When I’m Creatively Blocked, I’m a Complete Bastard

Notes from a Type 4 Enneagram

We have all admired the dark and moody creative: the artists, novelists, poets and playwrights, musicians and more of our time. We have celebrated their genius, shared their pain.

But having recently stepped up my own journey to embrace my creative side, I have to admit — creativity is a complete and utter clustercuss.

I mean, sure. Creating itself is fun.

It’s the blocks, or the resistance, and who I become that I don’t jam so well with. But, seriously, who does? This is a known phenomenon. (See Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art.)

All of the emotions and all of the inspiration of the universe, it can just get welled right up and stuck inside you like… Well, like something really unpleasant — plunging you deep into your near bottomless pity pool, and tossing you out into an abyss of unworthiness.

When you have a desire to create, but no way forward?

Your little creative legs are stuck in the resistance mud.

That’s the ideal conditions for a shitstorm, friend.

Closet — because I only just found out I’d got trapped in it.

You see, this past few years, my own fear has been so strong, so prevalent and so close to the surface that I mistyped myself as a Six for years.

The Type Six is the Loyalist, which — I’m sorry, everybody, every brand and every worthy cause — loyal, I am not.

Except for Beyonce — I have zero loyalty.

But biologically speaking, I am comprised of two main compounds: fear, and water (of course). Occasionally I can summon an ounce or two of courage from this, but be in no doubt whatsoever: my fear can be very, very, very, very strong.

Thus Type Six felt like my very own skin. I wholeheartedly embraced it and clung on to that explanation (…ahem, excuse).

Until, of course, I landed on the Type Four. The Individualist.

Well, hi there.

That sounded familiar.

Deep rollercoasters of emotions, melancholy, moodiness, and abnormal levels of self consciousness. Type 4’s struggle with a perceived lack of identity, a sense of something missing.

Oh.

Oh dear.

Busted.

My self-doubts and my fears shrouded me to such an extent I felt that they were my identity. That’s what over-identifying with emotions will do to you.

I recoiled in horror. I withdrew. I hid.

Everything seemed to grind to a slow and painful halt. Relationships, productivity, inspiration, self care, even my income, FFS. The whole damn lot.

Fair to say, then, that I was pretty damn blocked. Exceedingly empathic, yes, another type 4 stronghold, but also so far up my own crises that any sense of connection to anything was totally obliterated.

I’d got lost.

And that feels odd, because back in the day — pre quitting my job, selling all my stuff and my house and embarking on this entrepreneurial path — connection was something I prided myself on. As was focus, grit, and determination.

I did my yoga, my meditation, my journaling, and I’d teach about connection too. Oh, the irony.

As long as my salary was being paid, I had no problems at all tapping into connection to the self, the universe, to whatever it was, and accessing all the inspiration I needed.

Racing towards my dreams of self-employment was a whole different ball game, however. I was not prepared at all for charging headfirst, full force into this exponential learning curve, and all that that might throw up.

Fear, self doubt, anxiety, depression, resistance. These gnarly bastards can take one’s own self-esteem and shatter it into a million tiny pieces, and disperse them so far apart that you mistake them for pieces of your fragmented personality, never to be reassembled.

This is not a Type 4 in health by the way — no way, no how.

But as I berated myself and slipped more frequently in and out of melancholy, I couldn't see any other way through. I genuinely feared this was what the rest of my life was going to be like.

Fleeting moments of pure joy which could only momentarily pierce the deep, underlying sadness and tormenting feelings of failure and flaws and contentment forfeited.

What a joy to be around.

What a joy to be alive.

But wait.

That’s not all there is to a Type 4.

And as they say, the only way through, is through.

At their best, Type 4s can be profoundly creative.

They are self aware, but no longer self destructive. They are sensitive, honest, raw — but no longer self absorbed or so self conscious.

More attuned, and less hypersensitive.

When a Four is in health, their self-doubts, fears, FOMO and self-contempt start to melt away, and they may begin to access their higher, truer, creative self.

From a place of darkness, which in all honesty also felt true for me, I began to feel some warmth, some light.

As I stopped racing so hard towards all the things that I didn’t have, as I let myself rest and I nourished myself, practised self-care and self-love, I was able to unhook myself from the strong grip of fear and anxiety.

Space appeared for me to be able to take a step back from some of the blocks, and some of them almost, almost, seamlessly vanished.

There was no magical turning point. Nobody came to rescue me from my own depths of despair.

A lot of it was just good old fashioned self acceptance.

Where previously a great deal of my energy was caught up in bitter self-reproach, I began to let go of holding it so tightly.

In its place, a tide of inspiration and creativity came flooding in, along with its friends: kindness, compassion and love. Even self-discipline arrived for the show. (Thank f*ck.)

In the early days of working with the Enneagram, I had a tendency to use it the wrong way: as a weapon against myself, instead of a tool of progress. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing only the flaws staring right back at me.

Or worse — someone staring right into my soul.

As I got more comfortable with it, and myself, I began to appreciate some of the more admirable aspects of the Type 4 — or — dare I say, myself.

This is probably what we refer to when we say, “raise your vibration.”

And I guess that’s the lesson I’m learning.

Just like having the dark clouds clear to reveal a beautiful blue sky, I can see that when I am blocked, I am really quite a bastard.

But when I can let go of those blocks, those fears and those doubts, I might just be a normal person — nay, a creative one again, after all.

So let’s carry on our creative way, yes?

For more on the Enneagram — check out the Enneagram Institute.

For more of my journey, come hang out with me here.

Founder, feminist, entrepreneur, coffee + self care

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