I guess I knew I was a maker almost before I knew anything else was true. Like breathing, I knew to make.
I was the maker on the sidewalk with chalk covered hands, in the front sunroom of the house on Center Street playing school, under the big pines writing in my journal imagining myself as an author, in the barn loft putting on a sold-out play, sketching in the backseat of the car, making up commercials while I cleaned, singing songs to help me memorize my science facts, writing bad poetry and even worse love stories, dreaming up new fashion designs and spending my extra money on paint.
I had dreams of Chicago and art school and being an artist. The kind I saw in magazines and on television. I didn’t actually know anyone exactly like what I was dreaming up but I had seen proof they existed and I wanted to be one too. I wanted paint-covered clothes, a studio with work all around that showed I was showing up, something that revealed on the outside what I felt stirring and real on the inside.
There was nothing else I knew to be but an artist. I was nominated best dressed of my high school and most likely to own my own clothing line. These silly titles back then were sweet reminders that my peers saw that part of who I was and what I dreamed to be.
I showed my designs to my guidance counselor and he thought I should try something safer and easier like business school. At home, I was encouraged to pursue something that had a greater chance of success like business. I felt lost. They must not think I had it in me. Maybe my designs were horrible! Where they trying to be nice and do me a favor?
So, I put down my sketchbook and art supplies. Completely. It has been one of my biggest areas of forgiveness over the years. Forgiving myself for giving up so easily and believing a few of the adults in my life. And when I say completely I mean completely. I remember so vividly calling my mom my freshmen year in college and sobbing because I didn’t know what to do or what to major in. I was lost. Oh, if I had only remembered that the reason I was crying, wandering, feeling lost was because I was a maker and I was not making.
I went to college and majored in psychology and history. I graduated with degrees that didn’t give me any more direction. Lost again but this time I didn’t cry. I had gotten used to being lost I guess. I spent years doing many things that I was ok in but each Sunday night I would get the blues. Do you know these blues? The weekend is almost over and I will go to a job tomorrow that I don’t love blues?
It was not until I became a mom for the first time and stayed home with Jack that little parts of my creativity started to reveal itself again. It was through homemaking, teaching Jack, scrapbooking, party planning and entertaining.
Scrapbooking turned into journal making, turned into altered frames, turned into crafting, turned into sketching, turned into painting, turned into today.
One thing is very much the same though. When I get busy, when I say yes to all of the things that I can honestly say no to (or at least later to), when I make excuses about why I don’t have time to get into the studio, when I forget that I am a maker…I get lost.
I was recently talking to a friend and it was obvious she was lost too. I asked her when was the last time she created for herself? When was the last time that she got lost in the process? I suggested that she write a message to herself on her mirror so she would see it every day and it would say, “I am a maker, and if I go (fill in the blank) days without creating I am off track”.
Are you off track? Are you a maker and you are not making? I can get off track too. Just like we need good food, fresh air, to move…we need to make.
We know how much we want and need to connect with our creativity and the last thing we want to do is tell people around us not to bother us. So, we made a sweet reminder for us, you, and others in our lives. When this is on the door of your creative space it reminds everyone that you need to create. You are a maker!