I have always tended to shy away from the things that make me feel uncomfortable. In School, for instance, I hated participating in anything creative. I laughed and joked about it, I tried to convince everyone that the only reason I hated it was because I couldn’t see the point given I wasn’t creatively inclined. And in some ways, that’s true. Lowest marks ever awarded in a 1st year art exam, I believe. I was oddly proud of that lack of achievement because it validated my beliefs. And okay, while I’ll never win the Turner Prize, I think my lack of artistic expression was more to do with negative self esteem and chronic self consciousness. I was sure everyone bought into my lack of ability, but thinking back, I vaguely remember a comment on a School report from my Art teacher along the lines of Kirsty can do well if she stops worrying and focuses. It was the same scenario in any subject that wasn’t based in cold, hard facts. Creative writing assignments were a favourite amongst English and History teachers, and were ones that I failed miserably at. For days I would agonise over making my report seem interesting and well developed. I was mortified handing it in for assessment, even more so if I was called upon to read it aloud. Things only made sense if they had a purpose, were logical and analytical.
I’m an avid reader, I love books. Books have shaped my life and at times given me a sense of purpose. My partner and I had a conversation about this recently, and somewhat surprisingly concluded that I dislike fiction that is overly descriptive, too filled with fluff. I like enough information to creatively build the characters and imagery in my head, but I don’t want someone else’s impression imposed upon mine. I appreciate that the Author wants to share the world they have built with the reader, but as with any poem, piece of art, song or musical composition, the meaning and interpretation varies from person to person. Should that not also be the case for works of fiction?
I’ve been struggling emotionally over the past few days. I’ve been feeling the familiar self doubt begin to creep back in and take hold of my rationale. It came to a head this Morning with some shouting and a lot of tears. Ultimately, I don’t feel as though I have made as much progress in life as I ought to have done. I was becoming fixated on that and how that reflected on me as a person. If I focus only on what I have to do, I feel overwhelmed, but then punish myself for not doing enough. I’m continually setting myself up to fail.
Most Evening when I sit down to write, my fingers move on auto pilot and I let them, because it always helps. If someone had said to me 15 years ago that I would be writing a blog and enjoying it, I would have laughed at them and asked what the point was. But, here I am. And you know what? I get it now. Without a creative outlet, we’re just machines working towards an ever changing goal.We all need something to give us purpose, to remind us that we’re human. I do feel self conscious about my postings, I realise that I’m not most peoples cup of tea, but this is the creative outlet that I’ve chosen and I’m sticking to it.
I bet my English teacher would be proud.
Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it?