Jenny: Imperfection Friday: I Am A Creative Being (This Is Not A Breakthrough)

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.

Permission Slips 2

(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.

I am a creative being

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.
You’re stupid.
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 fabulous.
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:

Things To Learn

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!

30 thoughts on “Jenny: Imperfection Friday: I Am A Creative Being (This Is Not A Breakthrough)

  1. 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.

    I love this!

  2. mitchiewitch says:

    Jenny – I think that you’re conflating arrogance (an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner) with confidence (a feeling or conconsciousness of one’s powers)because you certainly don’t come across as overbearing. Whenever you write about writing on Argh you always state that this is what works for you and there are many roads to Oz. Given that you are incredibly generous in sharing your process and so supportive of commenters there, I don’t think your standard disclaimer is just lip service. Maybe you were told that you were arrogant often enough when you were younger to believe it yourself but your behavior here doesn’t bear that out.

  3. First off, love frumpy bunny.

    Secondly & totally unrelated. Has everyone heard about the big internet breach announced earlier in the week?

    Asking because apparently we all need to run (not walk) and change all our passwords everywhere. Just a heads-up for those who may not have heard:)

  4. If it’s that heartbleed thing, I read that changing your passwords makes it worse for some reason. But don’t rely on me.

  5. JenniferNennifer says:

    Frumpy bunny is delightful.

    I’m answering you here about dropbox stuff so you don’t have to go back to the old post for my answer….perfectly easy for me to just re-upload. This must be the universe’s way of telling me to take new afghan pictures.

    My darling mother also identified with the Red Queen, yet another reason to love you.

  6. I searched for “mini” and “baby” and didn’t find them. I know you uploaded them, I saw them go up in the notification box while I was working on something. They have to be somewhere. Damn it. Give me a head’s up when you upload them and I’ll put them in a post right away.

  7. I’m following the course – I’m really rubbish at following instructions too – my self-portrait is not in crayon. We haven’t had crayons in the house for years.

    I really liked your vivid swirls for I am a creative being. Reminded me of an owl, and glorious colours.

  8. I love seeing these. It’s pretty much a given now I’m going to have to take these classes. So, something really cool to look forward to! Meanwhile, I’m loving seeing what you guys are doing.

  9. C.G, Morrison says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Get the big box of crayons…and possibly some oil pastels, if you can afford them. You’ll have more fun with more colors, and the oil pastels are sort of like crayons, only with really great depth of color. Just my two cents.

    BTW…you do know the crochet guild’s conference is in NH this year, right?

  10. I always have the big box of Crayola crayons. It’s fun to free myself from having to make a drawing “good” with “finer” materials. Drawing with crayons means you can be goofy and childish and let your inner child out to play in the mud. So get the big box, Jenny!

  11. I’ve never been a pastel girl, but I have AMAZING colored pencils, so that’s where I’m going next. And paint. And collage. And I may even go buy the big box of crayons with a sharpener. I’m not sure why I don’t like oil pastels. I didn’t like oil paint, either, and stuck to acrylics and watercolor.

  12. JenniferNennifer says:

    ok, I put them back in. While I was still in there, they all disappeared again. I put all but the seasonably appropriate bunny picture together in a folder.

    We’ll see if they stay this time. If they don’t, I have copies on my computer and can paste them endlessly when you decide you need them.

  13. Micki says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! A (related?) issue is playing merry hell with my favorite mailing list. Something about DMARC and Yahoo! mail bouncing messages all over the place. And, my list has been semi-helpful, but one guy is running around saying, “If you have Yahoo! Mail, you need to change your passwords now, because Bad People have it.” Not a direct quote, but the patronizing (fill in the blank) does use the words “bad people”.

    According to NPR, nobody has done anything with this bug in the security before they discovered it . . . but now that’s it’s ALL over the place, it’s just a matter of time before someone does do something bad with it. If they haven’t already . . . I’m about 36 hours behind NPR, and who knows how behind they are?

    I know computer bugs aren’t really a ReFab thing, but if someone wanted to open a post about it, I’d love to hear what other ReFabbers are doing. It really worries me.

