The Curse of the Creative Mind.
“I must be bipolar.”
This was the only rational explanation in my head when about ten years ago I had to fill out a bunch of personality tests while studying psychology and education. I was sitting by the school yard, going on my seventh Marlboro, ripping chunks of my fine Nordic hair off. The tests were filled with “on a scale from 1 to ten” questions.
– Are you socially active / Do you enjoy quiet time and spending time alone
– Are you outspoken / Do you tend to stay quiet in groups
– Is your personality happy and cheerful / Do you often find yourself anxious or deep in thought
– On your spare time do you: Enjoy going out and meeting new people / Stay home and hide from the rest of the world (a.k.a “People suck rocks.”)
Probably goes without saying that these are not the exact questions on said personality tests, but you get the point.
“Both extremes describe me.”
I’ve always loved meeting new people and once I meet someone I actually connect with, I fall in love, head over heels. Not in a romantic way, that’s a whole nother can of worms. I also need time alone, without anyone around me (applies to the dog), or I crash and burn out of exhaustion. Even surrounded with loved ones and honest, good, interesting people, I often feel like I have tens of little straws poking through my skin, and people keep sucking, draining me out of energy and love.
“Everyone feels like that.”
That’s the answer my teacher, therapist, mom or any other person would come up with, when I cried out loud that I wasn’t able to define myself. At some point I stop trying to explain myself. Life gets a bit easier. Every time I hear someone say “We all have different roles” I puke a little in my mouth. “We all need to be social and we all need some time alone” is not one of my favorites either. Why were the others able to fill out their personality tests with ease? How do I explain it’s not the same? Why does this bother me so much?
Last weekend I stumbled upon an article on http://www.thecreativemind.net website. The article headline is “The Complex Personality of Creative People”. (Here’s the link, if you want to read the whole article and other interesting stuff: http://thecreativemind.net/92/the-complex-personality-of-creative-people/). The article listed most of the familiar extremes I’ve struggled with during my short but busy life. It left me suspicious and made me come up with a conspiracy theory: Someone who knows me painfully well has made a (head)case study of me without me noticing.
* A great deal of physical energy alternating with a great need for quiet and rest.
* Highly sexual, yet often celibate, especially when working.
* Smart and naïve at the same time. A mix of wisdom and childishness. Emotional immaturity along with the deepest insights.
* Convergent (rational, left brain, sound judgment) and divergent (intuitive, right brain, visionary) thinking…
* Both extroverted and introverted, needing people and solitude equally.
* Humble and proud, both painfully self-doubting and wildly self-confident.
* May defy gender stereotypes, and are likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other as well. A kind of psychic androgyny.
“Maybe I’m suffering from being a creative personality, instead of being bipolar.”
I’m writing this in case there’s someone out there who needs to read the list above. In case someone is in a middle of an identity crisis, trying to figure out what the fuck to do with their life, or wondering if there’s something seriously wrong with their head.
“So what now?
May be that I’m creative… but I’m still suffering in my own skin, feeling alone and disconnected from the world.”
Write. Draw. Sing. Act. Exercise. Paint. Write poetry. Make love. Walk in the woods. Try body painting. Do yoga. Rock climb.
Find your art… find two of them, seek for the third. Maybe you will find others that love and feel the way you do. Maybe you will find yourself.
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.”
― Maya Angelou