The keyboard feels strange under my hands. It’s not that I haven’t typed these past few months…it’s that I haven’t written and it feels strange to have to put thoughts together in my mind and then translate them coherently and linguistically onto the screen.
I have mentioned in this blog before that I create, that I am an artist. I have also mentioned that I work. It is this work that I have allowed to completely take over my life, my whole life, since the beginning of summer. If I were to equal it to a god or king, I would say it was a nice master: it offered me possibilities to be powerful, to manage, to think and solve problems, to feel useful. But I allowed myself to think that it was okay to give my life over to this god, this god that really doesn’t deserve this kind of power.
I noticed myself sinking into this job more and more and not having anything else to talk about. I literally could not grasp other conversations that didn’t relate to a job experience or problem or personnel concerns. And once I noticed this, I felt so far down that hole that I didn’t know how to get out. I would sit quietly trying to think of other things, of life, of poetry, of writing down my own unique thoughts, of creating beauty and art.
When I would sit quietly like this, I would get a blank slate. It would remain blank for minutes on end.
The only possible solution at that point was just to sink deeper into work. So I did. For a while. But I am, deep down, beyond the control freak, beyond the problem solver, beyond the calculating person, a creative, a restless, impulsive soul. While my own unique thoughts did not return to me overnight, my body began to act in a depressive state. I became sluggish in my own home – but ironically not at work.
I began to see, in the blankness of my mind and thoughts, that I had to start creating a space for my thoughts. I took a weekend trip with my husband, and amazingly enough did not talk about work at all. I had conversations with him, like I used to in the past. Nothing earth shattering, but it felt so good to just be, to enjoy life, to enjoy sitting for hours on end sipping a cup of coffee and just talking.
I took a collage journaling class – wildly expensive – in the woods high above Santa Cruz. I went without any expectations, allowing myself to merely learn techniques and not expecting any art to come about. I saw myself move through the room picking up everything on hand, playing like a child, creating, having creative thoughts, and starring instead into a canvas filled with possibilities, no longer blank.
I have gone back to exercising. I am older now, and I’m not getting up to speed as quickly as I once did. But my body is letting me know that it has this, that it still remembers how to flow smoothly through the calm waters of the pool. I get to enjoy Sunday afternoons by the poolside, in these gorgeously hot October California days. And I get to brave the cold mountain nights as I hit the pool after work. But my body has this, and as my body keeps sending me signals like that, my brain starts to churn out thoughts, ideas.
My brain is beginning to work again, in the sense that it is meshing back with who I am. It is still a brain, so it is trying to logically work out a solution to this problem. How many hours should I dedicate to writing, to cooking new recipes, to new traveling adventures, to art? What I do know now is that balance is necessary.
What I also know now is that my creativity has often been looked at, by me, as a means to an end; a way towards a creative business, an endeavour towards success. But that is not the case. It is merely a means towards life, towards keeping away the blank canvass that can devour us whole.
And because of that, my creative restless soul still whispers.