Never Stop Creating
I've always been drawn to the creative arts. I took my first piano lesson when I was 6. I picked up drumsticks for the first time when I was 9. I stepped on stage for my first role in a play at 11(I played Odysseus because none of the boys in my class wanted to). At 18 I helped run a 3 day arts festival. I wrote a novel at 21, and I produced my first feature film at 22.
In a sense, I have been a “jack of all trades, master of none” in the creative realm. I have never been able to get enough of being around creative minds. Whether that be in a photography class, in the pit at a show, or working on a movie set, I always feel at home.
I have struggled with my self-esteem for a long time, well over half of my life; but somehow that falls to the wayside when I am creating something. I still cannot quite put my finger on what makes this true, but maybe the innate concept of art allows us the freedom to be who we are and who we want to be. Most of the moments in my life when I have felt most comfortable in my own skin have happened on a stage, behind a camera, or as I’ve helped run a production team.
That doesn’t mean all of those moments have been easy for me. Almost all of them have come as a result of me facing some of my biggest fears. I have found it is easier for me to overcome a hurdle in my life when it is coupled with something I love. I have the safety and comfort of my passion to give that gentle nudge of encouragement so I can face the challenge presented before me. That is the best kind of place to grow, change, and heal.
I think another contributing factor to the feeling of home I associate with art, is the community I experience. Some of my deepest and most meaningful relationships I have are with people I make art with, and those I feel safe sharing my creations with. Being able to be vulnerable and say, “Hey, I made this and I want to share it with you,” or “Let’s make something together,” takes courage and creates lasting bonds, because art is not just the thing you create, it is the relationships built and strengthened with the people you create and share with.
One of my greatest creative role models, Pete Wentz, once said,
“[A]rt begins as what you create, but takes on a life of its own when it's consumed.”
Art and creativity are not stagnant things. They affect us as individuals and within our relationships, they change based on the way they are being consumed. And we get to be changed, sometimes even healed, through creating and experiencing art.
So I’d like to challenge you to create something. You don’t have to write a novel, record an album, or star in a movie (But if you want to try any of that, more power to you!). It can be something small; make up a new word, pick up your guitar that has been collecting dust in the corner, make a YouTube video about your cat. There is something cathartic in looking at something you’ve created and being able to say, “I made that.”
And maybe your art isn’t what people traditionally associate with the word. Maybe you create research papers, or high school history lessons, or computer programs. Be creative with the definition of art. As you sit there reading this, you are breathing and that is one of the most beautiful forms of art and creation possible. So use that as your fuel. Be true to who you are and keep creating.
You might find part one of my challenge to be the easy step, because the second part is sharing your creation with someone else. Give your art life. Allow others to experience the piece of you that went into your creation.
I understand if that sounds scary; I still have a moment of terror when I let go of something so personal and open it to compliment or criticism. But share it with someone you trust. Share it with other creators. Share it with someone who will be honest with you, then go make a better version of your creation or move on to another project. Just never stop creating.