My little corner of the internet is getting a makeover come July. I’ve hired a designer and surrendered to the fact that I can’t do everything on my own. I’m excited to have a creative space that looks and feels like who I am. While fielding day dreams of what my website will look and feel like, I’ve learned that I am deeply affected by my immediate environment. Both digital and physical spaces need to feel comfortable to me, almost if my creativity needs a space to be welcomed in.
I was a theater kid in high school. I came into it late, as I spent my early school years preoccupied with dance. Have you ever tried singing and dancing at the same time? Or even just dancing? Both can be considered sports. After each dance recital, choir concert, or theater performance, I found I felt this harsh sadness for the upcoming change. Deep friendships are made with strangers who become family. The off stage conversations and romances that last only as long as the play does, roughly 12 weeks, become routine. The spaces are still sacred to me. I miss the warm blue dressing rooms behind the stage at my high school, where myself and 11 other women would prepare for Chamber Choir (think, elitist Glee that had stricter auditions) concerts and performances. Sometimes I miss the cozy half moon stage of the South Bend Civic theater. I miss my community theater friend Annie, who I would only see on the weekends and during musical rehearsal as she lived on the other side of town. Mostly, I miss who I was inside of those spaces. I learned something new about myself over the course of each production. Looking back on the routine I had and the transformation I experienced, those creative spaces became pivotal places for me. I stepped into those spaces and was greeted with encouragement and opportunity. I always felt challenged. In these spaces, I felt free to create.
I have spent much of my 20’s searching for the adult version of these creative spaces. I have sketchbooks and watercolors and often feel creative when I take them out of their designated shelf in the hallway closet. Sometimes when I feel inspired I create a Pinterest board. I photograph couples in love and portraits of the kindest humans, which is probably why you are here. This blog is a creative space, as is the website redesign that you will see midsummer. All of these creative hobbies, though important to who I am, are activities I can do alone and don’t require a concrete space. When I’m in these spaces I have created for myself, I’m comfortable. I am outside, or sitting at my desk with a candle and soft lamp lighting. I feel calm enough to create freely. I’ve come to wonder if what I feel inside of those physical spaces is more important than being in the physical space itself.
I feel I have tried everything in my pursuit of creative spaces. I boulder regularly, finding myself in a puzzle of colorful rocks a few times a week. I support podcasters who I rarely have the time to listen to, artists whose songs I’ve heard once, and authors whose books I have read a chapter of before the books pile up on my nightstand for eternity. These creative spaces I support are more for others to enjoy. Time does not permit me to openly enjoy some of these spaces as much as I’d like, so I keep looking.
I long for the friendship and collaboration that is housed in creative spaces. It is so special to see the level of collaboration that goes into a musical production. I’ve found it in photography, where I use film photography to intentionally capture the most authentic moments. I’ve also found deep and true friendships in the photography space. The community is kind and jaw droppingly talented. My photography practice and service very much feel like I am back in those spaces I loved in adolescence. It’s no longer a blue dressing room, stage, or church basement/musical practice room, but a couple in love on a mountain range, or photographing a father daughter dance at a wedding and crying the entire time. The humans I get to be creative with are my creative space, much like the friendships I have gathered along the way.
It’s a slow and scattered collaboration that produces art, whether in the work product or just by creating with another human. This is why I am so excited to work with a designer to make this creative, digital space feel whole for me. It’s an intentional process of creating something vulnerable, very publicly, with a now near stranger. It feels like theater. Another form of a creative space I have been able to uncover, yet different from creative hobbies I can engage in on my own. It’s such a plus that Delcy from Creative Homebody is cool as fuck!
I said at the outset of this entry that I am deeply affected by my environment. I’m hopeful that this new website will foster a space where I feel comfortable enough to create without shame or fear of failure. Another creative space. I feel at peace with the creative spaces I have identified, and the new creative spaces that will come in time. Still, I’m worried I may be chasing the feeling of performance and creativity for the rest of my life. I can’t quite put my finger on the thought that they may, or may not, be dictated by a physical space. All of these creative things I love to do feel different in the same way they feel similar.