(A post for The Next Chapter’s current book blogging of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin)
Ok, time to play catch up on book blogging of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. Here is my response to Secret 1.
What a serendipitous thing that I decided to do book blogging, and that the book for this read-along starts with a chapter like this…because I have just, in the past couple of weeks, declared my Creative Self. Oh, I’ve always been a writer, and I can make pretty rooms or nice gardens or do a cross-stitch or crochet a little something…things like that. But I never called myself an “artist,” never defined myself through my creative-ness. I also thought of myself as “educated,” “practical,” “smart yet with an artsy side”…not that those things are bad or uncreative, it’s just that I would use the words as a way to shift focus from the artsy side and toward the “practical” side, since that’s the Practical Thing To Do. Hmph. I’m done with that.
Since I’ve blogged about this already, I won’t rehash…I’ll just say that I “get” the author’s message in this chapter: that often if we feel uneasy, uncomfortable, irritable, unhappy, or just plain ill (mentally and/or physically), it is often because we are denying something…and for many women, we are denying our creative-ness, our artistic selves. I might have done creative stuff, and I actually considered myself a creative person (on the backburner from all the practical stuff), but I’d never taken the next step and called myself an “artist.” It was like that was a presumption that, should I make it, would get slapped down immediately by every “real” artist who would be within reach of my declaration. It was because, as I know others have had happen too, I actually had been slapped down before in various ways. There was an incident that happened to me just a couple of years ago that still stings in memory, of a supposed friend insulting/slapping me down in front of a group for daring to do what I was doing. Obviously this person was not a friend…a quite toxic presence, it turned out. And while I know the incident was about her and her issues, not me, it still lingers there in the back of my mind as one of those ugly voices of doubt and shame.
But as I deal with the loss of my mother, who was an artist, I know that to keep denying who I really am is unacceptable. I’m a Creative first and foremost; an artist. All the other things are secondary to that. I don’t care if my art looks like a two-year-old did it (but hey, that might be kinda cute, actually)—I’m just going to create and plow through all the doubts and issues that come up as they come up.
There are four “Keys” in this chapter, and I wanted to comment on how I am working with each one:
- Responding to Creative Callings: I’ve had them for a long time, and I’ve responded in certain ways, avoiding others. I love what McMeekin says: “I finally understood. It was time to redesign my life in line with my limitations and with total allegiance to my truth.” This resonated…I have finally understood that, too.
- Experimenting with New Processes: I’m painting, doing mixed-media, doing pixel art, sketching, using watercolor pencils…and joining creative challenges for more “excuses” to create. I’m also fusing the sacred with art; the Divine Feminine is nothing if not a bubbling cauldron of art and inspiration (and the fact that Imbolc, Brigid’s day, is two days away is not lost on me ;-) ).
- Seeking Success Stories: I’m reading this book, and reading more and more art blogs.
- Learning the Secrets: These will come with time, with trial and error and reading and writing and community.
This first chapter really hit some chords with me…on to the next. :-)