Being creative is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying aspects of self-expression that we can engage in. When we allow ourselves to be creative, we allow our feelings and experiences to flow from us into something else. We can use what we create to reflect on who we are as individuals and enrich our lives. That is why creative expression is important.
As Adults, We Limit our Creativity
Do you remember as a child how excited you were to finger paint and make something?
If you can take a deep breath, close your eyes, and go back to that time in your life and feel that surge of excitement again. Do you miss it? My guess is you long for the days when you had that freedom still.
Then why do we limit ourselves now?
I cannot answer that question for everyone, but the older we get, the more we begin to become aware of the judgment and preconceived perceptions of ourselves and others.
Go with me for a moment and let me give you the perfect example of something senseless I did to myself.
Denying Myself the Beauty of Red
The color red signifies many things, but at its core we can agree that it is the color of extremes. For example, red is a symbol of life and energy because our blood is red. We also associate red with love, lust, passion, anger, power, and danger. Red is the international color that tells people to stop.
Unfortunately, due to immaturity, I stopped allowing the color red in my life for many years. Yet, I have always had a panache for classic red lipstick and the stunning nature of red roses.
I’m about to make a confession…
When I was married to my ex-husband we lived across the street from his brother and his wife. My then sister-in-law loved the color red and wore it often. She even decorated her entire kitchen in red apple décor. I hated it!
Digging a little deeper, and with hindsight being what it is, I was severely insecure with myself and had felt cheated that she and my brother-in-law got engaged before I did. Why? Because my ex-husband and I had been together longer than they had and he proposed to me three months after they became engaged. So, I fostered a seed of jealousy and became insecure for a long time. Along the same lines of the insecurity issue I had I also envied her ability to draw attention to herself and her bubbly extroversion.
So, I decided I would never again allow the color red to be in my life, except at Christmas time. How foolish can a person be? It’s ok you can laugh or better yet come over here and kick my butt. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself.
I’m a little older and wiser now, and even I shake my head at this idiotic denial of the color red to myself.
Spiritual Awakening to Red
Fast forward a few years then I went through the painful process of divorce. During this phase of my life I took the time to reflect on my previous experiences, associations, and identity. That is when I realized how foolish I had been when it came to this color, and I decided I would change it.
At that time, I said I was no longer going to deny myself things I had foolishly put aside, and I decorated my bedroom in red. After that I began to fall in love with the color again. Yes, I even went out and bought my first tube of red lipstick!
However, I had yet to create with it entirely until recently. Over the past year I have noticed a trend in my falling back into the same color inspirations of blue, purple, and emerald green. It was not conscious choices; I just happen to prefer the cooler end of the color spectrum the most.
Therefore, when JJ helped me create a space to explore my photography here at our new home I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Man I Feel Like a Woman!
For some time, I had been musing on an idea that popped into my mind that I could not shake. I wanted to create an image of an elegant lady dressed in black, wearing gloves, a choker, and a top hat while lighting the background up in vibrant red! I also knew she needed to have dark brown hair, but I had no idea why.
It didn’t hit me until my model, Chelsea (also a former bridal client of mine), messaged me and told me she would love to model for me after I put out a call. All of a sudden I knew where the idea I had in mind came from!
As a kid I LOVED Shania Twain! Does anyone remember her music video, “Man I Feel Like a Woman?” If not I have included it below, does something look familiar? LOL, there is no telling how the inspiration stayed in my mind this long.
Setting My Creative Expression Free
So, Chelsea came over, and we had a fantastic time creating together! I let myself create without limits, and it was freeing. I know my model said she felt beautiful and sexy in her shoot, but for me it was about allowing myself to love a color I had denied for silly reasons.
The creative process and letting ourselves fall into it helps our mental states. We can use it to reflect on our lives and cope with our feelings. Self-expression is so vital to who we are, and we need to find ways to let that out. Creative activities do not have to be limited to painting or photography because they can be applied to anything we do if we only allow it. If you need inspiration, go listen to a piece of music or watch a movie you enjoy and see where your mind takes you. For further discussion about sources of inspiration, check out my recent post about it here.