It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal post. Part of that is because my life is continuously changing and I’m not sure where to begin. The other part is fear.
Ever been in a creative rut? Of course you have. Sometimes our lives become very habitual and seemingly uneventful, so we think we have nothing interesting to write about. Other times our lives become hectic and frenzied, and we aren’t sure where to begin or what truths we want to reveal to the world.
As I said, my circumstance happens to be the latter. I moved to Texas a year ago today, and at this point in my life I have three jobs: working a day or two a week at Starbucks to keep my insurance, working full time at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as a Direct Care Staff member, and I also do my own contracted work as a freelance writer. The biggest change has been working at the RTC. Renee and I moved back to America to help open and run this facility, and it has definitely been hard work.
An extremely quick overview of what is an RTC: for our facility, girls in CPS ages 6 – 17 who are classified as Intense and Specialized cases (been through a lot of trauma) live at the house and get therapy. They go to school, learn how to deal with their emotional issues and triggers, and they learn how to live a healthy life so they can grow to be healthy adults.
This is important work, but it’s also really hard. I never know what I’m going to walk into that day – is it going to be calm with a few minor instances of defiance/rudeness/acting out, or am I going to walk into a knock-down-drag-out kind of day? As a result, I feel nauseous every time I get ready to go into work. After talking to people who have worked in the industry for twenty-plus years, I realized that this is quite normal. Most of them cried every single night after work for almost a year. But despite the uncomfortableness and newness of the job, I feel like I’m heading in the right direction in my life. There are so many possibilities and roads ahead of me, I can’t wait to see where it all goes and grows.
That being said, when I have some free time for myself, I’ve gotten into the habit of zoning out on TV. I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a twelve-hour day, and I just want to sit and think about nothing. I don’t write because I’m afraid that all that will come out is work stuff, and that’s the last thing I want to focus on after being immersed in it for most of the day.
Lately, though, I’ve had this gnawing feeling inside of me that has turned into a heavy burden. I want to create. Realistically, my schedule will be pretty full for a while with work, but I’m finding it necessary to carve out some time to do something creative. Instead of checking out of my life when I have any free time, I need to get in the habit of writing, reading or listening to an inspiring and insightful podcast.
Hectic schedule and changes aside, there is also the issue of fear.
What do I really have to contribute to the world? Haven’t all of the topics been covered, all of the feelings been discussed? What do I have to offer that would be of any value at all?
What if what I create isn’t good enough?
All of us as creative people have felt this at one point or another – or usually at many points in our lives. I started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcasts, Magic Lessons, and some of the things she or her guests have said have helped me drag myself out of that fog. For one thing, I realized that I was holding the art of creating on a pedestal. Like, if I wasn’t creating something as good as the Sistine Chapel, why bother? It’s good to get into the nitty gritty of your craft – get yourself dirty, make some mistakes, take some wrong turns – but when you do it, be genuine in your efforts and put whatever you have out there.
Think about if your favorite books were never written because the authors felt that they had nothing valuable to say. What if they let their fears or the craziness of their lives take over, and they never formed the work of art that has so greatly influenced your life?
What if you are that artist? Don’t let the fear of imperfection or uncertainty stifle your actions to live a creative life.