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The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation

The day the music died in my life was the day I went to university.

Up until then, music, and being creative more generally, was such an important part of my life and how I identified as a person.

It was so integral to my personal life and central to my public persona. It was something that wasn't just what I did, to an extent it was who I was.

And then I went to university and lost it, and in the process kind of lost me.

I became really focused on achieving, on academics, on anything that wasn't music.

Playing music and being creative more generally fell by the wayside. It was easy to make excuses, not having access to a piano, not wanting to bother anyone playing the violin, not having time, being too busy.

It was easy to say I had nothing left to write. That my life was in a good place again and that I didn't know how to write if it wasn't about sadness or pain.

And sometimes I would pick it up again, craving to feel that sense of someone who I used to be. Of someone younger, and more hopeful and who had a way to escape this thing called life through playing notes on a string or pressing some keys or furiously scribbling in a notebook hoping the words would make sense.

And I'd do it, I'd learn a song on the piano, sit there for hours playing chords and singing off-key to a new song I found. I'd dust off my violin and play through my memories. I'd start a story, buying a new notebook just for that occasion.

And then that moment would pass. The violin went back in the closet, the story remained unfinished.

I developed this sense that I could only be creative, musically, artistically, through words, only when I was at a stopping point in my life. When I was on a break from university when I was taking holiday from work. I lost sight of how to integrate creativity back into who I was.

And then in the last half of last year, I started to appreciate music and creativity again. I started reading books again, getting lost in the world of fiction like I used to do so often when I was a child. I learned to appreciate music again, for all that it is. To appreciate every aspect and instrument and layer for the beauty of what they are. And with listening more came writing, and dancing, and eventually playing.

And I can't finish this by lying and saying I've found the balance I want in being creative in my life.

I still feel like I can't create when I'm busy, that the emotional aspect of myself is locked away in those moments and I can't attach to it unless it's the only thing I'm focusing on.

I still write posts for this blog (that I divorce from being creative in my mind as it's more a necessity to get these thoughts out of my head) in bursts, only when the chaos of life has settled down, frequently citing not being inspired when I'm busy.

But I'm recognizing more and more that all or nothing thinking isn't good or sustainable. That there isn't a tradeoff between my academic/professional life and creativity.

Because life for me has to involve creating, being creative in some capacity. Because it's one of the main things I have that makes me feel alive.


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