The agony of creative beauty.
Do you also know of the pain that accompanies creativity? A swelling that pulses inside of you, pushing against the inside walls of your veins, until it finds expression?
Sondra Fraleigh (2004), in her book Dancing Identity:Metaphysics in Motion posits:
“To dance . . . is the struggle to find voice through one’s storied self . . . to face oneself as one faces others and the world–imaginatively. To value dance at all is to value the human, the beautiful, and the playful amid the erotic pulse of life. Dancing gives us the forms of our mind in movement, and it teaches us how to reconnect with our emotions, living them over again, sweeping clean their cellular foundations . . . . What beauty do I most fear and what must die in me for it to live?”
While I am not a trained dancer, I adore moving my body. I also adore the creative dance we, as writers, do with words. But I felt more than just admiration for what Sondra wrote so beautifully about dancing. Sondra’s question haunted me. It brushed the inner folds of my ear in a way that seemed to demand an answer, What beauty do I most fear? And what must die in me for it to live?
My attempt to answer boiled over from a fertile place deep within me. . .
At times, I fear I will fall into a love that is an internal place so far from our conventional world that traversing back will feel like a thousand mile journey.
I fear a beauty, all-encompassing, that stirs, not only tides, but oceans of yearning within me, that pulls me out of my self into a fallen stature of adoration I am not sure I can hold for very long.
If I dance like the gods, I may never dance like a human again.
I may evaporate into a thousand morsels of love, sweet pearls of nectar with a violet red hue that melt on the swollen tongue of all that is beautiful and agonizing, at the same time.
I may begin to adore my awkwardness, noticing the crevices of imperfection as the subtleties that make me unique and beautiful.
What needs to die is my chatter of perfectionism, my insecurity that traps my own beauty from expression, and my fear of elements dying, of being stretched so far that my heart will swell unbearably full. After all, I have had moments of surrender and died a thousand deaths before, but there is an agony to creative expression that I find simultaneously pulling me towards it and pushing me away.
What needs to die is my need to be overly original, to not step outside into the world of judgment until I have everything just right, each miraculous detail tied to a thick rope that never leaves my tightened grip.
But, what if I drop that rope? What then? Perhaps I will fall into the abyss of my creative beauty. The abyss that waits to swallow me whole. Yes, whole. The abyss that is the entry into my path of individuation. The abyss that knows my darkness well and swells into the staggering light I hold at a corner of my heart.
What needs to die is my fear of that bright, dark corner.