Natasha Miller Letters

Creative Jealousy and Personal Growth

I apologize for my recent absence/lack of posts. We’ve been struggling with various toddler-related illness as well as just general cold virus. This last week has given me the chance to reflect on a couple of things and I really feel I may have achieved some personal growth. The cause: creative jealousy! Now, I’m not saying it won’t happen again, but this was a hard, and important, lesson to learn.

Here’s the background:

Through my journaling and hand writing experiences, I have found some incredibly talented and supportive communities. I’m finally learning a true appreciation for the term artist and it’s many forms.

So following these many great artists, it can be easy to convince yourself that you’ll never be that good, or to feel an overwhelming jealousy. As a very competitive, high achieving (yet confidence-lacking) perfectionist, I have had to squash this part of me EVERY. DAMN. DAY of this new path I’m following. And, for the most part, I’ve been successful at embracing the requirements of this new path.

That is, until last week.

Not my finest moment:

There’s one particular woman who is an incredible artist and her ideas are just so fresh and fun. She also has the skills to back up those ideas. I admire her work a lot! Last week she joined one of the (many!) Facebook groups I’m in and she immediately got the attention I’ve been hoping for (for the last 6 months). So it wasn’t necessarily jealousy of the person but rather the situation.

(And just to be clear, I didn’t feel I deserved this more than she did! Not at all! It was just one form of validation that I’ve been craving.)

But it was bad! I could feel all of the creative ideas I had floating around wash away as this monster overtook me. My motivation, enthusiasm, enjoyment – all gone! I couldn’t believe a.) I was feeling this way, but also b.) this was the results from that horrible feeling. It was almost paralyzing.

Now shortly after this breakdown, I realized my toddler had pink-eye and I had to kick it into mom gear so I couldn’t dwell on it. So, due to mom-mode, I was able to pull out of this downward spiral and ended up painting with my toddler. I was able to leave the jealousy behind a move on. I managed to create two art journal spreads.

Art Journal Spread

Well, the next day I posted one of those art journal spreads to that same Facebook group and I got that attention I wanted. Needless to say I felt like a total whiny baby. This feeling got progressively worse when the woman opened up and shared her struggles in the most real way. I’m not going to share her full story here but one of the things she mentioned echoed through my head. She mentioned that her best creativity comes from times of depression.

The lessons

Reading these words hit me like a brick wall. I would love to have her talent and imagination but not at that cost. I have my own demons, don’t get me wrong, but this situation helped me realize that all talent, ideas, inspiration, etc. comes at a cost.

It also had me wondering where my creativity and ideas come from. Some people in the planner community I’m in love tracking everything. So I may take a page out of their books and start paying attention to moods and symptoms, just to see.

Then there’s always the old adage, “you don’t know what someone else is going through”. I am extremely grateful for the situation I am in. It’s not always easy and we definitely have our struggles, but it could be SO much worse! I have started including a gratitude journal in my Traveler’s Notebook and it is definitely helping me keep a healthy perspective, regardless of how trying the day has been.

This was such a ridiculous situation on my part but I wanted to share this with you because I know it happens to all of us. I really do believe that it’s important to recognize it, learn from it, and move on. This blog post is about being honest about my creative struggles, as well as a way of letting go – a confession almost.

If you are having your own creative struggles and would like to reach out or share, please do so. I’m always open to learning even if it’s not through my own experience!

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