Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can creative love truly replace romantic love?

Nia is a regular reader and commenter at Womanist Musings.

By creative love I mean the genuine love, inner fulfillment and deep contentment that one can achieve through traditional creative endeavors or professions, whatever they may be (e.g. art, music, writing, acting, architectural design, etc.). These are just a few of the examples that come to my mind, but creativity is NOT limited by any means to those fields.) 
 
Can an all-consuming creative love be just as great as that other great love that we are told from young we should all aspire to achieve – romantic love in the form of bonding with a life partner? 
 
I believe that creativity is something one can learn or acquire, even in later life. I don’t believe that some people are born more creative or talented than others.  You hear this a lot, but it is not true. More often than not, it just happens that these particular people were either encouraged, or they stumbled upon or were always around a particular creative field from a very young age, so it just appears that they were always talented or creative.  
 
Growing up I always envied and admired those in my age group who just seemed naturally gifted at playing a musical instrument, or were good at dancing, painting, etc. I was never good at any of those things and just assumed I was not meant to be a creative person. 
 
So perhaps it is because I found my creativity relatively late in life, but pursuing creative endeavors gives me an inner joy and happiness that I have never experienced before. Nothing makes me feel happier and more at peace than when I pursue a creative project. I spent a long time trying various things (lingerie-design, creative writing, cake decorating, photography, gourmet cooking,) but always gave them up quickly because they didn’t fulfill me and sometimes would even frustrate me. 

But for a while now I have been fully immersed in several creative ventures.  These projects have allowed me to find my creative side, and have opened up a world of possibilities I never thought imaginable.

In short they make me happy, and I also feel a sense of accomplishment that FINALLY I am good at something. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. The times when I feel lonely or despondent that I haven’t found “that special someone” yet, when I go back to working on my projects that feeling is always replaced by a sense of happiness deep down inside that is hard to describe. Alice Walker once described this feeling as “unspeakable joy”. 
       
I like to read about the lives of women who had wonderful creative careers, often against the odds, women like Coco Chanel, the children’s writer Beatrix Potter, the actress Diane Keaton. These women never married or had children, but they seemed to be quite happy and fulfilled. Maybe I am guilty of romanticizing, but part of me has always loved and been intrigued by the notion of being a renaissance-type woman like these women. 
 
I have never had a long-term romantic relationship or been in love, and I guess that to a certain extent finding my creativity is a substitute for that – and one that I don’t regret. But I have recently been fortunate enough to meet a very nice person who I know if I gave him the green light would be quite happy and willing to enter into a serious, long-term relationship.

When I do imagine being with a significant other, this person has most of the qualities that I am looking for. He’s a solid and decent guy on every level – and that’s what I want at this stage in my life – I’m not looking for the fairy tale or to be swept off my feet. 

Yet, I don’t feel that same deep, inner sense of joy and contentment at the prospect of being partnered and in a relationship that I feel when I am involved in my creative projects.   
 
Besides society’s overall expectations, there is sometimes an added pressure on women, and recently it seems black women in particular, to be married or partnered; we are told that this is what you should ultimately aspire to achieve, even if you have a fulfilling life or career. 
 And if you’re not married or partnered, the assumption is that you are undesirable or couldn’t find a good enough man……
 
And of course my well-meaning friends tell me that I should grasp the opportunity to have a serious, long-term commitment with this man, because the odds that I will meet someone like him again are next to none. 
 
Single heterosexual women, and especially black single heterosexual women, are always being told that there are not enough good men out there. And I will admit that a large part of me has bought into the fear also. Part of me fears that as I grow older, will my creative passions wear off, and will I then look back in my old age with regret that I missed that opportunity to spend my life with someone? Is fear of the unknown and of being alone a good enough reason to give up what currently makes you happy? 
 
In my very late thirties, I wonder is it that I waited too long or that it took too long for me to meet someone who I would genuinely be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with? I have always been a bit of an introvert and quite content to do stuff by myself, although at times I have felt lonely. But now I worry that this has created a new type of selfishness and inability to compromise that would be hard for me to erase. As I get older I find it harder to compromise in certain areas. But I feel that as human beings we should be more open and selfless, and perhaps that means doing so in my creative life too. 

 I do not really believe in the concept of a “soul-mate”, this notion that through divine ordinance you are destined to meet someone “just for you” and that there is “is someone out there for everyone.”  

But I do believe that it is natural for human beings to want to bond with a “significant other”  and to be partnered. Whether this is partly society’s influence on me or a genuine, biological instinct or both, I am not sure. I listen to other women who say they could not imagine life without their partner and/or their children and I think I can imagine exactly what they must mean, and how that must feel. And I sincerely believe that there is a whole set of creativity in being someone’s life partner and/or being a mother too.
 
