i used to think creating = succeeding. that nothing was worth doing unless it could build me an empire. this is part of a series of major realizations i’m having about my relationship to creativity. a realization that being “the smart one who could go far” in a long line of ancestors who wanted nothing more than to have a smart one who could go far is a burden. it’s a blessing too, but it’s weighs more than one person can bear. it’s a label on your forehead that never comes off. no goo-begone can erase the residue of needing to make up for a century of sacrifice, all in your honor. it’s tiring. it’s beguiling. it’s an absolute honor.

but honors make picking up the pen or the paintbrush feel like lifting an entire house with one finger. the house your great great grandparents built by hand, brick by brick, because they had to. and you don’t have to build the house from the ground up. you don’t have to write. you don’t have to paint. you don’t have to cook for yourself or create the art for your home or craft something you could easily just buy.

they did that all for you so you wouldn’t have to. and so, when you might start creating, you instead imagine their surprise – their shock and their horror, too – when you want to create something just for fun. when you want to blow up the life that education and sacrifice and “smart” built. you imagine the horror of creating something  – not to bring home the bacon, but a flaky quiche made of bacon – just for the fun of it.

but it isn’t horrible for you, deep down, and so you do it anyway. you do it because if you don’t you’ll die the smart one who never did anything – because you’re too smart to do things you don’t like doing. you do it because, deep down, you know their wish was never for you to have an empire, but just to be a woman who knew what she wanted to create for the world and so she created it. all they wanted was for you to find your own finish line, in your own time, and be capable enough to cross it when you got there.

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