I’ll take you back to early nineties where it all started. Sporting baggy jeans, big bangs and a fluorescent windbreaker. Paula Abdul’s song, Straight Up, is blaring on my yellow Walkman. I had just celebrated my eleventh birthday. The fall air is crisp. We’re kicking off a new school year and I am pumped to be in a class with my BFFs.
I don’t care much for mathematics or sciences. I am definitely more drawn to the arts. I doodle incessantly. I am a visual learner. And for as long as I can remember I DREAM about being an actress. I should have clued in then that I was destined to live a creative life!
But, primary school education didn’t really encourage me to hone my artistic skills. I was made to believe that art and drama classes were for fun, and that the real jobs came from core classes such as math and science. Unbeknownst to me, my future was being scripted. The FEAR of the starving artist was being ingrained so deeply in my mind.
“If you hear a voice saying ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” - Vincent Van Gogh
It didn’t help that right before Christmas, I submitted a writing assignment to my grade six teacher. After careful review, she pulled me aside and said, “You know, you aren’t a very good writer. I hope you aren’t considering a career in writing.” Shocked, but completely trusting of this authority figure I believed her opinion. My creative soul was crushed in an instance. UNDONE before I even knew it had happened.
While I am sure it wasn’t done intentionally, I was conditioned to believe that I wasn’t a very good writer. I started to believe that in order to succeed I better get good at math and science. From that point on, I suppressed any feeling or desire to pursue my creative gifts.
Fast forward nearly twenty years. I was in my early thirties working in corporate marketing and communications. My office was in the basement of a library. With no windows, grey toned cubicles, and fluorescent lighting, I was literally living the majority of my days in a cinder block hole. I kept thinking there has to be more to life? We aren't meant to spend the majority of our days working in a job we hate. Merely going through the motions, I knew I was in desperate need of a change.
I was yearning for creativity and vibrancy; something that would ignite a fire in my soul that had been dimly burning for years. The only problem was I didn’t believe I was CREATIVE. I had blocked it out since my primary school days. Words stick, and they stick hard! Imprinted on the fabric of my soul.
Undoing these patterns of belief aren’t easy. My stories of “you’re not good enough” have been on replay for two decades. Imagine our minds like a blank canvas with a tiny little painter painting a vivid image depicting all the stories we tell it. The only way to CHANGE the painting is by changing the stories.
“The work wants to be made, and it wants to made through you.” - Elizabeth Gilbert
Those closest to me know I usually don’t do things half-ass. When I commit to something, I am all in. And when it came to pursuing a creative life, I was more than ready to jump in with both feet. I bought a camera and started taking photos of my travels, and family and friends.
Although it took me thirty years on this lovely planet to finally start embracing my creativity, this was the first step in unleashing my creative gifts and gaining the confidence to share them. And when self-doubt comes a knocking, and let me tell you it comes often, I am a far more aware of the stories I am telling myself.
Have you ever been told you didn’t quite measure up to some standard of achievement? Did it stop you in your tracks? Have you allowed it to cripple you from pursuing your dreams?
Don’t worry, you are not alone! But I am here to tell you, your creative talents and gifts are WORTH sharing!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou
Let’s harness your greatness and start sharing your creativity with the world!