As a writer, one of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that my fear of transparency generally doesn’t relate to myself. Usually, it’s concerned with hurting those who are in my story by default.
It can be one of the reasons why we as artists don’t share our message and personal journeys as powerfully as we could. That fear of exposing in another what they haven’t given express permission to be shared.
Yet is it necessary to write a sanitized version of our personal story? How can we mute ourselves when our creativity demands that we express with authenticity and candour? Who are we really serving when we censor and edit ourselves just to protect a family image or avoid causing embarrassment to others? Is it more important to serve those whose surname we may share, in lieu of reaching out and touching someone who may need to hear our story?
This is often a space of tension for many creatives.
Literally, they begin getting knots in their stomachs, or find that they have endless sore throats, stiff necks or coughing fits.
All this because they’re trying to censor their voices, or hide their hurts to appear more acceptable, be liked, or retain the approval of those who may not even honour them in the same way.
The emerging artist can be vulnerable.
The emerging artist in them may find itself cringing each time they feel they’ve given away a little bit too much information or shared a little too much of themselves:
What if so and so should read this or find this online? What will my family, children, partner, friends, etc. say, if I were to reveal this about me? What if my employers were to discover this about me? I might be ridiculed, or worse, lose my job.
Of course, if we are dependent on others in any way, these are all valid questions and concerns. We need to live right? We all need to feel loved and accepted right? We need to pay our bills and eat, don’t we? We’ve got to watch our tongues and share only so much, just in case.
But it is that ‘just in case’ energy that can be the real reason we stifle our creativity. It is our fear of being chastised or berated that can kill our creative expression. It is wanted to be loved, and feel safe, that can be the very reason we shout our creative selves down.
Yet when we think of those who have inspired us to create, is it their safety and their sameness that inspired us? Or is it their willingness to stand out from the crowd? Wasn’t it their willingness to go against the tried and tested or challenge an outmoded view, that caused us to say: ‘Wow! I wanna be like that!’
We already know the answer.
We know what causes us to feel truly inspired and the stories, art or artistry we share can, of course, arise out of the seemingly mundane and day to day, for that’s often where the juice of life is.
Yet even then, it is our willingness to reveal those things we may find uncomfortable to share, or those things where we’re unsure of how we’ll be received, that by default are the very things that connect us with those who may most value our sharing.
Whether our creative expression is written, sung, drawn, painted, sculpted, grown, digitally developed or played, it doesn’t matter. It is us, remaining in touch with our authentic truth that gives our sharing power.
So, there are questions we need to ask if we’re really serious about giving our creative expression an outlet and an authentic voice:
- Who is it I’m serving when I create?
- How do I honour those I love, and still share what most yearns to be shared?
- How can I create more freedom in my experience rather than clinging onto illusory safety?
- Is it possible to avoid living in a creative wasteland?
- What is it I’m here for; what am I here to do?
It is through answering these questions with a gutsy honesty, that allows us to find our authentic voice.
What we create may be too out there for some, not out there enough for others. It may be too different for some, not different enough for others. It may be too exposing for some, not exposing enough for others. Yet once we commit to expressing ourselves authentically, these pseudo and surface judgements no longer matter as much.
When we choose to honour our inner yearning to be authentically creative, we find that our strength comes from within. What begins to matter much, much, more, is something deep and long lasting in its impact. That something is:
I feel I was born to do this, share this, create this, in this unique way, with my own unique essence and flavour. Furthermore, when I don’t do this, I do not feel alive.
We come to find that feeling truly alive is more important than simply being alive. It is then that our creative voices begin to pour through us in all the ways they can. It is then that we are truly blessed. For we have found and honoured our inner yearnings, and their gift to us is the gift of life.
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