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Monday, February 1, 2016

Being Creative Can Be Heaven & Hell

Having extreme creativity is not always an easy gift to live with. People typically think "oh he's so creative, I wish I could be like that." But its not always awesome. It can plague us in ways that people don't perceive.

Like anything in life, there are pros and cons mixed with anything we get in life. Creativity is the same way.
Imagine if you would that almost every moment of your day is filled with ideas. Ideas which in 90% of the cases cannot and will not ever be turned into reality. I am not talking about ideas which are not conceivable due to technology or because they are too outlandish. I am talking about ideas that literally haunt the creative mind because we know they can be achieved but we will never be in a position to exercise any of those ideas to bring it about. Being poor and creative can be absolute hell.

Imagine, waking up constantly with your head filled with so much "stuff" that you literally have to force it back by humming a song in order to fill your mind with something else until you can get back to sleep.

Conceive of an almost catatonic state where something as simple as a cardboard box or an old tire on the side of the road can halt you in your tracks while you consider something you never thought about before while staring dumbly at the object in question.

These are factors that most never consider when talking about the creative.

I think I turned to art not as an attempt to make pretty things, but as an attempt to rid myself of at least some of the ideas that float through my mind. Being an artist allows me focus. Rather than conceiving a panoply of disjointed ideas, art allows me to zero in on specific ideas and make them reality.

I truly think that some schizophrenics may start out with minds that are so filled that they lose themselves within that maelstrom. Finding a creative outlet helps us to sort through the debris of a cluttered mind. 

Don't misunderstand. I am not complaining. I cherish my creativity. I revel in my ability to focus my ideas into something beautiful and often mind boggling. But it can tire one out. It labels us as odd to those who do not understand. Its not bad now that I am old. As a child it was pure hell. It took me a long time to understand my own mind (as much as anyone is able to do so) and sort through the junk in order to find the ideas that counted for something. 

The social stigma alone when growing up different can lead to a whole host of mental problems. Those who do eventually come out on top deserve a bit of respect for their gifts, but they also deserve some understanding of that gift and its impact upon the persons life. 

Creativity is perhaps the least understood ability. We can understand a child who is adept at math from an early age. We encourage children who show talent as a writer or an engineer or a basketball player. But rarely do we encourage the creative. It frightens us. It marks the child as unusual rather than talented. It can be shunned and made fun of. 

As the person grows, its easier to mark them as that "odd person" rather than seeing that the way they look at life, while perhaps not the way you may look at it, is still an accepted talent that needs encouragement to thrive.

I've been fortunate in my later years to have a great amount of encouragement from those around me and its allowed my creativity to thrive rather than stagnate and make me miserable. For some, art is the way towards that acceptance, but it is not the only way. 

So the next time you run into a child who seems...well just a bit off, show them some encouragement. They may just be holding the next cure for cancer in their heads or the path towards world peace. And always encourage the artists around you because they are the one that have found a path out of the wilderness. 


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