Creativity Found In...Anxiety?


By Nicole Molkentin

Coming back from a long trip, my mind rummaged through all the beautiful conversations I engaged in over the past thirteen days. The conversations of worth were abundant. This break challenged me, experiencing everything on my vast spectrum of feelings; I feel everything at full capacity.
My friend and I sat in a coffee shop yesterday morning reflecting on life’s most recent happenings, and the conversation stuck with me as I drove homeward bound. I always fight for something. Sometimes that something is a place. Sometimes that something is a space or outlet for my soul to breathe. Sometimes that something is someone. Sometimes that someone is myself. Sometimes that something is growth.
My therapist tells me that my anxiety is a beautiful part of me. How else would I know how to feel so much? If I didn’t know how it feels to stump deep down low, how would I truly understand just how I high I can reach? This weekend I felt her words.
On Thursday I had an anxiety attack in a person’s house I just met with people I didn’t know. My heart beat out of my chest and my hands began to shake. Next came my legs. Then my eyes began to well. On the drive in I got caught in some bad rain and hydroplaned a few times, but it was nothing huge. But that little act was enough to make my anxiety bang at my door, and like an old friend my brain welcomed it inside. As I pulled up to the house I wanted to stop feeling anxious. But that made me more anxious because I wasn’t calming down. And then my anxiety spun out of control.
But it was just that – MY anxiety. It is part of me, just like my laughter and spirit and soul are. They are all mine.
And just like I reached that low point, I also reached such peaks. I ventured to Nashville where my soul was infused with love and passion and creativity. On an adventure with a true soul mate and best friend, I couldn’t imagine better company to fuel me forward. Seeing a concert inside a cave, we gathered 333 feet below ground for a bluegrass concert. With the sound of a steel guitar and the beautiful bellow of a base guitar echoing off the cave walls, my heart swelled with the realization that this was my life.
We stayed the night in Nashville in one of the most magical places I’ve ever encountered. Urban Cowboy Bed and Breakfast was at one point somebody’s passion project, and today is reality. A place for creatives to stay, the décor of the southwestern/deco house was just as unique as the people inside it. We gathered in the parlor with five fellow world travelers, lovers of life, and entrepreneur enthusiasts to share stories. Walking upstairs to our room at the end of the evening, I couldn’t believe that I was in this house with such incredibly talented people and in the midst of their creations. But then it dawned on me, I am the same as them. We are simply at two different stages of our creative journey. I am nestled (often uncomfortably) in the idea phase, where I begin my journey as my own catalyst, while they are more comfortably one phase ahead of me. I was just as deserving to be there as they were, with ideas just as fascinating and exciting as their's once were. Excitement flooded over me for the day when all of my friends are in the middle of the creating phase; they will be the most wonderful people with ideas that turn into the most wonderful reality.
I left Nashville with a new feeling of comfort in the idea phase. Being in somebody else’s passion project made me believe so wholeheartedly that I can bring my ideas to life. I have the possibility within me too. It isn’t just a lofty idea for others.
I learned this weekend how worthy I am. I am worthy of every anxious thought I possess, but with an equal, if not greater, worthiness for every ounce of love I give and receive. Yes, I feel my anxiety at full force, but I also feel love with all parts of me. And this weekend I felt so much love. Love for people who I hold close to my heart, and love for the future’s possibility.
So here I go, moving forward. Growing forward. And feeling that at full capacity too.