I watched a young family next to me at lunch today. The boy was maybe three or four, and his father only wanted to keep him in line. “Sit down. Sit in your chair,” he would say. I know this is something a lot of parents find themselves saying, and in a restaurant you want to keep your child out of the way, for his sake and others’. In this case, though, the boy was in no danger and wasn’t in anyone’s way. He just wanted to be up moving around. He was exploring his world, and his resistance eventually rewarded him with, “I don’t know why I have to keep telling you to sit down,” from his dad. It was all I could do not to say, “Because he’s a small child and the world is just too big and exciting to sit here doing nothing when you could be exploring instead. That’s why.”
As a former teacher, I admit that I have been guilty of the “sit down” sin many times. There are folks out there who have to be moving to get their brains to learn effectively–just like I have to see it and/or write it to make an impression in mine. I find fidgeting distracting unless I’m the one doing it, and a teacher has to control a classroom environment so the rest of the students aren’t distracted, too. But for that one kid, having to sit still is absolute torture.
We aren’t all wired the same, so if we don’t happen to fit someone else’s idea of the right way to be a student, an artist, a dancer, a chef, or whatever it is that lights us up, we think we’re no good. We don’t understand that it’s not us—it really, truly is them.
I’m dreaming up a new KMCC/SoulCollage® course for this coming September, and I have a bunch of different ideas. I’m looking right now at ways that creativity and self-love come together. I know for sure that you can’t be creative if you dislike and distrust yourself (because in that case, you can barely manage to put one foot in front of the other, much less remember that you have an imagination).
Creativity works best when you can be playful, and self-loathing and play are not known for their close relationship. Loving yourself enough to be willing to experiment, on the other hand…those two have a deep friendship that goes back centuries. But almost all of us grew up in environments where we were told to “sit down” and stop wondering about the world, stop playing, and just behave.
I’d love to hear how you come up against issues of self-love in your creative work. I want to know where your frustrations lie and how they keep you from those awesome dreams you have. I want to create this course so that we can all take a step back and find our creative selves again, and really, truly understand that whatever those creative selves look like, they are ours, and they are totally okay.
I hope you’ll join me and leave some thoughts in the comments.