The oddities of humanity. The neuroses that so often become us that really have nothing to do with who we are, at all, or what’s best for our health, wellbeing and growth.
Take breakfast, for example.
My body doesn’t know that breakfast is a man-made occasion, and yet, still, I choose to feed it specific foods such as toast, cereal, orange juice or coffee at the very time it expects to find them in my life. The morning.
My body, I’m fairly certain, just needs food. To be nourished. It doesn’t care if what I eat in the morning is not, what I might consider, ‘breakfast food’. Only the odd little whisper of my brain cares about that. Should I listen? Or should I challenge what it has to say?
It’s not just cultural expectations around breakfast that rouse me. For too many years, I allowed the cultural narrative of suppressing emotional vulnerability to rule my choices, and, as a consequence, I lost the ability to live with my heart. Goodness gracious me. My precious life moments. Potential soul singing moments, destroyed because I succumbed to a life story that, ultimately, had nothing to do with the truth of who I am.
I have no regrets. Every wrong turn has brought me to this place of strength, wholeness and home, and I am grateful for the rocky roads I’ve travelled thus far. How could I be anything but grateful for the ways it has all helped to shape and expand my perspective?
I’ve come to realise that creativity is just the art and flow of being yourself. There’s really not a lot more to it than that.
At its core, creativity seems to be made of the absolute depth of who we are. And the depth of who we are is always waiting, somewhere beneath the surface, to be shared in its most resonant form. (I believe this is true for every human being. Not just those who are considered creative types.)
For me, the purest form my creativity takes is music. My voice, in particular, seems an extension of the calming, soothing essence that naturally seems to spill from the deep, internal parts of me…and so my music always does seem to reappear in my life, no matter how far I stray from it.
For a lot of years I judged myself (my voice, my performance capabilities) based on what others were doing with their own musical talents. Somewhere in my teen years I grabbed a hold of the idea that, although my talent was constantly being validated, I didn’t have a voice that could compare to a real singer. According to young human me, real singers had a range that reached far beyond the heights that my limited range could. Real singers were perfect, never to stray a note in pitch at all.
How sweet it is to have found the most beautiful new gift of evolved perspective when it comes to my music: that being…my music is my essence. Unique and beautiful, and only mine, never to be compared to any other. My voice and my music are here to achieve their own purpose. And this purpose has nothing to do with an out of this world range or perfectly crafted technique.
There may be singers who use a wider range of skills to express their musical essence in order to thrill…but to thrill is not what I am here for. I am here to express the depths of my heart. I am here to heal with my voice and perhaps to bring peace, calm and emotion to those who connect with my music, writing and creativity. How beautiful, to finally come to know this of myself.
And so I continue to release my musical essence as it is.
No more excuses.
No more foolish voice within trying to compare my musical self with others.
They are all beautiful fruits to be savoured and cherished in the fruit bowl of musical life. I am a different fruit, who finally understands that apples and oranges never will compare.
It’s funny. To think of the damage caused by cultural norms and stereotypes.
Of course, there are the absolutely beautiful cultural narratives out there. Those that cherish and honour human life by holding it, by respecting it so beautifully that even the hardest of hearts must surely be touched by the story of it all.
I heard a story as beautiful, just the other day. My counsellor told it to me: how, in her culture, when a woman becomes pregnant, she becomes the queen. The whole tribe lavish her with love, care, and most importantly, perhaps…food.
This discussion came about after a lovely tender moment where she looked over at me, my bulging belly sweetly growing a perfect little gift, and offered to bake me something lovely to celebrate the occasion (that’s right, surprise, I’m fourteen weeks pregnant. And how lovely it is, to me. How lovely it is. xx)
But, I digress. Because although there are some absolutely beautiful cultural stories passed on by certain cultures in the world, other cultures do not even realise their own toxicity. (And when I say toxicity, what I mean is…truly, their cultural ideas are heartbreaking and damaging to individuals who do not fit into the selected story being told.)
There are some absolutely wonderful things to be said about the culture I was born into. But one arm of the narrative, an arm that destroyed any hope of me developing healthy self-esteem in my early years, was the idea that vulnerability and softness were somehow character flaws. I was mostly soft.
As it turns out, this soft part of me, this sensitivity, is my super power; a power that helps me soothe, and bring safety to those who need it. A power that helps me tap into the world of everything and nothing, and pull down the words and creativity needed for my writing to touch people in the way that it seems to.
But my culture called me ‘soft’. It told me to ‘harden up’, and it assumed that If I didn’t…then surely I must be broken, at worst. Naive at best. Never have I been these labels.
And if you are a deep and tender heart resonating with these words…never have you been these labels, either.
Always we’ve been perfect.
Just the way we are.
Think of the trillions of flowers, plants and trees out there. Some are soft. Some are hard, shrubs built to last in the wind and rain and hail. None of them judge each other for being ‘wrong’ in anyway. They simply exist.