Goodbye 👋🏻

By the time you read this post, this blog, although technically still in existence, will cease to exist in my mind.

I will not be posting here again after my final scheduled post on December 31.

It has been an example of the person I used to be, a place to express my opinions, frustrations, anger and love and at times, the only way that people knew I was alive.

I have a new blog currently in creation, but I’m not publicly posting its name or URL here. Either you find me by your own devices (yes, use your brain and all the tools and technology that surround you) or you don’t.

I’ve learned that people who truly love you and respect you and what you do, will never let you go and will not stop trying to find you if they do lose touch for whatever reason.

I do believe in fate and destiny now to a point and I don’t believe in coincidence. Everything happens for a reason… even the shit stuff.

Yes, I will finish writing my prompts for the rest of the year, but I’m doing it for me and me alone for the last few days of 2017. And that’s how creativity should be.

xxx ooo

Jade

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Write (or create) what’s right for you!

I often discover new things about myself through my writing. It’s definitely an ‘AHA!’ moment when I realise what I thought I was writing about is just a cover or distraction for the real issue. In other words, the main character is not half as important or interesting as the supporting role of the ordinary girl.

Case (post) in point!

When I began this blog post it was about how after reading the book, Big Magic,’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (the writer best known for her international bestseller, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’) I saw similarities between creativity and love.

It somehow morphed into something completely different, so I ask that you just bear with me and keep reading and enjoy my ‘monkey’ mind jumping around. I’m not apologising, simply saying it how it is.

So, with that in mind, let me proceed!

‘Big Magic,’ is all about living a creative life for yourself, rather than for the exclusive happiness and approval of others. Although it’s focus is creativity, I was surprised to find myself thinking that the same principles that can be applied to creativity also apply to love. Hence, I needed to read this book, because I haven’t had a lot of faith in that whole ‘L’ word since last year.

Gilbert talks about being afraid of rejection or being criticised, misunderstood or ignored. Yep, it applies to how I feel about love right now.

She discusses the idea that there’s no point in pursuing it; yep.

She mentions the whole process as being thought of as a waste of time; yep, my friends tell me to stop pursuing something that isn’t worth it (according to them).

It goes on with possible reasons or excuses for not trying and yes, I am worried about what my family will think (my mum in particular), I am worried about what my friends, ex-colleagues and current ones will think about my state of mind, I am most definitely afraid of facing my own shit through a relationship, I’m afraid of making the same mistakes again and basically, I’m just…

FUCKING SCARED.

Sometimes someone appears, just like Gilbert says ideas do, and you’re not expecting it. They’re nothing like you imagined and yet, you have a choice. You can say yes, or no.

Last year I was approached by love in the form of someone I would never date. Never.

But I said yes. I gave it a chance because someone on the other side of the world planted a seed of an idea in my mind that began to grow.

They said, “Give him a chance.”

So I did.

Now, this is where love and creativity meet and where I received my ‘AHA!’ moment.

Last year when I was in a relationship, I did some of the best writing I’ve done in years. Granted, some of that was actually before we started dating, but I felt as though it got even better and more emotional and real afterwards. I can’t be sure if that’s true because I don’t really have a way to measure it, but in mind it has been… until now.

After we broke up, I wrote and wrote and wrote and used all that sadness and anger to write some good, some bad and some plain-fucking-awful-kill-yourself-after-you’ve-read-this, stuff. A few weeks ago, I finally got sick of my own shit (Gilbert discusses this too) and thought, fuck, if my own depressive shit is pissing me off, imagine all those poor souls who have been reading it! It certainly was a wake-up call.

I’ve been moping around for months thinking that if we were still together everything would be rosy and yet, that was not the issue at all (and definitely not true if we were together either!). I’ve also been feeling a little stale with my writing and have been looking for a new project/projects. All this time, I thought that the issue was about love and it’s not at all. I’ve been pursuing love as a way of trying to rekindle the creativity I had last year.

And why would I do this?

Because my ex loved my writing. He approved. He told me how great and heartfelt it was. He told others how good my writing was.

So what? you say. Ah, but if you read Gilbert’s book you will understand all of this. Gilbert talks all about the ego and how it loves to be stroked. She talks about how being creative for the sole purpose of others leads to us stifling our creative flow.

I finished the book with the feeling that I thought I was reading it because of my interest in creativity, finding something about love and then drawing my own conclusions and truth about myself and my creativity. How’s that for full circle?

In the process of reading it and then letting the words marinate in my soul and mind for a few days I suddenly knew:

Yes, emotions and experiences are indeed powerful things for creativity and are definitely worth pursuing and using as inspiration. But, and there is a but, I have learned there are two things you need to keep in mind.

