud for a while hasn’t been all bad. It has given me the opportunity to really explore who I am and how I want to, no need to, live my life.
One of the major things to come out of all this is that I have realised I need to live a creative life every day. That’s “need” as in you need air to live. And I’ve realised that part of the reason I have felt miserable for so long is because I haven’t done that.
Creativity has been a hobby, not a lifestyle.
Over the years I have hidden behind a dozen or so labels I have made for myself and started identifying with, but I’ve left the creative one out in the cold. The one label I didn’t like identifying with was that of an “arty farty”. I know it’s usually said in jest, but to me it suggests that being creative is something to be ashamed of rather than proud of.
Sure, I’ve had my cross-stitch, which I love, but that has also, I’ve realised, been part of the problem. I’ve been far too hung up on making complicated or fancy things (part personality, part perfectionism, part insecurity) that I can’t work on when Fidget is around. So they’re left for the evening when she’s in bed. But when she’s in bed, I’m too tired to do anything.
I need to start looking for daytime projects that can be picked up or put down as needed, so I can be creative every day. And I need to make things that come from me, not a kit.
I have also realised I need a creative home, not limited to fancy cross-stitches hanging on the wall.
I have always had a love of handmade things, but like many others I have gotten caught up in the consumerist society. A look around our house says it all. Pretty much everything is shop bought and mass produced. Yet we’re far from frivolous, in fact we’ve always been pretty frugal. I have come to realise I need the homemade factor in a big way. I need to be surrounded by beautiful (not necessarily perfect, but beautiful) things that mean something to me, things with soul.
I think it’s possible to live a creative life every day. I don’t think it has to be that complicated. I just have to find a way to do it.
I know I can!
And that’s the “secret”.
The first step to a more creative life is always making the decision!
I don’t find the time to be creative every day, I make it. Because I know I need to be or I’ll be miserable and a pain in the bum to be around.
Make the decision, then take a day or two to think about what living creatively means to you and how you can start the ball rolling.
The first step doesn’t guarantee an easy life. Things won’t happen overnight, and there will be plenty of bumps and scrapes along the way, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Just take baby steps and remember to breathe. It can and will happen!