What is creativity but an abstract goal we set for ourselves, fail miserably to achieve, and then complain to others, the world and ourselves that we don’t have enough of?
Ok, sure. That in itself is a complaint. BUT,
Over the weekend I was with some chums in Vegas. It was a friend’s birthday, aka, another annual celebration of one’s revolution around the sun during which we choose to focus on the glass being half full, rather than the ineffable plunge towards death. True to the first world problem cliché, we were gorging ourselves on enough food to feed a village for a day (for the amount of money to feed that village for a week), when I found my sorry ass glumly complaining about my lack of creativity.
“I used to be more interesting,” I lamented. “I think I’ve been in the middle of an identity crisis for the last few years.” Thoughtfully picking at my freshly-caught Chilean sea bass, presented perfectly on it’s crisp, white porcelain plate, I continued. “I used to do theatre. I was a theatre person. And I used to make costumes. Now I don’t have a thing.” Mind you, this is coming in the middle of a conversation in which myself and my two other first-world friends were discussing poi spinning and flow arts.
FLOW. ARTS. Tell me if there’s anything about that those words that doesn’t scream middle-class Millennial privilege.
So here are my two friends telling me how excited they are that I’m getting into poi spinning because they enjoy such arts, and here I am feeling just a LITTLE bit better about myself for adding an interesting façade to my faded gem of a life. And when one brings up the “Oh-the-costume-places-you’ll-go” aspect of flow, I again lament that I “used to” be so interested in making costumes for Burning Man and such. That I used to be so creative…to which she replies,
“You’re still creative. You just haven’t been inspired.”
…………Wait. I’m still a creative person? But I’ve spent the last four years not creating anything. Ok, that’s not fair. After ditching my job in 2013 I kept this blog while on a summer-long road trip, moved to the Bay Area, got an acting agent and started doing commercial work, planned a fucking wedding (which I did NOT want to do, but ended up being fucking magical, thank you very much), and got a crash course in producing web videos for a start-up. Yeah, the material hasn’t been the most thrilling, but in the past 2.5 years I’ve made like a hundred of them. Yeah, I guess that’s something.
And there are the acting and voiceover gigs that I HAVE gotten, which, while not in the exciting realm of TV or film, and not as frequent as a I like, require the art of performance. “The Bay Area is full of actual consumers, but we need a fake one to really sell it. She’s perfect!”
And I guess I made some costumey bits here an there. When inspired.
But here’s where I fail to see myself as creative. It’s the “I don’t”s.
I don’t paint/sculpt/photograph or fucking craft any physical art.
I don’t sing, play an instrument or dance.
I don’t really act, i.e. I haven’t been in a play in seven goddamn years, I don’t have an advanced degree in acting from Julliard, and I do not work in LA on TV shows, films or “actual” commercials.
I don’t spend a million fucking hours designing and sewing original, Etsy-worthy costumes that transform me into a bedazzled burlesque phoenix queen for any occasion.
Oh, and I don’t write, which even when I did, I claimed I didn’t because it wasn’t “real.”
See a trend here? I don’t think anything I do is real. And if nothing I do is real, what is real. And what’s stopping me?
I’m glad I asked.