Faith, Life Musings

Big Magic

My friend Marina has been telling me to listen to the “Magic Lessons” podcast for several weeks. The other day she sent an email, telling an entire group of women, including me, to listen to the one with Brené Brown, in particular. This morning I finally took her advice.

You guys, it was so good. I got shivers and teared up the entire time. It’s 30 minutes that has the potential to change your life. I took so many notes during their conversation, like a hungry student of Creativity.

This quote by Brené stuck out to me the most because of my own story.

“Unused creativity is not benign.”

For a long time I said out loud, as frequently as possible, “I’m not creative.” I used my poor drawing skills and laughable watercolor renditions as prime examples. (I honestly made a four-year old cry once when I handed him a sketch of a deer he asked me to re-create).

I couldn’t dance like my sisters, or sew like my mom. I didn’t compose music, or paint like my father. I never took up knitting or calligraphy or pottery. I felt envious of people who were creative and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve their talent, wasn’t worthy of the gift.

Five years ago, my body grew a tumor. It wasn’t cancer, but it stole my energy. It left me pale and severely anemic. I had a hard time climbing a flight of stairs without losing my breath. Most days I didn’t want to leave my house.

My body found a physical place to store all of my grief, fear, and pain. The heaviness I felt became real. I wasn’t creating with it, so my cells duplicated and multiplied until there was something tangible I couldn’t ignore, causing me to be sick.

I realized the gravity of my life-style choices, and started telling myself a different story. I looked for ways I was already creating, and tried to do more of it. I had always loved baking, so I began making all of my own bread. I filled the freezer with muffins and cakes and bagels. I grew flowers and peppers and planted a garden. I started my blog. I kept writing.

An apron my mom made for my birthday after I came home from Italy in 2011. 

Becoming sick was actually the first step of many on a long journey to healing. I lived with a grapefruit sized mass inside of me for over a year before the doctors took it out. It’s taken far longer than that for me to release the non-physical remnants of all of that bottled up creativity and unexpressed emotion. It’s been a slow and grace-filled process every step of the way.

Sometimes Grace shows up in your inbox, encouraging you to listen to wisdom. Sometimes it shows up as a voice, calling you and cheering from the sidelines. Sometimes, Grace shows up in the form of a tumor, begging you to create.

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