Human beings. We are a funny bunch.
Many of us tend to focus on what makes us different. Not all the time, but when we get pissed, or someone believes something contradictory to us, or they don’t drive their car the way we like, or they make decisions we would never make. That’s when we focus on the differences.
We share that as human beings. Is it the secret? No.
We’ve lost a lot of artists in 2016. The latest being Prince. It it hit me as I remembered my early adult years, coming out of high school. His songs were the theme of my relationships. Prince, 1999 and later Purple Rain. It was an emotional connection, especially with his earlier songs, leading me deeper to the part of myself who was free, wild, daring and edgy. Having Scorpio rising, like him, and my love of purple was relatable too. In those years, I’d drive along listening to “Head” and “Sister”.
Though to all appearances I probably appeared pretty straight-laced and tightly wound.
My point in sharing here isn’t my grief, the connection to his music or the re-living of those times in the past few days. It is that many of us hide out. We hide from ourselves first and the rest of the world second. We all share insecurities. We share weirdness, provocations and the fear of accepting those parts of ourselves others may deem unsavory.
Creativity, namely music and the expression of any art form, elicits what is hidden.
Is it the secret? No, I am getting there.
To continue, I thank artists who live on the edge of that space because deep inside we all have an edge. For most of us it’s a hidden edge. When you hear your favorite song, or one you’ve attached meaning to about an emotional situation, how do you actually feel? Vulnerable? Or at others times maybe tough, sensual, sexual, happy and like dancing your ass off? Music creates an emotional connection with yourself. Just like a sad song relating to a break up, or how you feel so alone inside or alienated. A song can dig it up and bring it to the surface.
As a fan of all sorts of music on loneliness and alienation (from Grunge to the Church to Echo and The Bunnymen to the 60’s, 70’s and other genres of music), it used to pull up those murky parts of myself that I wanted to hide. It let me feel myself.
The perfect picture many of us carry on the outside rarely relates to what is going on inside. The CEOs and semi-celebs I’ve worked with are never what they appear to be on the outside, even the most creative ones. Truly! Most are used to being someone else too. Real happiness is not found in hiding the other parts–the ones we tuck away in fear of being found out, doing it wrong or having to explain.
I didn’t used to fit in, and in many instances I still don’t. But where I do it is magical–any more Scorpio-rising peeps who love the color purple? I’m okay with it now. Not fitting in isn’t the fault of others. I believe it is a failure to embrace our own quirks. When trying to be somebody else and fit in, it’s impossible to be fulfilled. We will always feel ill at ease. You and I have our own tribes and the only way to attract those people is to be YOU. If you’re always stuck in pretense, all you will attract are pretentious relationships.
Think about it. Like attracts like.
Is it the secret? Almost.
A step toward the secret we all share is, “As long as I’m connected to me, I feel free.” Freedom is what we all desire, in some capacity. Some of us are waiting for something outside of us to set us free, however.
There are many things we have in common with one another, including the deeper desire to share, to be open and embrace who we really are; to express freedom, love, happiness and inner peace. We have more in common than less. Really we do.
Let’s take those words and bundle them up into a meaningful place inside of us. The true living of such words is a paradox because of what may matter more to us.
The secret: We all want to belong.
We all want to be connected.
We all want to be our weird-ass selves and be accepted. Yes, everyone is weird. We all want to come as we are, no matter what, and voice it from the bottom of our lungs (even if only in the privacy of our car, shower, bedroom or the safe company of strangers).
So back to the artists. Does it mean they live this way all the time–being who they truly are? Not always.They’re like the rest of us and may also have a persona to live up to.
It is what they create in their art, an avenue for us to experience ourselves. And it may be the only time we do experience a part of true selves. Listening to those songs, which take us somewhere else deep inside.
Many of us need outside permission to live in full expression of what lies deep inside of us, and many of us deny what is in those depths because we want to belong so badly. We want to appear to have it all (we need the validation, attention and admiration) but I am here to tell you, under the skin of every person who appears to have it all perfectly built is a contradiction.
It’s what makes us lonely, disconnected and feel as though the emptiness inside cannot be permanently filled up. Some of us keep so busy there’s no connection. It’s just go-go-go. Others are immobilized, also afraid to step into who they really are. This is where we differ.
We distance ourselves, even when we look like we’re belonging. We create drama and strife because it’s easier than the possible rejection. It is really through our own creativity that we are reborn.
It is when we say yes to ourselves that it becomes ok. And it means accepting the things we do against ourselves (and others). The ways we hide out, stand with a huge wall up, hurry and get pissed off. It means we embrace ourselves in the messes we create and take responsibility.
Oh yeah, to belong may be a physiological hardwired, but we have thousands of ways we do not take responsibility for why we show up in a certain way with particular people. We look emotionally from afar, as though they have the key to our finally feeling we’ve arrived; if only we can belong. Again we feel the unrest. Looks good on the outside, but sucks on the inside.
I was at a dinner party and someone asked what I do. We had a short conversation where I stated a few things, including learning to take responsibility without blaming others. He said, “Don’t we all do that?” And I said those of us who want to remain powerless to change our lives and be happy stay victims.
In wanting to belong to a tribe, we may not even know why. We may have simply picked up on, “Those are the cool kids over there and I want to belong”. Or we may rebel and say, “Screw the cool kids, I am going to hang with the outsiders.” Our group may be tied together in our unhappiness at not living a fully expressed, creative life. We cannot imagine what would become of us if we really sought out those we do belong with. That unknown can keep us dangling our entire lives.
What can you do? What are you willing to risk? How creative do you want to get? How free, happy and at peace do you want to be? You have to look deeper to understand your reasons for where you belong and why. You have to get to your beliefs around self-worth.
Every time I write or share, it is a risk for me. I am intensely private (believe it or not), and a lot of what I did in my younger years was not about love. It was about winning, appearances and self-inflicted pain. I didn’t know any better; most of us don’t.
Who was I? At the time I had no idea. Just a bundle of anxiety, unease, analysis and intellectual hubris which was of course covered with a sense of humor, over-doing, over-giving and trying to be the best.
Some think walls are a great idea, and people have to earn something from us that we’re not even willing to give ourselves. We also think we need to show up a certain way so we don’t lose the people around us… because we’re afraid who we really are is nothing.
Ugh, right? The judge that lives inside and outside tells us our worth and sets the stage for who we are. For many of us it’s based off someone else’s rules for life. We may want to belong ‘somewhere’ so badly that we create castles in the sky. Nothing real, just the appearance of it. If we’re cast out, do we vow to instead be more of who we are or more of who we think other people want?
Finding your creativity may not make you into a world famous artist, but it can open you up to the truth of your spirit. It can help you navigate the lonely waters as you sail toward your tribe. It will free you, release you and allow you to touch on inner peace, love and happiness.
When artists are performing and in a creative state, they touch that pure part of themselves, even if it is only for the moments onstage. I had a client who worked in a profession she chose only to satisfy her parents. She was really an artist; truly talented. As an exercise she had to visit an art store and purchase a medium which spoke to her, then create something, take a picture and send it to me.
She did, and it was amazing. Even more amazing was how she felt while creating it. It opened her up to herself and her joy. If she was to continue to do this on a daily basis, she would touch on the hidden parts of herself, letting them surface… and perhaps even accepting them. It could be the start of setting herself free!
Being who you are and belonging is truly an inner journey first. The one toward self-acceptance of all the parts you’ve hidden, buried deeply and pretend don’t exist. Being who you are is not a human-made perfection; it is a spiritual perfection.