I don't think I have ever stifled my creativity completely but I sure have taken the attention of it from myself and redirected it to other avenues...the children, the day jobs, the community, the toilet cleaning. (So yes, I have stifled my creativity over the years, but why?)
Looking back I probably did this out of fear. Out of fear wondering what the results would be. Out of fear of others watching. Would I succeed at being a painter and writer? I had no formal education in art to validate that (other than I got voted most talented in high school.)
I had to be creative. It was fizzling inside me since I was a child. I knew I was artistic so I plugged this energy into other things. I believe I was actually hiding out there. These hide outs allowed me to lurk in the shadows and still feel creative.
It's cool and good to share talents (this is a genuine trait to practice) but I always felt like a piece of me was missing. I longed for the time to devote these efforts for myself. I dreamed of what could evolve if I simply had a go at putting in the work every day.
So on a Thursday, in one full swoop, I got rid of the living room and set up an art studio. (I'm not making this up.) It works out that I live in a rather large house and I could've chosen another room, but getting rid of the living room and replacing it with an art studio screamed, "This lady's ready to paint and write. Get out of her way," (that or she is menopausal.) Either way....get out of her way!
After three years, I did put the living room back into place and set up an art studio in another room (more privacy and less interruptions.) I believe defining a place to create, with purpose, was a significant turning point because now I valued myself as an artist and writer. Writers write. Painters paint. (It's in the doing that we find ourselves.)