Internal conflicts can get in the way of using our creative passions and abilities more fully.
So many experiences shape our motivations and abilities to create. Being more aware of the impacts these experiences have can help us thrive as creative people.
Bullying is one example of a traumatic or at least hurtful experience that affects so many people including artists.
Christian Bale recalls when he was 13 and had started acting in commercials, he “was a victim of bullying with other kids kicking and punching me every day.”
Christina Hendricks said she had a terrible time in high school, like many people:
“Every time I went to get books out of my locker people would sit on top and spit at me. So I had to have my locker moved because I couldn’t go in there…
“I felt scared in high school. It was like Lord of the Flies. There was always some kid getting pummeled and people cheering.”
Model, actor, writer, director and entrepreneur Lily Cole comments,
“I was bullied because I have red hair, although actually, I think I was bullied because some kids bully sensitive children.
“I was of the type who gets bullied rather than the one who does the bullying, which I’m glad about. I’d rather be that than a bully.”
She adds, “Red hair is an issue, particularly in this country [England]. Teachers often let it happen because there isn’t a stigma around it in the way there is, quite rightly, about something like racism…
“Any form of bullying should be stamped on because children are so fragile and it affects them. It’s horrible.
“The names I was called – carrot-top, ginger, all the usual ones – sound quite trivial. Now I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
“But it’s not so much the words; it’s the meanness behind saying such things to a child.”
From my article Lily Cole and gifted kids being bullied.
Photo from article Lily Cole: ‘I never considered myself attractive before I was a model’, The Telegraph.
How can hurtful experiences like bullying have such an impact on us?
Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D., LMFT provides psychotherapy for creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts, and writes about the emotional and creative pleasures of this inner life – and its challenges.
In an article on her site, she explains how people may lose touch with their creative dreams and power:
As an artist you need your dreams to inspire and motivate you.
They bring you in touch with your energy of love, wonder, curiosity, and a sense of exploration.
They give you focus and clarity, and open you up to the flow states where deep creation becomes possible.
Do you know what your creative dreams are?
Without access to your creative dreams, it’s hard to know and connect with your artistic vision.
If you realize you’re unclear about your own dreams, what can you do to uncover them?
Begin with your unconscious.
Internal conflicts within your unconscious can keep you from accessing your full creativity.
The deeper within your unconscious your conflicts are buried, the harder it is to know what you want.
If you have some emotional trauma around your creative expression that you didn’t heal, face, and overcome, it can be hard to get in touch with your own dreams.
Many different experiences from your past may have left scars on your unconscious mind.
Maybe you were the “chubby” dancer who was made fun of, rejected, or bullied by the other kids, despite your amazing talent.
Perhaps you’ve been bombarded with ridicule from your own family because you’ll be the “starving artist.”
Or, when you’ve wanted to experiment with your voice maybe everyone around you covered their ears screaming “too loud,” not recognizing that your powerful voice just needed a creative outlet.
You may or may not remember those moments that shaped your subconscious – moments when you froze in shame, felt anxious, or alone.
And yet, they still affect you and cause you to avoid or refuse to allow yourself to connect with and express your creative energy.
Despite how bad you want to create something important, you can’t seem to figure out what you want to create or to commit to a vision.
At times, some lost dream may sneak into your awareness, but you tend to quickly ignore it, not even knowing that you’re doing it.
Your dream is pushed back into your unconscious. From there, it still finds a way to get your attention, but in unhealthy and indirect ways.
You find yourself stuck and consumed by comparing yourself with others, feeling jealous, empty, and bored.
You make yourself busy with useless and unfulfilling activities because you feel unmotivated and uninspired.
In truth, you can’t deny or repress that energy. When you do, you cease to live and feel alive.
Conflicts around your aspirations can result in depression, anxiety, and addictions.
How can you reclaim your dreams?
When you find yourself feeling jealous, comparing yourself, empty, and unfulfilled, STOP for a moment.
Ask yourself “what do I need to feel fulfilled as an artist? What would actually make me a genuinely happy creative?”
These questions can begin to connect you with some lost creative dream still lingering in your heart – a dream that never had the privilege of your full attention and energy. …
Read more in article
Reclaim Your Lost Creative Dreams by Mihaela Ivan Holtz.
Many life experiences can be traumatic
A Wall Street Journal Magazine article reports that Claire Foy (The Crown and other roles) “has mostly painful memories from her life before her acting career blossomed.”
The summary in The Week magazine continues:
“Her parents divorced when she was 8, and her mother used Foy’s distress to guilt a local secondary school into admitting her, even though she failed the entrance exams.
“At school, Foy struggled with math and was treated as an outsider.”
“Feeling stupid is not a nice thing,” she says. “I wasn’t really good at anything. I was relatively good at home economics, at making cakes.”
“Juvenile arthritis forced her to use crutches, she had debilitating anxiety, and when she was 17, doctors found a tumor behind her eye (later determined to be benign).
“Despite studying drama in college, she was too insecure to go on stage until her final year, and she worked a series of odd jobs in London, while auditioning for roles.
“On stage, she found that her intense preparation and determination paid off in acclaim.
“Her success, she says, ‘just means you are allowed to say, ‘There are certain things I can do.’ I just didn’t ‘get’ life until I was 32. Now I am just awake.’”
From How Foy escaped her anxiety, The Week magazine January 18, 2019.