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Creatively Stuck

Are you here? Or is it just me?

I don’t know what it is. But I am stuck. I can’t move. I can’t make. I can’t even start. It’s scary and there is no plan and I have no idea where to begin. I don’t know where I am going. There is so much I want to learn but I cannot seem to think of anything, all at the same time.

Where do I start? How do I make the first move? I mean, why should I? I’m busy. I have a house to maintain. There are dishes to do, laundry to fold, and a lawn to mow. How dare I take time to make something, that, in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, “matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.”

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Are you with me?

Who I am as a person has always been more than my daily tasks. At my core I am a maker, a creative, and a lover of color and craft. During this quieter season of “daily essentials” I have continued on my path as an admirer of beautiful work, but I have not been the one creating it. & it’s chipping away at my soul. There is something in me that is begging to be released. My creativity is killing me, and pushing me forward all at the same time.

I recently went back to counseling again, which I have always talked about here, as a positive part of my life. I will continue to believe that there is not an ounce of shame, but rather great strength, in seeking out counseling to improve managing our lives and working on becoming better people. (note to my fellow military spouses, counseling is a completely covered benefit under Military One Source!!) I was recently listening to Brene Brown’s Rising Strong on a long road trip I took with my kids, and constantly heard stories of her and her therapist’s journey. Why can’t we welcome professional help openly & deem it a sign of great strength? Don’t we all want to be better? Do better? Well I do. & what I know is that my counselors through the years have helped me connect the dots in ways I couldn’t myself. & recently, my creative block has been a big part of my work in therapy. To be more specific, why am I NOT being creative? How is this impacting my life, and the lives of the other people under my roof that have to deal with my pent up creativity? & probably, most importantly, do my talents have to generate income, for me to believe they are a valuable part of my life? 

That’s a biggie right there. Did you see it?

Do my talents have to generate income, for me to believe they are a valuable part of my life? 

Well, I know the answer. But it was really hard to admit it. & sometimes, it IS really hard to do something and deem the work valuable if it only serves you. But here’s what I am learning: it doesn’t only serve me. My creative work makes me shine. Like, from the inside, because it makes me so happy. It gives me an outlet that I don’t have while being a mom or a wife or a yogi or anything else. It gives me a sense of self that is greater than my more routine roles. It may not be paid work right now (and that is ok!!) but when I am ready, and find the path that makes sense in the future, it probably could be.

styleberry _creative

I think this is one of the great problems that we moms who leave the work force to raise our kids run into–what deserves our time and attention, aside from our great big job with no paycheck? What defines us, beyond being a mother? and a wife? and a chef and lawn mower and house cleaner? You know what I mean. What makes us happy, and puts us in to that incredible state of flow that Csikszentmihalyi wrote about. I remember reading his book in college and spending all my time in the art studio wondering if this feeling, the one I get when I am creating, is what he meant.

See, this creating. It’s always in there. Yearning, longing. It must find its way out.

I have all these ideas for businesses and working and generating income, but I am going to just let it be for now. I am just going to make. & what comes of that, I don’t yet know–but something will. Because this is the journey. It’s part of my story. Like this blog outlet that I created almost ten years ago while I had a “real job” and was earning a great salary (which, thanks to saving, allows me the opportunity to stay home with my kids), but left me feeling completely unfulfilled.  Then the color consulting business, that turned into a photography business that turned back into just a blog and then babylogs, before I stepped away & hit pause. It’s not all for nothing. & after this podcast (episode #1) socked me in the gut, I am even more convinced. Each part has brought me to this place of discomfort. & maybe, as Brene Brown says, it’s this face down moment when I can see the clearest.

& all I can see, is color and paint and patterns and textures and creation.

So I went to my favorite coffee shop and finally dove into a calligraphy kit that I ordered two years ago. & it felt SO good. I had a moment of flow in my day, and you know what?

Everyone around me felt my joy. & my peace.

It’s not just for me. It makes me the best me.

& everyone benefits from that.

Beautiful lettering above by Stately Type, one of my favorite IG accounts and an awesome pair of makers. We love their work & t-shirts!

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  • Natalie - I am definitely with you in the place of being stuck creatively! I am a part-time working mom and I always have an internal struggle between spending my time on creative activities that feed my soul and other things that I really should be doing to keep a clean home and keep up with my paperwork. I often feel stretched in too many directions, then when I do have time for creating I feel stuck and don’t know what to do! Glad to have you back blogging occasionally! I have been reading your blog since you were pregnant with Caroline :)ReplyCancel

  • Aja - I relate to this so much. You are not the only one here! I realized a few years ago that at my core, I am a Creative. I may not be an expert painter, seamstress, crafter, photographer, etc… but I love trying my hand at any and all of these things and creating something beautiful. It makes me so happy and feel alive inside. I’ve also struggled with using my talents to generate income… it’s tough. But I wholeheartedly agree that we need to give ourselves the grace to just create for the pure act of it.ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - It is so hard to find that fulfillment as a person when we can be so stuck in the weeds as a mother, wife, general caretaker. It’s definitely something I really struggle with. But I am so happy to see you blogging again :)ReplyCancel

  • Lacie - This is probably one of the posts I relate to you the most about. :) As a tomboy is type of girl, I have always struggled with making “pretty” things. I am an engineer by schooling and I always feel like the technical part of my brain and the creative part argue. “You cannot go sew, you have dishes and the floor is dirty…” etc. Its sooooo counterproductive! I get frustrated and discouraged. You are a rock star and will get back into it. I appreciate your post because you have always inspired me with your pretty things and creativity and seeing you blog about feeling the same way I do, makes me feel more normal.

    Thanks girl! :)ReplyCancel

  • shan'tel - I love that quote, thanks for sharing it!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - I’m glad this post ended with you doing the calligraphy, as I was going to write something to the effect of “just start somewhere” since that’s really the hardest part. I’m a single mom with a full time demanding job at a startup and I really love it all. But I realized that I wasn’t making any time to create and losing a bit of myself in the process. So I signed up for a ceramics class – one night a week I have childcare arrangements and I just create pottery for 3 glorious hours. It’s hard and different and wonderful (even when the first several weeks left me with some crappy random “pieces”). I could have never realized what a difference that time would make, but, man, it’s mood altering for me and for my outlook. Glad to see you’re releasing this part of yourself, too, and just keep going :)ReplyCancel

  • The Magic. » styleberry BLOG - […] Have you read it? If you haven’t, run. Buy it. I made the mistake of waiting for it to arrive at the library and one chapter from the end, I amazon prime’d it so I could remove the thirty sticky notes from the library book and switch it to permanent underlines in my very own copy. I want to quote every chapter, because there was something in that beautiful mess of words that spoke right down to my core & moved me in a way no book has in a very long time. Call it the Big Magic, call it fate, call it inspiration. I don’t know. But there are so many connected dots and I am so ready to explore them. Some privately, some publicly. But they are THERE. My curiosity is at an all time high and so many parts of this book helped me see that I have my own permission to be right where I am in my own creative shitstorm. It helped me find peace with all those businesses and the ideas I still have and just weave my own way on this winding path I wrote about last time. […]ReplyCancel

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