For years I wished so badly to be a "creative" person. I wanted to paint with such beauty and majestic qualities that my art would touch the souls of those looking onward in a way that left them longing for more. I wanted to write stories with characters so vivid and wild that they came to life at night dancing in the dreams of those reading. I wished that I was brave enough to stand on stage, singing and dancing as I embodied the persona of someone that had been crafted by the imagination of someone with wicked creativity.
My lack of confidence and insecurities got the better of me however and I soon bought into my beliefs that I wasn't creative at all. I would sit in my room for hours drawing, never quite able to capture what I really wanted. I'd write stories but never felt like I could think of the right words to express what I truly wanted to say. And in the quiet hours when no one else was home, I'd turn my music up and theatrically sing and dance throughout the house but never when anyone else could see. So, like a lot dreams left uncared for, I let the idea of being a "creative" person die too.
It wasn't until sometime in my late twenties that I started to hear the calls to tap back into my creative side. One day in the late summer of 2009 I was sitting at the dining room table of my friend's beautiful early 1900's West Seattle home, a place I was fortunate to live, when I heard a voice. I was nearly in tears, frustrated with feelings I couldn't quite figure out. I felt like I had betrayed myself. I felt lost and confused and all I could do was ask for help. With my head cradled in my arms resting on the dinning room table I cried out, "what do you wish for me to do?"
As if on cue, I heard a very loud and clear voice that said, "Amanda, start a blog."
I lifted my head, confused as to where the voice came from and asked out loud, "What do you mean start a blog? I'm not a writer! Who, besides my mom, is going to read anything I have to write?" (no offense mom...you're my most cherished reader!)
And I heard it again, "Amanda, start a blog."
Exhausted and tired from the self-inflicted fight, I decided to give in and listen.
As I was just about to move to Taiwan, I figured that was a great great transition into blogging. I barely knew what blogging was but I would capture my thoughts and experiences with words and photos and in doing so, the craziest of things happened. The very process started to feed me in a way I'd never been fed before. I would leave my house and spend hours, completely unaware of the time, walking around the streets of northern Taiwan capturing everything I could. I felt a shift inside and an openness in my heart I hadn't felt in a long time.
Then when I moved to Oregon I started a new blog, Bullfrogs and Bulldogs, and documented my life transitioning from the city to living on 50 acres of farm and vineyard. What was intended to be a platform to share the hilarious stories of a chuck wearing city girl navigating her way around country life turned into a creative outlet that allowed me to use my house and the land as my canvas. I felt pulled to start exploring home up cycling and gardening and would share those projects on my blog. My canvas was big and I was fortunate to have the means to dive deeper into the things I was being called to do. I learned to paint and sew and explore my greenish-brown thumb.
The more I did, the more I felt pulled to try new things.
Since then I've continued to be open to whatever I feel called to do and it has totally changed my perspective on what it means to be a creative person.
After many years I realized something really important. The problem wasn't my lack of abilities. It was my definition of creativity. It was very black and white. I thought I had to fit into a perfect little box. Worst of all, I thought that to be creative I could only love and spend my time focusing on one craft. Was I so wrong!
Isn't it interesting what we allow ourselves to believe? I completely shut off such an integral part of who I am as a person all because I thought I didn't fit into a mold.
If you are anything like me, you are a multifaceted person with many interests and passions. One minute you think you've found it, that one thing you are supposed to invest your life doing, then five minutes later something shiny and pretty catches your eye and you are left confused and wondering in a different direction.
It's really not so black and white though. There really are NO rules. We are the ones limiting ourselves by this convoluted idea that creativity (and life mind you) have to look a certain way.
It makes me sad to think that so much creativity is not being shared with the world because of this preconceived notion of what creativity is supposed to look like. So many people are afraid of making a mistake that they never try at all. Creativity is vast and big. Creativity is something you do that makes your soul and spirit come alive. Creativity is taking risks and letting go of the fear of not being perfect.
Creativity is your souls way of communicating to the world.
And my dear, your soul needs to be heard.
That's the key to creativity, figure out what lights you up and do that.
What are the things that you are excited to do that you can you get lost in where hours slip by like they were merely moments in time? What makes you giddy excited to rush home to or spend any and all free time you may have doing? What gives you butterflies and makes your heart beat a little faster? What is that one thing that if you could not fail, you would do forever?
We are all creative beings. The sooner you can believe that and start breathing life into that side of you, the sooner you will find a personal freedom that makes you feel truly alive.
What are you longing to create?
And without further ado...it's now open. My Etsy shop is officially up and ready just in time for the holiday season. Make sure you check back often in the coming weeks as I'm working on some awesome holiday signs that I think you and your loved ones will adore hanging on their walls.