Like most children, I came into this world kind of bouncing off the walls and spilling over with creativity. Creative expression was instinctive. It was my joy, my play, my lifeline. Then life happened - messages of "shoulds "and "supposed tos" - and creativity got buried under a thousand fears and expectations. Creative expression became ruled by what I was supposed to “do”.
The joy and vitality of creation became work instead of play. My creative expressions, singing, acting, writing, had to look a certain way, and feel a certain way. I was supposed to get very specific awards and paychecks from my creativity. I parceled my joyful creativity into carefully labeled boxes that I only took out only when I was feeling strong and brave and unwounded – which, admittedly, wasn’t all that often.
More and more of those boxes were packed away for safe keeping – or just by default. Creativity became an elusive dream, a goal to work towards “after I had…as soon as I…once I finally…” Anger and fear and heartbreak had to be resolved before I would dare to allow myself to venture again into the tender and fragile world of my creativity.
Then, years ago, on my 40th birthday a friend took me to see Cirque de Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE and it changed me. Forever. Unbound creativity simultaneously swaddled me, smacked me upside the head, and reintroduced itself to me in a highly profound and personal way. We started a dialog that only now, nearly 7 years later, I am just beginning to understand.
Creativity isn’t something to be earned after I stop feeling afraid or angry or unwounded. As long as I’m human I will continue to cycle through those emotions. I am realizing that I can actually feel fear and create anyway, I can feel anger and create anyway and I can feel broken and create anyway. In fact, for the first time I am experiencing the ability to create because of those emotions, not in spite of them – to create my way through and out of those emotions, not wait until I’m on the other side of them. In fact there may not actually be an “other side” of any of them without creativity. It is the doorway through which I am finding my greatest strength and deepest peace and most profound healing. I no longer experience it as tender and fragile and breakable, but as a wild and wise force that is bending and moving and transforming me.
I’m suddenly being nourished by something I didn’t know I was starving for – something I never even knew existed. Courageous creativity. Every day I can feel it more aggressively moving in and taking over right as I transition into the second half of my life - insisting that listen up, let go, strap on a pair, dive in, roll up my sleeves, get dirty, ride the ride and, most importantly, spread my wings and have the time of my life. What will all that end up looking like? I have absolutely no idea. But I can’t wait to find out.
Share Emily's Creativity Quotes!
Emily Pearson, a hurricane of love, energy and creativity – with a gooey, peaceful center – is a professional writer (Dancing With Crazy, Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, Fuzzy Red Bathrobe) with several books in various stages of production; actress (Boys at the Bar, Luna Mesa, What Would You Do?, The Sex Diaries Project, Taking 5, Evil Angel, Saved by the Bell, and various talk shows and television commercials); film producer (States of Grace, 8: The Mormon Proposition, and Facing East – currently in pre-production); entrepreneur; and activist for equality and empowerment. Emily grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently lives in Salt Lake City with her nearly grown son and daughter who will soon be flying the coop and spazzy dog who ain’t going anywhere.