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The Creative Struggle: How Do We Label Ourselves?
The labels we try to place on ourselves to define who were are can really suck the life from us.
For the past 30 years I’ve wrestled with who I am as a person. I’ve struggled with the proper labels to place upon myself, and at times, it has almost driven me to complete madness.
As a person with endless ideas and creativity, it brings a unique challenge to my daily life. While many people would consider such a gift a tremendous blessing, it can often feel like a horrible curse.
It’s rare for others to understand this experience.
Knowing you have a world of opportunities in front of you is exhilarating. Being able to chase your dream and create whatever you desire is priceless. The problem is knowing you can’t do them all because life is too short, and realizing the wrong choice could be catastrophic to your future and finances, is both depressing and terrifying.
It’s a weird spiritual torment that can anguish and kill your soul. Sometimes it feels like being trapped in hell.
Figuring shit out ain’t easy.
We all know life isn’t easy. It doesn’t come with a handy learner’s manual to guide us in our decision making process. Sometimes the best we can do is just fake it until we make it. Or die trying.
Life is hard for anyone to figure out. But it can be even more difficult for creatives because our brains are wired differently than most humans. This messed up wiring can really cause us to be fucked up!
Creatives hope to find our way through the forest of ideas but there are too many paths to consider. The possibilities are without limits but the decision making process is excruciating. Plus we want to produce work that’s worthy to others and make a living from our talents.
These situations might seem trivial to others, but to us, it can feel like life or death. Therefore we live in a constant state of uncertainty. That's just how it is but there is hope.
Finding and accepting the truth.
As a creative, there comes a time when most of us have to accept the reality of our situation and we will have to place a label on ourselves or simply choose a direction for our own sanity.
We will have to understand there is no linear path, no straight connections, and no guideline to follow. We are the freaks of the world that have been granted a wonderful gift which brings unique adversities.
Overcoming analysis paralysis has to our priority or we will never produce the art we hope to make. And not giving a shit about what others think is a part of that process.
There’s a very good chance you or I won’t make it, but I guarantee you will never realize your potential or reach any destination until you move forward … in any direction! This I have learned.
I am a creative. That’s good enough.
So back to the beginning. For years I’ve battled with what to call myself or where to plant my flag.
Designer. Illustrator. Writer. Artist. Speaker. What am I???
My diverse experiences and work in the creative industry over 34 years make me a rare unicorn. I’ve pretty much done it all and it’s been an incredible adventure. Yet I still kept trying to find myself. Until now.
Coming to terms with who we are isn’t easy because we overcomplicate the entire process by thinking about it too much. Guilty as charged!
Today I’m choosing to simply call myself a creative. And that’s good enough.
I don’t want to be confined to doing one thing or restricted by what is sellable in the marketplace. Unleashing my creativity is the way, however it manifests itself or wherever the journey takes me.
Because if I don’t, the perpetual state of hell will exist and rob me of any peace, joy, and happiness for the future. Art will not be created and words will not be written. No one will be served by this. Your gifts and mine must be put into the world regardless of the outcome.
If you’re in the creative space maybe you can relate. Perhaps you’re fighting yourself to figure it out. Just realize you’re not alone.