There are consequences to not leading a creative life.
For me, there's an emptiness that darkens the sunny places: motherhood, my relationships, even the pride I feel in being productive at work. If I'm pouring all the love and energy within me to be a good mom and supportive and complementary partner, if I'm pouring all the effort and output within me into my job, when does that all run out? What's left?
Triviality is what's left. And it appears all the sooner the more I spread myself thin. Without love, without energy or effort, without meaningful output, my life is just me living on autopilot. I'm in a constant state of malaise. And how does this malaise manifest itself in me?
It manifests through:
- Perpetual bodily sickness
- Emotional distress
I'm depressed because I can't see a purpose for my life beyond being a good mother. I get panicked and overcome with helplessness because I realize I lost myself along the way to now. I'm no longer Sandra the writer. There is no Sandra the artist. Sandra—who she was as an individual—is gone. She's Sandra the mom. Sandra the domestic partner. Sandra the employee. Who she's become is every role that's necessary in every aspect of her life.
And this recognition generates guilt. Because what kind of human being isn't grateful for a healthy and perfect little boy? —a loving and goal-driven relationship? —an amazing job at an incredible company?
The Sandra kind. And that breeds resentment.
Mainly at myself.
So how do I make myself full again? How do I regain love, energy, effort, and output? Well first, I remind myself of what it means to be human. All of this—the good and the bad—is what it means to be human. The thoughts that keep me awake at night, the feelings that overtake me... These are the things that comprise Sandra the human being. So I dedicate myself to doing what humans do to feel whole and purposeful.
For countless months, I disregarded my needs as a human being. When the small voice in my head would ask me to paint something, to write and perhaps share words with any who'd read them, I brushed it aside claiming I didn't have time—that those things weren't important and nobody really cared. I told myself I'd do those things sometime soon. That I'd do them when I felt inspired. I brushed aside, told away, and did away until all I was left with were months of excuses. Years of them.
No more. It's time to prioritize what it means to be human. All of us are sentient, creative beings if only we try. There's a forgotten face of an artist hidden beneath the untold layers of masks we wear every day of our lives.
It's time we peeled away those masks and cast our faces to the light.