Some people are happy with a life that includes a little bit of time spent cutting colored paper and pasting photos in a book, or the odd evening during the month when the crosstitch project is pulled out and a new pattern is begun or finished. These are nice hobbies. They are relaxing and potentially heirloom-producing, which is all good. But for me, the need to be creative - to live a creative life - is not something I can happily pursue a couple of times a month.
Now, I am perfectly aware that anyone who might have spent a short lifetime as a fly on my wall recently would accuse me of being a big fat liar. They would tell you that I have not been in my sewing room since Christmas. A quarter of this new year is almost over and I have not made one thing with my hands. No thread spun onto a bobbin, no fabric cut, no notions sorted through. Nothing. I have no excuse, really. At least, none that I can articulate either orally or digitally. (is typing a digital thing since I'm using my digits?)
But once again I've spent time away from the routine of my home life and found that I am energized and enthused and excited about the idea of being more creative on a more regular basis. The last time I spent time away, it was at some training I had to take in Oklahoma City. Not a particularly inspiring city, but the time alone allowed me to consider my goals for writing. Most importantly, it allowed me to read uninterrupted, therefore encouraging reflection upon what I was reading - something I don't often have time for. I made commitments to myself during that trip to write more often, carry a notebook with me to record writing ideas in, in general, just behave more like what I think a writer should behave like. I've made some inroads there, and am fairly happy with my progress.
This time around, I'm in Salida, Colorado. It goes without saying that the scenery is breathtaking. I truly feel like a better me here. I want so badly to live in Colorado that I envy everyone I meet. It's probably not healthy for my psyche, but I do it anyway. Even hearing the woman who runs the hostel where I'm staying tell me that she has three jobs to pay the bills doesn't deter my lust for the mountains; "Yes..." I think, "but you get to wake up in Colorado every single day!" My intoxication with this place is just that thick. And possibly certifiable.
But back to my desire to live creatively... I wandered through a few galleries today with my daughters, taking in the wonderful things that other people are making and (I assume) selling. Pottery, painting, jewelry, glass, metal, mixed media works... it's all here, and it all sticks in my brain like little shards of something precious and stays with me, sending little sharp stings into my consciousness that says "You have ideas like these. Why aren't you doing anything about them?" Why, indeed. So many reasons. So many distractions and excuses. (I know, I said I couldn't articulate them, but I changed my mind) Time. Job. Family responsibilities. Laziness. Fear. Things that the people who make the things I look at in galleries either ignore or work through. Or they haven't filled their lives with the things I have that get in the way. Or maybe they've spent time dealing with all of those distractions and now they are living their "second life" creating. So perhaps I need to be patient?
But one thing I did realize today while making notes in my writing book has buoyed my artistic spirit quite a bit. I was writing about wanting to de-clutter my life of stuff, and thought about my clothes closet. There are a lot of things hanging there right now that are not often worn, so I started to consider what kind of clothes I really want to wear, as opposed to what I own. What I want to wear is more natural fibers, original designs, vintage pieces, and - for lack of a better term - more "artistic" things.
I have felt for quite a while that I'm limited in the amount of creative freedom I could infuse in my wardrobe due to my career. I had been working toward a position as a fundraising professional, and since that would require meeting with people who, at times, are older than I and of a level of society that would perhaps prefer to meet with a person wearing a suit, or at least pumps and a nice jacket, wearing a linen tunic and embroidered Mary Janes might not work well. But my job has recently taken a turn that has changed my responsibilities somewhat. I am still in the same job, but am no longer the one who will be meeting with those people. I will instead be doing more grant-writing, work with corporate sponsors, and plan some events.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that I can't totally remake my wardrobe - and more than that, the image I portray every day. It sounds ridiculous, but somehow it feels liberating to think about this. I am trying so hard to make my life the life I want to live, and this is one more step toward being the person I want to be every day - not just when I'm manning my booth at the Farmer's Market, or when I'm shopping for fabric on the weekends. It makes no sense to have costumes for different roles I play - I am the same person inside, and should be that person 24/7.