My name is B.D. Thomas, and I have a problem.
There, I’ve said it. It’s off my chest, it’s out of my head, it’s out in the open. That was rather difficult, actually, because I don’t like to talk about this sort of thing with strangers. Now that I’ve said it, though… let’s have a talk.
I suffer from suppressed creativity. Rather I did suffer from suppressed creativity until I broke the cycle of warped emotions in my head which caused me to have a fear of being creative. I want to spend this blog post (and probably the next) discussing how I ended up that way and how it came to be that I broke free.
You see, I grew up in an environment where our creativity was not actively nurtured or even encouraged. Art, music, writing… these were not pursuits which would typically gain my parents’ approval. We were generally discouraged from doing creative and imaginative things. My father would at least encourage reading. He’s a very active reader himself, going through books — usually about war, real and imaginary — as if it’s his job.
I have long suspected it was a reflex on my mother’s part, afraid that I and my younger brother would turn out like two of my older brothers. My oldest brother was a very creative and whimsical type of person. He up and vanished for the better part of 20 years, having run away and become a nomadic “Dead-head”. He’d resurface every now and then, pop in for a day or so, then vanish for another two or three years. We never had any idea where he was, or even if he was alive. Another of my brothers walked out of our lives somewhere in his twenties and never spoke to us again.
The result of this upbringing is that I’ve suppressed my creativity for a very long time. Every year or so I get this intense urge to create something, and I exercise it: drawing, painting, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. I vent out this pressure to create and give life to something, but then experience intense guilt for having created it. I then destroy it, the guilt driving me to erase the evidence of my creativity.
No evidence, no crime, right?
I can’t tell you how many paintings I’ve made and burned over the years, how many drawings I’ve run through a shredder, or even how many times I’ve started a writing project — including this blog post — and then deleted the file. The cycle is predictable, consistent, and persistent: urge, creation; guilt, destruction.
For many young people experiencing such feelings, the problem might correct itself when they go away to college. Being immersed in an environment which encourages deep thought, self expression, and creativity, while outside of the sphere of influence of their parents, typically helps young adults to discover and embrace who they are inside. It brings out the creative thinker from their innermost core and sets him or her loose on the world.
This did not happen to me, because I never had the opportunity to go to college. I came out of high school already working a full-time job and went on working. College was not an option because bills needed to be paid. The cycle continued unbroken.
Breaking the Cycle.
In the past year or so, amid all the turmoil of my life, the emotional roller-coaster I’ve been on, and all the chaos happening around me, I somehow broke through this cycle. I don’t even know how I did it. What changed in my mind and lead me to this moment I can’t even begin to understand or explain. It just happened, all on its own, like some sort of automatic process.
One day, I felt the desire to draw something. I grabbed a pen and paper, and started doodling. When it was done, I stuck it on the wall above my desk with a push-pin and thought nothing of it. A couple of weeks later, I looked up and saw it there, and initially was taken aback by its continued existence. How could this happen? How could I allow it to exist? I needed to destroy it immediately, erasing the evidence that I had created something!
But then I decided to leave it. After all, it had already been there for a couple of weeks and nothing bad had happened. What would be the harm in leaving it another week? I revisited it every week or two for the next two months, and evaluated my feelings on the matter. Is it still there? How do I feel about that? Do I want to tear it down and destroy it? How much do I want to leave it? I felt a little less anxious about it each time, and more happy to leave it hanging there.
Sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake. It took me a while to realize the implication of this simple thing: that I had broken the mental cycle causing me to avoid creativity. I no longer felt shame or guilt in having created something. I felt joy, an entirely new sensation in this context. As I came to realize this, I’d smile when I saw that little doodle hanging there. Things had totally changed, and this opened up new possibilities for me.
Opening New Doors.
I had long felt a certain frustration with this suppression of my creativity, because I feel — and have felt for many years — that I am meant to be a creative person.
I am a creator.
My mind is constantly inventing new and amazing things through the power of imagination and visualization. I feel compelled to channel these creations of my mind out into the world in various mediums. I’m driven to make the world a more beautiful and interesting place by birthing these thousands of mind-babies gestating in my brain. I just haven’t been able to do it because of this creative cock-block, this case of intellectual blue-balls. As a result I’ve been dissatisfied on the deepest possible levels with my life — and in particular my employment — for at least the past fifteen years. My jobs are mind-dulling and do not allow me to express my intelligence or my creativity.
