Creativity in Crisis
The other day I was in the middle of one of my many aimless scrolling social media holes, and nestled in between enough facial filler to build a house, and a dog with it's very own instagram page, I saw a thread of tweets by a woman called Dr Aisha Ahmad. It's gone viral, and so it's likely you've seen it too, but in case you haven't its just here:
I was speaking to a mate the other day, and we both groaned about how much harder it feels now than it did when we were all in lockdown. Everyone was valiantly 'together' when the shit first hit the fan – we were scheduling zoom calls and taking long walks, and there was a massive emphasis on connection and emotional wellbeing. Then the world starting to move again and we were enjoying glorious sunny afternoons drinking tins in the park with our friends; everything was kinda weird but we didn't want to talk about it anymore.
And then all of a sudden it was a bit cooler outside, the rain started and the gap between us stretched a bit further – some of us were back in the office as normal, some of us searching daily to find a new job as furlough schemes stopped and jobs were being cut, some of us sat semi paralysed at home waiting for things to go back to normal. We stopped being real about what was going on for us. Then this post went viral and it was like everyone who read it did this enormous sigh of release – that was me too.
The hitting of the wall makes absolute sense to me. It's been months now of daily renewal and active decisions not to crumple on the floor, and it's taken it's toll. The governing bodies appear madder than ever and there are swathes of vehemently angry people - people who feel like they and their industries are being blamed, or left behind without a second thought; people who are harnessing so much anger and hurt that they just don't know what to do with it. I think all of this serves to greater deepen the disconnect and entirely dissipate any spark of creativity, I know it does for me – why on earth would I want to create something in the middle of this?!
So how do you navigate it? Do you fight it to feel as normal as possible? Dr Ahmad tells us not to fight it, but when something is so innate and such a huge part of your daily life it feels all wrong to just sit lightly when you realise your spark has fizzled out... She reminds us that if we're managing to be kind to those we love, and to meet our basic needs for survival then we're doing just fine. I'm finding that trying to do something every day that makes me smile or feel sunny helps me feel a bit more normal, and less full of despair.
Anything we can do to connect us to each other and the ground is only a good thing right now. Don't feel the need to achieve things or create magic, but please quit telling everyone you're fine if you're not. I know we're all so tired of talking about it, but people need you to keep it real. When did true creativity ever happen by force anyway?