I believe that creativity is alchemy. When we create, we pour all of our thoughts, feelings and unprocessed emotions into the inception of something else.
Creativity does not magically make our problems disappear. It does not erase pain or take away trauma. It does not necessarily change our circumstances. But (and this is big), it can help us to reach the next breath with a little more ease. And sometimes, that can be enough to change everything.
The very first photograph that I ever took and developed myself was during a school class. I was eleven years old.
We were in the street, just outside of the school building, and we were given a camera with film and asked to take a photograph of anything.
There was a cat nearby and most people tried to capture her, sitting on the wall in front of us. But I was looking at the crushed Coke can, discarded in the gutter. I was looking at the way the raised texture of the curb was contrasting with the smooth metal of the can. All I could see was depth and difference. Afterwards, in the dark room, I saw my image come to life and I felt something come to life inside me, too.
This was the first time that I allowed myself to be led by a creative guiding force that I could neither touch nor see, only feel. But instead of nurturing this new feeling, instead of tending to this deep desire that wanted so badly to be born outside of me, I dismissed the idea that I could be artistic and I filled my days with other things.
For a very long time, there was a void in my life that I had no idea how to fill. I tried anyway. I sought refuge in relationships, oblivion in alcohol, acceptance in circles that I didn’t much care to be a part of.
None of it truly touched the sides of what I was thirsting for.
It would be many years later before I would return to photography. The next time I took a photograph with creative intention was when I was on a beach in Leigh on Sea. The horizon view was beautiful to look at, but I didn’t feel a pull to capture it.
Instead, I began to pay attention to the pebbles that were gleaming with the residue of the sea. I noticed how they weren’t remarkable as solitary stones, but when placed together they transformed themselves.
Creativity creates awareness.
My #CreatingCourage series will be coming soon over on Patreon. Within the series I will share with you some of the ways in which creativity has impacted my life and helped me to feel more connected to myself and others.