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Trusting Creativity as an Abundant Source
In the spirit the power of refusal: what does my creativity denounce? What would it look like to trust that my creative spirit is an ever-abundant source?
Congratulations! By the astronomical calendar, we’ve made it to Spring. In celebration, please take a digital party snack of your choosing: 🍒🍿🍇🫐🥨🍎🍓🍑🍫🥭🍊🍰.
In New York, we’re still not over the random snow squalls (thank you to whoever created this word that sounds like the call a mythical bird makes), and I’ve yet to feel secure enough to store my snow boots away till next winter. But on my little walks, I’m hearing the season gently crescendo. The buds of the trees around my neighborhood are blooming like the slowest and sweetest fireworks. Babe, nature is showing OFF! And I’m living for it! Spring is an astonishingly courageous bish that arrives celebrating the tending of roots with patience and care. The seasons asks us to witness the miracle of a cyclical loop of time. I can hear the trees smirking at those that thought their winter dormancy meant their death. This morning, a prayer plant leaf unfurled and offered the secret: stillness is still movement. What tethers us to our spirit will always find us again.
Nature and creativity are intimately tied (look outside with a patience eye and you’ll find brilliance tucked everywhere). I’m preparing to write my second book, and I’ve been reflecting on the pressures of creative output in an age that’s obsessed with consistent production, alongside the general exhaustion of living as a Black queer neurodivergent artist in a country where its appointed leaders are hellbent on destroying sustainable systems of care. This is to say, in the words of Solange, a bish has been weary of the ways of the world. And that weariness has meant a changing relationship to how and when I create. It means the reminder that lack of production does not mean lack of creative spirit. It means learning to trust that creativity is always within me even when I’m not producing work at the speed or form that the culture of white supremacy demands or understands.
White supremacy as a culture means its values can infiltrate our behaviors, attitudes, and daily practices. Perfectionism, senses of urgency, and hyper-individuality are all behaviors of white supremacist culture. In creative practice, one of the ways white supremacy culture can appear is the belief that creativity is a scarce resource. Alongside this comes the idea that care should be sacrificed to maintain the production of output.
This trail of thought tangles into my everyday by believing that if I’m not producing work, I’m failing my practice as an artist. And as someone that believes my creativity is how I talk with spirit, this ends in the belief that my failure to create is a spiritual failing as well. In times when I have not put out work for months or years, I feel I’m betraying my creativity, that I’m not showing up for the work of what art asks.
In an article by Tricia Hersey of the Nap Ministry, Hersey posed the question: “How will you be useless to capitalism today?” In the spirit of the power of refusal, I wonder too: what does my creativity denounce? What would it mean if scarcity was a word my creativity refused to know?
What would it look like to trust that my creative spirit is an ever-abundant source? How would my relationship to my creativity change if I trusted it will always stand beside me, no matter how my relationship to its form or the time I spend on it may change? Spring asks us to see times of dormancy not as a period of stagnation, but as a necessary process of their alchemy. Creativity too is patiently waiting for us with abundant excitement and support. At times it may offer discomfort or frustration, but its first intention is always grace. It asks us for the same care in return.
I understand trust as finding safety and good intention across the spectrum of certainty to uncertainty. Trusting the ever-presence of my creativity means allowing periods of rest to be a part of my creative process. It means being open to the possibility that there will be moments when I don’t recognize my creativity because it’s moving in a way I haven’t regarded as creativity before. It means accepting the invitation to self-definition. Today, my creativity may show up as cooking a beautiful meal, closing my eyes and dreaming to a song, or sitting still in the warm of the sun streaming through my apartment windows. In each of these moments, my creative spirit is not lost, it’s just taking on a new, quieter song. But only I can choose to meet it where it’s at, and be willing to listen.
Sending love to everyone trusting the abundance of their creative spirit. I hope you get to sit with its sweetness today, in whichever way it may arrive.
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