The Inspiration Onion

Creativity is a strange beast. I don’t know what I think in relation to other people and what works for them. What works for me is solitude; when I’m forced to be me, to make all the choices, to be held completely responsible; when I’m forced to answer the question, what do I want to do? Step one: Be alone. Personally, I’m screwed up. If there are other people around, my view is automatically skewed. What are they doing? Should we be doing something? Let’s do a group activity. Are they having a good time? I can’t do this/that right now because they’d be bored. Who’s hungry? Et cetera. If my focus isn't 100% on me, it’s hopeless. Creativity calls for an insane amount of selfishness.

Step two: Wait. I’m a big believer in inspiration and I know it’s hard to find. Sometimes it feels as mythical as a unicorn. But you can’t rush it, you can’t force it, you have to wait for it. (I keep saying “you,” but I mean me. Deal with it.) I don’t think it’s divine intervention, however. I think it’s something we’re all capable of, but it’s a matter of finding your route to it. Kind of like learning to masturbate.

Step three: Create. When the stars align and genius takes hold, there’s nothing quite like it. Boredom dissipates, time vanishes and the body can run for hours on the magic created from that one spark. I’m definitely calling it magical. Having those moments where you’re inside yourself and pure creation is spewing out of every orifice –nothing makes me feel more like the me I want to be.

There's that school of thought that you even if you don't feel inspired, you need to keep working at it just the same. I do agree with that - I hate it, but I agree with it. In a way it's like peeling an onion, you need to cut through the paper and the too-purple, overripe layers to get to the meat of it. This will likely involve tears. It's not easy. This isn't to say that inspiration will be reached by just working at it.

[sad trombone] I just realized that I've come full circle and have no other choice than to say something clichéd. Success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. Luckily I'm a very sweaty person so I achieve success with great speed.

The sadness of it all is that those moments are few and far between. Life, my life, doesn't allow for frequency of those moments. But that’s okay. I’m not upset and I don’t necessarily want anything to change. Because at least this way, I know how fucking special it is when it happens.

Happy New Year, Me!

It was my birthday last week. Everyone at work passed a card around and wrote co-worker happy birthday wishes in it. I hate being on the other side of that. Should I be funny? Wait, I am funny. But will they think I'm funny? Yes, their birthday becomes a dilemma for my personal insecurities. I should just start signing, "Happy Birthday! I hope you know I'm funny."They're so pointy Anyway, most people stick with "Happy Birthday," "Happy B-Day, "Have a good day," I hope it's a good one," etc. Someone let me know I share a birthday with Mahatma Ghandi; trivia is always welcomed with a smile. Some people put in inside jokes like, "I look forward to many awkward bathroom stares," prompting someone to write below it, "What? I don't want to know."

But someone wrote, "Happy New Year!" and that's right, motherfuckers. It's a new year. It's my new year. And for whatever reason, that gives me a boost of inspiration. I'm a sucker for inspiration. It's the wind beneath my wings. So what do people do at the mark of a new year? They write out their goals, call them resolutions, get excited for change for about 3 days and then fall off the wagon.

Too much pressure is put on the idea that the New Year will bring something completely different. Things don't change that drastically and even less so, people.

So, here I am all excited about being excited about something, but slightly discouraged because I feel like it's setting me up for failure.

So what can I change in my life that will be slight enough that it is achievable, but drastic enough to be a visible improvement down the line?

That's a great question if I do say so myself.

I'm setting weekly goals for myself. I've got a weekly calendar I carry around and inside it, I've created a list with check boxes. Obviously, if I achieve one of my goals, I get a check. Filling in check boxes gives me a great sense of satisfaction so that's just like a dorky bonus.

Things on my list for this week:

  • Exercise (5 times)
    • Ubiquitous resolution, but important to keep noted.
  • Write fiction for one hour (3 times)
    • It’s hard for me to stick to this. I get myself all worked up about the fact that I never write and it stunts my motivation even more. So I need to just do.
  • Do something new (5 times)
    • I thrive on routine and new things scare me. This resolution could just as easily be called, “Do something that scares you,” but that seems too scary a thing to commit to.
  • Tell a lie (3 times)
    • I’m not talking about stealing or killing or breaking any laws. I’m talking about exercising my ability to screw with people. This is an actual goal. I find myself feeling obligated to tell someone the truth and give them all the accurate information. Why? It doesn’t matter. So, for my own entertainment, or just because I’m bored, I’m going to lie.
  • Be brutally honest (daily)
    • Although it seems contradictory to the previous resolution, it is not. On the flip side of the honest coin, I know that I’m never as honest as I could be about my feelings in the moment. I bottle things up, creating issues for later. Fuck that. It’s exhausting. It’s keeping me from being me.

Yeah, that’s enough for one week. It’s all about keeping the goals achievable. I can’t realistically say, “And now, I will completely change and be the kind of person who speaks her mind, isn’t afraid of change and works out every day forever!”

Set yourself up for success. It needs to be fun, fresh and exciting. Otherwise how can someone be expected to care or stick with it?

They can’t be.

Also, I have absolutely no authority on the subject. I might fall off of this wagon even though I've gone and prematurely painted it.

But for today, maybe even this week, I've got inspiration on my side. In fact, I'm adding a new item to this week's list:

  • Be inspired (daily)
    • If I'm open enough, it shouldn't be a chore to let inspiration find me.

And now, I shall release a butterfly into the cosmos.