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Things I'm Still Learning

With this recent uptick in my own creativity, I'm starting to notice a few things about how I engage with creativity and the different self-expressive skills that I have.

  1. Creative expression and problem-solving are two very different functions in my brain. I didn't know this, I would have thought they were more connected.

  2. My problem-solving skills can be accessed while I'm stressed or have recently become emotionally flooded/overwhelmed due to a trauma trigger, but my creativity cannot. That was a really interesting thing to note - and in retrospect it makes a lot of sense because problem-solving is a survival mechanism.

    1. There's a really interesting way in which this plays out for me when you blend creative expression and stress. In an intrisically self-expressive and creative context (my Minecraft games), I have extra difficulty problem solving stressful/survival scenarios despite my typical skill with problem-solving under stress. I panic real quick if there's a zombie or creeper or skeleton after me.

    2. There's a related opposite dynamic, too. When I'm in a primarily stress-management and problem-solving environment (like at work), creativity actually comes more easily although it's of a different type. Creativity from a place of stress and problem-solving is no longer primarily self-expressive.

I figured all this out because I expeirenced an unexpected trigger during work on Friday. I knew I had been triggered, I've gotten pretty good at identifying that, and I was able to finish out my day with my final client with no issues. The evening was difficult because I was already emotionally vulnerable and raw, but it was okay. But when I sat in on Saturday morning to keep working on my book, I found my brain wasn't present. The story wasn't accessible. I had the facts and my plot diagram and stuff all handy - so I could still pick away. I managed to add maybe a paragraph of extremely rough first-draft style writing. That hasn't been my norm lately, so it threw me off.

That's when I realized that my nervous system hadn't calmed down yet. Turns out my nervous system takes an incredibly long time to get back to normal/calm/stable after being activated by a trigger. There's a sluggishness still this morning as I write this; I can feel it. I'm actually finding it fascinating and am curious to look back in a few months and see how my voice changes from blog entry to blog entry. Although, I've just now gone back and edited the flow of this specific paragraph to give it better flow and a more cohesive voice. And that makes me think of the way putting experiences into words, specifically, is one of the best way to pull one's neural activity out of trauma-related mid-brain thinking and back into the prefrontal cortext where we can actively access our creativity. Maybe I've done just that through the course of writing this entry.

Wishing increased self-awareness and creative exploits for all of you!

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