After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic this week I have been thinking a lot about the idea of permission. In the book she says something along the lines of ‘if you’ve been waiting for the slip that gives you permission to pursue your dreams, here, I’m giving it to you.’ (sorry if that was wrong Elizabeth Gilbert, love your work).
It took a really crazy job that I survived (truly, at the end that is what it felt like) for four years to allow me to give myself permission to spend this month in Vermont writing. In fact, if it had been a better job (you know, one where they like … value you you in ways other than money) I probably wouldn’t be here writing away each day and having the best time.
How come? How come it’s so hard to do what you want to do and so easy to tell other people they should?
I don’t really have the answer to this question. Even after writing one whole book and having it published and feeling good about it afterwards I spend most of my between writing time thinking – can I actually do this? The emphasis varies each time. Can I actually do this? Can I actually do this? But the point is the same.
In that same book, Big Magic, Gilbert talks about the way that fear and creativity are intertwined. She says rather than avoid this fear, she’ll acknowledge it and take it along with her on the creative journey. She invites fear along for the drive, but tells it that it can’t take the wheel. I liked this analogy, especially because I really hate driving so I’m cool for fear to sit in the back, and I’ll sit in the passenger seat whilst creativity is the boss of things.
In all seriousness though, for the first few nights here I had THE CRAZIEST NIGHTMARES involving weird people doing weird things. I woke up a lot thinking – who the actual eff is living in my subconscious? I’ve been talking to some other people here who have also been plagued by strange dreams, and saw that a friend on instagram felt the same, and for me it just confirmed what Gilbert was saying. Fear and creativity are linked because they force us to reach inside ourselves.
If I am going to do this creative thing, then fear is coming with, and it will try to be in control in whatever way possible. But, I’m kind of stubborn. Don’t know if fear knows that. And when creativity is around, it’s a cool vibe.