I finally figured out why I love Creative Babes so much.
Beside the commitment to authenticity, community over competition, and supporting your fellow babes whenever possible, this Columbus-based group of bad-ass women promotes a positive view of creativity.
See, I grew up drinking that tortured-artist Kool-aid.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. But not just a writer -- a great writer. And as far as I could tell, to be a great writer I had to be troubled. I had to have a past full of brambles and broken bottles. And writing itself? It had be difficult, as tortuous as drawing blood. I had to suffer for my art.
This mindset was a fast-track to burn-out and, temporarily, falling out of love with my craft. By the time I graduated college, I couldn't think about writing a poem without feeling a bout of anxiety rise up in me. If this was creativity, maybe being a creative person wasn't for me.
Luckily, this feeling didn't stick. A few years later, I began my love affair with weaving. I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which promotes a lot of positive attitudes about creativity, most notably "that you are allowed to actually enjoy it regardless of how it turns out." And I found Creative Babes.
When I went to Creative Babes events, I heard a different story about creativity: being a creative person makes your life better. Tapping into your creative side can heal you. And when you embrace your creativity, there's a community of people (here! in this room!) who embraces that part of you too.
So I really shouldn't have been surprised when I heard these same themes being echoed back to me in my recent workshop with Creative Babes: "Weaving Joy Into Your Space." I began the workshop as I always do: asking everyone to introduce themselves and give a reason why they decided to attend today.
Here's some of the answers we heard:
"I have a pretty stressful job, so I wanted to do something to decompress from that."
"I sit in front of a computer all day and I want something creative I can do with my hands."
"I'm taking creative workshops until I find something that sticks."
"I just quit my job and feel like I haven't done anything creative in a long time."
I felt such a rush of inspiration as I heard those answers. Because these women knew what it took me so long to figure out: that the joy is in the process. That being creative will always be more about what you, as the creator, get out of it than what those that consume your art experience. That creating is supposed to be this positive, engaging thing -- not a negative grind that you endure for your shiny final product.
What followed was a night of making for making's sake. A little community formed amidst piles of yarn scraps and hours of stitching and it was so wonderful to witness and help conduct the process.
I proposed the project to Creative Babes with the hope of having a thoughtful discussion about how objects in your space influence your own joy. But as the night unfolded, the weaving itself felt like a metaphor for the whole experience: we were slowly weaving joy into our lives, just by showing up and saying, "Hey, I'm ready to create."
Thanks for that powerful lesson, babes!