Embracing your inner artist.

IMG_4010

We were all born with the capacity for creativity, or at the very least with the curiosity to explore art in all its forms. Whether that was through finger painting, play dough, making necklaces from spaghetti tubes or gluing things together, we were all born artists. Over time of course, most of us lose that sense of creativity in pursuit of other interests – academia, sports, relationships, partying. I’ve always been a little envious of the people who made it last somehow – the people who actually made a living from their little hobbies, pursuing their dreams relentlessly.

Now I’m not saying I’m the next Dali just waiting to be discovered – far from it in fact. I do however enjoy dabbling in arts and crafts, for the pure enjoyment of it and opportunity to unleash my inner child. I couldn’t draw anything aesthetically pleasing to save my life, but I did once have a stall at the local market selling necklaces I had beaded together. Looking back they were pretty ugly, but I got a few sales from family friends (bless their cotton socks). Lately I have taken to collecting shells from the beach. Since I’m there a couple of times a week I figured why not? So off I go with my bright yellow fanny pack clipped on, looking like a complete dork as I fossick away along the shore. Now I actually have no idea where this shell project is taking me – am I going to string them up on wire to sway gently in the breeze? Perhaps I’m going to put them in a jar, or glue them to something pretty. I figure that when the time comes, and I have collected enough of a variety – I’ll know what to do. After all it’s about the journey, not the end destination.

I think we all need to pursue these little arts and crafts hobbies, embrace creativity and keep the mind active. After all what is life without a little (or a lot) of enjoyment? We spend so long slaving away at our jobs, why not enjoy the time outside of work bettering ourselves and feeding our curiosity?

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

(Henry David Thoreau). 

image

Photo credits – wolfclubwolfclub & aureta

Choosing yourself: Thoughts on being the most authentic you, every day.

 

IMG_3463

We here it time and time again; ‘be yourself’, ‘don’t follow the crowd’, and ‘think outside of the box’. While this is all well and good, sometimes it can be hard figuring out who our authentic selves really are, from a lifetime of learning to conform to certain behaviours and activities. We go through school in a regimented fashion, each having to learn the same things in the same way, and sit the same exams, even though numerous studies have shown we all learn in different ways. Some people can grasp something from pure theory alone, some need to engage in the practise time and time again to get the hang of it. Some people prefer group learning and team activities, while some people cope better with minimal engagement and more quiet time. We’re told to express ourselves and be original, but at the same time we’re expected to follow societal norms and fit in. No wonder it’s confusing and most of us are completely lost as to our true callings in life!

As someone who has recently resigned from working in a large international company, where regimented procedures and red tape was a constant barrier to creativity, I know first hand how frustrating this can be. How can we come up with unique and exciting ideas when they have to pass through various tiers of management to get approved, and then need to be dulled down so as not to appear ‘risky’ or offend people? Sure there are some benefits to working in a huge company, but in my mind the downfalls greatly outweigh the positives. Small companies have much more freedom when it comes to being creative, acting on sporadic ideas, and being flexible. Yes, they may not have the funds or backing to get them from A to B in a hurry, but I think I’d much prefer having creative input into a position than having to follow guidelines and protocol.

As the great Albert Einstein once said, ‘I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking’, I think we all need to take a leaf out of his book and stop following the crowd. Don’t worry about people judging you – 9 times out of 10 they’re just wishing they had the guts to act on their own dreams. ‘Speak your truth even if your voice shakes’, is another one I like to use because it’s so true. Yes, it’s scary putting yourself out there. You might get criticised, you might make mistakes, you might fail. BUT at least you’re doing something! It’s all trial and error on this journey and we only have the one lifetime to feed our curiosity and most importantly, be our authentic selves 🙂

IMG_3447

Photo credits – mimibaileyny & georgiestclair

The volcano in my head.

image

I’m dead serious – there’s actually a volcano of thoughts erupting all over my head, and I’ve been frantically trying to channel them into a variety of creative outlets for the past few months.

MUST

EXPRESS

MYSELF.

It’s like this burning itch that I’m constantly scratching, uncovering, exposing. Since quitting a job that had become quite toxic to my life in late November, I’ve literally been unravelling all these thoughts and feelings into whatever I can find – writing, art, photography, reading etc … Don’t get me wrong, it’s WONDERFUL. I’m just wondering where the hell I lost my creative self along the way, and what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

As an only child growing up (until the age of 10 when my sister was born), I was pretty lonely. I didn’t have many neighbourhood friends so had to make do with the imaginations in my mind. I would get lost in fantasy books, travelling to incredible lands and often wishing reality was more… well, magical. I essentially learnt how to be alone, something that’s transcended into all avenues in life. Given the choice of a rowdy night out with friends or a quiet night in cooking and reading by candlelight, 9 times out of 10 I’ll choose the solo affair.

I expressed myself (pretty terribly, in hindsight) through a variety of craft-making activities such as mosaics, water colours and beading. For some unknown reason I went through a phase of super-gluing little shells onto items of my clothing. Why didn’t anyone stop me? Well to be honest I’m glad they didn’t – I obviously needed to express myself somehow, and as long as I wasn’t harming anyone then who cares!?

Somewhere along the way I lost all these creative pursuits, until my recent life overhaul. I went through University, share-housing and meaningless jobs without giving much (if any) time to those activities which I knew brought me great joy. Since taking a step back from the corporate grind I’ve used this blog as a form of self expression, letting all my thoughts and feelings pour out. It’s been cathartic to say the least. I’ve taken up my life-long love of reading again, and have been dabbling in a photo journal of my recent travels. While I definitely won’t be taking up the art of gluing shells on my clothes again, I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and seeing the world in vivid colours once more.

image

Photo credits – emiliycornelius1 & ratedmodernart