I, Bailey Bowers, am in a creative rut. I’ve just been… off lately; trapped in one of those states where it’s hard to care about anything, and pretending that I do requires considerable effort. Basically, I’m feeling a bit dead inside (but in, like, a cute way?), and I know that it stems from an overall lack of inspiration. It’s a strange and paralytic state, to be uninspired. My relationship with Inspiration is not unlike many of the romantic relationships I’ve had in the past — that is to say, the distribution of power is rarely balanced. One of us is often working harder than the other.
Some days, Inspiration is all over me. I am teeming with ideas; overflowing with energy; I can hardly organize my creative thoughts because I have so many of them. On many of these days, I am loving her back. I’m creating things. Me and my girl are good, we’re happy, unstoppable. But some days, she approaches me the same way, and I shut her out. I prioritize other things. I take her for granted. I assume she’ll always be there for me when I need her.
Much like with a romantic partner, though, she gets tired of not being appreciated. There will come days — sometimes weeks, or even months — when my Inspiration disappears completely. I literally have no idea where she’s gone. I call, I text, I pray. PLEASE come back to me; I feel so empty without you. I should have picked up the pen when you told me to. I should’ve valued everything you were doing for me. These times are dark, particularly for someone who depends on creative expression for mental health and stability. I force myself to write even though it feels comparable to pulling my own teeth out. The words are never seen by anyone else, because they lack the vibrance that Inspiration infuses into my ordinary cognitions. I force myself to draw or paint little things, or strum my guitar, or sing in the shower, because these tasks require very little thought or effort. I know they aren’t furthering my growth, but at least I feel like I’m doing something. Mostly, I wait. I think she’ll come back. She has to come back. She always comes back… right?
The trouble with this relationship, and any relationship, is that no one can serve you properly if you aren’t serving yourself. Every interpersonal dynamic is about give and take. If all you do is take, eventually the other party will have nothing left to give. And I’m realizing that for me, sometimes this means that when Inspiration strikes and wants to use me for something, I have to be there for her and let her do that… even if in that moment I’d rather go hang out with my friends, or just melt into my couch and watch TV. If you ignore someone long enough, they will leave you.
This concept can be applied to anyone in any field or walk of life. We have to make time for the things and people that feed our souls; that make us feel alive. If we don’t, what is the point of living? Flitting from one thing to the next, with no passion or point of anchorage?
So this is me, hat in hand, admitting my shortcomings. I haven’t published an article or finished a script in over a month. I’ve been writing them, but the words fall flat on the screen, and the ideas seem to die somewhere between their conception and birth. It’s hard to watch, and it makes me feel helpless. I’m honestly nervous to publish this, because it’s not drenched in cynicism or particularly funny. It’s sincere and intimate, which isn’t the precedent I’ve set here. But it’s the only thing I’ve written in the last 6 weeks that’s flowed through me without blockage or interruption, and I think there’s a reason for that.
So baby, if you’re reading this, I’d really like to get back together. I’m ready to put in the effort, and I’m ready to make stuff with you again. Please come home. I love you.
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