 

  1. Do not allow those emotions to dominate your creativity. You are not your emotions and your emotions do not need to colour everything you do. In other words, do you work but do not allow all your work to be about these feelings. That not only makes you a slave, but also makes you start to believe that without those emotions you will not produce good work and that is absolutely not true.
  2. The second and perhaps the most important thing is not to attach your self-respect, self-worth and worst of all, identity and creativity with the object of your affection. Believing that without their stamp of approval on your creativity that it isn’t worth your while is an extremely dangerous and negative thought pattern to be trapped in. It is one of those that will only result in a downward spiral.

 

I could keep going on and on here, but I’ve cemented what I needed to, not only in my mind so I can begin creating freely and happily again, but also in words for others to read and hopefully identity with.

Creativity is a strange process and we make all sorts of excuses for why we’re not doing it. I’ve been doing it, but half-heartedly and not with the right intent. My intent from now on is to write (and create) what’s right for me and no one else. If someone likes it, great, but it has nothing to do with me if they don’t.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for writing something that can be applied to all facets of life, not just creativity, but something that can also help you to recognise why your creativity (and lack of), is the way it is and how you can change all that.

Amen.

I’m off to create some Big Magic.

🙂

Being creative is sometimes the hardest thing to do

I am going to confess something; something that bothered me for a very long time, but that I eventually faced and overcame. I hope that by sharing this example I can help other people who may be scared, to face their fears and realize, that forgiving ourselves is sometimes far more important than being forgiven by others.

Ten years ago I was living in Tokyo as a freshly graduated student who was unsure what she really wanted to do in life. I was teaching English part-time and writing in any free time I had. I enjoyed reading ‘Metropolis,’ which was and still is, the largest English publication in Japan. I was particularly interested in the last page, which was entitled, ‘The Last Word.’ This was usually written by a gaijin English teacher who wrote about their experiences in Japan and what they did or didn’t like or what they found strange or interesting.

As a writer I decided to give it a go for myself and when I’d finished I asked my two housemates to sit down while I read it to them. I wanted to know what their opinion was and whether they thought it was good enough to publish.

When I finished reading it I looked up to find two people staring at me intently. I wasn’t sure how to react. Did they hate it?

My Scottish housemate grinned and said, “I love it! It’s hilarious!” My other Canadian housemate was not so enthusiastic. “Seriously? You think all that?”

“Well it’s not to be taken seriously!” I said. “It’s just a joke. I’m an Aussie, we pay out on people all the time, but we don’t really mean it. If we really, really meant it, we wouldn’t say anything.”

I knew I was trying to justify what I’d written. In my heart of hearts I knew it sounded offensive. Really offensive. I sounded like a stereotypical gaijin know-it-all… the type that today, I stay as far away as possible from.

Despite my Canadian housemates feelings, I submitted the piece and was thrilled when the magazine agreed to publish it. My joy was short-lived.

On the day it was published I stupidly decided to read people’s opinions about it on the website. Most of them consisted of telling me if I didn’t like it here, I should go back to Australia. Funnily enough, all of the comments were from foreigners. No Japanese person seemed to be offended and I even received congratulations from my hairdresser who had read the piece and said he thought it was really funny and well written.

Admittedly, when I read the piece years later I cringed initially, but after re-reading it many times I realized just how young I was and how immature my writing was at that stage. People say that good writing or art should make people uncomfortable and cause a reaction; I’m not so sure. Yes, it certainly caused a reaction, but it was one that embarrassed me and one that offended many, many people. That was never my intention.

Whatever the case, I was so depressed and stressed by what I’d written that in the end I decided the critics were right. I loved Japan, but I felt after what I’d written, I had no right to stay there. Like a dog with its tail between its legs, I left. I never told anybody that that was the real reason; I made up an excuse about being sick and going back to Australia.

This situation haunted me for years. I stopped writing because I was scared that anything I wrote was going to be offensive or hurt someone and I didn’t want to do that. I felt that writing had also hurt me and caused me to be vulnerable. I didn’t want anything to do with it.

Just the other day I was reading Brené Brown’s book, ‘Daring Greatly,’ and I came across the term, ‘creativity scar.’ It refers to a specific incident where a creative person (artist, writer etc.) is told they aren’t any good at their chosen craft. I wasn’t specifically told I wasn’t good, but because I had hurt so many people with what I’d written (rather than someone who likes writing to make people feel good or to think about something, which is what I want), I figured the best thing was not to write at all. That way I would never hurt anyone again; stupid thinking and totally irrational, but understandable given the circumstances.

Many years later I spoke to a friend about it and said that I’d been thinking about moving back to Japan. I confessed what had happened and told her that I was scared the government wouldn’t grant me a visa because I’d offended so many people in the country. I was shocked when she laughed. “Oh you silly thing! You think people even remember that?! You’re being super paranoid! No one cares, move on!”

So I did. I started writing again and I got my new visa.

And my friend was right. I What I learned was that I was the only one who still remembered it. I was the one who was beating myself up about it, when everyone else had either forgotten or moved on from it a long, long time ago. We are always harder on ourselves than anyone else can ever be. Don’t forget that. Instead, forgive yourself, you’re only human.