This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Laura, McKenna, and Kenzie address the myth that you must be fearless to be creative.
Fear: Make Amends
by Laura Dachenhausen, McKenna Lynch, & Kenzie Middaugh
Fear can be so easily consuming and crippling to a point of being unable to be productive in any matter. Fear is an inhibitor to a lot of our daily creativity, positivity, and life. Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic how fear sings a song with “the same tedious lyric: “STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!” But it doesn’t have to. Fear doesn’t have to stop you.
To be able to be live with your fear can be difficult, but that often comes from constantly fighting it. That fight can be exhausting beyond belief and that’s what inhibits you from creating everything you can and being everything you are. If you learn how to work with your fear and acknowledge its existence, you will no longer be exhausted by this fight.
It’s important to make a space for your fear. Your fear isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s part of our biology, it is a primal reaction and is trying to protect us. But sometimes we don’t need that protection. Sometimes we need to break out of our shell and our comfort zone and grow. That’s the only way we develop and learn. But instead of battling your fear, if you give it a space and let it live alongside you, you can break out of that comfort zone and experience anything you ever want to. But it’s not enough to emerge from your comfort zone. You have to be vulnerable with yourself and others as well. It’s one thing to push yourself to experience new things, but you have to be open and vulnerable to those experiences as well.
Making a space for your fear means not bottling it up and ignoring it, it means working with it. Have an open dialogue with your fear. Let it know that you’re taking control and that everything will be okay, reassure it. Acknowledge that it will never leave you and that it will travel with you on any adventure you go on, but let it take a backseat. Give it a comfortable pillow and some snacks and let it just join you, not sit in the front seat and drive.
We embrace the fear in vulnerability that lights our creative paths. Through the journey of this video our intent is for you to reach inside yourself to find your creative path—whether that’s letting fear overwhelm you and blow out your creative candles or overcoming it and blowing out the torture of your fears. Imagine yourself as the girl in the tub… Will you give into the fear and drown in it or will you let yourself submerge into your creative side of fear?
To hear more of Laura Dawn’s music, please visit her SOUNDCLOUD page.