There are two types of people in the world, the saying goes.
And you are either one or the other.
But you're really not, are you?
Then again, maybe you are.
I mean, you’re either a have or a have not.
An insider or an outsider.
Loud and gregarious or quiet and reserved.
An indoor person or an outdoor person.
Ectomorphic or endomorphic. (Does anyone ever see themselves as mesomorphic?)
Beatles or Stones.
A little bit country or a little bit rock-and-roll.
Mac or PC.
Nice or naughty.
Oscar Madison or Felix Unger.
So how on earth does this relate to your creative life?
There are two types of people in the world. And both live inside you.
They live inside me too.
It’s why “we’re a million different people from one day to the next,” as The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” goes.
It’s why we waffle back and forth over seemingly inconsequential things.
It’s why, as human beings, we are unpredictable and make illogical choices.
It’s why we struggle to "find" ourselves.
And why we’re never really comfortable in our own skin.
It’s why we’re complex and multidimensional.
It’s like the cartoons we watched as kids where a pitchfork-wielding devil sits on one shoulder offering us the world while the little angel with a halo on the other shoulder keeps contradicting everything he says.
Except it is not just good vs. bad.
It is not as simple as two poles in tension in our lives.
There are millions of poles in tension all at once within us.
“Should I get my workout in or play with my kids?”
“Should I fold the laundry and scrub toilets or get some writing done while everyone’s out of the house?”
“Should I query that editor or keep honing my craft?”
“Should I be more outgoing or keep more to myself?”
“Should I stick with the plan or be spontaneous?”
“Should I forgive or fire him?”
“Should I focus on today or the future?”
We’re not only in constant motion in the outside world, we’re in constant motion within ourselves.
We fluctuate between all these poles at work within us based upon an ever-changing mix of internal and external stimuli.
And it’s this internal chaos that makes us to want to simplify our lives.
And shut up all those voices in our head!
But what if this internal tension is what fuels our creativity?
I can't name one perfectly content Creative who is producing major work. Can you?
Most of us are running away from something.
Or running to something.
Or needing to prove something.
And I don't think this is something we can (or should) purge from our lives.
Quite the opposite.
I think it's what makes us real and human.
It's what connects us.
Because it's through our humanity (i.e. our struggles, pain, loss, hopes, doubts, quirks, insecurities) that we connect with one another.
You're reading this because I hope you sense a kindred spirit in the world.
I hope you feel a connection.
I hope you feel like you belong here.
And as for that creative life of yours you love so much...
The one that sustains you and gets you out of bed in the morning...
The one no one in your life will ever truly understand or appreciate...
...it is a shared life.
You are not alone.
And you are not simply one of two types of people in the world.
You are a portfolio of tensions, ideas, personalities and choices.
And that's what makes you uniquely you!
So head to your work space, lean into the tension in your life and let one of those voices in your head rise up and say the unsaid, see the unseen and feel the unfelt.
(Photo by Miss Sydney Marie on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.)
Keitharsis is about creativity, roots and the portfolio life. It's written for writers, artists and other creative souls in the world. New essays are published each Tuesday and Thursday. A new creative exercise is offered on Wednesdays. If you like what you read, will you please share it with others?
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