Sometimes I feel like my daughter did one evening when she was about 5 years old.
We were having dinner that night when she said this word: “aweedz.” She must have really liked the sound of it because she kept repeating it with increasing exuberance: “Aweedz. Aweedz. Aweedz. Aweedz!”
I finally asked her, “What’s aweedz?”
“Aweedz,” she replied, matter-of-factly. And continued saying it.
“But, Abby, I don’t know what aweedz is. Is it something you learned in school?”
“Ah-weedz,” she said, emphasizing the syllables as if it would help me understand.
“Yes,” I said. “Aweedz. But I don’t know what it means.”
“AH-WEEDZ,” she repeated, growing increasingly frustrated with my lack of understanding. “It’s just AH-WEEDZ!”
“But what does it mean?” I said. “Use it in a sentence so I can understand.”
She stopped for a split second before shouting, “But what’s a sentence?!”
And then promptly gave up saying “aweedz.”
Imagine her frustration. There she was, happily saying a word over and over, minding her own business until I came along and made it all complicated because I wanted to know what the word meant. I wanted to formalize it, qualify it, hear it in a sentence. And she didn’t know how to do what I was asking her to do.
Sometimes I can relate with her. Sometimes I get frustrated and overwhelmed when trying to express what’s in my head. When the thoughts and words that are happily tumbling around inside make perfect sense to me, but the moment I try to give them voice it gets all complicated and coherence becomes elusive. Sometimes ideas and insights and plots pound on the walls of my brain shouting, “Let us out! Speak us! Write us! Use us in a sentence!” and all I can do is shout back, “But what’s a sentence?!”
Sometimes there’s a short circuit between my head and my mouth, my brain and my fingers and I have a hard time putting things into words that others can understand. Sometimes, I feel like all I’m doing is repeating, “aweedz, aweedz, aweedz!”
Maybe writer’s block? Maybe fatigue? Maybe just plain old word-finding difficulty? It’s hard to say.
We finally discovered that “aweedz” was “Ariij” a new friend Abby had made at school that day. No wonder she was thrilled with the word! No wonder she kept repeating it. And no wonder she’d become so frustrated when I didn’t simply appreciate her joy for the beautiful thing that it was, and tried to qualify it in terms that I could understand.
As creatives, what if we appreciated the joy our creativity brings us purely for the beautiful thing that it is? What if we sometimes allowed the thoughts that tumble around inside our heads to simply be the end result? What if we didn’t constantly put pressure on ourselves to transfer our inner musings into coherent terms that others can understand. What if our thoughts and ideas and plots didn’t always need to be qualified within a sentence. On a canvas. On staff paper. In a video.
What if we left some space, from time to time, to simply let these things happily exist inside? To delight purely in knowing that we know exactly what we mean; exactly what we hear or see or feel; exactly what our inner musings are showing us, without immediately feeling the need to turn around and qualify, quantify, produce?
What if we could sometimes be okay with knowing “aweedz” means “Ariij” and not minding if no one else does?
Be kind to yourselves, creative friends. Appreciate your mind. Delight in your talents. Give yourself space to enjoy your creativity as much as you want others to. It’s more than okay to sometimes keep your musings to yourself, purely for your own enjoyment.