About two weeks ago on a Tuesday I reconnected with a very old friend. After all the hugs and squeals were over with and the obvious questions were asked, (“How are you?” “How was your trip?” “How on earth do you use this parking meter?” …A lot of how’s.) It wasn’t lost on us how different our lives were from our last meeting. In the span of two years we had both gotten married, and she had moved states and had a baby.
I guess she had gone through more changes than me, but whatever.
A little background: She and I were born on the same day of the same year, and basically mirror versions of each other, if one side of said mirror was extraverted and the other painfully introverted. I don’t believe in astrology, but if did our situation would be a goldmine.
So as we shot photos and gabbed about various life changes we came across the topic of creativity inside of marriage, her with her photography and me with music and writing.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but at some point in my young life I started believing marriage would destroy creativity. This point was only ever enforced with the things said around me. You see writers and musicians project this belief daily. I actually have a distinct memory of my sister and brother-in-law saying they weren’t the same creatively after they got married. And as a proud creative myself, there is nothing that will make me run faster. Who could really blame me for pledging myself to a marriage-free life after such a lovely sentiment?
So the question to myself was: Why? Why did the expectation even exist in the first place? You hear a lot of things about marriage, and I’ve actually found most of them to be true, but true of the most unenlightened, unmotivated, begrudged take. So where was the grimy root of this?
When I was single, it was myself against the world. I could say whatever I wanted, about whomever I wanted, no matter what that feeling was. And the freedom was that I could put it in whatever format I wanted. I could write the ultimate love song, or I could say screw you in as many or as few words as I wanted.
But now I am not single, and it is no longer just myself against the world. It’s myself, my husband, and my two ferrets against the world. Now I don’t just speak for myself, I speak for my family. I am rightfully more careful with both my pen and my tongue.
But is that how it’s supposed to be?
I have always believed and preached on individuality in relationships (even friendships), so seeing myself mesh into the guarded-tongue housewife mold, I have to ask myself if it’s best for myself and my love, or just easier? And by guarding your spouse from your artistic expression are you actually doing them a disservice? Keeping them from seeing the raw emotion and opinions of who you are, and masquerading it as “being kind”?
Since that conversation I’ve stepped back into my choice of expression, and closer into my relationships. I have felt like myself for the first time in over two years and it has been better and sweeter than anything else. Books have once again become the best company, and Seth is even cuter than before (if that’s possible).
Here is the bare truth: If your only muse is rotating romantic partners, you aren’t creative; you’re emotional and unsatisfied. Until you can look past your relationships and into stories, nature, and experiences, you are not creative.
So no, marriage does not cause you to loose creativity, but it does push you to be brave and find it in other places.
Where do you find yours?