In my previous post, Pondering Vulnerability, I established that Oath of a Pearl is here to stay, along with my previous reasons of considering throwing the towel in. Ultimately, I realized through my practice of creative expression and therapy that I held a belief that the opinions of others determined the worth of my art. My words, my voice, my ideas, my music and lyrics, were all judged on whether or not I thought the response to receiving them was or would be positive, in addition to my own projection of what I thought was "talent" or "worthy" of publication. How saddening it is to look back now and see that my self esteem was negatively influenced and affected by the desire for external validation, which caused me to judge what I created before it ever left my hands.
My mother ingrained into me the saying "perfect practice makes perfect." My all or nothing limiting beliefs, previous perfectionist identity, and ability to express myself in freedom with confidence was hindered by this concept preached to me throughout my life, beginning at a very early age (I remember kindergarten as the earliest era hearing this phrase). The space to explore and make mistakes was never given to me, and as a child I believed that being a musician specifically would heal my relationship with my mother who strongly valued the arts. In turn, I spent free time creating and obsessing to no real accomplishment or tangible piece of work. Afraid of doing it incorrectly developed a fear of failure so I tried but only to an extent. In my eyes, success would have been recording and publishing the music I made, but it never even got that far due to the fear and angst.
These feelings were consuming me to my core, and a primary theme in my therapy early this year. We had to dismantle the idea that I could change or control others by providing what I perceived they wanted, regardless of whether or not they communicated their wants and needs to me. I had to set the blame down, and pick up my heart's true desires for my own wellbeing. Letting go of a child's solution to a complex problem that was never my fault, has allowed me to open up to myself in honor and honesty. Moving forward, all that I do and have created has been with more intention and honest inspiration.
I could not have shed this layer without the book Make Time for Creativity: Finding Space for Your Most Meaningful Work by Brandon Stosuy. This book taught me how to define my creativity, similar to how we define our versions of success. I pondered on Stosuy's theory of creativity being much more simple than our culture presents it. Essentially, we are all creative and what we make is our creation, whether that be a nourishing meal, a beautiful makeup look, the script of a play, or album of the year.
Up until earlier this year I believed that I was only creative when I was writing lyrics and arranging music in my bed in the middle of the night. Photography and modeling felt like a hobby that became creative expression over time. I never considered anything else I did in my life to be creative (besides problem solving, but even that felt like a stretch). Releasing this notion has been immensely freeing. I feel as though I have undergone an internal transformation that has allowed me to let go of angst and fall back down to Earth into myself. I am more of who I am, who I was always meant to be, as a result of transforming one of the most integral aspects of being a human: creating.
I create every day. I always have, because I have always been a creative person, but now it is with awareness, space, gratitude, and intention. I give myself time to create, even if that means scheduling in time on my calendar. I am in a relationship with my creativity, and I choose to invest into it, as it is an investment into myself. My expression is my currency and I am abundant in it. I allow myself to enjoy the process. Feeling my body fill with pure joy at the result of my doings is a sensation worth more than gold. I am able to experience the joy of creation when I make breakfast every morning, when I decide how to address clients' pain, when I make my own face and body oil, and the list goes on. All of these practices, hobbies, and bigger projects such as my podcast, in addition to the creation of my massage and holistic health business practice, allow me to tap into different aspects of my being, which together paint the portrait of who I am.
This portrait has no taintings, only love, compassion, commitment, and comfort. This portrait is treasured and beautiful, no matter who sees it, appreciates it, likes it, or hates it. This portrait is valid, even when the eyes of a stranger never graze it. This portrait is me, unapologetically.
Maren Hoflund MT HHP is a certified massage therapist and holistic health practitioner. She has an associates degree in Child Development and previously worked as a Montessori preschool teacher. She is an NAMC certified Montessori teacher and has recently earned her Master Reiki certification. During the time that she is not working, studying, or creating, she is traveling, reading, spending time with her friends and family, and taking care of her and her partner's snake Isla.