    It also sounds like this is a great time to update security and change ALL the passwords (therefore, to also create a strong yet memorable system of passwords).

  14. Micki says:

    My favorite fancy Crayola color is midnight blue (-:.

    The crayons the kids have here are really . . . messy. They blur easily. Great, rich colors, I have to admit, but they get all over hands and clothes and then the picture is often blurred unintentionally. They aren’t exactly oil pastels, because those are sold in different boxes, but they are something like that.

    (-: And yes, You Are Fabulous.

    Re: the meditation — I have been trying to do more of that this year. I really like short guided meditations, and there are a ton of different ones on YouTube. Lifehacker recommended a 10-minute one by Andy Puddicombe . It has a little bit different approach from the normal floaty music and fruity narrators (which, by the way, I love as well, and have two on a YouTube playlist that are working really well for me). He’s also got lectures (one by TED) about why one should meditate for 10 minutes a day. I haven’t watched them yet, but I think I will today.

  15. MJ says:

    Yes! Midnight blue is my favorite, too. And then that school bus yellow (goldenrod?), and silver.

    Also agree with Deb that the sharpener makes life worth living.

  16. Kieran says:

    I like the fat Crayons! Don’t you love to open the box and smell them? Takes me right back to the days of glue paste and construction paper in first grade.

  17. 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.

    This is simply brilliant and more evidence of why you’re Jenny Goddamn Crusie.

    I have a mad desire to learn how to work with clay on a potter wheel. I’m going for a lesson soon even though I have little evidence of ever being any good with making things or painting things, etc. Writing, sequining, needlework — Those things I’m good at doing. ceramics, knitting, drawing, painting – awful.

    Still, I know that I’m a creative person, just not an artist, and I’m okay with that.

  18. ruthie says:

    Oh, I have always wanted to learn to throw on a wheel! When I tried in my teens with a kick wheel, I was so uncoordinated that my foot went around with the kick bit, pulling me off the bench seat (and flinging me onto the cement floor of the studio). LOL! Then, in my 20s I tried again with an electric wheel, but in the meantime I had been in a bad automobile accident and really screwed up my neck, so, even with the electric wheel, I didn’t have the strength in my arms to control the clay. Sigh.

    The “creative being” thing wouldn’t be a problem for me. My problem is more reminding myself that there are not so creative things that MUST BE DONE to survive. 😉 When I was working, doing mostly crushingly non-creative (but really well paying) things, it was hard to be creative at all.

    Jenny, isn’t it great to get older and be able to tell people, “I’ll sing any damn song I want,” or whatever it is?

    Do they have classes for creative beings who need to learn to corral that creativity once in a while to get linear and function in the real world? ‘Cause I could sure use a refresher on that one.

  19. aunt snack says:

    Are all the Brene Brown assignments visual? I can tell that you are getting a lot out of it, but as a person who is not very comfortable processing things visually (and has the MRIs to prove it), I wonder if this course would be helpful for me. Anyone care to take a guess?

  20. It starts with readings in her book, then there are videos that talk about the idea. The assignments aren’t really visual as much as they are a different approach to ideas. That is, one was to print out “I am a creative being” in big letters from your computer and then decorate it with stickers or watercolors or anything to embellish it; the idea, I think, is to emphasize to yourself that you’re a creative person, not to do artwork. The assignment this week is to make two lists. The whole art aspect is just to make you pay more attention to what you’re writing and reading.

  21. toni says:

    I loved oils — but it takes a tremendous amount of time to build up the image vs. acrylics, which can layer in much much faster, since they dry so quickly. What I loved about oils is the luminous, rich quality, and the way I could create how light affects the image.

    Now, though, I’m doing that same sort of effect in Photoshop. I’ll go stick a couple of my recent images in dropbox for Wed.

    Totally loved the sideways bunny going “om”

  22. I loved the smell of them, but I was too impatient. I did love layering watercolors, but I was too impatient to concentrate on that, too. I wasted my undergrad education, but that’s where I was at the time.

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