Core Decorum: creativity

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

It is a common misconception that an individual is either destined to be creative or cursed to be imitative; and it seems like most of us believe we are unfortunately the latter. However, creativity is not necessarily an exclusive trait given to some but not to others.

Consider when you were a kid and filled your mind with make-believe stories, when all your stuffed animals and toys had names and most likely absurd abilities. In those moments, you were creating a world for yourself, something completely new and particular only to you.

For kids, creativity is fostered and encouraged by their environment. In elementary school, teachers encourage painting and drawing in art class and playing instruments in music class (yes, the recorder counts); during recess kids have the freedom to make up games and pretend to be superheros, or kings and queens.

Although these activities took place in our youth and are now behind us, they were not solely childish, but were the initial expressions of, and proof of, our inherit ability to create.

As we grow older, our priorities shift. We are instructed to stop dreaming about our future and start constructing it. Our surrounding environment is no longer playful, but turns rather austere. Although it is a good thing that adults aren’t encouraged to buy and name stuffed animals anymore, it is unfortunate that as we grow older, we reject our inclinations to fantasize and to create.

When we feel an urge for an escape or for the imaginative, we turn to TV and movies for amusement rather than allowing ourselves the freedom to construct our own worlds. We dismiss our creative abililty and eventually convince ourselves that we are dull and in some way lacking.

However, we are not deficient. The only difference between our creative tendencies as children and our current state is that we are no longer being told to draw pictures and write stories. Now, as maturing individuals, it is our responsibility to draw inspiration from within ourselves and the subtleties of the world around us.  

The great Pablo Picasso said: “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” It is difficult to find free time in the midst of school, fitness and work, but it is absolutely essential that we allow ourselves moments for expression of our internal creativity.

Whether it be drawing, painting, writing short stories and poems, or making music, allow yourself time to sincerely express yourself. Don’t worry about whether your work will be accepted by others; worry about whether you’re accurately representing yourself in your work.

Let’s tap into our inner child this week and strive to create something new.

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