Do you remember being a child? How everything was new and interesting and there wasn’t the anxiety around the responsibility of being an adult? Not everyone was lucky enough to have a carefree childhood but for the majority of us it was a time when we were free to play, create and learn about the world around us.
As we grow, life has a way of squashing the child in us and it can take a very long time to rediscover it.
Yesterday I asked this question on Facebook to see how some people may have been affected by something said to them. Here is my question and some of the many responses I got:
I’d love to hear from people who had an incident in their life that has curbed their creative outlet? Did you struggle with writing in school or get teased for reading a lot by other kids, or get told that your art wasn’t good enough by a teacher?
In Matric my English Literature teacher told me I expressed myself beautifully. However she would not mark my essays because she wanted 2 page essays not one. I pointed out to her that I wrote 14 words per line whereas most people wrote 7 words per line. Therefore my essays were equivalent to 2 pages. She disagreed and refused to mark them! I refused to go to her classes for the last 6 months of the year. I was happy to get a mark of 84 in my final external exam. – Judy
Yes I changed schools in year 11 at one school I was getting a’s and then I went to a new school and the English teacher told me I couldn’t write an essay properly. I stopped caring and didn’t want to go to class or school. I also loved history at the old school and did really well but then when I changed I had a very rude and grumpy teacher and I dropped off classes again. I still love history and writing now especially poetry but it really messed me up as a kid. Not quite art but that was my creative outlet. – Rachel
I’m dyslexic. Writing has always been a challenge. For some reason there was a view in the school that I would not be good at art either. When I got to around 13, I realised they were wrong. Reading and writing might be a challenge … but I can create and tell a good story. – Debbie
I had a couple of experiences around drawing. One was aged 7 and other was 12 when I was told I had the eye of an artist unfortunately not the hand. Still trying to push through those words to start drawing again with no judgement. – Jane
These kinds of experiences from people who should be mentoring us in our growth most likely don’t realise that they are in fact arresting our development and affecting our confidence at the same time.
How can we rediscover this confidence and a willingness to create freely? Start looking at the world with open eyes. Experiment. Do something creative without the expectation of perfection. Sometimes it needs to happen with small steps that increase with your confidence. Find as many ways to find that child in you that is buried somewhere, hiding for fear of judgement. Start by making a list of all the things you loved to do as a child and see if that reignites something inside of you.
It takes time and work but when that child emerges you will see your creative output flow and you’ll feel excited about life. And never think this is just about an artform like painting and writing. It’s about creativity in life, how we live. Thinking creatively will go a long way to helping you solve problems in so many areas of your life.