It is a widely known phenomenon that creativity is a valuable therapy tool. Unfortunately for anxious creatives, that pesky anxiety also has a way of impeding our creativity when we least expect it. Often we decide to soldier on with creating in some fashion, despite the battle with our neuroses; however, if you’re like me, you reach a breaking point, claim you “aren’t creative” and bury all your creative attempts deep in the recesses of your past life and never look back…at least not until you reach your 30s.
In my last guest post, I wrote about how listening to the Coffee and Creatives podcast brought me back to my love of writing, and I am so grateful for that! Since continuing to listen and to explore my own creativity, I have found a few new ways to express myself, but more so I have been able to reconnect with other long buried creative endeavors like cross-stitch and piano playing, and each creative step forward brings me closer to a healing I didn’t know I needed.
I frequently tell people that I hated piano lessons growing up, but that isn’t entirely true. I don’t remember if I asked to play or not, but my parents thought it fitting to get me started on an instrument, given the hours of home video we had of me basically living in a musical of my own making, and piano was it. Given my young backstory, I enjoyed the piano itself, but I truly loathed recitals. I despised the anxiety they brought up in me. I couldn’t stand that my all-or-nothing perfectionism got in the way of practicing. Nevertheless, I’ve always had a deep connection with music. Music has a way of speaking to us in ways that words cannot.
When I was 15, my family moved from Connecticut to upstate New York, and I began lessons with a new piano teacher, Mrs. Dupra. I began to enjoy lessons a bit more when I started learning from her. She pushed my comfort zone a bit, as all good teachers do, but I never felt forced with her. I got more of a say in what I wanted to play and practice, and she let me use my music at recitals – I wasn’t required to memorize it!
Since Mrs. Dupra was also my choir director at school, I was also getting group voice lessons from her a few times a week. It was through her training and encouragement in this vein that I had the courage to try out for the musicals at my high school and became involved with drama club. My senior year of high school I began taking private voice lessons with Mrs. Dupra, outside of school, in lieu of piano lessons. By that point I had found my musical niche more in singing than in piano, fitting for how my young toddler life foreshadowed. I thoroughly enjoyed voice lessons, practicing as much as if not more than was required of me. At the end of senior year, Mrs. Dupra offered all the senior choir students an opportunity to sing a solo in our final concert in the spring and I participated. I sang “Blessed” by Rachel Lampa. On a stage. In front of a couple hundred people. In a spotlight. Despite the butterflies in my stomach, when I hit the chorus, the butterflies were gone; it was like I, myself, was emerging from the longest hibernation inside of an anxious cocoon. My confidence grew so much that day.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down at a piano again. After sitting with it for just a few minutes, I was amazed at how much basic skill came back to me! I spent a week playing my girls to sleep with sweet lullabies as though I had never left this beautiful instrument. Playing again felt like a piece of my soul was thawing out; it was tingly and fresh in a new way, the music wrapped me like a warm blanket, and I felt safe. It is amazing how music can do that, how creativity can do that – seemingly such a simple thing, but those of us who have ever created anything know how deeply profound it is to connect with the beauty before us.
Therapy by way of channeling that anxious energy into creating something beautiful has pulled me out of the trenches again and again and I never want to forget that feeling of flying from a cocoon. Whether I’m writing, cross-stitching, crafting with my kids, playing the piano, or singing, I can viscerally feel the healing happening in my soul. It feels like coming home.
Becca’s primary creative mediums are writing and cross-stitching. She is mom to two kiddos (who also love to create) and wife to a loving and dedicated soldier, whose job takes their family all over the country! In her free time, when she isn’t creating, Becca enjoys listening to podcasts, taking walks, reading, and watching Gilmore Girls on repeat.