Monday, 11 May 2009

"but I'm not creative!"

Consumption Rebellion

I've started showing my friends my recent efforts in house decorating recently. Many of my friends have commented on how creative I've become.

Whenever I hear them say that I always feel like laughing. See in highschool, I never saw myself as "creative". In fact, when it came to the arts and home arts my grades were:

Art = 'C-' final comment by my art teacher in my highschool certificate was "Eilleen draws/paints to the best of her ability".
Cooking = "D"
Sewing = "F"

My experiences in highschool pretty much ended up with me believing that I was not creative at all. In many ways, this view stopped me from trying to live a simpler life for a long time. To me living a simpler life would mean that I would need to learn how to cook (but I can't cook!), I would need to learn how to sew (but I can't sew!) and I would need to learn how to make do with what I have (but this would mean my house would look like crap because....I'm not creative!!)

For years, I fell into the "commercial" view of what makes a beautiful home (ie buy furniture/home decor to look exactly the display room), what makes a good meal (ie a good restaurant) and buy all my clothes. Every now and then I would have "brilliant" ideas of how something could look better or taste better but I would quickly dismiss those ideas because....I'm not creative.

Believing I was not creative left me no option but to be an over-consumer.

Then one day, I stopped consuming. I made my impulsive decision not to buy anything brand new for a year. And suddenly I learned home skills...bit by bit. I still didn't believe I was creative, but now I am being forced to sew buttons back on shirts and coats. I slowly learned how to cook.

And then something strange happened, the more I did these things, the more ideas I had about how something could be altered in a different way to achieve different looks. Now that I can sew on a button, I can now sew on lots of buttons (to hide stains on my daughter's shirt):

Now that I learnt that I can add flour to a basic stew recipe to thicken it and that thickened stew can be the filling for a meat pie:

And the more I did these things, the more confident I became of what I am capable of doing. My children started to ask me to fix or make things for them. And I was now more willing to give it a go. And one day, as I finished a drawing my son had asked me to draw, I realised that little voice inside me that used to tell me that I was not creative had been silent for a long time.

And its amazing how freeing that can be. So now I try my hand at anything. Some things don't turn out well, but I learn from it. Being creative doesn't mean not making mistakes. To me, being creative is having ideas and turning those ideas into reality... and this includes working out what won't make that idea work.

For me, being creative meant having to learn some basic skills then surrounding myself with people in real life and on the internet who can show me the many ways of using those basic skills to maximum effect.

And more importantly, being creative means NOT listening to that voice telling you that your idea will never work because you're not creative.

my latest creative effort - mirror painted to achieve a stain glass look and old hallway table restored and painted for shabby chic look.

So now whenever I hear other people say "but I'm not creative!" I tell them, "Me too! but its amazing what non-creative people like us can do!"