Creativity Is A Celebration Of Who You Are.
I embrace creativity, and am not (too) afraid to display it because it is a celebration of my uniqueness. A poem is imperfect. Painting is not perfect.
Perfection can never be achieved because each is original, mine, and has no rules. I am not praised because I am especially talented at writing or otherwise. I am praised, if you really consider it, because I had the courage to try. And intertwined with that is, I had the courage to share.
We often shut down our creativity. Or like me, never brave enough to share it.
If I create something that isn’t stellar according to critics, and what is accepted as skill, it is still applauded by others because it’s as if I just stood in front of myself and said, “It’s okay to not be the best. It’s okay to not be recognizable by the public for this skill. It’s okay to not have much of a skill at all. It’s okay to be me.”
And that proclamation feels good for everyone. They clap and smile for me, not for the tangible result.
The one who is praised here is not the one who sells his piece of art, the book, or achieves a conventional award or accolade. As told in his poem The Rhodora, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “Then beauty is its own excuse for Being.”
There is no purpose for you being creative and making art, but simply for it to be created. It is an expression of yourself that says you like you for who you are, right now, as you are.
Creativity is a form of play for adults, in a sense, and in this play the benefit also lies in the moments in which you allow your mind to be free enough to nurture that creative expression to come out. The one who is praised is the one who gets in the ring.
The one who is brave is the one who, though not the best, nor technically trained, puts themselves out there and tries.
The great poet Rainer Maria Rilke proposes the question, “Must I write?” in his Letters to a Young Poet, and urges, “Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I must’, then build your life in accordance with this necessity…” Yes, Rilke!
For me, I feel the assent like a balloon being administered pressured helium. I write because I must. Like a pot filled with water, my thoughts can be the burner tumbling the water around, boiling until the top dances with a stuttering need to be released.
When I permit the rolling boil and take my top off, the steam rises up and fills the air with its soft fire. Ideally, I’ll keep the top off until enough has gotten out, that I can comfortably turn down the heat, and all feels settled.
And I paint because, why not? It’s a challenge and each item is a journey. An idea, that inevitably morphs into its fate through the course of the piece.
When I initially sit down in front of a canvas, a fury of progress ensues, but only to be set aside, the canvas covered but undone, paused while its life develops. It’s a frustrating skip in the beat, but one just as necessary to endure and allow.
I set it aside to see from a distance, already saturated with my micro-perception as the artist. It blends into my life and home, invoking uncertainty with each intra-abode pass I make.
It’s an unfinished piece launching itself into my space, seeking me, reminding me, just by being, of the peace that comes with allowing desire to solidify. When I am not quite sure where to go with my piece, I know, given enough time, it will tell me.
Forgoing the impulse to fill in the white spaces that nag at my mind, and the pulling need to leave things finished. My paintings have all taught me to sit with the incomplete, and rest calmly with these stages of progress.
The same is true for writing; letting my piece marinate will often enhance my message.
I used to save every copy of the poems I wrote. I felt that the original, just how it tumbled out of my mind, was as important as the refined and finished work.
I kept all their scratched copies, as if it was unjust to discriminate and prefer one adjective to another, and nitpick over one verb owing to the esoteric differences I felt for the next. That how my thoughts spilled out were just right the way they were.
However, I later learned that editing is not insulting, but the mark of a perseverant artist. But knowing that I treasured my own first drafts really mimics how I feel about myself as a person.
Every trip up I made to get to the point where I walked smoothly was a beautiful evolution, a journey made by connecting each point in my adventure, one no less worthy that the last.
Creation is a joy, and a celebration of who you are. A practice in calming your critical voice, a lesson in exposure and vulnerability. It is a piece of the complicated you who is waiting, like nascent potential, that you have the opportunity, every day, to let out and smile at.
Allow yourself to create, to feel despairingly frustrated, childishly excited, fearfully insecure, and ultimately, proud and resilient. These are the qualities of the young child who marvels at the snowflakes, and fingers Play-Doh for hours.
Cultivate he mind of one who is still filled with wonder and curiosity about the world around us and the countries inside us. And most importantly, allow yourself the process. No infant ever quit trying to walk because she fell. Give a hand to the beauty inside, and let her try.
Melanie Di Stante is a registered dietitian, and has a background in writing for both lay and professional audiences. However, her passion lies in poetry and creative writing. Melanie believes that we humans are creative people and our history, make up and character come together to make our worldview and thoughts, which thereby are creative things of beauty.