Nagging Little Voices

My last blog post about the Scarecrow Artist generated some great feedback.  Several people wrote to tell me how much they could relate to the concept.  I hope it puts them one step closer to being who they they truly want to be, even if by just a fraction.

There was a  recurring theme throughout the feedback, however, some felt that their creativity had been devalued so long it became difficult to embrace their talents as something of worth.   How many of us heard as children, “Quit doodling (or painting, drawing, etc) and go do something productive.” or “That’s nice, but you need to learn how do something useful.”, or “Yes, it’s pretty, but you will never make a living at it.”   There are many variations of these comments and we continue to hear these statements throughout our lives.  I don’t believe our parents, partners and friends intended statements like that to be hurtful or demeaning, at least I hope not.  I think in many cases, they were, in their own way, attempting to be helpful. 

But whatever their intention, the message was clear, creativity and artistic endeavors were something to be considered less than productive, useful, or valued.  How do we overcome those nagging little voices they put in our heads that say things like, “I really should be doing something productive” or “I will work on my quilt later, if I have time, when the house is clean”.   How do we make our creative heart special again?  I am not sure I have all the answers, it is a complex question and the answer can vary greatly from person to person.  

I do believe we can all benefit from offering compassion and forgiveness to the people in our lives who put those voices in our heads.    Many of them were frustrated creatives themselves.  I know my mother was, she had numerous childhood drawings, poems and artworks locked away in her hope chest.  At various points in my life I watch her struggle to bring back that spark, in a variety of ways, most of which never came to fruition.  I can’t tell you how many sketch pads, paints, and journals she bought that were never used.  Something always “came up” or she was “too busy”.  I believe she had to deal with many nagging little voices of her own.   In fact, I am sure of it.  I was often told the story of my grandmother who was offered a dance scholarship to Julliard only to be told by her parents that she couldn’t accept the scholarship.  She needed to do something “useful”, so she became a nurse instead.  It was never spoken aloud, but I always felt that she too had some resentments and felt cheated.  

So it seems the nagging little voices and feelings are inherited.  How do you stop them?  Again,  a good question with no clear answer.  I think we can start by forgiving those who devalued, or demeaned, our creative spirit and second by dusting off our inner artist and telling him (or her) that it’s okay to show themselves again and that you will make time for them and allow them to respond to those nagging little voices and say “No, this IS important!  It IS productive. It IS of value”.  The negative little voices won’t go away easily, they may even argue and shout, but eventually they will give up and fade away.  Once they are recognized for what they are, there are no shadows in which they can hide.

Empowered, your inner artist will begin to assert itself.  It will quickly identify those people, still in our lives, that are toxic to our work and creative spirit.  

And surprisingly, your new found artist may even forgive them.


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