How Expectations Crush Creativity
Man I wish I had it more together. I really do.
From today’s helping of the-world-and-all-of-its-expectations-heap, I find myself feeling a bit more disheveled than usual. I’m sitting at the computer; and like my life, more tabs are open than I can manage.
So I turn it all off, feel briefly satisfied with my ability to make a decision, and get in the shower.
The shower has become my safe place. It’s small, I can’t clean anything in it, and it’s the one place I truly cannot be reached in. It’s been the one small constant space in my busy life. It’s a space I’ve cried in, prayed in, cleared my mind in, and even had the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine in.
I spend a great deal of time sorting through thoughts, emotions, ideas, and plans in this place, but today I feel like all of those things have been put into a blender.
My head is spinning.
I need a rest but if I rest I fear I will drown under an even greater pile of tomorrow.
I know it can all wait. But I don’t believe it.
And so it continues. The swirling and spinning of my mind; the crushing weight of expectation; and the sense that I’m just not doing enough.
It’s never enough. My house could be cleaner. I could be skinnier. My hair could be more manicured. My clothing could be more fashionable. I could be kinder. I could be bolder. I could care more what people think. I could care less what people think.
I could be a better writer. I could have this whole life thing more managed by now. I am going to be forty soon. Doesn’t everyone have it together by forty?
I long to be a better mother, wife, and friend. The weight of limitation weighs heavily.I want to do it all. But I cannot.
Today feels raw and real. Today I am dissatisfied with my dissatisfaction, and the fact that these damned demons have a louder voice than usual.
So I try to focus, I press in, and I ask questions.
And I see that the beauty that is right here; the present- remains somehow out of grasp in this moment of doubt and expectation and not-enough’s.
I get out of the shower, get dressed, and refuse to sit in my office. I go to the kitchen instead and find satisfaction as I bring order to my dishes and create with something other than my mind.
After cleaning and cooking, I settle into the couch feeling a bit more relaxed. I can think and write and breathe a bit more than before.
I’ve regained my writing breath. In and out. Chaos is organized. In and out. The senseless makes sense. In and out.
As I honor the tension and agony- I let go of expectations, fear of imperfection, and the desire to be enough.
In and out.
I have learned that “having it together” is an illusion.