Word Reflections, Ep 1: Creativity [READ]
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Musings over a single word that has
meant something to me
Creative… Creativity… I have a long history with this particular word. A love/hate relationship. From the moment I could pick up a pencil my mother told me I was creative and encouraged me to draw… To express myself. I was never given a variety of medium. Just paper and pencils. Textas, crayons and felt tip pens were my weapons of choice. Though I don’t think my drawings were particularly creative – they were mostly of my favourite animals: mice, lizards, turtles. I would write picture books too, about the adventures of my favourite toys. In high school I moved away from the paper into painting with acrylics. But still the things I painted took on the form of cartoon-like animals. All through my childhood into adulthood my mother would swoon: “Oh, you’re so creative!” And I would believe her. I believed her until I started a course at university titled: Communication, Creativity and Cultural Production. This course ruined that word for me. Every day we would dissect the word and well-known people who we would call “creative”. We would look at every aspect of creativity and try to piece it all together.
It became a chore, and I became disassociated. Angry even. At how stupid people could think that they were creative when they so obviously were not. All I ever drew were cartoon animals, and I thought I was creative? I started to look at the word with disgust; its very meaning became false. I would snigger at people who considered themselves creative. For I knew it meant absolutely nothing.
At this time in my life I was trying to get into an industry that would be considered “creative:” the film industry. And my disgust in the world helped to mould and shape where I would decide to go in life. I didn’t want to give up on the industry altogether, but I decided to pursue less creative roles. I am a very organised person who likes being the boss, so I decided to harness these qualities, and leave being creative to someone else. This led me to get into Producing – and it became my obsession. The great thing about this obsession was to do it well I needed to know about all the different aspects of the industry; the technical and the creative. And while pursuing this I became trained in all the different areas. Meeting my ex boyfriend Jack was a huge turning point for me. And so was his leaving my life. Being a very technical person naturally, he would ask me to take on the creative roles. He simultaneously idolised my skills and encouraged me to push myself further, always teaching me more about our work, and myself. When our relationship broke down, along with our working relationship, I found myself alone in South East Asia, wondering how the fuck I was going to do this all by myself now.
So that’s what I decided to do… Everything. All by myself. The creative, the technical, the organisational. I’d do it all, and anything I didn’t know, I would teach myself. I got a job making a video in Cambodia for a Magician, and although it took me a long time, I finally made something, by myself, that I was proud of.
I could do anything, I could be creative.
Now the word has taken on a new meaning for me.
I no longer cringe at the thought of it. Instead it excites me to think there are no limits to what I can do. And now I hope that I can be creative for the rest of my life, in my own little, quirky ways.
What word has meant something big to you? Tell me about it in the comments below…
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