Shot by Michaela Tornaritis
Hello! Well, that was a long hiatus. Welcome to my life and style space! It’s pretty self explanatory; I will brain vomit my musings on life down here, and entice you to read my brain vomit by looking very cute up there. (You can also check out my style picks to shop my current favourite pieces, and life picks to get an insight into some of my favourite things to read, watch and listen to)
I was unsure as to what to talk about on my first post. First things first, I’ve finished university, and that feels rather odd. It’s difficult for me to discuss my time at university without coming across as if I am reading too heavily into the experience (which was, to put it crudely, attending lectures, retaining information, and elegantly spitting it out in exams), or, coming across as someone who has just read ‘self-discovery 101’ and consequently overuses words such as ‘insight’ and ‘fulfilment’ and ‘validation’. Much to my dismay, I do both in a video that will be up later this week.
However, having been in what I deem to be creatively-starved environment for just under 3 years (studying economics and philosophy), creativity and my relationship with it is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. I like being creative – however I don’t feel as if I’m particularly ‘good’ at it. I more often than not feel as if the ‘creativity gods’ gave me a house with no electricity or running water. Or furniture. Or floorboards. They partially failed me, in that, a heady and somewhat impatient creative energy resides within me without a doubt, but they clearly took a divine lunch break, at the exact point of assigning me my outlet.
You see, ~creatives~ often have such beautiful talents that are simple extensions of themselves. It’s almost as if a spark ignites somewhere deep down, and refuses to be ignored, until used to start a fire. That fire can be a painting, a song, a piece of writing, a garment, a dance routine. A something. Whereas in my case, I often feel as if my creativity is akin to lighter that is only broken when in my possession. I’m stood there igniting, and re-igniting, and re-igniting, attempting to get the bloody flame to form, whilst the spark taunts me as if to say “Come on! Put your back into it! Everyone else doesn’t have nearly as much trouble as you seem to be having.” Bundles of unreleased energy that have no immediate outlet.
Additionally, I couldn’t be further from the narrative of a ‘typical creative’. I enjoy structure, and take refuge in my routines. There’s a time and place for spontaneity and its not when I’ve got deadlines, be them externally or personally imposed. I do not get hit by a wave of inspiration at 2am in the morning, because I’ve been asleep for the past 5 hours, At 6am, I am not winding down from a substance-fueled bout of creativity with my ‘team’, but attending my favourite spinning class, alone, because it makes me feel as if I’ve got my life together.
And yes, I’m aware that I am playing on stereotypes, but I can’t help but do so. Clearly, to say there is a blueprint for creativity, out-right contradicts all it stands to represent. I’m rationally aware of this, but, subconsciously? Not so much. The rational, conscious part of me says “Shope, please shut up with these 3rd world problems. You are creative, intelligent individual. Have you not digested anything that Elizabeth Gilbert, a.k.a. the queen of creative inclusivity, and the person for whom your admiration has no ends, has taught you?”. But the emotional, and somewhat subconscious part of me sticks its heels in the ground, and urges “Shope, I beg you, just sit down. You’re real cute with this blog thing you’ve got going, but you’re reaching”.
My imposter syndrome is what often gives voice to these pervasive, and unwelcome thoughts that plague my subconscious. Such thoughts often worsened by the label police – people who take it upon themselves to patrol, and vigilantly guard the boundaries of their most-loved creative profession.
With comments like “You’re not a photographer just because you own a DSLR”, or “When they download logic, and think they are producers. LOL.”, or “Being a real blogger is hard work, and I hate the fact that everyone calls themselves a blogger nowadays.”, they really do take no prisoners. I often end up wondering what the root of such comments are, and why they are lined with a thick, gloopy layer of superiority. What someone chooses to call themselves, bears no relation on your life, your ‘grind’, your struggle, or your creative process. It does not undermine your creativity, I assure you. You will receive work, on your own creative merit. You will not lose clients because Jack’s dad bought him a camera, he took a picture of his dog, and called himself a photographer. Who are you, to regulate the actions of someone else who is attempting receive the same sense of fulfilment that you receive from your creative work? Who are you to make them feel insecure about seeking fulfilment? (All genuine questions.) Please, leave them alone. But then again, who am I to tell you anything since I am fire-less lighter only capable of producing unsubstantiated sparks.
Haha. That went from 0 to self-deprecating, real quick. I guess what I’m saying is that creativity for me is cumbersome. Clumsy. Unrefined. There are few people with whom I can openly and honestly discuss my creativity, without feeling judged, or feeling like an imposter. I guess I identify with (and take comfort in) the realm of the DIY creative. (Yes, I made that realm up and I am the only one who lives there. That way the label-nazi’s amongst us cannot tell me that I do not belong). My imposter syndrome is telling me not to use the word creative, so lets go with ‘maker’. The realm of the make-shift maker. (Note: I am acutely aware of how nuff that phrase is, thank you for thinking so too.)
It’s the kind of creativity that led me, at the age of 15 to blister my fingers by sticking 100’s of studs into denim shorts, and selling them on ebay for £50 a pop, blissfully unaware that 3 months later, the high street will cotton on, and steal all my customers. It’s the kind of creativity that that led me to run the Bloggers Boutique at the age of 17, a bloggers event that was pretty damn fantastic, before the minimum requirement for bloggers event involved a trip to Barcelona. It’s the kind of creativity that, at the age of 19, led me to start up a brand called TWOOSIE, with a novice sewing machine, and no formal training, and be surprised when the first 2 sets I sold were returned to me due to “janky hems”. It’s the kind of creativity that decides it doesn’t like your current creative outlet, compels you to change the name of it (London’s Closet –> sassyBLACK), then less than 1 year later decides it dislikes that name even more than before (sassyBLACK? Really?), and then decides you just don’t have a healthy relationship with the internet, and need to take a rain check for a while.
It’s the kind of creativity that leads you to writing this odd, and incoherent post on your relationship with creativity, which at some points is a little self-deprecating, and at others, a humble-brag of a select few ~creative~ things that you’ve done in your life.