This past weekend, I talked with my husband about the trouble I am having is dealing with the fear of starting. When I want to start something, the fear kicks in. when this fear kicks in, another issue also surfaces – I am afraid of letting people down. Not so much letting myself down, but letting others down.
In my head, everyone depend on me. Everyone depends on me to do something great, or have the answers, or know how to obtain the answers. I have the talent. I am the smart one. I am the one that always either knows what to do. It is a lot to live up to.
Since I can remember people expected me to do great things because I am talented. My art teachers, my design teachers, my family, and even friends. These people expected me to do amazing things. So, when my mother said that I do not have the emotionally strength to be a designer – it stuck with me. It has always been there in the back of my mind, since the late 90’s when I was out of college and just starting out. I wanted to prove her wrong.
And maybe that might have been a key point in how I began to approach my career in graphic design.
Creativity needs emotion. It thrives on it. Maybe that moment in time, that car ride (yes, i even remember the she said it – on the 101 E, No 1 lane, just before the 405, it was daytime) was the starting point of my shutting down, creativity, to get the job done. I removed the emotional factor related to my work. Subconsciously, I chose that moment to separate my creativity from my ability to be a designer. It is why I tended to enjoy layout & production of catalogs. It was confined and tapped into the logical, puzzle solving portion of my mind. If creativity was needed, it was to creatively make everything fit and not how it made me feel when everything did fit. (Okay, there were feelings, but I can compare the feelings more in line with when you can pull on a pair of pants a size smaller than you use to. That feeling.) I started to gravitate towards geometrical as opposed to organic shapes. My work was structured, everything had a specific place. Creativity, was not needed after a while, at all.
The few times I had to create something, it was a very simple element. Symbols.
Being a designer became a profession that was an emotional void for me, creativity. It is something I only realize now. If there is no emotion, there is no passion left for what I did. Sure, I was still emotionally charged, but it was the wrong emotions. Instead of emotions of release and joy, an creative fulfillment, I was feeling and encouraging emotions of stress, rage, panic, and doubt.
So, this loss of passion did not happen over the eight years at my last full-time job, like I had thought. It went away when I started my first design job in 1998, when I started my first job.
There is that moment, when something in your head clicks, and all the scattered pieces start clicking back together, fitting into place, like a puzzle. This is that “Eureka!” moment that happened this past Monday morning.
Since, I have been enjoying each day, feeling really good. I love feeling this good. I plan on keeping this good feeling going for as long as I can.
And I will need it. I have a lot of creative projects to work on.