In 2015 I unlocked something within myself, or rather I just stopped holding it back. I lifted the flood gates and let the torrent of creativity, because it was a torrent, crash through in a rushing, powerful, life-giving wave.
This act of release has had a profound effect on me. It has given me a new lease of life, I am brimming with vitality. I haven’t been this motivated or productive since I was a child. I am constantly doing, finding little pockets of time throughout my days to think and create. I have so many ideas, so much creative energy that when I go to bed at night my body hums with an internal electricity. My overpowering frustration these days is lack of time but I think even that could be viewed positively, it helps me to stay focused, to use every precious moment carefully.
I’m not sure why it was possible to open the gates in 2015 and not in the preceding years. I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the New Year period. I’ve also been wondering why I didn’t do it sooner, why I have spent the last ten years supressing something that is quite clearly fundamental to me. Something that as a child I did without even thinking.
There are lots of explanations but I think they all boil down to a single reason. I was afraid. Afraid that being an artist, a writer, or whatever it is that I am becoming, wouldn’t earn enough money to create the life I had imagined I would lead. Afraid that I’m not good enough or not as good as other people, afraid people would think that I’m pretentious or self-indulgent, that creating art isn’t a ‘real’ job.
2015 was the magical year where I stopped giving as much of a fuck and started being brave but the elements that came together to make that possible are more difficult to articulate. They’re deeply intertwined and they had to come together in a sort of magical combination and in sufficient quantities.
For the last five years I’ve been in a state of evolution, one which I hope I remain in for the rest of my life. I am wide open to experiences, to change, to self-analysis, to being better, to trying new things. I have rediscovered my curiosity and curiosity is a wonderful thing because it takes you to places beyond your wildest dreams.
In the time since my 30th birthday. I have changed careers, lived in Norwich, gained a qualification, moved back to London, moved into my own house by the sea, discovered the magical powers of exercise, made some really important and inspirational new friends who have in turn given me yet more amazing experiences and most importantly I’ve become a mother.
These experiences have taught me so many things. They have made me courageous and confident. I still feel fear but I’ve come to accept it as part of the process. Exercise in particular has given me the gift of self-belief. If I don’t listen to the negative voices in my head, my body can do so much more than I ever thought it could. Life is a lot like long distance running. I just have to start, have confidence in myself and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I will probably stop to vomit a couple of times along the way but I will definitely cross the finish line and feel awesome.
I have learned that actions really do speak louder than words. It’s only in doing that things change for the better, otherwise all you’re really doing is talking a lot and staying in the same place.
I have had to become more patient, though those who know me best would probably say this is an area where there is still plenty of room for improvement. I try to be patient with my son, I am definitely more patient with myself and in terms of the creative process time is my very best friend.
Finally, becoming a parent has probably given me the greatest schooling of all. We have no idea what we’re doing most of the time; it’s all just one big experiment but on the whole things work out, often better than expected. It also helped me to prioritise what’s important and to leave behind things that don’t serve me. It sounds dramatic but it’s absolutely true that when you bring a life into the world you become keenly aware of how fragile and short life is, you only have one and you owe it to yourself to live it well. It’s remarkable how easy this makes decision making.
I’m also trying to develop a well-balanced, curious, kind, empathetic human which means leading by example and being the best (though obviously not perfect) version of me. Oh and for the first time in my life I’m prepared to die for someone. That makes me feel pretty badass.
In 2015 these qualities, ones that I had inadvertently been nurturing for some time; self-confidence, courage, patience, strength, the desire to be a better human, merged with the creativity that I had been supressing. The resulting force so great that I no longer had the power to control it.
I had very little autonomy in the decision to open the door on creativity. I was compelled to do it and once I started writing the words and ideas flowed so fast that I couldn’t capture them all. The day of my first Crowblack post, something so tiny in the grand scheme of things, was truly incredible. It was the first step into a new, honest and exciting way of being. I cried and trembled as I shared what I had written and then felt euphoric for days. The euphoria has ebbed to a feeling of contentment and the ideas have slowed to a steady trickle but there are plenty available if I’m willing to explore them.
So, on New Year’s Eve 2015 I didn’t make any resolutions. Instead I raised my glass in a toast offered by my dearest friends and whole-heartedly joined the chorus of voices shouting; “more of the same.”
Yes. That will do nicely 2016. More of the same.