Q: What do creative energy addicts do?
A: Why, they obsess over anything that taps their creativity G-Spot.
Today is the day I obtained my CEA (Creative Energy Addict) Degree. After many years of material absorption and insalubrious reflection, I decided to give up trying to figure out what I want to be, and commit to just letting the energy flow.
I realize that over the past few decades, I’ve just about done it all—Everything from the 1st potholder I made in pre-school, to being one of my yearbook’s photographers, to singing Opera with the New York All City High School Chorus at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Singing with the Choir
Most of my events and performances with the All City High School Chorus are now a blur of faces, places, personalities and many well placed notes. From that time, only two things still hold court in my mind: Sharing the stage at those performance experiences with my best friend Darryl, and my introduction to the sweet lilt of an Opera diva’s voice in flight. All City introduced me to this delicacy through our grand public performances.
They were grand to me because in the privacy of my home, away from the Chorus and my Talent Task Force Dance Crew, (Yes, I was a dancer too.) I was otherwise just a comic book nerd.
At one show, under the direction of John Motley, we were blessed to perform with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Grace Bumbry. That was as much a monument, as it was a key moment in my life. I actually began to tear up when she walked to the altar. I had made an audio tape of a performance of “The Willow’s Song”, from Otello and a few other arias. It was from an opera broadcast featuring Grace and Shirley Verrett on the PBS Channel.
I played that tape until it exploded. So when I was told that our Choir would perform with Grace Bumbry, my joy could not be contained. I gravitated towards her more than Shirley because I thought that for a soprano, her voice was like hot chocolate; dark, rich and warm, with so much depth.
Totally consumed by unbridled shock and awe, it was then that I caught my first glimpse of the CEA within.
Words & Spells
I’ve had quite a few substantial art highs. Because of my love of wordplay, I won a State-Wide Poetry contest in my HS Sophomore year, with a poem called “The Child Who is Blind”. I could connect with poetry because I could rebel against the possibility that there were rules. Rules and art don’t always go well together.
It’s not a poem because it doesn’t rhyme. Yes it is a poem! You know how I know it’s a poem? Because when I wrote it, I said,
“I’m going to write a poem.”
And when it was done, it was a poem. Not everyone will accept this, but life is art, and art is life… So that’s life.
For me words are life forces. Words, and their ability to create balance, harmony, illusion and dissolution, drew me into their spell.
Being an only child, I had no siblings to express myself to. I wrote out my thoughts, dreams and desires to the imaginary person living in my journals. Now I’ve come to understand and accept that writing was always a way for me to communicate with the person or people within me. I write simply because it happens—with or without my interjection.
Although music and the written word were my first loves, they were not to be my last. I also loved the performing arts, visual arts and making things with my hands. Through my love of craft, I was given the opportunity to sell my handcrafted, Hot Process and Cold Process Soaps at a craft fair.
Soaping was starting to become pretty promising until I was reported to the manager at my supermarket for buying baking soda, 4 cans of lye and a gallon of olive oil. I was never informed that there was a lye purchase minimum at Pathmark. But that was nothing compared to the day one of my neighbors reported me for suspicious activity.
I opened the door because there was a badge involved. I fell completely to pieces trying to explain the smock, rubber gloves, safety goggles, and scale on the dining table with 3 plastic bags filled with mint leaves, baking soda and citric acid. Apparently, the use of the word ‘bombs’ in my tear drenched explanation was not a redeeming or acceptable choice.
“Honest, it’s not what you think. I was only making bath bombs.”
Needless to say, I was freed once the sniff and sample were concluded. I told them the safety mask and goggles, which probably tipped me off to my neighbors, were only in place because I was making soap. I neglected to remove them before taking out the trash. I was promptly informed that people in Harlem didn’t make soap.
“Maybe you should go to the store and buy soap like everyone else.”
This ended my soaping adventures. In conclusion, it’s much safer for me to just write about making soap.
Being a CEA
The confounding thing about being a CEA is that you absorb so many different art styles and forms, that it’s hard to become proficient enough in one to claim expertise. I’ve struggled with this malady for many years—dancing back-and-forth between artistic endeavors, hoping to find one that sticks.
I was addicted to anything that required creative energy, and I couldn’t shake the attraction. I felt lost and incomplete. With so many random creative components, how was I to find my niche? It was difficult to see this amounting to anything of worth.
I felt doomed to go to work, come home, eat, sleep, get up, and start the whole process again. I wondered… at what point in this journey would I come across that which I was meant to be?
The answer to that question is…. I wouldn’t. I would not find my calling—perhaps, and more than likely, because I was looking for it.
Upon this realization, I learned the truth. You don’t find your calling—it finds you.
In training my eyes on a perfect spot in the art and creative fields, I was inevitably closing the door on the probability of finding it. But today my eyes are open.
I learned that in actively seeking enlightenment, you regrettably Collect a lot sea of excess baggage. This you must sift through to find the most substantial elements worthy of keeping. Rather than continue the search, I’m pressing pause. I have to redirect my energy before pressing forward.
In recapping this journey, I now know that a life of searching for completion is not an ideal or fruitful life for anyone. I don’t have to choose one obsession. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a CEA.
Today, I made the conscious decision to just be, and let being sort itself out for me. For in committing to just being, I am now on my path to completion.