Creative Blocks and Feelin’ Rebellious

For a rebellious person, I am remarkably straight-laced. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I don’t need drugs or alcohol to have a good time, and, as I already can’t run a mile without my lungs burning like Hades, I can’t figure out why anyone would want to make it worse by smoking cigarettes.

No, I’m not a party girl. I go to bed at 10 p.m., though if my insomnia kicks in, I’ll scribble on the yellow legal pad I keep next to my bed or read a book or magazine. I play by the rules, pay all the bills on time, stick to the speed limit, and park only in the designated areas. I am, for all intents and purposes, a good girl.

Yet I am fiercely creative, passionate about my beliefs, and, as an artist and an intellectual, willing to take risks in these arenas. When it comes to the laws of men, I am tame. When it comes to the vast, uncultivated territories of the heart and self, I am a wild pony. To be an artist, we have to be. An artist’s job, whether her medium is canvas, page, clay, or the stage, is to learn all the rules, see how elastic they are, how much they can be bent, and then to twist and weave those rules into all sorts of unusual shapes. In the wild world of creativity, I am a rebel.

the inner rebel

Lately, my inner rebel has reared her fiery head. Her hair changes every time I see her, from pink-streaked to fire-engine red to un-dyed and uncut, her clothes destroyed and paint splattered or sleek and sequined. Do you have a side of you that likes to rock out to Bon Jovi, driving through town blasting “Livin’ on a Prayer” with the windows rolled down?

Lately, my life has been wrapped up in deadlines and rules, and remarkably little writing has been getting done. My day jobs and chores have taken over. I’ve been feeling restless, yearning to uproot myself and do something spontaneous. Crazy for me isn’t what most people think of. I have no desire to go out and get wild and crazy in the typical sense. I can’t imagine why anyone would.

Crazy for me is a Wiccan ritual under a full moon, a desert yoga retreat in search of serenity, getting my hands dirty in the garden, opening a notebook or blank Word document and following the muses’ furious chatter. Crazy for me is creativity. Creativity is coming alive.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman

Our lives should be a balance of stillness and electricity, yin and yang, the usual and the unusual. When the balance gets thrown off, for me, that’s when the restless rebel rears her head. We all need to play and have fun. When I’m bored and fenced in, the inner artist wonders why I’ve only got two tattoos, why I haven’t lived in Paris, or why I’m ignoring all of the stories and poems that long to fight their way to the surface.

But I know enough now to recognize that I don’t need to hop in my little blue Yaris and drive to Arizona or yank out my passport and catch a plane to London. And I’ve always known that I don’t need parties full of people or glitter in the air. What I need is a blank page, an open mind, and a space for my restless imagination to run wild.

When I’m restless, it’s the wide open space of the page that I’m craving. That’s the artist in me. As long as my creative side has a space of her own, I’m on the right path. Even the quietest, the tamest among us has a rebellious side.

What about you? How do you rebel? What makes you come alive?

14 thoughts on “Creative Blocks and Feelin’ Rebellious

  1. Ooh, my rebel-ways depends on my mood. I love to crank the music really loud in my car and literally ‘feel’ the vibrations go through me. I also like to let my hair grow out and then chop it all off so that I sort of reinvent myself. I like drastic change! Lately I like to color my hair a little funky. This weekend, I colored it all over a really dark brown, like it’s practically black and then I colored the very back by my neck an electric blue. It’s AWESOME! 🙂 So, I may be a full-time mom, writer, gym-owner and all those normal things but I like to feed my wild side in little ways.

  2. Some of the scenes in my edgy YA WIP are wild, but it’s teens and took me years to unleash the realistic scenes. Blasting some good music while getting ready to go somewhere, while cleaning, or driving, well, that’s always great. And if the music is good enough to dance to, that’s even better.

    • Art–whether stories, songs, or paintings–is the best form of rebellion. It just unlocks something inside of us and makes us whole. Blasting some good dance music is the perfect way to unleash our inner rebel. 🙂

  3. I rebel by saying, “just screw it.” Seriously. Whenever self-doubt and anxiety and negative thoughts start popping up, instead of saying, “just screw it” and giving up, I say, “just screw it” to the negativity and keep on keepin’ on.
    Not quite as exciting as changing hair-color or anything, but that’s all I got. 🙂

  4. I’d love to yank out my passport and catch a plane to London, but that trip’s not in the cards right now. Thanks to this post, the blank page looks better to me. Nice job, Janelle.

    I, too, have a little blue Yaris.

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