Starting at some early point in my life – approximately the time of middle school – I began to believe, as many other people did, that I simply “wasn’t creative.” I was really good at math, which contributed to me being “pushed” towards it and related subjects by teachers and mentors. Eventually, I began to believe all the people saying that’s what “I was”: good at math. I began college as a physics major that had a concentration in astronomy, but I changed majors to liberal arts by the beginning of the next school year.
Right around this time, in part because of my super-creative and talented boyfriend, I started getting in to painting, as well as photography. I ended up taking courses in both, as well as two different writing courses over the span of the next school year. I received A’s in all of those classes and got a lot out of all of them.
Since then, I’ve painted more than a few paintings that I am proud of, became a pretty decent photographer, started a blog, and gotten in to drawing, crocheting, re-designing old clothes, rapping, composing music, and more! I am by no means an expert at any of these things; in fact, I’m still quite the beginner in most of them. But I tell you all this to say: you can’t let what society tells you about yourself get to you. We live in a pretty left-brained world where, often, the varied number of skills we refer to as “the arts” are seen as silly, unimportant, somehow “lesser” than other subjects, and only suited for a select group of people. It is misguided, and often teaches kids, just like myself, that there are “creative people,” – the ones who are “naturally” good at creative endeavors and will go far if they pursue them – and there are “non-creative” people – people who are only good for science and math and other rigid, left-brained work and shouldn’t even attempt things like painting, even for leisure.
It’s a completely false dichotomy. Just like Macklemore says in his song 10,000 Hours, “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint; the greats were great because they paint a lot.”
If I had simply listened to what society was telling me was true about myself, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today. And if I exist, others like me exist with powerful capabilities to positively impact the world who are just looking in all the wrong places. If you’re reading this right now, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a part of the WordPress community and have tapped into your unique creative potential. However, there are many more people out there who have not. Regardless of which group you fall into, this is for you – because the complete reverse can be true of society, too, where many people think they simply aren’t good at highly “logical” subjects like math or science. It still comes back to the point that “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint…” or as Eminem puts it, “you can do anything you set your mind to!”