Archives for Identity
Do you feel confident about calling yourself an artist, or a creative person? Or do self-doubts get in the way? The photo is wildlife artist Kelby Love. A profile says "Kelby never doubted the focus of his life" and now his clients include publications such as Outdoor Life and National Geographic. (Arizona Fine Art Expo.) Artists are at times depicted in movies and media in ways that promote myths about what it takes to be a “real” singer, writer, actor, painter or other creator.
As a sensitive, creative person you may have felt like a misfit or outsider early in life - many of us did, and even still do. One example of this is musician and actor Lady GaGa, who has said she “felt like freak” in high school, and that she creates music for her fans who want a “freak to hang out with.” She has said it took her a long time to be okay with how she is, and get beyond needing to fit in, or being "like everyone else."
"I’m amazing for you, not because of you." Do you compare yourself to others, your life to other lives? That may be natural, even inevitable, since we live as social beings - but it can erode our self-esteem. Comedian, writer and actor Amy Schumer has related an experience that lowered esteem and confidence; maybe you can relate or find it is familiar:
"A writer should be woman-manly or man-womanly..." Virgina Woolf Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that psychological androgyny refers to "a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. "A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.
Woody Allen admits he has “a lot of neurotic habits. I don’t like to go into elevators, I don’t go through tunnels, I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.” With so much psychology related material in the news and culture, we may be especially concerned with whether our behavior is a disorder, or normal - whatever that is - and if our eccentricities can help us be more creative somehow. What about all those "crazy" artists in history?
Being creative is not some kind of personality trait; you need to have more than just creative ideas or innovative possibilities, you need to actually do something in the world: record that song, write a book or article, put together a smart phone app. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
"No matter what, I have a right to be in my studio doing this; it's good, it's good for my family, it's good for me." - Sculptor Janis Wunderlich Artists are creative people regardless of their gender, of course, but women may face particular challenges, especially as mothers.
Although acclaimed as an actor, Jamie Lee Curtis says she finds writing "way more" artistically satisfying for her than acting. Her multiple children's books "address core childhood subjects and life lessons in a playful, accessible way," her Amazon.com bio notes. One of those important subjects is adoption, which is the topic of "Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born."
What gets in the way of our writing? There is no simple answer, of course, but here are some perspectives from accomplished authors on what to be aware of and what to do that may help write more and write better. Stephen King relates an early experience that affected his writing and acceptance of himself as a writer – the kind of experience probably most of us have had to some degree: criticism from his high school teacher. He writes:
"We have to remember...that we’re all artists." Known for his role in the TV series "Empire," Terrence Howard is multitalented: before acting he studied chemical engineering, and has produced an album of his “urban country” music. In an interview, he comments about being a creative person: