A year and half ago I attended a conference panel of writers, editors, and their spouses. We, the panel and audience, collectively landed upon “Creative” as a term to refer to the person in the relationship doing the writing, editing, art, or some other creative endeavour. There were many jokes and much laughter, but a common theme arose in the questions the audience posed. When an artistic pursuit ceases to become a hobby and transforms into a passion one hopes or has already turned into a career, it introduces an element of stress into relationships. Granted this is true of many professions. Doctors, soldiers, police, firemen, lawyers, stockbrokers…those are just a few that come to mind where the job intrudes upon home life. Sometimes a couple or a family can find balance and sometimes it gets washed away in resentment and hurt until nothing is left. While this is very similar for the “creative” there’s another element involved. Often times the writer or artist must pursue his or her dream for years, most of the time while holding down a job that pays the bills. The longer it takes, the more family and friends perceive it as a “hobby” or “silly dream”. Even more, the world that only the creative can see is always there forever lurking in the background demanding attention. Sometimes inspiration is lacking and other times the Muse demands immediate attention. In either case hours can go by that others view as wasted time.
“They don’t understand,” one woman said in tears.
The muddy waters of emotions slosh around until nothing is clear. There are those that quit because without the emotional support they lose the will to forge ahead. Some worry about what their family thinks to the point that it paralyzes them and the cease to create.
I believe that a healthy loving relationship can survive any storm that blows in. Relationships, whether sibling, parent, significant other, or best friend, they are our safe harbors. I think it’s important to realize which relationships can survive a hurricane and which ones deal better with thunderstorms. Everyone need not understand, but the person you choose to lean on the most should. As with everything, understanding does not happen right away. Time and communication are key. A healthy relationship is one that supports both individuals, encourages them toward seeking their highest potential without jealousy and with infinite love. That is the ideal, which reality finds it difficult to match, but not, I believe, impossible. So confess your fears, explain your hopes, search for balance, and above all, believe in yourself.