Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stealing Back the Joy

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize that you have revealed too much? Like that feeling the morning after a slumber party in your teens, when you realize that you told everyone who is going to tell everyone else who you've been harbouring a crush on for the past five years? Somewhere in the midst of the sugar rush that comes from hours of eating junk food, and the delirium of talking until three a.m., your better judgment goes to sleep without you. Luckily for me, although I'm not sure that I counted my perpetually single status as good luck at the time, nothing came of my nocturnal revelations. Being sweet sixteen and never kissed is certainly better in retrospect than it felt at the time.

Ironically, ever since I wrote my "Secret Dreams" post last summer, I've struggled with writing. I was sixteen years old again, wishing I hadn't spilled the beans about my unattainable crush. I suddenly felt like I had something to prove, and an impossible goal to reach of being a "real" writer. Instead of embracing the joy of the dream, however unlikely, and the enjoyment of the process, I just felt...foolish. Blog posts used to germinate in my mind almost before I was aware of them, sprouting and coming to fruition as soon as I could steal away some uninterrupted moments to hammer my fingers across the computer keyboard. Suddenly, I was racking my brain for ideas, and discarding every idea just as quickly for a variety of reasons that really only funnelled down to one: perfectionism. It has a way of stealing joy.

I've decided to steal it back. I hereby trade back my perfectionism for joy.

Over the past few weeks, I've been journalling again and rediscovering the pure enjoyment of creativity. I am reminded that writing is an act of creation, but it is also a skill like any other, from flower arranging to performing a perfect corner kick (I have to include a soccer analogy once in a while in honour of my most faithful reader, my dear husband) :skills take practice. The longer I avoided writing because of my fears of inadequacy and slight mortification that I told the world I want to be a writer, the more difficult it became. I hope I never let embarrassment, pride, and perfectionism, a trifecta of negativity, encroach on the joy of creation again. I'm fairly sure that I will, but this imperfect, unpolished post can serve as a future note-to-self to snap out of it.

"The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, 
is an effort toward wholeness."
~Madeleine L'Engle

"In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten; 
we are able to walk on water;
we speak to the angels who call us;
we move, unfettered, among the stars.
We write, we make music, we draw pictures, 
because we are listening for meaning,
feeling for healing...we are returned to that open creativity 
which was ours when we were children."
~Madeleine L'Engle

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