The Sunkissed Life

No More Supporting Roles

Jahara Stevenson

Everywhere we look, everywhere we go there is almost always someone around. I catch myself wondering is the person sitting by themselves alone on purpose? Were they stood up? Are they waiting on someone? Did someone just leave? I notice myself almost always wondering things about the people I see simply because I am interested in their story. I am interested in their details, in their narrative. I found myself allowing my imagination to run and I go to fantasy land for a moment.

That lady that was sitting at the table alone, she just closed the deal with a big Forbes List top 100 company that is hiring her to work for them and she is finalizing paperwork while sipping on a $5 latte. The guy who is talking to a pretty girl is shooting his shot and may have just potentially completed his first date with his future wife. The older gentleman who is sitting and smiling at his tablet, is looking at pictures of his grand kids in their Halloween costumes trick or treating. The two guys sitting around speaking another language are exploring a new town for the first time and are finding the coolest spots to hang out. Whatever someone's actual story is, my imagination can create any narrative that I want. That alone is an indicator that anyone, can be doing anything, at any given moment. The old man who I assumed is a grandpa could actually never have been married, never had kids, and has spent his whole life traveling the world. Maybe the guy who is seemingly on a date with a girl could just be meeting up for an assignment for a class they're in. Any story line is possible and everyone is up for the leading role.

Lately, I've found myself to be focusing on my creative block. I almost feel like instead of being the lead, i'm playing the role of supporting actress in my own art. I feel that I have hit an inspirational wall and I haven't been able to tap into the creativity that I usually have access to. What most often times is so simple to me, suddenly has dissipated and I am struggling to envision more than one possibility for every piece. Dealing with this block has been emotionally taxing. I challenged myself to create an entirely new line, and I drew a blank every time I opened my sketchbook. For any creative that can be a very stifling place to be in. The things that inspired me for so long, no longer peak my creative interest. The things that I felt were so artistically mesmerizing, aren't evoking emotion anymore. As most artists are, I am super dramatic. In my mind, drawing a blank, for what feels like an eternity, equates to loss of talent and creative ability. The problem is, primarily all that I am is a creative. If I don't have that, then what do I have? Many will say, well you have friends and family and a job and all of these things. However, when the essence of who I feel I am is in jeopardy a bit of a panic begins to settle in.

However, today I challenged myself.

"Jahara find your inspiration but look for it through a lens you haven't used before."

Instantly I felt charged to tackle this task. I went to my favorite restaurant, but this time I went alone. I sat outside and I brought my sketchbook with me. I wrote down every emotion I felt through the duration of my meal. I wrote down each word that came to mind as I looked around me. Once I finished there, I wasn't satisfied with my list. I got in the car and drove a few blocks down to my favorite coffee shop. This shop, in particular, is a favorite of mine because of the memories and emotional rise I associate with the place itself. As soon as I walked in, I felt a spark. Despite this instant charge of my inner artist, I still didn't have a concept that I could translate on paper. I closed my eyes and thought of 3 emotions that I was feeling in the moment, and wrote them down. Then I opened my eyes and looked around. I wrote three more words that came to mind. After staring at this boring composition of random adjectives I felt something. I felt a creative inkling. I began to remember, if when I look at strangers, I see the potential for them to define their lives at any given moment, why can't I apply that to myself. Instantly my mood shifted. Just as my curiosity in strangers allows me to create multiple story lines for their lives, I could look at my artistry the same way. Basically, no matter what sparked my interest before, I can always just choose something else. Instead of being defeated that a creative outlet doesn't work anymore, I can just find a new one, even within the same space. I can be however creative I want, wherever I want. Now that doesn't mean I am going to go tag walls and paint tables in every room I come in contact with, but it does mean that I can look in any room and find something in it that challenges my inspirational eye. Any building I go in, any sidewalk I walk down, I can pull something out of. That gives me access to the world. It's hard to be creatively defeated if you have access to the world. Is that figurative access? Maybe yes, maybe no. However, removing the mental barriers is the first step to allowing a creative passion to explode. 

Just like I see the potential in others to be so in charge of their destinies, I can apply that to myself. Being creatively unchained allows for a whole new world of creative explosion and I can't wait to see what flows from this newfound freedom. No more supporting roles. I feel like the main character again, and this story is written around me, by me, for me.