once upon a time a creative was told she couldn’t leave her house. to many of my fellow creatives, this may very well feel like the end of a tragic story,and for quite a while i thought it was the end of mine.
but then i remembered something: creatives get to write their stories. and then rewrite them. and edit and omit and rewrite them again. as someone very much inspired by my surroundings, being told that they wouldn’t change for an indefinite amount of time felt like a life sentence, or maybe even a death sentence. but what’s beautiful is that life goes on until it doesn’t, and i’m still alive. and if you’re reading this post right now, then you are too. it may not feel like it, it may feel like the quality of life for a caged social butterfly couldn’t get much worse, but you’re alive, and that’s a pretty great quality to have.
now, i’m not saying that being trapped in my house isn’t bad at all and that i’ve enjoyed every last bit of unending family time, or, as my family calls it, “mandatory fun time” (which in general i enjoy very very much), but what i am saying is that it could be a whole lot worse. i could be trapped in a house with no family. i may be lonely because i haven’t seen my friends in i-don’t-even-wanna-count-how-long, but at least i’m not literally alone! it can always be worse my friends, and while that may be a tough mindset to step into, it’s so helpful.
a few weeks ago i started reading this book called “gratitude daily” by a woman named Nataly Kogan. it’s a 21-day process of becoming more joyful and less stressed, and i don’t know about you, but i’m feelin’ a whole lotta that last option! there’s a lot going on right now, a whole lot to think about and, in turn, to be stressed about. for instance, school. i’m in school to become a private pilot, and, as you can imagine, i can’t fly in my house! now i will say i have a (very) slight advantage because i was homeschooled from fourth grade through graduation, so schooling at home is not foreign at all to me, and for that i am grateful, but there’s only so much a pilot can do at home!
because what i’m able to do is severely limited, thinking about going back to school is VERY stressful. (note the fact that i used capital letters. i don’t use capital letters. that’s how stressed i am). i worry constantly about how rusty i’ll be when i go back, how i lost all my muscle memory and will have to basically relearn all the basics. i worry what my instructor (shoutout to Luis who is a beast and i love him) will think about all the nothing i’ve been doing at home because can i be real for a second?? i have zero motivation to study when it feels like eternity is stretched out before me in a never-ending month of march! (yes, i am aware it is april but also yes, i did have to double check). to say the least, this time, while it may be physically relaxing, is quite stressful on my already stressed mind.
okay, enough about school cause i’m getting stressed as i’m writing this. let’s talk about what this is like for creatives. like i said earlier, my external environment stimulates my internal world— creativity is very much influenced by the world around us. shortly after this whole quarantine started, creatively i was in a funk. not necessarily because of lack of inspiration, but because my mind wasn’t in the right place. i was so frustrated and consumed by the fact that my freedom was being taken from me for something that wasn’t directly affecting me (don’t call me selfish, call me honest). all i could see and focus on was what was in my way, making me upset, and killing my mood like, everyday, and because of that i was blinded to all the things around me that were still so beautiful.
just in case you’re feeling the same way, i’ll list a few that i think in general we all may have to be grateful for. i’m grateful for my family. we play games together all the time, watch movies, get to eat meals together now, and enjoy laughing and just sitting a talking for hours. i’m grateful for my bible that keeps me growing even in a time that feels so stagnant, and my virtual group to study it with! i’m so grateful that we live in a technological age where i can still keep in touch with my friends. i’m grateful for books keeping me entertained, along with netflix of course. i’m grateful for life and health, as soooo many people are having that stripped away from them; may we never take this for granted. my friends, life is still so beautiful. we still have so much to live for. we have so many ways to stay connected with our family, friends, and the world around us. please don’t take that for granted, so many don’t have this beautiful privilege.
my creatives, i wanna challenge you to look outside of your normal place of inspiration. if you normally go outside, sit in your living room or on your bed and look for something you’ve never noticed before. change the way you look at and see the things or people around you, there’s a lot more world inside your home than you may think, take it from me, i’ve been in here a long time haha. one thing i’d highly recommend is a poetry prompt book! i have been using the 365 prompt book from little infinite poetry. i love it because it has challenged and pushed me outside of my normal style of writing and it’s been keeping me growing everyday!! 11/10 recommend!
for my visual artists, i know there’s only so much to see inside your bedroom, but that’s what i want to challenge you to look at. look around your room, your house, your backyard, anything. find something that’s so normal you don’t notice it. find it? good. now i want you to re-imagine it. deconstruct it and put it back together with acrylic, with watercolor, with a pen or pencil. with a sketchpad or a notebook i want you to recreate your world. do you wish your bed was outside? paint it! ever imagine the stars were close enough for your iphone camera to capture them? draw them closer. the world is big, very big, but you, you make it a little bit smaller. you are the one that lassos the moon and brings it closer to home. writers, you are the ones that can fit the world into a page, the ocean into an ink pen. creatives, you are powerful. we are powerful. our bodies may be in boxes right now, but our minds don’t have to be.the bird isn’t caged until it believes it can’t get out, and you can get out of this. we will get out of this.