You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou
I once believed that I was only creative in the realm of writing. Even having acquired a degree in “communication arts,” I knew that was just my liberal arts school’s fancy way of saying “journalism.”
I had always wanted to be more of an artist. I envied people for whom drawing seemed to come naturally. My stick figures were no competition, so I assumed I just couldn’t draw. I put myself squarely into a box of “not an artist.”
I’m embarrassed to admit it took me well into my 40s to realize I was a creative person. Italics. Bold. Underlined. A full-blown creative soul who certainly excelled at writing, but was not limited to only finding a creative outlet in that realm.
In fact, I learned that all people are creative persons. Italics. Bold. Underlined. Some of us have embraced that notion more than others, but I clearly see now that it takes tremendous creativity just to be a functional human. All innovation comes from creative persons. The parents who figure out how to get meals on the table every single night are creative persons. Every worker solving problems 8 hours a day are complete creative persons. The artists, actors, singers, and writers of the world also join the not-so-exclusive club of creative persons.
Why is this important? For me, it was a break-through in treating both major and low-level depression. Creating served me in multiple ways. It allowed my brain to focus on something that felt important, but was outside of my head. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. It allowed me to lose myself in beautiful thoughts. It taught me so many things I get to apply in other areas of my life. It gave me something – creativity – that was mine and couldn’t be taken away.
I now have creating as a way to center myself and to feel purpose. Whether it’s in the complicated creativity of gardening, the purposeful creativity of developing a new recipe, or the therapeutic creativity of writing, I have the opportunity to bring an idea into life.
Allowing myself to see that I am a creative person also opened me to try things that I once felt weren’t in my wheelhouse: drawing, painting, interior decorating, and countless home repair projects. Was I good at all of them? No. But I loved trying! I also learned that I could try as often as I wanted, learn new ways to do those things, and try again.