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A Creative Tangent

A few weeks ago, we begin to look at the four steps of the Creative Process. We were about to take an even closer look at the “how-to” of each. But today, I’m going to go on a short creative tangent before coming back to creative process.I’ve been unable to post for the last few weeks because of the death of the very first person who told me I was creative. My mother.

I want to honor my mom in this first post back because she was an example of the ability we all have to overcome our internal creative saboteurs and just plain create – despite doubt, despite anxiety and despite the ability to stand high on the mountain top and scream out, “I AM CREATIVE.”

Although she expressed her creativity all her life in many ways, her primary passion was for architecture. In her 40s and 50s, she became a miniaturist. She made the most exquisite dollhouses you can imagine.

And, yet, if you told her she was creative, she bluntly denied it. In a way that revealed, that for her, it was just a fact. But even with that denial, her internal saboteur was powerless to stop her from creating. If you talked to her not about creativity, but about whatshe created, about her process, about what she was imagining, she could go on forever.

My mom grew up a tomboy in the deep south. She wanted to play with tools and was given dolls. Her creativity was not nurtured by anyone on the outside. But like many, she nurtured it herself. Despite herself. Quietly.

I’ve written before that claiming our inherent creativity matters. I believe that when we do, we give others permission to do the same. I still believe that. But in grieving my mother, I’ve realized there is another way. The way of example.

There has never been a doubt in my mind that my mother was anything but creative. Her words to the contrary were puny in comparison to her miniature masterpieces – and to her countless creations of love that flowed through my life.

If we simply create, if we have the guts to put our love and passion out there, all our nay-saying, all our internal doubts, are meaningless. They are overshadowed by the glory of our creations. What is in our minds and hearts that we make real, is the truth of us. The passion we hold inside is mightier than the saboteur.

And, if we do feed our fire, if we are driven despite our fears to simply create, if we have courage, then our creativity speaks for itself. We will inspire those we love, and those we don’t even know.

What I learned from my mother is that it’s okay to doubt yourself, as long as you move forward anyway.

You can squawk all you want about your shortcomings, as long as you act despite them.

You are creative, without ever saying you are creative.

If you have heart, if you care about what you are creating, you don’t have to scream from the mountaintop. You can simply move mountains.

To those who inspire by example,

Susan B.