If you're anything like me, it was right around the third grade when you made the decision that you weren't artistic. Remember? It could have been the day your teacher crumpled up your family portrait, mumbling something about a Rorschach test, making you start over from scratch. Or maybe it was the first time the entire class posted their artwork on the board when you noticed your tree didn't look much like a tree at all. And, if you're anything like me, that's the day you kicked your creativity under the bed with all the other junk you'd outgrown.
Looking back, I had plenty of talents that I would have considered artistic in others. I was a beautiful dancer, an actress and I could carry a pretty good tune, but to me they just felt like givens instead of gifts.
So where did that leave me? Maybe where you are. Chicken. Never wanting to blow my "perfect" cover, I refused to take creative risks. I was always the one who just wanted to hire someone. Not that I ever had the need in the third grade, but that was the direction in which I was headed and I was proud of it! Well guess what? Things change when life happens beyond the third grade.
Fresh out of college, I moved to Los Angeles with the love of my life. I'd only known him for two months, of course, but was convinced that he was the one I'd spend the rest of my days with; convinced enough to ditch my dreams of moving to New York City to become a big Broadway star for him and the silver screen. No surprise, he dumped me, and there I sat, all alone in my empty apartment next to Hollywood's most famous crack park, $50 in my pocket and the self-esteem of a pea. Think despair doesn't breed creativity? Think again.
I spent $30 of my last $50 on a drill, found a bunch of wood in the alley, and made myself a desk. I had watched "lovingly" as my ex made lots of things for our apartment and I knew if that @#$% could do it, so could I. And I did. It was then, when I was full of anger and forced to get resourceful, that I realized that art and creativity were in the day-to-day. Creating something out of nothing, something new out of something old takes vision. We all do it everyday and don't even realize it.
So where has that left me? Well, I dumped the bright lights of Hollywood and started down a new career path that, for me, defines satisfaction. But even more importantly, it has left me excited. Living a creative life has completely changed my perception of my surroundings. It has encouraged me to say "what next" instead of "whatever." And it has taught me that, if I can figure out how to turn a stack of redwood posts, some wagon wheel spokes and a can of shoe polish into a bed, I can do anything I set my mind to.
The reality is creativity is in us all; we just have to figure out where it is and how to use it. So get real! Recover your creativity from under your bed, dust off that image you conjured up when you were eight and lose your fear of being wrong. It's time! And, who knows. If you're anything like me, you might just find something to make out of all that other junk you find under there.