Feed the Freak

On the continuing subject of my pending-but-not-really-cuz-it’s-way-more-complicated-and-a-lot-less-scary-than-that unemployment, I’ve come up with a few more “Aha!”s.

Remember me blogging recently about noticing that the answers show up when I stop thinking — that when I relax my thoughts and let go of distractions, I gain access to the clear mind that lets me see what’s next?

Well, I sat with that for awhile… chilled out and took a vacation from some of my distraction habits, hoping to gain access to that nice clear mind that would help me aim my income-hunting efforts in the Right Direction. And you know what happened?

I realized I was mixing up my “clear serene reflection pond mind” with my “crazy idea-generating waterfall mind.” I had lost touch with both and, though I didn’t know it, I was actually more interested in the latter. I love that waterfall. I missed it.

It’s back now.

Sort of.

A hard truth confronted me as soon as I went swimming, and I haven’t quite finished wrestling with it yet: This part of me that revels in constantly generating new, creative ideas is often in conflict with (what I would call) my more conservative side — the side of me that wants to make a stable living, that doesn’t want my friends and family to worry about me, and that wants to be reliable.

It’s a pretty serious conflict — the kind that takes no prisoners. And somehow, whenever this conflict goes to blows, the conservative side wins and the creative side shuts down.

This is because the conservative side has a secret weapon. All it has to do is call my creative side “crazy,” and the battle is over.

Crazy.

Naive.

Stupid.

Freak.

Those are labels we put on things we don’t take seriously — things we want to diminish and push out of the way. They’re words we use to describe people we don’t want to get to know, who are different from us in ways that make us uncomfortable. They’re some of the words I grew up applying to myself to account for my differences. Apparently I still use them. Affectionately, sometimes. But often.

Screw it. It’s time to feed the freak.

I think what I’m looking at is an internal power balance. My conservative side is necessary for survival. My creative side, technically, isn’t (although my quality of life standards would beg to differ with that). Somehow, now, my conservative side has gotten all up on a high horse about its Status of Necessity, and my creative side doesn’t stand a chance against that kind of arrogance.

I want to submit an alternate structure.

What if my powerful conservative side considered honoring my creative side as a source of wisdom and inspiration? What if my creative side took up a post of leadership and offered to gently (and probably slowly) guide the rest of me into more experimental directions?

This might seem like a counter-intuitive comparison to make, but what I’m describing feels a lot like trying to get powerful income-earning adults and high-energy invincible youth to honor retirees and seniors.

Am I making any sense?

Maybe I’m just crazy.

But I think there are answers here.

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7 Responses to “Feed the Freak”

  1. Severe Says:

    You are crazy – but that's kind of tha point. Ah identify w. this a lawt…sometimes ah think ah should be wakin up in a tour bus in a foreign country w. the equivalent of 2 dollars in my pocket surrounded by stinky musicians. Instead ah git up, water tha plants, n gae ta my safe job. ah let my conservative side win…partially b/c ah want ta. but often ahd prefer to feed tha freak – ken ah borrow that line sometime?

  2. Emma Says:

    Heya,

    Yay, waterfall!! My brain is like that too. When I did th StrengthsFinder test, "ideation" was my #1 strength.

    Well–I have to say that this particular thing – the waterfall and the desire to follow it – is the very reason I started my business. It was THE idea behind being self-employed, and I engineering my business very purposefully to allow me a great deal of flexibility and free time to pursue whatever other projects I wanted to at the time, to live as completely from intrinsic motivation as possible (while of course, being able to pay my bills, buy a house eventually, etc). It was the #1 thing in my mind the whole time, and it took around 5 years to build it to the point where I wanted it, but it was worth it. And I'm always refining it.

    (continued below)

  3. Emma McCreary Says:

    So maybe your conservative side could come up with a great plan/strategy to create a vehicle (like a business) that would give you the freedom to swim in that water every day, without worrying about survival at all.

    I know you have the ability to build systems that run themselves. That's 90% of it. Take that, apply it to a for-profit business, make sure at every step that each of the moving parts are managed in a way that leaves you the freedom you want, and you end up creating a freedom-machine.

    I'm right there with you with the conservative. No way would I be OK bumming it around for the kind of freedom I crave. I had to build the structure to support the security I need to feel safe and happy. But freedom was my goal through all of it.

    It's totally possible to have both if you aim for both. It's seeing them as opposed that gets in the way. It's a common thing in our culture, to see freedom and security as opposites. But they aren't at all, they don't have to be.

  4. Emma McCreary Says:

    (continued)

    And of course the conservative usually wins in the end. It's about survival. That's not a bad thing. Just harness that and put it to work in the service of supporting a wider range of survival needs. Make the freedom to be creative non-optional too.

    Of course if you set up creativity as opposed to survival, your inner survivalist will boot it out of the nest when push comes to shove. That's it's job. But if you explain to them that they are both on the same team, you can align the two and harness the power of both to create a shared goal of freedom+security. You just need to catch that vision of them both being possible, and get both of those inner folks on board with it.

    Heh, OK that just spouted out of my head. Hope it helps or sparks something that helps. Waterfalls are great!!

    Emma

    PS this splitting comments thing sucks!

  5. Tao of Prosperity · Creativity and Security Are Not Opposites Says:

    […] (This post inspired by Sarah Dopp’s post Feed the Freak) […]

  6. Avery Says:

    What has always helped me, and I'm sure you've heard it before, is "Find what makes you happy and then find someway to get paid for doing it." The part nobody seems to acknowledge is: the "What makes you happy" part CHANGES and that's OK. Nobody who realizes "Hey, this isn't great any more, I'd rather be doing X" is Crazy and if actually setting out to do it is Naive, I don't want to be wise.

    Feed the Freak until it knows what will make it happy, and then tell the conservative side (in your best Tim Gunn style of course) to "Make it work!" My dream-put-down-word of choice is "Idealistic" and all of what I just said does sound pretty Idealistic. But what you have to remember is, ideals are what inspire most profoundly beautiful and worthwhile endeavors.

    ~Avery

  7. Jeliza Says:

    While your mileage almost undoubtedly will vary, reading the Principia Discordia (admittedly, at a young age) really helped me with this) because it branded certain kinds of chaos as powerful and divine; which helped give my wacky artistic brain some clout with the conservative practical brain. (Wikipedia has many links to many different online versions)