I recently had the honor of being a bridesmaid in a best friend’s wedding. Like all weddings do, it made me think about myself and about what kind of wedding I might have. Which made me think about who I might be marrying and what kinds of thinks he should be aware of.
Which led to this post.
I am a creative person. As a creative person, there are certain things that a potential partner must be aware of before entering a relationship with me. With any creative person, for that matter. It’s not an easy task, dating artistic types, and you should be well prepared…
1. Our intensity knows no bounds.
Intensity is part of the job description. You can’t be artistic or creative without having parts of your soul bare. In order to feel true magic, we have to expose ourselves to the elements.
This kind of intensity is most evident in dating. We want to understand you, feel your soul the way we feel the ocean breeze, see your inner workings the way we see the colors of a sunset. We want to experience another person with the electricity of open wires connecting. If we can’t feel the same intimate pull towards you that we feel towards our work, then it’s not real. It can’t be. Not for us.
I know that can be intimidating if you’re not an artist yourself. It has scared away more than one prospective partner in my life. But I don’t mind, because if they can’t handle my way of exploring in the intense beauty of human connection, then they’re not worth my time.
2. We feel everything that much stronger.
Again, it’s our work. It’s our lives. We have to feel the world in order to express it in our art. Which means we tend to be swinging pendulums of emotion.
I believe that everyone has the potential to feel the extremes in daily life. Most people just don’t let themselves go that far. They prefer to remain even-keel, staying consistently content. There’s nothing wrong with that and it certainly does lead to a more stable life. But artists, unfortunately, can’t do that. If they did, their work would be devoid of emotion. Flat, stagnant, and thoroughly muggle.
In order to feel the gamut, we allow ourselves to feel the strength of our emotions. We let that beautiful sunset inspire wild joy, let the dead raccoon on the side of the road bring us to tears. We see the stories that surround us and absorb all the emotions associated: the little old woman buying groceries alone; the man on the corner with a beer at 10 AM; the 4-year-old with a balloon that says Congratulations!.
You can’t make us even-keel. And we don’t want you to. We like our swinging emotions, we like the strength of our experiences. But we also like the fact that you can be our anchor, you can be what keeps us sane when the world is too much to bear.
3. When you break down our walls… beware.
Artists tend to build up emotional walls. They are there for protection. Years of being rejected and scaring people away have taught us how to put on the facade of being calm and quiet and just like everyone else.
If you date a creative person, those walls will come down. They’re meant to.
However, those walls are holding back a tidal wave. When you break them down, there’s no going back. You hold in your hands something breakable and precious, a person who will love you the way they love their favorite art. When that person opens up (which may take a long time), your creative partner will throw themselves into the relationship with everything they’ve got.
That should scare you.
4. When you’re close to us, you’ll see firsthand our volatility.
Remember what I said about being an anchor? Well, it goes beyond that. Creative people can appear to have huge egos. We have to have the confidence to present our work to the world. Can you imagine how hard it is to say here, read this thing I wrote. Look at this art I created. Listen to this music I made. It’s impossible to be artistic without an ego.
But that that assurance in ourselves is a deception. All you have to do is look at the alcoholism and depression that is rampant in artistic populations. We put on the face, we try our best, but in reality our egos are volatile wild things, apt to abandon us at the slightest sign of rejection.
Your creative partner will (hopefully) trust you enough to show you the roller-coaster of doubt they experience every day. We might seem stable and steady when you first meet us, but in reality we are a hurricane of doubt, fear, love, confidence, and mad imagination.
5. We can read you.
The final warning I would give about dating a creative person is how well they can read you. We absorb the feelings of the world around us; the dark clouds hanging over certain people, the inner light radiating out of others. We see it, feel it, and try to express it in our work.
The downside of that is that you can’t hide your work stress, your secret fears, how you really feel about our families.
And we don’t want you too.
At the end of the day, dating a creative person is all about truth. It’s all about expressing who you really are and allowing the other person to do the same. We live our whole lives trying to hide and be “normal”. We don’t want to do that with the person we love. Even if it’s terrifying, we want to live honestly and absolutely, experience everything to the highest degree.
It will be scary. But it will also be worth it. Give yourself to the experience and you might just get a glimpse of the glorious world we see.