“You’re only given a little spark of madness.
You mustn’t lose it”
I seek never to fully understand a thing, only to question everything. It is the journey toward discovery that lights a fire in my soul. The questioning mind is an active mind, a curious explorer of its inner and outer workings.
I can spend days at a time locked inside my head. From the outside looking in, I am present and functioning, while on the interior I am wholly distracted by the magic and madness of what my imagination is creating. I can find a great deal of entertainment in the comings and goings of random thoughts, floating around like feathers in the wind. It is in these moments of mental solitary confinement that I glean much of my inspiration. It is within this space that I dance with the light and dark of it all and ponder the existence of everything.
While in the past I feared to venture too deeply into the recesses of my mind, I now relish my time there. Naivety is not welcomed in this place, as there is an undercurrent of danger which exists in spending too much time dancing with the madness in my mind. After one gets used to the controlled chaos it is easy to become quite comfortable. So much so, that I find I can get lost, infinitely. Have no doubt, there is an element of madness in creativity and genius. You need to be a bit off-kilter to take the risk of seeing and doing things differently, to voice what no one else has thought to voice before, and to make your unique visions known to the world.
There will always be those who wish to silence that which does not fit the norm.
But we are, after all, each unique creatures, born with varying viewpoints and perceptions of our environment. Isn’t our right, our duty, to paint the world in our own colors? How boring our lives would be if it were any other way.
After traveling on this train of thought for some time, I decided that Tim Burton is my perfect ‘spirit animal’. He has his own way of being in the world and is unapologetic for who he is. He has no desire to be like anyone else. His creations are born from a world which resides only in his mind and they are each distinctively beautiful. This is the space from which I wish to work and live.
Over the years, I have slowly revealed bits and pieces of myself, in my writing, in my art, in postings on social media. I kept the core of who I am and how I think hidden. Fear of being seen as ‘different’, an oddball, or an outsider held me back from complete self-expression.
With each passing year, actually with each breath I take, the fear falls away and more of my internal world is laid bare. In doing this, I have found others who feel the same. It was a revelation, to find kindred souls in the madness seemed absurd and yet poetically perfect.
So many beautiful minds out there, holding within their being a deep ocean of creativity and a multitude of gifts that would benefit the world, but who have been too afraid to let this part of themselves out into the light. I have discovered a tribe of passionate, frenetic creatives wandering the earth, oblivious of one another and desperate for connection.
We inspire one another through our quiet acts of valor. With each whisper of secrets released, with each shaky written confession of dark truths, with every tear-laced poem put on paper we make room for the other outsiders.
Through the unveiling of all I had kept hidden I found a sense of freedom. I no longer shy away from my weirdness, I embrace it. I no longer seek to cover-up my ‘quirk’, I rock it. Allowing some of my inner madness to flow into my day-to-day external existence has only served to fuel my creativity. It has opened me up to experiencing my surroundings in a whole new way. It has brought me back to a place of magic and wonder, like when I was a child seeing with new eyes.
Rather than getting caught up in concerns of what others might think I am free to simply ‘be’. Now, no matter where I find myself, I am deeply aware of, and become quite taken with, the little details. There is great beauty to be found in what others may deem “normal” or “mundane,” the flower pushing through a crack in the sidewalk, the soft hum of a bumble bee, the way the air smells just before it rains, the subtle smile of a passerby.
It is these things that capture my attention and send me off on another day dream of imagination.
With the act of embracing my madness I awakened something profound. In allowing myself the freedom to walk the line between sanity and lunacy I opened myself to new sight. By releasing my need for everything to make sense and have order I relaxed into simply being. I have taken that “small spark of madness” and allowed it to light my way and, oh, what sights there are to see and adventures to be had. I encourage everyone to venture into the corners of their mind.
Explore the places and spaces you have feared to go. Entertain thoughts previously deemed to ‘crazy’ or ‘obscene’ to be said aloud. Let the wild side out to play and watch your creativity flourish.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve.