“As we get older, we find that our creativity is dulled by people telling us what to write, what we should draw, and how we should portray ourselves to society. Some bend to the beliefs… and there are some who find another way to express themselves.”
That quote was a small part of my speech that I made as CEO of my imaginary company. I was trying to explain that we are born as creative people but society shapes us and tells us what is and is not “socially acceptable”.
We had no idea of this line of “acceptable” vs. “unacceptable” when we were born. We just went out and created whatever our hearts desired. We could create blanket forts in the lounge and castles out of cardboard boxes. We drew dragons that looked like bunnies and our stick figure people were always lopsided. We were praised for these bursts of creativity and we were cooed over as we showed off our macaroni necklaces.
We went to primary school and that’s when they started telling us what we should and shouldn’t write; what we were allowed to do and what we weren’t allowed to do. They put a series of rules in place that had never existed before and it confused us. For the first time, our work was directly compared to that of someone else. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely dreaded taking my work up to the teacher because I knew there was going to be something that needed to be changed.
I’m all for improvement of work, but I get uncomfortable when it is directly compared to another. The simple phrase, “The whole paragraph would change if you just added a few more adjectives like Billy has in his piece.” turns an original story into a creative battle between two people. That’s what my childlike brain thought, anyway. My confidence was absolutely shattered every time I had my work compared to someone else’s. It never seemed to measure up, so I changed.
I changed the way I wrote. I got praised. It may seem a bit melodramatic, but I felt dead. This was not me. This was not the way I wanted to write. It may have been pleasing the adults who “knew best” in this situation, but it was not making me happy. I bent to the will of others.
I got to college (university for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere) and I noticed that my writing style had changed again. I was finally sounding like myself again, and I think that is because of blogging. I found my voice again and I love it. All my professors have commented on the fact that they can hear my ‘voice’ in the assignments, but it isn’t overbearing and they actually quite enjoy it. I was shocked.
It made me rediscover my confidence when it came to writing and putting my ideas out there. I was so confident in my ideas that I pitched a BDSM hotel to my lecturer, tutor and, ultimately, my tutorial group. I received an A+.
Creativity doesn’t just dwell in writing or art or music. It dwells in companies, in dreams and in our approach to life. It can be found in every moment of every day if you look hard enough.