Creative people are vulnerable people.
It’s a requirement.
The sheer act of creation necessitates that we open our souls and be vulnerable to the feedback that may follow. Sometimes that feedback is edifying and strengthens the bonds we share with others; other times, it inflicts deep pain and rejection.
Nonetheless, creativity requires that vulnerability.
And vulnerability can open us up to wounding.
As I look back on the past 18 months, I’ve realized I had been too wounded to risk any semblance of vulnerability. To be fair, I was already extremely vulnerable because of a series of spiritual, physical and mental trials.
One of my children went through a horrible period of rebellion and brutal depression.
My cancer returned, and the subsequent treatments left me weak, confused and fatigued for several months.
To help my family meet expenses, I took a writing job with a small company. My work was featured in international publications and received professional accolades – but my supervisor put his name on every article I wrote.
I erroneously believed other people were “better Christians” who were more attuned to God’s will than I was. I tried to play by their rules and meet their expectations, and true to human form, I failed.
The wounds were deep, disorienting and painful.
I lost the ability to open my soul.
I lost the desire to create.
I lost me.
The healing power of old friends and cornfields
Creative people are also resilient people, even though it may take some time for us to find ourselves again.
I found me two weeks ago in the midst of Minnesota corn fields.
I had traveled 900 miles to my hometown in rural Minnesota for a high school reunion. Even though I moved away more than 30 years ago, I always felt a remarkable connectedness to the people, lakes, trees and farmers’ fields that provided the setting of my youth. The connection was especially strong with Pam and Sara, my childhood best friends. I love them so deeply that I cried when we were reunited and I cried again when I had to leave.
For a brief weekend, they helped me feel 17 again. Seventeen and invincible. We laughed. We celebrated successes and mourned losses. We talked about life. We imparted hope to one another.
During the reunion, one of my former classmates hugged me tightly and told me how glad he was to see me. We were never particularly close during high school, but he had followed my cancer journey through Facebook. He told me that I inspired him. Other classmates hugged me with that same intensity and shared the same sentiments.
And just like that, all my wounds were healed.
All of this helped me rediscover who I really am at the core of my being:
So, today, I am sharing my soul again.
Because I am creative and wonderfully vulnerable.