creativity: squashed

2 Jun

You know what is one of the things that I love most about being able to work with and hang out with kids? It’s their creativity, their imagination. They come up with the most ridiculous things and I absolutely envy them. For instance, I was talking with an awesome 6th grade boy the other day and he was telling me about all the “secret” items that you can order at Wendy’s and how only VIP customers know about this. He went on to tell me that there are only certain Wendy’s that you can go to that will provide you with these mysterious but mind-blowing items. Restaurants that are “in the know” are the ones that have “back alleys” for their drive-throughs and you must know secret codes to order such as 43762 0072…(dangit, I think I forgot his code) or else they will not have the slightest idea what you are talking about (wink, wink). This newest code is for a mystery flavored frosty, of course.

I mean, who knows? He could be totally telling me the truth on this one, but I have my doubts. I think this is pure imagination rather than fact, but regardless, it’s awesome.

The thing is, I truly believe I used to have as a creative mind as this boy. I know that my mind sucked up so much stuff and I loved to relinquish silly and sometimes outlandish thoughts to whomever. In middle school I distinctly remember talking about llamas  and crazy monkeys a lot and in high school one of my first days at a new school and with a new crowd, a boy said to me, “Man, you use a lot of big words!” I definitely took pride in that, I must say. Clearly I had an extensive vocabulary when I was a mere freshmen, but today I find myself stumbling over my words quite frequently. I can hardly read a book while keeping my attention on it and actually understanding and processing the words rather than just reading them.

So what happened?

I truly like to blame school. It sounds cruel and possibly ridiculous, but when you are in a classroom taught to follow patterns and formulas and always write a paper with a beginning, middle, and end just like this… yada yada yada… your creative side gets squashed. In my experience, barring a few extremely awesome English teachers, very few instances or assignments allowed for students to flourish in their creativity. After a while, when you do actually get the chance to be creative, following all the rules and formulas for so long have been so engrained in your subconscious that you have a hard time just coming up with an original thought.

I think that also the pressures of life, time constraints and being successful in our culture have done their own job of squelching creativity and imagination. We have so much stuff to do in such small amounts of time, that it is so hard to slow down to absorb and pursue fantastic ideas, let alone read a book about those types of things. I think back to college and I was so focused on studying for several different classes and “getting the grades” that I hardly remember half the stuff I was “learning”. I would love to go back and sneak into the back of my old anatomy and physiology class just to listen and really absorb that information rather than furiously writing notes, hoping not to miss anything. Despite that being slightly creepy to the “real” students, I would absolutely love that!

I have a journal from the end of high school and the beginning of college. I look through it and I drew and sketched. Wrote about my passions and fears. Wrote down poems or amusing bumper stickers. I let my mind wander and flourish. These days I don’t do any of this. I feel bad if after a workout while I’m stretching if I let my mind go blank or wander for too long because there is so much more that I need to get done.

Well, I’m taking a stand. I need this. I need some time. It will be hard to let myself do it but I need time for my brain to wander. To dream. To think up a doodle. To relax. To feel free. To be excited and not feel bogged down.

I’m going to try my hardest to do this daily, but really if it ends up being only once a week, it will be a huge improvement.

Do you need more time? What do you want to do more than anything but feel like you have no time, energy, motivation, etc.?

Join me in a revolution.

Make the time.

Set it aside for you.

Because if you’re like me, you NEED it.

I drew this in high school. I was very much desiring to gain power over my life and what I wanted to make of it. This drawing represents this feeling, as well as when I choose God and what He wants for my life, it will definitely be fulfilling, colorful, and empowering.



2 Responses to “creativity: squashed”

  1. Heather Eats Almond Butter June 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I think we are soul sistas. Seriously, I used to feel so smart – I made good grades, studied, read, discussed, loved keeping up with current events, and then poof, it’s gone, and I sometimes find myself feeling so out of it and loopy. I want to be that brainy creative girl again! It’s not b/c I had a baby – it happened before that, and while reading your post, I was nodding the entire time and thinking, when did it all go away. College? When I got married, bought a house, started working? I often find myself saying, if only I didn’t need sleep. Honestly, I don’t think I would EVER get bored and could easily occupy 24 hours of every single day. I miss reading and learning, and using my imagination. So, here’s to carving out some time in my day and setting it aside for just me. Thanks. 🙂

    • Kaleigh June 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

      I completely agree! There is so much I want to read and learn that there is truly not enough time in the day to accomplish it all! I’m sure you have an even harder time focusing your attention on other things rather than on wanting to play with that adorable Summer all day! Hopefully you can find some special time for yourself though!

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