Creativity helped me restore my voice. Even when my insides were screaming in the aftermath of sexual trauma, creative expression has always been a lifeline. Growing up, playing piano was my safe outlet for creative expression. Then I turned to singing and acting as a teen. Through the shell of a character, I could hear my own voice. I was loud. I was confident. Pretending to be someone else, I spoke up, and people listened.
Could I feel that same confidence when being myself? For years I didn’t dare to try. But when a daily meditation practice helped me release some of my self-judgement, songwriting started flowing for me. I discovered how to truly express myself as an act of healing. I discovered how writing a song could bring meaning and hope through my struggles as I channeled my emotions onto the page.
When I was going through trauma resolution therapy in the 2010s, I sometimes forgot to reach for the notebook. I forgot how cathartic it felt to create something out of my pain. Some evenings I felt too paralyzed by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anxiety, shortness of breath, and being on high alert for any threat. Other nights, I simply felt exhausted. I would sit down on the couch to read with my son and find it difficult to get up again.
On some nights, nothing seemed to ease my misery, until a song lyric would float into my head. I was anxious because I was not doing what I most needed to do: create music. So I would feverishly write down lyrics and experiment with melodies.
I learned the art of writing a song just for myself, without worrying if it was good or not.
I wrote for the process, for the catharsis.
I wrote to cheer myself on through depression, through fear, through being stuck in a victim mentality.
I wrote to have a way to channel the energy that was trapped inside of me.
I learned to transform my pain into art.
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The years since have brought much healing, and I’m thankfully in a place of thriving now. Yet, I still remember the intensity of my emotions and anxieties, and feeling like writing a song was the only way to survive that moment. This showed me that dedicating time to creativity is not “fluff.” Creativity is vital. It is mental health care.
Creative expression shines a light through the pain and uncertainty of modern life.
Like me, you may have experienced the intense ups and downs that life can bring, especially if you are an empath who deeply feels your emotions and the emotions of others. You may also have seen the power of creative expression as a way to heal and restore your true self.
Why, then, do we still undervalue the role of creativity in our lives?
It’s so easy to get lost in our jobs, our families, our chores, and our partnerships, without carving out time for our vital creative expression.
When we create time and space to unleash our worthy voices, everything and everyone around us receives a boost. When we are fulfilled through creativity, we can show up with more energy to fill all those responsibilities and inspire others in the process.
Now that the carefree energy of summer is upon us, how do you wish to honor creativity in your life? Do you want to spend time nurturing your garden? Do you want to try fingerpainting with a child in your life? Do you want to write? Sing? Play? Dance?
Leave a comment and let me know what kind of creative expression calls to you right now!