So perhaps there really is nothing like it in the world. 

By creative love I mean the genuine love, inner fulfillment and deep contentment that one can achieve through traditional creative endeavors or professions, whatever they may be (e.g. art, music, writing, acting, architectural design, etc.). These are just a few of the examples that come to my mind, but creativity is NOT limited by any means to those fields.)
 

Can an all-consuming creative love be just as great as that other great love that we are told from young we should all aspire to achieve – romantic love in the form of bonding with a life partner?
 

I believe that creativity is something one can learn or acquire, even in later life. I don’t believe that some people are born more creative or talented than others.  You hear this a lot, but it is not true. More often than not, it just happens that these particular people were either encouraged, or they stumbled upon or were always around a particular creative field from a very young age, so it just appears that they were always talented or creative. 
 

Growing up I always envied and admired those in my age group who just seemed naturally gifted at playing a musical instrument, or were good at dancing, painting, etc. I was never good at any of those things and just assumed I was not meant to be a creative person.
 

So perhaps it is because I found my creativity relatively late in life, but pursuing creative endeavors gives me an inner joy and happiness that I have never experienced before. Nothing makes me feel happier and more at peace than when I pursue a creative project. I spent a long time trying various things (lingerie-design, creative writing, cake decorating, photography, gourmet cooking,) but always gave them up quickly because they didn’t fulfill me and sometimes would even frustrate me.
 

But for a while now I have been fully immersed in several creative ventures.  These projects have allowed me to find my creative side, and have opened up a world of possibilities I never thought imaginable.

In short they make me happy, and I also feel a sense of accomplishment that FINALLY I am good at something. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. The times when I feel lonely or despondent that I haven’t found “that special someone” yet, when I go back to working on my projects that feeling is always replaced by a sense of happiness deep down inside that is hard to describe. Alice Walker once described this feeling as “unspeakable joy”.
      
I like to read about the lives of women who had wonderful creative careers, often against the odds, women like Coco Chanel, the children’s writer Beatrix Potter, the actress Diane Keaton. These women never married or had children, but they seemed to be quite happy and fulfilled. Maybe I am guilty of romanticizing, but part of me has always loved and been intrigued by the notion of being a renaissance-type woman like these women.
 

I have never had a long-term romantic relationship or been in love, and I guess that to a certain extent finding my creativity is a substitute for that – and one that I don’t regret. But I have recently been fortunate enough to meet a very nice person who I know if I gave him the green light would be quite happy and willing to enter into a serious, long-term relationship.

When I do imagine being with a significant other, this person has most of the qualities that I am looking for. He’s a solid and decent guy on every level – and that’s what I want at this stage in my life – I’m not looking for the fairy tale or to be swept off my feet. 

Yet, I don’t feel that same deep, inner sense of joy and contentment at the prospect of being partnered and in a relationship that I feel when I am involved in my creative projects.  
 

Besides society’s overall expectations, there is sometimes an added pressure on women, and recently it seems black women in particular, to be married or partnered; we are told that this is what you should ultimately aspire to achieve, even if you have a fulfilling life or career.
 And if you’re not married or partnered, the assumption is that you are undesirable or couldn’t find a good enough man……
 

And of course my well-meaning friends tell me that I should grasp the opportunity to have a serious, long-term commitment with this man, because the odds that I will meet someone like him again are next to none.
 

Single heterosexual women, and especially black single heterosexual women, are always being told that there are not enough good men out there. And I will admit that a large part of me has bought into the fear also. Part of me fears that as I grow older, will my creative passions wear off, and will I then look back in my old age with regret that I missed that opportunity to spend my life with someone? Is fear of the unknown and of being alone a good enough reason to give up what currently makes you happy?  
 
In my very late thirties, I wonder is it that I waited too long or that it took too long for me to meet someone who I would genuinely be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with? I have always been a bit of an introvert and quite content to do stuff by myself, although at times I have felt lonely. But now I worry that this has created a new type of selfishness and inability to compromise that would be hard for me to erase. As I get older I find it harder to compromise in certain areas. But I feel that as human beings we should be more open and selfless, and perhaps that means doing so in my creative life too.

 I do not really believe in the concept of a “soul-mate”, this notion that through divine ordinance you are destined to meet someone “just for you” and that there is “is someone out there for everyone.”  


But I do believe that it is natural for human beings to want to bond with a “significant other”  and to be partnered. Whether this is partly society’s influence on me or a genuine, biological instinct or both, I am not sure. I listen to other women who say they could not imagine life without their partner and/or their children and I think I can imagine exactly what they must mean, and how that must feel. And I sincerely believe that there is a whole set of creativity in being someone’s life partner and/or being a mother too.
 

