I Was Afraid to Get Hurt, And It Cost Me My Creativity

            For the past year I chose to play it safe with my life. I watched cliché movies that guaranteed the main characters would fall in love and receive their happily ever after endings. I read the endings of books even before I would read the description of them because I wanted to make sure I would like the ending beforehand. And if I found I didn’t, then I wouldn’t even bother to read it. I was afraid to feel hurt or heartbreak when the stories would take a drastic turn, so instead I chose to not feel anything at all except for ‘fluff’ from ordinary novels. And in the process of doing so, I lost my creativity because I never experienced the ground breaking stories that have been written. I never experienced the stories that mattered.

            From the time I was younger, I knew I wanted to be a writer. If I was not reading, I was writing my own stories hoping they would one day turn into novels. And I have wanted to write the same stories that for the past year I had been running from. I wanted to make the reader feel deep emotions that you rarely experience. I wanted my books to mean so much to someone that it completely captivated them. Yet I had been straying away from these exact books that stirred up any type of emotion. Being away from books that made me feel something only damaged me, especially when reading had always been a huge part of who I am.

            As I sat down one day with a pencil and a blank piece of paper, I realized I had nothing to write about. A writer is only as great as their experiences. And for me, books have always been a way to experience a different world when I was tired and bored of my own. But for a year I had not experienced anything other than the cliché stories that would never happen in the real world. In a way, distancing myself from emotions that would rattle me made me lose my creativity. I had been reading such generic stories that I forgot how extraordinary stories were meant to make you feel. Instead of reaching for books about war, heartbreak, or history, I drowned myself in predictable endings.

            I learned something very valuable from this. You should never try not to hurt. The reason pain is so important in life is because it makes you feel something. All that matters is you feel something. If you distance yourself from emotions, then you will find that you eventually forget how to feel anything at all. And it is better to feel pain than to not feel anything.

            One of the reasons we learn history is because we have to learn about the painful past so that we don’t repeat it. We have to learn about the wars so we can appreciate where we, as a country, are at today. That doesn’t mean we don’t have some type of reaction to what had happened, in fact it is good if you do. Because the emotions that drive that reaction are the same emotions that are going to play a role when you are trying to make a future decision concerning those issues.  If you’re angry about a war your country has fought in the past because of the compassion you have for the victims, then when a situation arises dealing with the same issues that war did, you’re going feel compassion for the people. That compassion is what is going to drive you to stand up for those people. Emotions are a powerful tool. They help start wars, and they can even help end them. They’re used in everyday decisions you make, whether you are aware of it or not.

            This is why emotions are so important. There are not only a big part of your decision making, but they a big part of you. The art that is created by emotion is always going to outshine the art that wasn’t. The books that make you feel something are the ones that are going to be remembered. And the music that takes your breath away is the music that will forever live in your heart. Now, to create all of the arts I have mentioned, you have to be driven by emotion. Emotion fuels your creativity. It’s always going to be a big part of why your work is remembered, and why your work matters.

            I ran from my emotions because I was afraid to get hurt. But we have to hurt sometimes so that we strive to do the right thing. We have to hurt in order to make the moments full of joy mean so much more. If you want a life worth living, then you need to stop being afraid to get hurt. Embrace the hurt, remember it. Bury it inside yourself. I know pain is no joke, and we all try to escape it. But if we do, then it is only going to hurt us more.

As cliché as this may sound in a blog post that is encouraging you to not be cliché, John Greene once wrote, “you don’t get to choose if you get hurt, but you do have a say in who hurts you.” I think he was on to something. Let the people of the past hurt you so that way you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Let books hurt you, so you have a greater appreciation for whatever situation you’re going through. Let the person you thought was the love of your life break your heart so that when you find a better person to love, you love them more than you thought you ever could. One more quick little cliché quote to wrap up this post. John Greene also wrote, “it hurt because it mattered.” Anything that makes you feel something matters. And you shouldn’t run from that. You should embrace it.