I loved the first four lessons of the Part One of the Brene Brown class last time. Then I got hit by the Reality Truck again and didn’t finish the last two. (I made notes about what I had to do, though. It’s on my list . . .) Still I was definitely in for the last six lessons, especially when Lani and Krissie signed up, too, because the last six are on creativity, and we’ve all struggled with that. Then the first lesson came and it was to write “I am a creative being.”
I know, I should be writing “I am an arrogant being,” but honestly, creativity is not a problem for any of the three of us. Controlling creativity, yes, but being creative? We make up our own worlds and live in them. We’ve got creativity covered. But I’d been here before with some of the Brene Brown assignments: I’d look at them, roll my eyes, and then do them anyway, and whole universes would open up. I only did 2/3 of the first course and it changed everything. So I kicked myself for being negative, and did the exercises.
The first lesson was permission slips on sticky notes, which I felt was a huge step backward because the best thing about permission slips is my tag punch. Then I had to break through and give myself permission to open new packages of sticky notes, six of them, even though I was only going to use one of each color. Once I got past that, it amazing how easy it was to think up new permissions because I’m in a different place from where I was before. I’m all about choosing joy now, so I’m moving on to getting my life in order and starting over, and I’ve been working through some knee-jerk reactions there. So permission slips? Not a problem. Although I did think they looked kind of forlorn there on page so I added stamps of my frumpy bunny avatar. My real identity vacillates between Frumpy Bunny and the Red Queen. I’m good with that.
(Click on the image to open a new page and then click on the image on that page to get the big picture of Frumpy Bunnies getting permission.)
Then came the “I am a creative being” assignment. I looked at that and thought, “Yes, I know,” but then I shut up and got to work because Brene knows what she’s doing. I decided that since I’m very confident about being creative, I didn’t have to shout, so I put it in the middle of page in small, strong letters. Then because they weren’t dark enough, I went over them five or six times, and it was while I was doing that, saying the words in my head to mark my place as I went through, it occurred to me that I take that for granted, sort of the way I took for granted that I could see until it started to go away. And then I remembered how awful it had been not being able to write, how frozen I’d been because I was so panicked about losing my income that I forgot that there are a million ways to be creative because only one of them was paying the electric bill. So about the sixth time I went over the letters, I started to feel good about the whole thing. If I can’t write, I’ll paint or draw or collage. I really want to try stop-motion animation just because I want to. I’ve been surrounding myself with the potential to create–yarn, art supplies, computers, clay–and then been too overwhelmed to actually try something new or go back to something old because I had to WORK. I make things all the time but it’s always for practical reasons; even the crochet is a stress reliever. Stop motion animation? That would be pretty much just for me. So I think while I’m scheduling all the stuff I have to do to keep my life going in a joyful manner, I need to remember that I am a creative person, and that making stuff is my way of singing, and nobody needs permission to sing any song she wants.
So that was good. Then I went back to review the assignment and found out it was supposed to be in very large letters, but I’m confident on this part so I’m good with the small letters as a starting point. Also, I should probably learn to follow instructions, but then you get into the whole creative thing again, and frankly, I don’t think Brene Brown cares as long I wrote the words down and thought about them.
As I said, I have the confidence in myself as a creative being pretty much down, but I still liked doing that. It’s all smeary and sloppy because I scrubbed my brush all over it, but I like that too. Creativity is sloppy. Neatness doesn’t count.
The last part was to make a self-portrait in crayons which, amazingly, I do not have, so that has to wait until tomorrow.
But here’s a secret: I’ve always wanted to do a series of self-portraits and I never have because it seems self-centered. (Ya think?) However with age comes the realization that you might as well be self-centered because nobody else is going to center your self, so this was one of those good thing/bad thing deals: good thing because I’d finally do one and bad thing because it had to be in crayon. I was thinking more of impressionistic self-portraits, collages, fantasy paintings, that kind of thing. Crayon seems . . . harder. Even though it’s supposed to be fun and not art, it bothers me. Which means of course that I have to do it. As soon as I buy some damn crayons.
Then for later in the week, we were supposed to write down bad messages, the kind that wound, and cover them up with bandaids. The good news is: I has bandaids. The bad news is: They either had Kermit the Frog on them or they were really sucky to write on. But here’s my list:
Don’t try that you’ll fail.
Don’t talk about yourself so much,
When are you going to write a real book?
I guess you’re not as smart as you thought you were.
The neighbors will think you’re not right.
Don’t brag. You’re not that good.
Stop calling attention to yourself.
Somebody else did it better.
Oh, Jennifer. (Said in tones of absolute disappointment.)
So I found six bandaids:
I can do anything.
I really am that smart.
It doesn’t matter what other people think.
I really am that good.
I’m Jenny Goddamn Crusie.
Finally (I think I did the whole week at once), we were supposed to list five things we wanted to learn this year:
So later for the self-portrait, but I have everything else done (I think) and I’ve given myself permission to be a creative being with a side of arrogance, so PROGRESS!