On Stammering, Creating, and Girlbosses
I haven’t been as “consistent”, shall we say, posting on social media and blogging and painting and doing the myriad of creative things I like to do.
I used to be constantly plagued by the thought of “eeek, what am I going to post today?”. There have been moments over the past weeks and months when I had this inner nagging feeling that no one was browsing my Pinterest, that a thousand people unsubscribed to my blog, that all of my drawing skills had gone to complete waste.
And then I squashed that inner nagging feeling that I should be and could be posting and painting and hustling and whatever else that entails.
Because I’ve become so intrinsically, unapologetically opposed to the idea of creating for the sake of “keeping up”.
Keeping up and urgently rising up to meet the unspoken expectations of an online vortex strikes me now as so inauthentic that it almost violates the reasons why I want to be creative human in the first place.
If I am inspired to reflect on the inner comings and goings of my life, I want to write that in a way that helps me understand more deeply my broader existence. If I paint, I want it to be because I feel inspired and encouraged to create things with color and movement. If I post something on Instagram, I want it to be because we took a cute family photo and I want to share it with my friends, like “hey, we had a grand time at this ordinary park and we ate chips.”
I want to create because of who I am and because those things fulfill me in a way that other things cannot. I want to write and paint with brushstrokes because it makes another part inside of me come alive and reminds me that I am not here on this earth to grind and hustle and build some online empire.
And while it’s undoubtedly true that my natural personality is driven to succeed and drawn towards ambitious things, I want those feelings and that drive to propel me towards more meaningful, beautiful experiences. I think it is a poison in our culture that slyly whispers to us that every free moment should be spent working and planning and busting out as much content and creative work as possible, because…what? There are people to reach? There is money to be made? There is success to be had?
It doesn’t really matter to me, I’ve realized, if my following is twelve persons or twelve thousand persons. i’m not existing and doing and dreaming for the sake of strategically pouring forth content.
I’m existing to live abundantly in the moment, to be a good mom and teacher and wife, to get up and make my bed and grocery shop, to read books in the sun and walk my kid to the park, and to pick up a paintbrush or camera when it strikes me as fun and life-giving.
So, whether it be blogging, painting, writing, drawing, lettering, reading, teaching, whatever it is that I’m doing, I want it to come from my heart and not from a nagging voice to put it out there because the masses are impatient with my timetable.
Maritain speaks of how the artist “hears the passwords and the secrets that are stammering in things… and he captures like a spring-finder, the springs of the transcendentals”.
That is the reason I want to create: finding the transcendental stammering in things around me.
Not because another girlboss on the instagram is sweetly screaming at me to get with it and rise above the mediocrity of the mundane.
Because the mundane, I’m discovering, has all these wonderful stammering of its own.