So perhaps there really is nothing like it in the world.  
By creative love I mean the genuine love, inner fulfillment and deep contentment that one can achieve through traditional creative endeavors or professions, whatever they may be (e.g. art, music, writing, acting, architectural design, etc.). These are just a few of the examples that come to my mind, but creativity is NOT limited by any means to those fields.)
 

Can an all-consuming creative love be just as great as that other great love that we are told from young we should all aspire to achieve – romantic love in the form of bonding with a life partner?
 

I believe that creativity is something one can learn or acquire, even in later life. I don’t believe that some people are born more creative or talented than others.  You hear this a lot, but it is not true. More often than not, it just happens that these particular people were either encouraged, or they stumbled upon or were always around a particular creative field from a very young age, so it just appears that they were always talented or creative. 
 

Growing up I always envied and admired those in my age group who just seemed naturally gifted at playing a musical instrument, or were good at dancing, painting, etc. I was never good at any of those things and just assumed I was not meant to be a creative person.
 

So perhaps it is because I found my creativity relatively late in life, but pursuing creative endeavors gives me an inner joy and happiness that I have never experienced before. Nothing makes me feel happier and more at peace than when I pursue a creative project. I spent a long time trying various things (lingerie-design, creative writing, cake decorating, photography, gourmet cooking,) but always gave them up quickly because they didn’t fulfill me and sometimes would even frustrate me.
 

But for a while now I have been fully immersed in several creative ventures.  These projects have allowed me to find my creative side, and have opened up a world of possibilities I never thought imaginable.

In short they make me happy, and I also feel a sense of accomplishment that FINALLY I am good at something. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. The times when I feel lonely or despondent that I haven’t found “that special someone” yet, when I go back to working on my projects that feeling is always replaced by a sense of happiness deep down inside that is hard to describe. Alice Walker once described this feeling as “unspeakable joy”.
      
I like to read about the lives of women who had wonderful creative careers, often against the odds, women like Coco Chanel, the children’s writer Beatrix Potter, the actress Diane Keaton. These women never married or had children, but they seemed to be quite happy and fulfilled. Maybe I am guilty of romanticizing, but part of me has always loved and been intrigued by the notion of being a renaissance-type woman like these women.
 

I have never had a long-term romantic relationship or been in love, and I guess that to a certain extent finding my creativity is a substitute for that – and one that I don’t regret. But I have recently been fortunate enough to meet a very nice person who I know if I gave him the green light would be quite happy and willing to enter into a serious, long-term relationship.

When I do imagine being with a significant other, this person has most of the qualities that I am looking for. He’s a solid and decent guy on every level – and that’s what I want at this stage in my life – I’m not looking for the fairy tale or to be swept off my feet. 

Yet, I don’t feel that same deep, inner sense of joy and contentment at the prospect of being partnered and in a relationship that I feel when I am involved in my creative projects.  
 

Besides society’s overall expectations, there is sometimes an added pressure on women, and recently it seems black women in particular, to be married or partnered; we are told that this is what you should ultimately aspire to achieve, even if you have a fulfilling life or career.
 And if you’re not married or partnered, the assumption is that you are undesirable or couldn’t find a good enough man……
 

And of course my well-meaning friends tell me that I should grasp the opportunity to have a serious, long-term commitment with this man, because the odds that I will meet someone like him again are next to none.
 

Single heterosexual women, and especially black single heterosexual women, are always being told that there are not enough good men out there. And I will admit that a large part of me has bought into the fear also. Part of me fears that as I grow older, will my creative passions wear off, and will I then look back in my old age with regret that I missed that opportunity to spend my life with someone? Is fear of the unknown and of being alone a good enough reason to give up what currently makes you happy?
 

In my very late thirties, I wonder is it that I waited too long or that it took too long for me to meet someone who I would genuinely be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with? I have always been a bit of an introvert and quite content to do stuff by myself, although at times I have felt lonely. But now I worry that this has created a new type of selfishness and inability to compromise that would be hard for me to erase. As I get older I find it harder to compromise in certain areas. But I feel that as human beings we should be more open and selfless, and perhaps that means doing so in my creative life too.

 I do not really believe in the concept of a “soul-mate”, this notion that through divine ordinance you are destined to meet someone “just for you” and that there is “is someone out there for everyone.”  


But I do believe that it is natural for human beings to want to bond with a “significant other”  and to be partnered. Whether this is partly society’s influence on me or a genuine, biological instinct or both, I am not sure. I listen to other women who say they could not imagine life without their partner and/or their children and I think I can imagine exactly what they must mean, and how that must feel. And I sincerely believe that there is a whole set of creativity in being someone’s life partner and/or being a mother too.
 

So perhaps there really is nothing like it in the world.