what I learnt from taking a creative break
I sat down to write this post. Sitting on the floor with a coffee in hand I ended up staring into space. Instead of reaching for my laptop I grabbed a pen and my journal. And I ended up writing about my feelings towards blogging, then read it aloud to my partner; Luke. Then cried. After seven years of on and off blogging you'd think I'd have it figured out and locked down. But instead my feelings towards it are as chaotic as my moods. I feel a mix of pride for the things I create but feelings of sadness over the fact that few people see what it is that I do. I thought taking a creative break would cure these feelings. But I guess it takes more than running away from your craft to cure it. So here is the truth.
I took three months away from URBNWILD because my feelings of sadness were weaved into the fabric of my reality. Not just towards blogging. I'd wake up with a heavy heart and tears would be a part of most days. Depression crept up on me and crawled into my mind bringing with it anxiety. I took three months away because I needed the space to sleep and cry and just try and survive my day to day job without the pressure or guilt caused by not creating. When I try to think of a turning point to when it all started, or when it got a lot worse it was in August when my boyfriend was away and my whole life turned upside down. It was a lot for my easily overwhelmed brain to deal with. But it taught me how to toughen the fuck up. Things before August were rocky. Its kind of weird. Because my confidence rocketed in one way. But my insecurities multiplied in another. A lot of friendships were ended. My partners ex caused a whole heap of havoc to my mental well being. Things with my family got hectic. Moving houses was a mission and a half (though I did drive a truck. twice.). Then when the going got tough, i crumbled. And things didn't get better. Last year in November I went on anti-depressants. Last week Friday I started counselling. Because I can't get better on my own. And my method of running away to try sort it really isn't helping.
Giving myself space to breath and not create helped. As I said in last weeks video i wanted to feel perfect when I came back to blogging. And I wanted to feel 100% creatively charged. But life got chaotic right before and it made me realise that I shouldn't keep pushing the things that I love away because its not the 'perfect time'. or because I'm secretly (not so secretly) afraid of doing it / failing. I have goals. And I have dreams and ideas. But sometimes I get stuck in my head thinking there is no way I could ever do those things. I shouldn't resign myself to failing before I've even begun. I shouldn't not create because someone else is doing 'better'. Or creating better. Or has more subscribers. I should create, because i want to. I should do the things I want because I want it. And that is the best thing I've learnt from taking that creative break, even if sometimes I forget.
There really is no shame in taking a creative break. Looking back on my track record last year its pretty shocking. My blog was up and down with a lot of quiet patches in between. And that was a sure sign I should've just stopped, even if only for a while. It took me until the end of the year to be ok with taking a creative break and letting go of that pressure. I'd say if you are resistant to taking a break or if you're struggling with creating its a sign that things need to change. Shake it up. Make it yours again. And make that creative project work for you. Take as much time as you need off and take that time to reevaluate. I honestly spent a whole heap of time questioning life and blogging. Why I liked what I liked, why I did what I did, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to spend my time. It was so confusing I'll be real. But for the most part I got out of that confusing chaotic part of my brain. Figure out what you want to do and DO IT.
So what did I learn from taking a creative break? I learnt how to listen to myself and what I need. I learnt how to open up and share, even though I still find that hard. I learnt that taking a break isn't shameful, its a form of selfcare. and if you're burnt out and continue to create its likely to be disingenuine and shit anyway. I learnt to trust a select group of souls. And I learnt how to be a friend. I learnt a lot about my family. How to be me again. How to breath when i can't do it. And how to open my heart when it feels so dark I feel like theres no point. I learnt how to be ok with not doing much. I learnt about myself and I learnt how to live. How to experience. And how to be. I'm still learning a long the way. And I guess learning just that (learning that life itself is a journey of learning) was the biggest lesson in itself.