I Was Ashamed to Be Creative

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Tomorrow night, we’re hosting a murder mystery. It’s something I haven’t done since college. But my sister gave us the idea as a potential New Year’s Eve plan, since this was our first New Year’s not in Aruba in many years. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull it together in time for New Year’s. And so, it’s tomorrow night.

I remember the first time I ran a murder mystery. I was a freshman in college, and my mom got me a box set for Christmas. She thought I’d love the creativity and acting in it, since I’d always been creative.

But I was immediately insecure that no one would want to do it. That I’d never be able to get the 10 or 12 people required to play. That people would think it was weird or “playing make-believe.” That they wouldn’t get into character or really dress up.

I couldn’t have imagined my high school friends doing this with me.

Fortunately, I was wrong. My friends jumped at the chance to be in it and got really into character. And we had a ton of fun. And—it’s strange to say—but I think it was one of the first times that I felt completely validated for who I am. That I could be creative and playful and fantastical, too. That I didn’t have to hide any of myself.

It reminds me, too, of a time years and years ago now, that I was reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. And I decided that one of my creativity activities was going to be something I did when I was little—to make paper dolls and play with them. I remember when I was 12, I wrote a screenplay about high school social dynamics, objectification, and suicide through my sister and I playing with these paper dolls.

Anyway, I asked Garrett to play with me. Because I thought it was just about the most vulnerable thing I could do. And we were still very early in our relationship. And I thought he’d judge me and think I was weird for being in my mid-20s and wanting to play with paper dolls.

Only, he didn’t judge me at all. In fact, he judged himself for not being sure he was creative enough to engage fully. Or to let his mind run wild, creating stories and personalities. And he envied my ability to create new worlds.

And, again, I felt so completely validated for who I am. And for playing and exploring my own creativity.

It’s amazing how much shame so many of us hold around our creativity. Because creativity—by its very definition—is difficult and unique. It’s bringing something forth that hasn’t been here before. It rarely conforms. And that can be scary. It can make you feel weird or different or alone.

In a world where intellect and practicality reign, creativity often gets the short end of the stick.

I think about what most people would call the most impactful aspect of the Sacred Circle—the fairytale in Express. We’ve seen it change more lives than I can even count. We’ve actually had dozens of businesses launch from it and probably half a dozen books be written.

And I’m not sure I would have had the courage to bring it forth had I not run a murder mystery all those years ago. Or played paper dolls with Garrett. Or any of the other creativity-validating endeavors I’ve explored over the years that helped me to hold space as others step into their own zany creativity.

I’m excited for tomorrow. As my home transforms into a decadent mansion. And as I, myself, turn into a social-climbing party planner. Because I get to play. And explore. And have fun. Not with a tangible or practical outcome in mind. But playing for the sake of playing. Because it’s what my Soul wants to share.

Unleashing my creativity is what has allowed the artist inside to be birthed forth. To truly make my work, my relationship, my life into living art.

To create. And that’s a birthright we all have.

How are you letting your creativity flow this week?

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