Being a creative is tough, I'll be honest. One day your mind can be swirling with every idea in the universe and the next it's radio silence. Sometimes there is no reason for the silence and sometimes there are a million reasons. Sometimes the distance between creative days and non-creative days is short (a day or two) and sometimes the distance is very long (years). The latest stretch, for me, has been about four months. And while I've tried to keep going, I recently found myself unable to.
In October, I accepted my dream job at the college I work for, started "dating" again, and began working on a really dope business idea. October felt like a new beginning. I was excited and life was good. Until it just absolutely was not.
Slowly, each of those new things started to overwhelm me. Broken promises and added work responsibilities mixed with the fear of never getting this business off the ground were too much. But I didn't suffer in silence. I told everyone I knew how crazy things were; how overwhelmed I was. I was doing everything people tell you to do when you become overwhelmed, but nothing was getting better. Yet, everyone who listened promised that things would. I was hopeful, mostly.
In my creative experience, my life situations are either inspiration or stumbling blocks to my creative process. There is no in-between. This time around, I looked at everything as a hinderance. I didn't want to write new music. I didn't want to do photography. And I certainly didn't want to blog about my latest makeup brush finds or that really dope sweatshirt I just bought. I literally couldn't deal with anything new. Honestly, I probably couldn't have done any of those things if I tried. I was paralyzed with fear and doubt. As a result, I had to let my blog fall into oblivion; only posting one sad New Year's post since this year began. I needed a break and, like it or not, my creative brain was giving me one.
There's a quote I love that says "sometimes an artist takes a break to live. When she comes back, she bares all she's learned."
Two weeks ago I went to see my college choir, the outstanding Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University, in Atlanta for a stop on their spring break tour. I was in town to see my sister for her birthday, but there was no way I could miss my HGC fam. I'm so glad I didn't.
On the ride home I was listening to the choir's new album, Glorious God, and trying to make about 100million decisions. *Note: Thinking and driving only works if there are no tears.
As I was driving and listening to the album, a song came on that instantly made me cry. "I know sometimes it seems like God's not there," the singer sang. That was it! I didn't just feel creatively depleted. That was merely a symptom. The real issue? I felt like God was nowhere around during all of this. God do you still love me? In despair, I'll admit, I questioned it.
Later in the song, the singer said something that completely rocked my world. During the reprise she gently sang the words, "Don't give up. He still loves you."
I never used to believe people who would say that their breakthroughs happened instantaneously. Surely, it has to take some time, I thought. Nope. Right there in that car driving down I-20 west towards Alabama, the heavy cloud of uncertainty that had surrounded me for months lifted. I won't even try to explain it.
So, that's why I'm back, on a new blog platform, ready to give this blogging thing 100%. And knowing 1000% that God is right here with me because God isn't a feeling. He's my amazing creator who promised never to leave or forsake me; and He doesn't break his promises. I just forget that sometimes.
We all do.
And I hope if you've found yourself in a non-creative stretch that you don't give up hope. Take the time to learn the lessons and then teach the world what you've learned. That's what I plan to do.
Always in love.