As a kid, I was enamoured with the lifestyle of one of our neighbors. She was an artist (a painter), who spent her days either sipping wine and painting in the studio, or puttering around in the expansive gardens surrounding her house. Living a relatively laid back, relaxed life, she was able to get by without the hassles I saw in the lives of all the other adults I knew. She had no real work stress, no boss, no workplace drama. A full-time creative professional, she just slept and woke on her own natural schedule, painted, played her piano, read a bajillion books (yes I counted them!) and worked in her gardens. Why is everyone’s life not like this, seriously?
Now, as an adult, I reflect back on that and think, “You know… nothing has changed. I still want that life.”
That’s not to say that I literally want her life. I don’t want to copy her life. What I do want, though, is to live a life where I’m not working myself into an early grave at multiple jobs, with nothing to show for it, with no life outside of work to speak of, and stressing 24/7 about where the money for the next rent check or car payment is going to come from.
What Do I Actually Want?
I want a career that doesn’t drain the life from me like a demonic parasite while leaving me without enough money to buy groceries. It would be nice to live my life on my own terms, too. I want to be creating, giving life to the ideas born in my own mind, rather than just producing and/or selling ordinary products for someone else.
Working to enrich myself — rather than a boss — would be nice, and is in fact one of my goals. Enriching the lives and minds of my readers as they consume my product is the ultimate goal. I want to develop myself to my greatest potential to create works of wonder upon which I can be proud to display my name.
I am become the Creator of Worlds.–Me, just now.
To this end — and aside from my work in the field of sarcasmology — I have decided to become a writer. A blogger. An author. A wordsmith. The opposite of Vishnu and Oppenheimer, I am become the Creator of Worlds. However, it will take me considerably longer than seven days per world. (Individual results may vary. Please allow one to two years for delivery. All operators are busy at this time; please stand by while your world is created and loaded.)
All writers become this. Entire worlds and their inhabitants spring into creation and live out their natural lives — are born, and die — entirely in our heads. Sometimes we manage to get them out on paper in the process.
Pursuing Writing as a Potential Career Path.
Seriously, though… I have decided to pursue writing as my creative career path. I love telling stories, painting pictures with words. My hope is that I can become a master of this art form, and eventually leave my “normal” jobs to take up writing as my full-time career. This will likely take a couple of years to happen, but if I’ve made it this far in my old routines, I’m sure I can hold out a little longer while I get my new life started.
This is not a transition I could have made before. Even a year ago I was still suffering from some pretty bad suppression of creativity. In the past year, though, I’ve come a long way toward reversing that problem. Now that I’m able to embrace, nurture, and channel my creativity, I think I’ve unlocked a whole new level of potential in my life, and opened up new paths I can take into the future.
The feeling of release just from this unlocking of my creative spirit is absolutely amazing; I can’t wait to see what it feels like as I move forward with the writing projects I’ve got in progress right now. I almost dare not imagine what it will feel like when I publish my first piece of fiction.
Am I the Only One?
For much of my life, I have felt as if I was alone in the suffering of suppressed creativity. Surely it’s not a normal part of human life, but how many people have actually been through this? I’d love to know, and perhaps discuss it with some of these people if I can find them. If you or someone you know has this problem, please feel free to reach out to me. I would very much like to know about your struggle and how you have learned to cope with it. If you’ve broken through it, I’d like to hear that story as well. With permission from the people who contact me, perhaps I could make a project out of documenting some of their stories.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Well… there were going to be two more blog posts coming on this subject. One focusing on how I embraced my creative spirit after unlocking it, and the other focusing on how I’m nurturing it and nursing it back to health. I’ve since merged them into just one post covering both topics. It still needs a little tweaking, but it’s running on schedule. Stay tuned for that post, which should appear some time in the next week, if I’m able to maintain my once per week posting momentum.
Reach Out and Hit Me.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns, please just reach out and contact me. You can also comment below, if it’s nothing that needs to be confidential. Hell, reach out and say hi. I like to know I’m not just talking to myself! (I do enough of that as it is.)
Social Media and Mailing Lists.
Please come visit and follow me on social media. I try to update the blog once or twice per week, but I’m probably going to be a little more regular on social media, especially Twitter. If you’re not into that sort of thing, that’s fine, too. You can just follow along here, and maybe join the mailing list.
I plan to mail out newsletter messages to the mailing list as things come up worth reporting, and no more than twice per month. I also do not sell or give away addresses or whole lists, so your enrollment on my list is for my use only. You can sign up here.
Check back regularly and see what I’m up to.
See you around!