Philosophers have long dealt with unanswerable questions. They're unanswerable because the answers lie in individual perspectives...personal, rather than universal, truths. The one I have been dealing with more than any other is WHO AM I?
I've been wanting to write about this for a couple weeks (obviously, since I haven't written anything here in a while) and today's excursion finally knocked loose the final block keeping me from examining it in words. What I was looking for was that all-encompassing aspect of "self" that is either the culmination of smaller aspects or what feeds into those smaller aspects. It's a pretty tall order. Some would say faith or parent or friend is they're aspect, but mine is creator.
Many things in our lives shape our emotional experiences, but the highest highs and lowest lows are most often tied to these singular aspects. Love, hate, excitement, frustration, freedom, guilt, jealousy...the entire emotional gamut contained within the question of WHO AM I?
I am more than a filmmaker...more than an animator/compositer/motion graphics artist...more than an artist...more than a photographer...more than a graphic designer...more than a writer. I am a creator. When I have something, some finished project, exquisitely completed before me I am proud. When I'm just starting something new I feel excitement and anticipation. When I am at a dead end or my imagination is constipated, I feel frustration. When I choose to be lazy, I feel guilty.*
* and I know guilt. No one knows how to feel guilt like someone raised Catholic and has chosen to leave the church...especially those who have a parent who is still very active within the church.
Moreover, when I'm prevented or distracted from doing something - anything - creative, I get angry.
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(continued from my balcony)
But what is a creator? I've given this some thought and here's what I've come up with...a guide to identifying creators versus non-creators.
Creators feel things more intensely than other people.
I find that I can empathize with people around me more than others. When someone close close to me is ill, it's almost like I can feel the same pains and frustrations which he/she is experiencing. It's not just illness...anger, joy, sexual tension...all of it. Not only can I feel it, I feel an additional level of helplessness when confronted with negative emotions and circumstances with which I can do nothing.
I'm not good at dealing with my emotions tactfully. Examples abound. If you've known me for any time at all, you been on the receiving end of one of these...occasions.
Not only is everything tinged with an over-saturated level of emotion, I find that I'm as confused in dealing and processing these emotions as I am in handling my own emotional surges. Fear becomes anger...joy becomes envy...love becomes bitterness.
Creators experience life's events with as many senses as possible.
This one is obvious. When it's an option, I'm as likely to touch or smell something as I am to see or hear it. I see everything in sequences, as plots, as visual compositions. I constantly have a soundtrack running through my head.
Creators have over-active imaginations...and often live in their own heads much more than is probably healthy.
Oh wow...this is a big one.
I am incredibly lucky...blessed, even...to have a job that allows me to get paid to use my over-active imagination. I get paid...dollar-dollar bills, y'all...to play with light and sound. You can't beat that.
I'm also almost never bored. A pen and a piece of paper can keep me content for hours...camera + location = challenge...I love the shape and form of words, mine and those belonging to others, as much as I love the shape and form of a beautiful woman or a work of fine art.
But it comes at a cost...
The same over-active imagination forces me to re-live entire conversations and experiences over and over again in my head. I read too far into the words and actions of others, imagining more intention than is actually present. It's caused...problems.
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Finally, I constantly have to "feed the beast"...and I'm always looking for new ways to expand my skills, practice my craft, and express whatever idea or obsession that crosses my mind.
"Wreck This Journal" by Keri Smith) It's full of lessons in destructive creation...to break creative blocks and inhibitions. I'm looking forward to delving into it.
I also ran by Hobby Lobby today and picked up some paint supplies. I'm as bad at painting as I am good at photography, but I keep trying.
Of course, I always have a camera with me...either my DSLR or my point-&-shoot. And there's always my phone's camera.
I'm constantly thumb-tacking quotes and whatnot on the wall next to my desk.
I always have a small notebook and pen in my pocket. I call it my "Idea Book" and I'm even willing to financially reward the person who returns it to me should I lose it.
What else? Three screenplays in various degrees of completion, honing my Photoshop and Illustrator skills, and when all else fails...origami. I'm sure there's more.
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Answering an existential question like WHO AM I? often brings up more questions than solutions...or satisfaction...and there's so much more than I've examined here.
I challenge everyone who reads this to do what I've done. Take the time to examine the strands of your life and culminate it - distill it - down to that one thing that defines you and colors all the separate tendrils of your life. I'd be curious to hear your perspective.