For the creatively challenged

I’m not creative. I just wasn’t blessed with the creativity gene. I don’t know how to paint, draw, dance, knit, sew, play an instrument, write songs, etc. My writing sucks. I don’t have anything interesting to say. Woe is me.

These thoughts have been running through my head for decades. I sought out spirituality to help me find it. I took umpteen classes. I kept trying to draw, paint, play an instrument. It wasn’t working and I always felt like I was just not talented in any way. Well, not talented in a way that drives me, like it seems to do for so many.

When I got sober eight years ago I hoped that a veil would be lifted and my life’s purpose would be revealed. That was not the case. Damn it. It’s not like I haven’t found many other gifts in sobriety such as my restored relationships, my relationship with a higher power, human connection, fellowship, better jobs, and my fear of people melting away (although this is still a constant work in progress). But what I want the most – the thing that humans all strive for – is self-actualization. That is essentially what all people are looking for through whatever means they can. I didn’t (and maybe still don’t) know how to find it or by what means I would do it.

I had a baby recently, eight months ago to be exact, and I’m getting married in September of this year. My life has truly never been better. I am so blessed by the gifts that have come my way. This for sure wasn’t possible prior to getting sober and the courage to seek out help. I was also fortunate to have sold my house in the insane Denver housing market last May that provided me with two years’ salary in profit. That paved the way for me to stay at home with the little one, for which I couldn’t be more grateful.

But still, what am I supposed to do with my life? Mothering is awesome but I know myself well enough to know that I still need to pursue a career and accomplish goals for myself. I know that a happy mom is essentially what is best for my daughter and I’m looking for the thing that will allow me to express myself in a creative way – something I’ve always longed to do – and will also let me set my own hours and be with my kid. Man, talk about a tall order.

So here I am with the babe, connecting with her but also having these dreams and aspirations for myself. I do believe that committing to happiness for BOTH of us is possible. Then something awesome happened. I discovered audiobooks. No – seriously! Reading usually puts me to sleep, not to mention how I have no time to just sit and read because the baby requires a lot of attention. But what I CAN do is put an earbud in my ear and keep my iPhone in my pocket and listen to books throughout the day. I have to say, it feels so much better than watching Law and Order SVU marathons (I’m sure I’ve seen every episode multiple times. But come on… that show has a winning formula).

I love that I’m learning so much from so many different perspectives. I don’t remember the specifics of a lot of it and that’s not really the point anyway. It's providing me with something important. An outlet. Motivation. Inspiration. The authors lift my spirits and actually move me to try new things. I get inspired by certain phrases and concepts and I write them down. I’m not afraid to express myself, even if I’m not as “talented” as other people. Even if I’m imperfect and by no means the best. I’m still putting myself out there regardless of the outcome. I’m overcoming fear. I’m learning that self-expression is not about perfection or acknowledgment from others. It’s just about the articulation of my desires. It’s about manifesting what’s possible for me. Whatever that looks like.

Here's what I discovered. I have/had limiting beliefs around this stuff. Beliefs I didn’t know were there until I really started to dig. I know that I’m worthy, but the belief that “I’m not creative” was stopping me in my tracks and keeping me from doing things just for me. The truth is that I DO have something to offer the world and that thing is my perspective. I’m creative in my thinking. I’m the only one who has lived my life, with these experiences, and I’m the only one with THIS perspective. We all have something unique to us and something to give. We CREATE our lives every day.

I am so grateful for this realization, as it led me to do something I always thought I was at least “ok” at. So I started a blog to get my thoughts and views out there. Maybe people will takeaway something, maybe they won’t. But I discovered that writing is what I have to give. Helping others is what makes me feel good. (I spent twenty years doing case management in Human Services until I left my job eight months ago). Even if I’m not the best… who IS? There will always be someone better than you (you in the collective sense). No matter what the thing is.

My sobriety got me to this point. There was no instant realization. I guess it just doesn’t work like that. Sobriety, like everything in life, is about the journey and not the destination. It’s about progress, not perfection. It’s just a ride. And now I’m learning to enjoy the ups and downs.

Holly Duke is a new contributor, new mom and new blogger at Go say Hi!