10.21.13 Truth & Wisdom
BY Davina Catt
I am a writer, well more of a journalist, but definitely not a blogger. When I write, I like to really write, which means piles of research, immaculate grammar, and finding a good angle on the subject, so I never undertake my writing lightly.
I’d like to confess from the beginning that I am an utterly private person, and after a rollercoaster journey through childhood, teens, to now early womanhood, with anoxeria, bulimia, and bouts of depression in between, my survival instinct through the haze of anxiety, worry and living in the reflection of the past or the far off future of ‘what ifs’ has been to shut ‘it’ down deep within and bullishly fight my way through the barricade. But “the day [did] [come] when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”(Anais Nin) and here please forgive me if my words falter between too direct and too indirect but finding a place safe enough and deciding to talk is one hell of a daunting prospect, even for someone who writes on a regular basis, although I am, of course, very proud to be part of this community.
I’ve always wanted to write, it’s never been a difficult decision. I wanted to write since I started big school and flew through English exams with prizes, was hooked on classic literature and wound up reading scripts all day at a high profile literary agent. If middle aged women from the outer Hebrides with no ‘creative’ instinct and, who had never previously put pen to paper, could come up with high flying fantastical romances and twisting plots and have the guts to send in nonsensical manuscripts, surely I could achieve my high flying writing goals, see my name in shiny print, and whilst doing it use my writing creativity to alleviate some of the pain and experiences I had gone through?
Years later and plenty of glossy print down the line, I find myself wanting to talk on whether creativity actually can breed inner loneliness?
From being just a words girl to also a visual one, it doesn’t matter what the creativity you embark on, it all comes from the same energy, yet I believe it’s one that is often introspectively inclined and can have negative repercussions. I certainly believe that being ‘a creative’ is a category that must include obsessive personalities, pain, and some element of craziness, but that being a ‘healthy’ creative means still learning to recognise and break certain patterns.
From start of idea or interest in subject to becoming engrossed in endless ideas and learning, I have found myself quite literally attached to my laptop day and night, ‘taking in’ not only the bottomless pit of information out there to suffice what I thought was my very ‘curious’ mind. However, becoming engrossed in a particular subject for research purposes, naturally seems to lead to the trap of becoming engrossed in oneself – that second world of subconscious; negative back-chatter, judgemental voices constantly whispering in my ear, and a heavy sledgehammer ‘beating away’ at one’s sides.
As time on one’s own means the beating gets harder and harder, thoughts churn and churn till the idea of facing the big outer looming world feels more and more daunting. So lost in your own self, the phone never seems to ring, no one seems to want you and the connection to people seems more and more distant. I try and break it by sitting at the kitchen table with an old girlfriend, but her seemingly lighthearted banter on lunch, men, and clearing out her closet still only alienates me further. I feel a disconnect and my inner self loathes at not abiding by the ‘rules’ of the rat race. It’s of course a self doubt that others spot and cash in on. I try and re-immerse myself into the ‘big wide world’ circulating London over weekends with gallery and museum exhibits I haven’t had a chance to see, only to keep thinking on the fact that tonight’s movie date is on my own. Is this ‘normal’ behaviour, and was this really the enlightening, inspiring and alleviating notion of creativity I naively pictured for myself those years ago?
The answer is probably not. But there is a way to manage your creativity and make it work for you, but of course it takes strength, courage, and the ability to keep stepping out of oneself. I believe the main point here is it is all too easy out of good desire and intent to find that creativity owns you; we must foremost recognise this and remember that we must own it. Creativity is here as a freedom, as a route to different paths, as a means to channel negative energy, but it is not here to engulf you and to swallow you up before you lose all sense of yourself. Balance has never been my strong point, the addictive personality that I am, but balancing creativity is actually about balancing what you are taking from it and what it is taking from you.
It’s taken time for me to recognise these ideas, to not feel a guilt or lack of respect, and to form a new approach where now people come forward to me, want to hear my story and I can keep finding new ideas and querying whilst maintaining myself. But the rewards are great and now I really do feel part of one big creative, dysfunctional family, a little bit like the one I initially imagined and moreover I feel I have something to offer it.