As creatives, what we are trained to do is to...CREATE. We find all of these amazing ways to channel our fears, hopes, dreams and solution-based ideas into our work. For many of us, in the sharing of this work, if we are blessed enough, we inspire and encourage others to do the same. However, in the days of social media and constant sharing, the probability for people to take that inspiration and replicate the source in their own way, is absolutely there.
How many times have you shared with someone, then turned around to see some iteration of it on their page or in the work of the very person you shared with. You would swear on a stack of First Edition Octavia Butlers that it was YOUR idea or YOUR work and they in fact STOLE IT!!! I have been through it with ideas, words, and in a few special cases, literal work of mine that was taken and passed off as someone else's! I've also been the accused of the same, which at the time infuriated me. For those that know me, you know that I consider myself a wellspring of creativity and I generously share things with the understanding that sharing will never deplete the source of that creativity.
In a conversation with one of my besties this week, we were speaking about self-checks in spaces of envy or inferiority. Those moments when you continue to compare and contrast your traction and work and manifestation against the people you know are not as driven as you are, or those that may not be (in your opinion) as talented, and especially the folks that you feel are undeserving...as if we really reserve the right to even make that call! Regardless, we will ask ourselves, why them and not me?
There is absolute danger in comparisons and honestly that is a blog post all on its own. But back to our conversation, which was about recognizing those feelings and the behaviors and shutting them down. We spoke at length about seeing something on line that makes you envious or makes you diminish your own growth and achievements, and having the fortitude to close the tab or put down the phone and know that is NOT what you are going to do today. Declaring that you will use that energy to just keep doing what you do for the love of doing it while doing it your way, and well. Understanding that your journey is yours and their journey is theirs and they have just as much right, no matter what YOU think or feel, to win, succeed and progress. AND that they have a right to publicly post and celebrate those wins, ill-gotten or not.
In that conversation we also began to speak about when we see someone that seems to be emulating or passing off what we feel we gave them. The sheer IRE that rises when that happens, and how upset or betrayed you feel about them "taking your stuff." My bestie spoke to me about a situation in which she went through that and had to stop and actually get over herself, to think that she could possibly be the only source for this person to have gotten this idea and information from. The saying that there is no new idea under the sun is more right than we want to admit. So things will be redone and remixed or even duplicated as they stand over and over. But my friend spoke about recognizing that while everyone can make a cake, it's the deft hand of the baker that differentiates one cake from another. Basically she had to realize that SHE is the secret sauce for her own work and no amount of replication will reinvent what she personally brings to it.
I then dug even deeper. I told her that for those that read and believe the Bible (as we both do) and even for those that don't, the term 'be fruitful and multiply' works here. It doesn't just mean go out and make a bunch of babies in the literal sense. I'm thinking more along the lines that as a creative, it's your job to go out and create more like you. In her case, as she teaches people how to be fit, or how to do their nutrition or how to create social media awareness for their brands and companies, she is basically showing them how to do what she has successfully done. So how can she be upset if they are now doing it, right?
I then put it this way... She and her source material are like an apple tree. When farmers pluck those apples off of the tree, they are used as is, in the direct form of apples. But then again, they are also taken and manipulated into apple sauce, apple juice, fitters, tarts, pies, and one million other things. This is all possible because the source, the apple tree, begat the initial fruit to be handled. We don't take an apple from an apple tree and expect that if we grate it, we will get lime zest, right? So it's the same idea. If we pour into someone with knowledge, knowhow or information, we cannot expect them to not in some way create using what we gave them. And while, how they choose to do that may rub us wrong initially, provided it's not intellectual property or copyright infringement, we have to see ourselves as that apple tree. Because our plucking of the apples, no matter how we then manipulate them, don't disparage the tree from creating more apples for us to use again and again.
This is my petition to you, my creatives. I am asking you to take stock in being a sustainable creative. Ensure that your sharing is never to your detriment, but also ensure that you are in fact sharing. And in that sharing, you are also cognizant that how folks choose to use what you have shared is not your choice, is likely not within your control, but is also not something for you to hold on to in a negative way. Be mindful to continue with your efforts in learning, growing and expanding. Continue your work towards self preservation and self care. All of this will allow you the ability to create the next thing for yourself; never feeling depleted when giving some of it away to others for their enrichment.
I hope that this has helped someone. I know it may seem a bit farfetched to some, but I pray that you get where I am coming from. I am never saying to be a sucker (lol), but I am saying to be aware that you can always see something from a new perspective and with that, hold on to less anger, angst and stress for yourself. The goal is your best you will bring your best life in 2018 and beyond.
Love you #ShiningStarrs! Please keep maintaining and sustaining.