“What do you want to do?”
This is the question I heard the most when I was a junior and senior in high school, looking ahead toward college.
“I want to be a doctor or a writer,” I’d respond. Two very different career paths, one that I was more suited to than the other, but both dreams that I had throughout high school.
“Be a doctor. You can help people if you’re a doctor.” And this is the response I always heard.
I can help people… if I’m a doctor.
This viewpoint always caught me off guard and it’s one that I never bought into. Sure, I get it. Doctors literally save lives. Patients come in with an illness or injuries that could end their life, and doctors can save their life. They can rid a person’s body of that disease, they can treat an injury so that the person survives. It’s not always a guarantee, but they tend to the physical ailments and visible wounds. They save lives daily and I’m in awe of the work that, not just doctors, but all of those who are in the medical field do. (Believe me, they have saved the life of someone that I love dearly and I am forever grateful!) The work they do is amazing and so necessary and I’m grateful that there are people who take on those careers. They work hard, they sacrifice a lot, but they do amazing and necessary things.
That being said, writers save and transform lives, too. How many people have pointed to the Harry Potter books and said, “This series helped me through a tough time in my life”? How many people have found the courage to voice their own traumatic experiences after reading Speak? How many people connected with 13 Reasons Why so much that they credit the book with saving their lives?
[Tweet “How many people have said, “this series helped me through a dark time?””]
Words are powerful. Words can cut you; they can tear you down. But they can also uplift you. They can provide the support, encouragement and escape that you need during hard times. They can give you the courage and strength you need to face the circumstances that you might face in your life.
And this is true for all the arts–art, music, dance…
I ordered a painting from Kendra Castillo’s recent release and received it last week. There was a storm brewing inside me the day it arrived: I was overwhelmed by increased activity throughout the week at work, I was stressed over a message I had misread, and I was frustrated by a certain situation. In the midst of all this turbulence, I opened up the package and gazed at the painting. And I took a breath. I stepped into the painting and felt peace and calm.
[Tweet “Looking at the painting brought peace and calm on a stormy day.”]
The work that creatives do is amazing and so necessary and I’m grateful that there are people who have been given creative talents, who probably could have done something “more valuable” with their lives (and possibly more lucrative!), but chose to share their gifts with the world.
As a writer who checks in and out of the writing community online, I hear this all the time: the world needs your story. Sometimes it sounds cheesy, but it’s also true.
There is someone who needs your painting to be able to take a breath. There is someone who needs your story to give them courage to articulate their own. There is someone who needs the world you created to find an escape during a dark time.
Keep doing what you’re doing, because what you put out in the world can save and transform lives too.
I’d love to hear, what’s a book/song/movie/dance that helped you when you needed it?
[Tweet “There’s someone who needs your painting to be able to take a breath.”]
[Tweet “There’s someone who needs your story to give them courage to articulate their own.”]
This is amazing. Creativity has saved so many souls! Words and music are definitely my therapy when I’m down. Coldplay is one band that always sooths me and then makes me want to get back up and keep going. And a good book takes me to another place when I want to completely escape, or helps me relate to a similar situation when I’m feeling alone. Thanks for this!
I love being creative! It is an outlet for so many things.. Painting, writing, making little crafts with the kids or even doing my makeup. I feel more at ease when I have a creative outlet.
I LOVE THIS! Because it’s so true! So many books I’ve read have helped me in so many different ways. When I was a teenager, I used music as a way to escape, or as a way to connect with other people. I enjoy singing and dancing around my house to lift my spirits! And honestly, there are a lot of great careers out there that, but honestly, pursuing a creative one is scary and challenging on so many levels, and those who are brave and dedicated enough to keep going should be celebrated! Without their passion, we wouldn’t have this much beauty in the world. <3
Beautiful post! Everything you wrote is so very true. I was first a journalist and spent my early adulthood telling stories with words and pictures. I have carried the love of writing and photography with me for decades now. Someday, I would like to tell my story in a memoir because I believe my experiences have the power to help someone else. Recently, I read a beautiful memoir titled “Excavation” by Wendy Ortiz (if you’re looking for a book suggestion). My story is similar to hers though I question if I could tell it with as much beauty as she told hers. I had a career change at 30 and became a labor and delivery nurse, so I have the experience every day I work of being able to help women go through some of the most amazing moments of their lives. It’s incredibly rewarding and I’m honored to be a part of their experience. But, it’s not very creative and that is why I’ve blogged for the last nine years – my creative outlet for my words, my photos. I think life is all about balance and I finally feel like I’m in a place where I’ve achieved that.
love this! there have been so many books and movies that have helped me through tough times. 10 things i hate about you and garden state are probably two of the earliest that impacted me in a significant way. today i found like everything i watch or read has a lesson in it
Love this! I know there were some books/movies that helped me, but I can’t think of them now lol.
Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com
This post is SO on point. For years, I made myself feel bad for wanting a career in the arts that felt selfish because it’s all about expressing yourSELF, rather than using my strong empathy and morality in a job that helps people in a more direct way. Then I realized that I can use my empathy to tell my stories and connect with other people so they can share theirs – and isn’t helping people to share their stories and feel connected to others when they’re going through a hard time exactly what a therapist does? And you’re right – it’s not a coincidence that we each feel that music or books or other forms of art have helped us through a hard time. It’s because it’s important! Btw – if you haven’t already, read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It talks about this topic in such an amazing way. <3
Great post! I think that whatever makes you happy is going to radiate outwards and help others, no matter what career it is. I left a teaching career to pursue my passions. Feeling fulfilled in what I am doing makes me want to work harder.
Very inspirational post. So many of us were told to pick a “practical” career because we couldn’t possibly support ourselves doing the creative things we love. It’s really comes down to doing what you’re passionate about. Opportunities will come from whatever that passion is. They will manifest. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
What do you say when you have no words, your post, both inspirational and true, left me speachless. I write my blog, because I have a passion, but daily I work (not as a doctor) and it too brings me joy. Today, a friend of mine share my latest post and in the share it simply stated “This is my WHY my daughter competes in pageants. Thanks for putting this into words, Roberta. It can be so hard to explain at times. <3" – They need our words, our story, we do change lives, even if it's not by "saving" their life, our words matter. Thank You for this amazing post!
Have you heard The Call by Matt Kennon? I know that song has saved lives as well. Kutless’ What Faith Can Do got me through my junior and senior years of high school.
I am glad that you are following your heart. Writing can be so powerful. You are correct that words ALSO have healing power. I just posted something on my blog about inspiring movies: https://brightlightliving.com/2017/03/06/movies-and-scenes-that-inspire/. These are some that have lifted me up and encouraged me. And of course, there is my ultimate favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, which shaped my beliefs as a child.
What a great, inspirational post! Love your take on the power of creativity and reiterating that the arts are IMPORTANT! Keep writing! ❤️
This is a really wonderful post! and very important for creatives to keep in mind. thank you so much for sharing this.
People need to hear this!!!!!! There are so many ways to influence people. I can’t pinpoint a really significant time for me but whenever I listen to music it influences my mood in so many ways!
Love this post. I started my blog to help find my creativity again. I’m also wanting to stop being on technology so much and get back into drawing
Beautiful, beautiful post. Love this so much, Crystal. For me, dancing has been a huge creative outlet for me my entire life. I feel free when I dance. It’s unlike anything else.
Creativity is so important! That’s one thing my mom taught me and I teach my own kids!