When I was younger, I was full of creativity. I wrote stories, I would come up with plot ideas for books, and come up with ways for myself to enjoy my time during a day. This was easy to balance in high school, but college was a slightly different story.
As expected, college took a lot more work than high school: every freshman’s shock into reality. I was only a year into my program when I decided to dedicate 18 months of service to my church, my deepest religious beliefs, and most importantly to God. My experience focusing solely on that is a story for a different time, and as challenging as it was I learned a lot.
But because I was dedicating literally all my time and energy into this service, there was no time for creativity- at least the way I went about it. Upon my return home, I was a very different person. All of my family members recognized differences in me, which I would attribute to my coming to terms with the importance of mental health and the reality of the illnesses that can come along with poor mental health. And in myself, I felt like my flame had burnt out.
A strict, busy schedule for 18 months straight left me feeling a little hopeless and unsure of what to do with all my spare time once I returned to the “real life” of school, thinking of my future, and moving on with my life. I was at a loss. But I knew what was expected of me: to continue an education and get a degree. So I went back to school, switched my major again, ended up switching schools AND my major another time in search of rekindling the flame that once raged inside me (in a good way) and yet nothing worked. I tried therapy, I tried medication, but I was still just burnt out after doing what I felt was working to fulfill the expectations of everyone else- be that professors, parents, leaders, peers, friends…and yet nothing flickered the flame.
I can’t say this whole process was all dark. In the midst of my constant rain cloud I made new friends, kept up with old ones, and even got married. But it wasn’t until I took a few months off of school, spent some time alone, and tried to get my creative juices going that I realized what flame I was missing. I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t writing, and despite eventually seemingly having all the time in the world, I wasn’t slowing down. That is, my mind wasn’t.
I understand that reality isn’t exactly slow. I realize that a living must be made and there isn’t always a constant flow of money when it comes to creativity. I know that others don’t take me seriously nor view me as responsible when I spend most of my time at home, trying to work out my issues, and coming up empty handed at the end of the day. But things take time.
And after much time, I have come to remember that I am a writer. I always have been (ask my mom) and I’m pretty sure I always will be. I take time. I need space. Then I create.