I just got done re-reading Hugh McLeod’s “How to be Creative” http://gapingvoid.com/2004/07/25/how-to-be-creative/ and finished the first poem I’ve written in a long while (you guessed-it’s a love poem). It seems to me that doing anything original with one’s life is going to require a good deal of pain. Because people who break the mould are likely to make a few mistakes along the way, and really wanting anything entails a certain degree of anguish, especially if you are going to forge your own path to getting it. Not to mention, people won’t always like you. They will think you arrogant, clueless, and weird for doing things differently. SO much of the time, it will feel like no one understands. You won’t have any one to model your life on; your friendships will change when you ask people what to do, take other perspectives in, then do your own thing. You won’t be able to hang out with just anybody if you do what you really want and figure out what it means to act like yourself, and do it routinely.
That’s not to say you are above criticism- nope, every day is another day of self-examination, learning, and growth if you don’t want to become a prisoner of your own self design.
Life is so hard when you see the possibilities and create something out of nothing. There is ambiguity along every step of the path, and the act of creation is a painful, gut-wrenching decision making process. At least you eventually get to figure out your own style and that savoir-faire makes deciding a little easier, but bearing the consequences will always be difficult. Not everything you touch will be a success, and course-correction or some other kind term for fixing what you f**ed up will be your byword. Like the Buddha says in one of those Four Noble truths, Life is full of pain.
And you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself when things go wrong.
There is a bright side, though.
If you choose to see your life as an exploration, and not a series of trial and error experiments, you can find the beauty in anything. And that’s what being creative is about, turning haphazard elements into something beautiful.
So much of life is an aesthetic choice. Despite the toxicity and pain of the relationship that I tested this hypothesis in, I still hold to the hypothesis that falling in love is a question of what you find beautiful. What is it about that combination of features or characteristics that delights you? Can you break it down? If you overanalyze like I can, you’ll know what to compare him to. Same goes for a career. Isn’t it pretty wondrous I am getting my freaking MBA after my longest paid-gig was as an English teacher’s assistant? Wow, life. And now all of a sudden I blog compulsively- whatevs. Think about your favorite plot- be it Disney movie, romcom, hero movie, or cerebral French film. What makes it beautiful? You can’t control the narrative arc of your life, but you can make your choices reflect something moral and lovely. And remember, character is destiny.
You fell. So brush yourself off and let yourself cry out those tears. Let the pain go, and see what remains. Do you like what you see? Can you change it? Sure as hell the answer is yes, at least some of it. Life is not simple or easy, but it is up to you to make it beautiful.