As the sun goes down on another 7 degree day, my heart is warmed by several conversations I had this week regarding my personal identity. I have always prided myself on being “complex.” One of my favorite quotes out there is from Alice in Wonderland.
I have told a few of you out there that I can go so much darker in these blogs but have been leery to do so. Aren’t people looking for hope and inspiration? But to me, writing is truly about delving into the darkness. Edgar Allan Poe was one of my childhood heroes. Why is the darkness constantly calling me in a world where presenting a smiling, happy face is so important?
I have spent my life becoming a version of polite society’s ideal. I was fascinated by glossy New York Times Sunday Magazines from the age of 7, planning out every aspect of an accomplished life.
If I did what I was told, I would succeed.
If I tested well throughout school and got a good job, I would be happy.
The trick is that all that studying and working leads to not developing an identity separate from all that studying and working. Or at the very least, suppressing it. Or at the very worst, allowing your self worth to completely depend upon your academic and career success.
The good news is that once you start to weed through all of that, you realize that there could be a whole other self that peeks through at times but is never allowed to stay for very long. For me, it’s realizing one of my primary drivers of wanting to write; it is because there is an artist within. I have always known she was there, but never took her very seriously. It was only through a recent conversation with my husband that brought to light the obvious.
You are happiest when you are creating.
This revelation is crystal clear when you roam through my childhood memories. I will save those creation descriptions for a lighter post, because there is definite and complete hilarity there, to which my closest friends will attest.
Of course, I am not running out to quit my job or demean my own career successes. But in my journey of realizing what truly makes ME happy so that I have the energy to give back to everyone else that needs my support, it is clearly nurturing my artist’s soul. And much of that recognition begets that sometimes that soul is a dark one. That understanding is actually the most comforting realization of all. More to come…