I spend an inordinate amount of time in my head. I have for decades - I don’t know whether it’s learned/reactionary behaviour, or if I was already walking the path.
(And isn’t that a great example of living in one’s head - trying to understand the why and the how?!).
Living in one’s head means a constant narrative and questioning.
The question running through my head at the moment is, ‘Am I doing too much? Is my creativity spread too thin?’.
I have a number of creative experiments coming to life at the moment - painting, fashion and accessories, embroidery and poetry.
I like the word experiments to describe them - I don’t know the outcome, but I have a hypothesis I am testing everything against - better out than in.
Instead of having my creativity swirling inside me, I'd put it on the outside.
But are there too many running?
Am I stretched too thin?
Are the ideas suffering because I am not going deep into one space? Not mastering a single discipline before moving on to the next experiment? Am I faking it? Am I faking it across too many spaces?
Would I be better, would the creativity be better, if I was immersed in a single discipline?
Should I pick just one?
But which one? How do I know which one is ‘right’?
The flip side of this internal narrative, this infernal questioning, is perhaps it’s only creating across mediums simultaneously when I feel truly creative. Perhaps there’s a reason I feel a need to work across disciplines, to push my ideas into many mediums.
And as I am wrestling with this I see the thread of imposter syndrome weaving through my thoughts, weaving through my perception of what ‘should’ and ‘talent’ and ‘success’ looks like.
I’ve often said should is the most dangerous word in the English language, and I think it’s more than the word, it’s the sentiment behind it increasing the danger.
Should is used to control, to set boundaries, to remove the focus from the thing they don’t want us to see, to talk about.
Should invites comparison, and expectation, where none belongs. And usually to a concocted standard, not a lived experience.
Should has a history, often written by white men, attached to the thought it’s attached to.
What creativity should look like.
What creativity should feel like.
What I should be doing.
What my role in the creative space should be.
And we then waste our energy on either meeting the should - changing our vision to comply - or combatting the should - holding off internal and external expectations with one hand while we try to do something great with the other.
We waste our energy on handling the imposter syndrome in a framework someone else developed, usually as a means of control to put us in our place.
And then we are told we just need to ask, we just need to be ourselves/behave differently/behave like a man/behave like a woman/be braver/be quieter.
Because if we are that, then success will follow.
That as a creative, the issue is me, not the environment I work in and the centuries of repression of women's voices and creative endeavours.
That if only I work harder, everything will be ok.
After cycling through this several times I think I'll keep spreading myself across disciplines and see what happens.
Perhaps it's like our relationships - one person can't be everything to a person, instead it's a range of friendships we find fulfilment in?
I'll test that hypothesis as well. 😉