Welcome to the second day of my shared lessons on creativity! It was in 2008 that I started blogging, and it was like I suddenly had access to parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. Sure, as a teenager and young person, I always wrote essays and some (bad) poetry. I generally liked to write and I always kept a journal; but the creative arts were as far away from my career path as possible. Or so I believed. I am sure it’s okay to say this here, and after all these years, but my Mom finished all my school art and sewing projects. I was convinced that I couldn’t draw, couldn’t sew (I still can’t), and I refused to take music or dance lessons. I was so convinced that I was not creatively inclined. I already knew in my head that I would suck at it. Ouch. Some of the earliest of my doubts may have resulted from elementary schools teachers’ pronouncements, but by the time I was a teenager I was sure, and nothing could convince me otherwise. Creativity was for other people. I felt a little left out of this group, but mostly, I accepted it as a fact of life. And in spite of my parents’ support, I couldn’t break out of that mindset. I then went on to train in biology ( I struggled with all the diagrams because, duh, I knew I couldn’t draw), and with each successive academic science degree, I put space between creativity, and myself. Or so I thought.
This is my 9th year of blogging. I started a blog because, well, all the cool people were talking about blogs. And it seemed something that I could do without having to deal with a teacher’s disappointment or my own. How hard could it be? Worst case scenario, no one read it (my Mom and sister did, and even posted comments, the high point of my day). 9 years after starting, I can tell you that discovering a platform like the internet changed my life. It changed how I thought of myself. I started writing just a paragraph every day, and soon I discovered I had so much to write. I started taking photographs, and taught myself to take decent pictures. I started recording podcasts. I started drawing. And on, and on, and on. I didn’t discover that I was the genius artist that the world was waiting for, but I did learn that I can draw. And best of all, I am very happy when I draw. I hum a little, I twirl the brush, and I sip tea.
This is not to tell you about my perceived accomplishments, but to remind you that whatever it is you’ve been telling yourself you can’t do, you probably can. I always remember what Van Gogh said..”If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” And the best part of creativity is that it doesn’t restrict itself to one part of your life- like the most lovely, flowering creeper, it takes over your life. Soon you are bring more focus to your work, and more creative thinking. You are finding unexpected things to delight in or unexpected times of joy. I can go on, and on, because it has really changed my life.
In this day and age, there are many experts and thought leaders who are raising the curtain on what creativity is, and how we are all creative. I want to add my voice to this because it’s been my experience that we are all creative in some way or other. We have only just started exploring. And if you’ve always been creatively inclined, I think that you should go out and spread the word, that no one needs to stand outside and look in. That anyone can come in. I’d love to hear what you think, email me or leave a comment. Let this not be a one-sided conversation. – Priya
Image credit: Artwork: The Daily Biscuit, Jan 25rd, ’17. Studio Collectivitea
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