Creative Cowardice

I’m free! Just finished my last exam yesterday, and am excited to start holidays and get started on all my summer goals! There are so many things I want to write about, but today I’m just going to ramble about about my creative fears.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but having recently watched Charlie McDonnell’s video, I’m Scared, and Hank Green’s video reply, We’re all Scared I thought now would be a good time to write a little bit about my slightly irrational fears of being creative.

I’ve said before that I am an introvert, but more than that I’ve always been a creative coward. Creating ideas, that’s what I do almost every single second of each day, and put more cynically I’m an over-thinker. Yet, I always hold back on sharing my thoughts and opinions, despite often being told that I seem confident in my outspokenness – whatever that means. I’ve always had trouble choosing which ideas I should share, worrying about which ones other people will like or at least respect as intelligent contributions to the world. I’ve approached many of my personal relationships like this, trying to figure out the other person, read them like a book and see what kind of person they would like me to be. I’m pretty good at it as well, having spent so much time studying myself, my divorced parents and what makes people tick, but I think as a result I’ve also forgotten to think about the Cynthia who I want to create. As Hank Green said, everyone is creating at least one thing, and that is the self. Yet, my creative cowardice has probably stopped me from really exploring and forming my own identity. For example, I often find myself thinking in hypotheticals, about what things would be like if I was more like this or that, but as a result, more often than not, I neglect to even try anything out. It’s strange though, that I worry about who the world wants me to be, when in reality everyone else is probably too busy figuring out who they are to care much about me.

Lately, I’ve been coming across a lot of art that has been made by people I know – writing, photography, drawings and it’s made me really realise how amazing people are and consider what role art plays in that. I don’t think any creation can be objectively viewed as good or bad, they are all expressions of the many facets of life. Perhaps then, it’s not really how eloquently or artistically you can convey messages, but how sincerely you write those messages. If you can put aside your creative cowardice, and truly speak from your soul, whatever you create then holds some intangible value much greater than the sum of the parts you put together. In that same way, if you can approach your own life with sincerity and humility, you will have lived a life much more than the sum of your ‘rights and wrongs,’ whatever those words even mean – though I think that  is a discussion for another post.

I remember in year 11 doing a creative assessment piece in literature which required me to add a few hundred words to any part of Camus’s The Plague.  I remember it being surprisingly easy to plunge myself into the world which Camus had penned and I ended up writing about something along the lines of two bourgeois women gossiping about victims of the plague. The style, and flow were all very similar, but it was simply an imitation. Thinking about it now, if any year 11 student can imitate and follow some great artist’s footsteps then that can’t be what makes a piece of art great. It is not the structure or style that makes the art, instead perhaps it is the choices the artist makes about those things. Those choices are wholly their own, even though the words or colours might not be. That is more than a simple abstract artistic statement in a contemporary art gallery, it is their soul.

“Be yourself” – the simple two words, which get throw almost mockingly at creative cowards all the time, as though there is no more obvious cure to all manners of personality insecurities. But perhaps life really more about making yourself and leaving some unique impact in the awkward maze of life. Make something, anything, but make it yours. How, you ask? Face your fears.

My main fear is that I worry about the transparency of my posts, that people in my life will have some kind of unwanted insight to my flaws and weaknesses. Then as a result, their perspective of me will change and put simply, they won’t like me anymore. Yet, that’s not what remains of great art. Instead, every time a great artwork or literary piece is experienced, as time goes on, it gets more and more removed from the initial stimuli that inspired in the first place and begins to take on a life of its own as it touches people in ways the artist had never imagined. There are no inherent traits or characteristics which make people amazing or inspiring. People are amazing because they choose to share, and loudly proclaim that they have lived. I’m just another ordinary person trying to proclaim to the world my existence. In the end, time keeps going, and the things that have inspired me or the emotions that have influenced my writing will soon be a relic of yesteryear, so what does it matter that people will know more about who I am today?

Tomorrow, I am free to be whoever I want to be.

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