Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed the act—the art—of making things. I’ve always considered creativity as a way of incorporating myself into everything that I do or create. From chalk murals on the driveway, to charcoal masterpieces in 5th grade art, to scrapbooking, drawing, and writing. Even before I could put into words what being able to express my creativity does for me, I knew that when I grew older that it would play an important role in my life.
Now, creativity and the art of making things show up in every area of my life. They have become a part of who I am. From my big girl job, to my side hustle of teaching yoga, to writing—everything I do, every conversation I have, I’m being creative.
My life-long dance with creativity hasn’t always been a smooth one, though; I’ve hit a lot of speed bumps and come face-to-face with countless roadblocks along the way. It took me years to even consider the idea of calling myself creative, rather than just someone who creates, and I still struggle with owning it some days. I don’t get paid to write, take photos, or draw, so who am I to call myself a writer, photographer, or artist? And if I don’t get paid, surely that means I’m not talented enough, right? I always think, how dare I? But that, of course, is just my fear trying to keep me small and inside my comfort zone where I know I won’t get hurt. When someone doesn’t recognize the value in my offering, it cuts deep because I’ve put some of myself into what I create. It feels personal, like they’re rejecting a part of who I am.
My creative offerings, they’re not for everyone. That’s something that I’ve realized after years of creating, often after tears or anxiety levels that shot straight through the ceiling. But just because someone doesn’t find meaning in or a connection to what I say or what I’ve created, that doesn’t take away from its intrinsic value. It’s still art. It’s still a beautiful act of creativity.
For anyone who is struggling with owning and fully stepping into his or her creativity, this is what I have to say to you:
Putting your heart and soul out into the world whether it’s a podcast, a book, a caption on an Instagram photo or a blog post, it can be just plain scary. When you hit publish or put the final brush stroke on your masterpiece you’re saying, Hey, world. See me. Hear me. It’s an act of vulnerability, of sharing yourself with others in hopes of making connections in some way, shape, or form. But when you practice vulnerability, you are inherently being brave. So. Damn. Brave. Without courage, there is no creativity. Your fear will try to trick you into thinking it’s not good enough, that you’re not good enough. Don’t listen to that voice—it’s wrong. There will be people who hate what you say, who don’t consider your work art, or who will try to tell you that you are not who you think you are—but they’re wrong too. If you write, you’re a writer. If you draw or paint, you’re an artist. If you take photos, you’re a photographer. Being good or getting paid are not prerequisites to being creative, all you need to do is create. That’s it.
Don’t be afraid to make things and share them with others. The world needs more of you and your creative expression in it, I mean it.
Jenna is a yoga teacher, writer, and brand builder on a mission to fuel her life withurpose and to explore the world. She was raised in Minnesota but considers Colorado her home away from home. Currently, you can find her in Minneapolis, where she is creating the life she has always dreamed of.