Do we discover our true identity? Or create it?

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. 
    - Michelangelo

You are not a statue.

It used to be that when I thought about self discovery, I imagined (or hoped) there was this fabulous person, some sort of original me, that was obscured by insecurity, negative life experiences, socialization, and just plain old confusion, to name only a few.  

The original me, I imagined, was a collection of talents and abilities, a set level of intelligence, and had a fate. My task, like a sculptor, was to carve away anything that got in the way of my destiny.

Half my job was figuring out what that original me even consisted of, so that I could go about revealing her.  What I wanted didn't matter.  On good days, I imagined there was this essential, true person, that I could either release and enjoy being, or fail to find and live a life of unfulfilled dreams. On bad days, of which there were many more, I lost any sense of the inner me being anything special at all, and I sensed a fate of jealousy and disappointment. I just didn't "have it."

Maybe I wasn't as smart as I thought, maybe my talents had a limit, maybe I just wasn't meant to be this thing or that.  I looked for evidence inside myself, but it was the external reactions that were the real proof.  No one likes my writing?  I'm not meant to be a writer.  Too tall to be lifted by another dancer?  I'm not meant to be a dancer. None of my art work selected for a show?  I'm not meant to be an artist. 

My love for writing, making art, moving, acting, making music always came second to my estimation of my ability to succeed.  The only reason to do it was to get attention or approval.  

And so for a long time, I did nothing creative, and I thought I was okay.  I thought my depression and hopelessness were just a side affect of being alive. That is just life. Oh well.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. 
    - Michelangelo 

You are a creator.

Can you just for a moment imagine painting, or writing, or dancing, or acting, or singing, or making music just for the sheer love of it?  What if you could completely drop your self consciousness, your urge to make a product or an impressive performance, and just enjoy color, sound, motion, words?

"When I sing, dogs howl"
"I can't even draw a straight line"
"I have two left feet"

These limits we put on ourselves, as if we are doing the world a favor by shutting up, sitting down and doing nothing, are robbing us of so much depth, happiness, connection.

Creating is your birthright.

You create who you are.

You are your ultimate artwork.  Within you is an inner essence, but it is not fixed.  It is not fated.  Be guided by what you love, and make it a priority.  If you love to dance, then you must make time for it, regardless of how good or bad you are at it.  If you love to paint, draw, must, you really must make the space, and find the energy to do it. Many people brush off their creative urges because of a perceived lack of talent.  They think they don't belong in the club.

Find a group, a class, a friend, anyone who honors your creative spirit, and can help you create a safe space for exploring and constructing a new idea of yourself, one that includes you as the creative person you truly are. 

Did you leave a part of yourself behind?  What do you wish you had the guts to do? Share your experience below...