My Unique Creative Expression of Self

My Unique Creative Expression of Self

“Put everything away except your pencils.” That is the directive from my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Carlson, signaling it is creative writing time.

A collective groan comes over the class.

Desperately wanting to fit in and be part of the crowd, as I was so good at back then and still have moments of wanting to fit in, I moaned and groaned along with them, but secretly my insides were doing a happy dance.

Expressing My Creative Side Without Shame

As Mrs. Carlson put the creative writing prompt up on the screen, a sense of freedom washes over my entire being. This is time for me to express my artistic and creative side without feeling shame for expressing myself in a unique way.

I sit in silence for a few minutes after the prompt is displayed on the screen, my imagination running wild. My thoughts swirling in my head like an out of control freight train barreling down the tracks.

My imaginative thoughts are coming fast and furious. The words magically flow from my creative mind, zinging down into my heart to the inside of my arm, culminating in my hand, the physical means by which my thoughts became real on paper.

My hand is exhausted trying to keep up with my creative expression getting cramps from writing voraciously. I couldn’t stop the flow, nor did I want to. At the end of the writing session I end up with a writer’s callus, also known as a nerd bump.

Freedom to Express in Words

I relished this time in school. It was complete freedom to put down in writing what was locked up in my head. I was always pretty good at being locked up in my head trying to figure things out.

Writing is a way to express in words what I am not always good at expressing verbally. It is a way to express through the written word what I feel emotionally that doesn’t feel safe for me to express verbally.

I wasn’t allowed to be a nerd as a kid. I know that sounds strange, as most of the nerds wanted to be cool. I was a paradox then and I still am. My square peg self still doesn’t fit into the proverbial round hole.

My Creative Expression of Self Was Shut Down

I loved playing sports and I still do, but what got shut down over the years was the creative expression of myself, particularly through creative writing.

I got caught up in perfectionism that school creates and realized that it was more important to be good at memorizing textbooks so I could get A’s on all of my tests along with earning love from my parents for my performance and perfectionism.

Expressing myself as a creative artist got shut down. I got the message from a young age that if I was a nerd, that meant my mom, as an extension of myself, was also a nerd. That wasn’t acceptable.

If I was perfect, then my mom was perfect. So I chose feeling loved by being a perfectionist over imperfectly expressing myself as a creative writer not attached to external validation.

Shamed for Being Human

That is the wounded part of me that I am healing. The part of me that was shamed for being human. The part of me that wasn’t allowed to explore my creative and artistic side.

The pain of having to be perfect shuts down the artistic side real quick. The harsh inner critic relentlessly screams in the back of my head, “What are you writing for? Nobody cares what you have to say? They are going to think it’s stupid and make fun of you?” The possibility of humiliation is real. The possibility of people thinking of what I am writing is worthless nonsense.

That has been my inner battle for years fighting against myself. My wounded inner child has been screaming to express his artistic side. My perfectionistic adult hasn’t allowed it because of the fear of what people think and the ongoing battle that “I am not good enough.”

If Not Now, When?

“If not now, when?” This is the question I have been asking myself as of late.

I made a vow to my Self to give this life all I have leaving nothing on the table so when I transition, I have no regrets.

It’s time to be true to my courageous soul allowing myself to write because it is one of the ways I love to creatively express my Self.

It’s time to be true to my courageous soul allowing myself to speak because if I don’t speak up somebody else will. There is enough divisiveness in the world today. My voice is one of hope, peace and love.

To borrow a metaphor of Jesus, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.” Luke 5:37–39

I don’t want to put new wine into old wineskin. Too much of my life has been spent feeling like I was bursting at the seams trying to fit into what others expected of me. That is a formula for quiet desperation.

The time is now for me to allow my creativity and artistic flair to be expressed solely for the purpose of Self-fulfillment.

I have suppressed my creative side long enough. I have played small for far too long. I am daring to follow my own path, inviting others to join me on this path that I am calling The Courageous Soul Way.

I recently started a men’s group called Men of Courageous Souls who are daring to follow their own path. We follow The Courageous Soul Way together and alone. It isn’t for the faint of heart.

Be Strong and Courageous,

Troy Ismir

Courageous Soul Guide

The Courageous Soul Way

Men of Courageous Souls


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