Despite my love for all things vegan and health, my first passion has always been reading. I love getting lost in a story, marveling at the way the author put the words together, creating such beautiful, sad, terrifying, moving, lovable moments that I can’t get out of my mind. I love the very act of reading. Sitting down in a comfortable place, opening the book, feeling its weight in my hands. Its a love affair that has been going on since my mother taught me how to read around age 4 or 5.
Even being in the presence of books, in a store or a library, causes my skin to tingle and I am filled with curiosity, excitement and a mad desire to read EVERYTHING in sight. This love prompted me to write my own stories, which prompted me to study English in college and now here I am. Writing, writing writing.
I want to share this side of me because it’s an important side, one I hold dear. But also because today’s post is a little different than my usual. However, I want to inspire you, the way I was recently inspired.
I just finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I picked this up on a whim at the library last weekend as I’ve been into books about changing old thought processes and growing as a human being, lately. I didn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love,” the novel that thrust Gilbert into the spotlight a few years ago, but the subtitle of this book really peaked my interest: “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.”
I have long considered myself a creative person. I have always been captivated by well-written literature, drawings, paintings, dance, music…I have preferred these things as long as I can remember. I feel happy when I create. Almost elated.
However, I don’t create as much as I would like to. And thanks to Gilbert’s wisdom, I have realized that FEAR has been holding me back all along. While reading this book, I felt close to the author. “Big Magic” reads as though me and Elizabeth are having a conversation and she is encouraging me the whole way through. She told me I am entitled to create. That I have permission to exercise my creative ability in whatever way I choose.
“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that merely by being here, you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own,” (p. 92)
Gilbert says that without this “arrogance” you won’t be able to take any creative risks. The words arrogance and entitlement come with negative connotations, but in this instance, I agree that they are necessary.
For example, when I thought about starting this blog, I was really excited to begin and I had ideas for posts swarming around in my head all day long. But it took me a good few weeks to build up the nerve to actually begin. I had feelings of doubt, or that my ideas and opinions weren’t going to be of interest to others.
But after pushing through these feelings and a lot of encouragement from my wonderful boyfriend, I realized that I was entitled to start whatever kind of blog I wanted! For I am a writer, that is what I do. That is how I create.
Another part of “Big Magic” that I loved was when Gilbert speaks of declaring your intent. I think so many of us have a vague sense of what we want out of life, but then get upset when things don’t go our way.
But we don’t even know what our way is! Declaring who you are and what you want is one of the greatest challenges and blessings you can give yourself. Speak it to the universe, to the world, to God, to whatever you believe. “I am…” “I want…”
After reading this, I wrote a list of who I am and who I want to be. This is what I came up with.
I am a writer
I am a blogger
I am creative
I am ENTITLED TO CREATIVE WHATEVER I WANT
As much as writing has been a big part of my life, I have held myself back a lot, from fear of others opinions, fear of my own judgment, fear of it not being good enough, and fear of not being experienced enough to write what I want to. Gilbert’s words inspired me to lift this burden and proclaim to myself that “Yes, I am a writer!” This is how I express myself. It doesn’t matter if I’m good at it or not, that is what I am.
I am a perfectionist at times and along with fear, this too has held me back. Gilbert discusses how this idea of having everything in life be “perfect” is actually more common in women.
“Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism,” (p.168).
I have seen this in myself. I want everything to be perfect the moment it leaves my brain and is placed on the page. But that is impossible, as perfection doesn’t even exist.
This book taught me so much, far more than I discussed here. I want to take risks now and truly be the creative person I am. I have always wanted to paint with watercolors on a canvas but I’ve been afraid I won’t have the skill. I have at least 10 essay ideas, some that I have started writing, others that I have kept locked inside, for fear that I won’t be able to relate what I want to say properly.
Well not anymore!
I am tearing down the walls of fear in my life. From now on I am just going to be me. I am a writer, I am a blogger, I am creative.
Please check out this book, if you haven’t already! Also, comment below if you have any suggestion for what I should read next!
Have a happy, healthy day 🙂