Living a Creative Life
Maryn & Darrée
Darrée: When I’m teaching all the time, I struggle to make space for my creative hobbies…and when I’m creating all the time, I wonder if I’m really contributing to society. Even though I know better, I find myself weighed down by the narrative that says doctors and teachers are contributing members of society, while artists and musicians are not. I mean, if you tell a stranger that you’re a teacher, people respect that. But when you tell them you’re an artist, they quickly mask their scorn for you with an “Ohhh, that must be nice…” or “I wish I had the time to be creative all day.”
An art degree and 32 years later, I am still struggling to justify that being an artist is an okay way to spend my life.
I’m on my way to carving out a path that is mine, but the voice inside (and outside) telling me that who I am is not okay, still reigns. Until I learn how to quiet that voice, I think I will always struggle with my identity as an artist.
How do you find the courage to keep living the creative life despite all of the critics?
Maryn: I’m struggling with this exact thing. Over the past few months I’ve had little time to devote to my creative endeavors (this post included) because work and life take up so many hours of each day. I experience guilt about taking time out to “make things.” Am I being self-indulgent? Is there more important work to be done?
I have never fully allowed myself to be classified as a “creative” and I think I am still not quite there — with that confidence — to call myself an “artist.”
Darrée: Whether it be “artist” or something else, I am struggling to identify with any one thing. Emilie Wapnick says it’s okay to be a “multipotentialite”, because the 21st century demands that we adapt, learn, and symphonize with one another.
And, instead of identifying with any particular field, I think it’s more important to find things that interest you and help you grow. Sometimes it’s through research, and sometimes it’s through making. When we open ourselves up to this new method of being, I think we’ll realize that we are all capable of becoming more than just one thing.
Maryn: That is quite profound, the idea that we are all more than one thing. We are all “multipotentialites” in a sense. So much of our praise of “the specialist” comes from our industrial mindset – and as she says, we are living in a more fast-paced and multi-dimensional world now, where we need to be able to think quickly and to bring everything that we are to the table. Thank you for sharing that video — it makes me feel better about not pinning down exactly what I am and even to let that idea go.
What do you see as essential to keeping you on this path you have created?
Darrée: It doesn’t matter what obstacles stand in our way. Whether we are wondering who we are, and why we are the way we are, it’s more important to see what we’re trying to accomplish, and to keep plowing through until we get out the initial prototype. From then onward, we can edit and trim as necessary. But until then, we need to keep making. Keep doing.
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