I grew up in a creative family. My parents and my two sisters all had their hands in photography, drawing, and painting. I was deemed the “odd one out,” the logical and analytical one. That was the narrative I adopted. People who are left-handed are also thought to be “right-brain dominant” so I was always asked if I was some sort of artist. NOPE! I have no creative talent, is what I would tell people. Somehow societal expectations for creativity have revolved around competition. If you’re not the next Picasso or Mozart, you’re just not creative. Is there a time in your life you just stopped creating? It was high-school for me. I fell into the stereotype of nerdy-but-slightly-athletic-science-lover. The thing is, I loved to write when I was growing up. Mostly poetry. Since I didn’t understand all the rules, styles, and phrases surrounding poetry I told myself I just wasn’t creative enough to keep writing it. I graduated college with a degree in Exercise Science and started school at Lifewest shortly after. I had been immersed in left-brain function for five years. And then I met Andrew. He was in my quarter and regularly started sharing his beautiful poetry. I was shocked at his no fear, all authenticity approach. He didn’t care about talent at all. It was an outlet, but also a way he could connect with others through his own self-expression. And it was magnetic. He inspired me with his unapologetic attitude. So, amidst some mental health struggles, I started to write again.
Once I removed the narrative of “well I’m not good enough because X, Y, and Z,” the words started to flow. Why does expressing creativity have to look so neat and tidy to the world? Here’s a secret: it doesn’t. What is something you’ve always enjoyed, or used to enjoy? We were never meant to be divided into the groups of the creative and non-creative. Sure, my family has a lot more talent than I do, and they even based their careers off of their creative skills. It doesn’t mean my creative expression is worth any less, well maybe literally it is. But to me, my poetry was precious. And I found joy in writing, especially when I shared a poem with someone. My biggest inspiration is people. I’m what you would call an observer. I notice a lot of things about people that they themselves don’t even notice. I turn it into poetry. Since May of 2018 I have written around one-hundred and fifty poems. Are all of them “good?” No, but that’s not the point of them. It gives me joy to turn a person into poetry and then share it with them. I mean how many people can say “this poem was inspired by me?” I’ve brought many people to tears and love giving them joy as well.
When I first started writing poetry, I was obsessed with making it perfect: it never was, so I never shared it with anyone. The thing is, creativity is literally wired into our brains, but a lot of us act like we only possess half a brain. Just like any other skill, creativity needs to be exercised and practiced in order to grow. We just need to get out of our own way. So, while you are bogged down by classes, tests, and stressors, in the midst of exhaustion, create something. And if you remove what the world is telling you it should look like, and create wholeheartedly, trust me you’ll be hooked.
Here is one of my favorites I wrote in May of 2019:
Beauty is a funny thing
And we all have it wrong
We see it in a sunset sky
Or hear it in a song
We see it in the different colors
That bloom wildly in the spring
Or in the tender sparkle
Of a brand-new diamond ring
And while these things are beautiful
I think we are missing a crucial part
That the most beauty can be seen
In the broken human heart
But people tend to think
We are no longer whole
When we are left with only pieces
Of our shattered souls
Why do we tend to believe
Brokenness takes away our worth
When there are so many broken things
That make up this beautiful earth