Creative People All Have One Thing In Common: They're Lonely

by Zara Barrie

Since I was a young, prepubescent little kitten sifting through the great expanse of the universe, I've identified as creative.

For as long as I can remember, I've had an acute inner restlessness, an empty space in my heart I've desperately wanted to FILL, an underlying sense of isolation that can only be satiated by creating something out of nothing.

Sometimes, I'll take a cheap drugstore pen out and draw for hours and hours and hours with my headphones adhered securely to my head, getting lost in the soft sounds of sad music pulsating in my ears.

Other times, I just want to write. I don't know what my triggers are, but when I'm hit with an all-consuming, sweeping sensation to write, I don't care where I am -- I will pull a writing utensil out of the thin air, grab a napkin and scrawl in a notebook until the words explode onto the paper like stars across the mother f*cking sky.

When I was 16, I discovered my love of acting. I wanted to get inside of a character and indulge in a powerful array of feelings, experiencing things I've never experienced.

You know how some people have that one person who keeps coming back in their life, tempting them, seducing them with the promise of love? I don't have that person. My work is that person.

The arts are what sparks up my sallow, tired heart. It's my first love. And it's a more powerful love than any relationship I've ever had with any single person.

The other day, I was in a tight-knit circle of my most creative girlfriends. We were discussing the slew of current pressing issues taking over our fragile lives when the topic of loneliness came up.

"Loneliness is the elephant in the room," my lovely friend, Sheena, wisely stated, folding her arms in her lap.

As she spoke, I could feel her loneliness. It was so strong that it was palpable in the stale, brightly lit, soul-less conference room.

I could also feel everyone's loneliness. It penetrated through the static air. And sure enough, each of us shared a confession of isolation in which we each broke down our life-long battle with loneliness.

I thought about our impassioned conversation about loneliness on my entire five-mile walk home from eclectic Chelsea to the posh Upper East Side of Manhattan. I thought about my lonely friends. I thought about my relationship with loneliness, and how I've been trying to climb my way out of the harrowing potholes of loneliness my entire life.

I've felt lonely in the arms of a partner I've loved. I've felt lonely at parties made up of my best friends. I've felt lonely when I'm alone. I've also felt lonely in a warm sea of people who I adore.

I thought about what I do when I feel disconnected, when I’m sorely alone and out of touch with the world. What roots me back into the earth?

Being creative. That’s what.

Loneliness is the driving force of creativity.

What drives a person to draw, write, act, sing, dance or do anything creative? Where does the desire to create come from? Why do some people need creative outlets in order to survive?

Because of loneliness, kittens. We lonely entities are compelled to create so we can feel connected.

When I write a personal, heart-pouring essay and toss it out on the Internet for thousands to read and relate to, it makes me feel less alone.

Creating reconnects you to the disconnect you feel within yourself.

Being creative reconnects you not just to others, but to yourself.

It’s true that sometimes loneliness is when you miss a person so much you feel a physical, all-consuming yearning for their presence. But sometimes it's when you sorely miss your old self and just don't know who the f*ck you are anymore. Sometimes it's when you feel alienated from yourself, your life or the present moment.

When we work through our cutting loneliness by creating art, we suddenly feel reacquainted with ourselves. We remember how we really feel and what we really think and who we really are.

Suddenly, we aren't floating up lost in the endless grey sky. We’re pulled back into our bodies.

Time alone is necessary in order to create.

I had a writer friend who used to say, "Writing is the loneliest career in the whole wide world."

I love writing with every fiber of my being, but her words were nothing short of the stone cold truth.

When you're writing, you're isolated in your own head. Writing is like having a conversation, only with yourself. There is no Band-Aid of another person, no anesthetic to numb your feelings when you're writing.

You can't hide from your loneliness in your art.

Maybe us creatives alienate ourselves because we have to. Maybe our willingness to make the sacrifice to feel lonely is because we know being alone is our special time to create.

In order to create anything, whether it's writing a play, writing a song or painting a picture, you need time alone to reflect. You can't be forever lost in the arms of a lover or out partying with a massive group of friends.

You don't have guts to spill into your art when you're happy.

When you're totally happy and endlessly carefree, you're not plagued by loneliness.

You need to have guts in order to spill your guts into your work, and you don't have guts to spill when you're totally f*cking satisfied. You just don't. Guts aren't blissful or pretty.

This is often why creative people don't run away from the bad feels, but rather embrace the hell out of them.

So my sensitive, lonely kittens, don't fret when you're feeling like the kid all alone at the school dance. Your loneliness is actually your greatest gift.

Don't run away from the emptiness that cut you to the core. Don't fill the holes with drugs and people and sex and booze. Embrace the lonely. Make love to the lonely. F*ck the sh*t out of the lonely.

Peer into the blank voids and fill them with ART.