Creatively thinking: Back when I created how I wanted to

When I was in high school and college I wrote and sketched and photographed what I wanted without much thought to how it might upset or bother someone.

I would definitely say I was much more in tune with my creative brain back then. I stayed up late creating either through drawing or writing, rarely concerned with someone seeing my work and casting judgments about it being “proper” or not.

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During that stage I wrote poems like “Living Statue” but never showed them to anyone. After all, poetry wasn’t really my thing – my brother was the poet. Plus, what would people in my life think about me writing about the half-naked model in my college art class. An offside about that, I had no idea we’d be drawing half-nude models when I signed up for that class.

I went to a smaller state school and had no idea they were progressive enough to allow such things. Imagine my pleasant surprise at being given the chance to sketch the human body, but also imagine my complete embarrassment at being asked to stare at that human body for an hour class. Luckily my art teacher wasn’t progressive enough to provide a completely nude model. Ha! I might have passed out during class.

Over the years my poor brain took a beating from the judgments of others and I, sadly, let those judgments affect how I created. Even sadder is that sometimes I still do. Echoing in my head are voices of the past scolding me for creating the way I wanted to, squelching what I really want to say or show.

To this day, I find myself thinking: “Who will be offended by this?” “What Christian will call me out and tell me I’m not Godly enough?” or “Who will remind me (again) they only hire photographers who pose their color-coordinated dressed family with perfect backdrops?”

Luckily I find myself doubting what I create a little less than I used to, hoping I can someday get back to the early days of not caring what others think, knowing there will be some who like what I create and some who don’t and accepting that I can’t make everyone happy.

How about you? Have you found your creativity has become more stifled or more open the older you’ve become?

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When you finally get sick of trying to make everyone happy

I wrote a blog post this weekend and a day later I deleted it because I realized it was another example of me trying to appease other people who I may or may not have offended and darn it to heck, people, I’m tired of kissing the feet of every Tom, Dick or Harry who is offended by the world.

I spent six years of my life cowtailing to a group of people in my life, desperate to change who I was so they would like me and I would fit in with them, only to be constantly reminded I didn’t. I’m in my fourth decade of life and I just don’t have time for the game called Popularity where no one wins.

I remember changing posts on Facebook or deleting them after private messages were launched at me about my thoughts on faith or my son’s so-called private school that turned out to be some weird cult where you died if you left it. Trust me, I prefer being dead to those people than when I had to cage who I was to be sure I didn’t offend them.

Was it all their fault? No, but yes. No, because it was up to me to ignore those who are chronically offended but yes because they were chronically offended.

I used to hide feelings, what movies I watched, music I listened to, books I read or beliefs I held just to be sure I didn’t offend them. I made sure I didn’t comment, even on my private page on Facebook, because the cult apparently had people stalking me and I would find warning, scolding emails or Facebook messages to me and once I was even called to remind me what I was and was not allowed to say online. That’s no way to live but it wasn’t until they started doing it to my son that I had finally had enough.

So when I wrote that blog post to try to appease someone I knew I had pissed off and who, as usual, chose not to speak to me about it, but act out in other ways, I realized I had fallen back into the same butt-kissing, floor groveling, sad, pathetic person from my past. The one who begged people to like her. The one who was willing to change who God made her to be so others would accept her. The one who was sick and tired of the cold shoulders, the pursed lips and the sideways glances through narrow-slit eyelids.

People, please. Don’t keep bowing to people who don’t even care enough about you to ask how you are or who, most likely, don’t even care the way you think they do. Don’t be like me and project your feelings onto them. Don’t think they are sitting there hating you, or loving you, when they may not be. Just be you and forget what everyone else thinks – to a point. I don’t mean intentionally offend people or get up in their face but just write what you want, if you feel it needs to be said, draw what you want, listen to what you want and watch what you want. I don’t really want you to listen to trashy music or watch a bunch of violent sex-filled movies so don’t go too far here but you know what I mean, right?

Let’s just stop trying to make everyone like us and accept not everyone is going to and if they don’t like you for who you are then they don’t need to be in your life anyhow – no matter how good of a friend they used to be.