“Because I can,” was the eloquent answer I gave to my son when he found me doing a headstand in the living room one afternoon. He accepted the answer no further questions and joined in, only he went one better and did a handstand and other show off kid contortionist moves. Being the people pleaser that I was I would often want to explain my actions which left me open to further questioning from other people and myself. Perhaps it’s my age, maturity and/or experience that has reunited me with a phrase that I have no doubt helped me navigate childhood. Those three simple powerful words with butterfly effects that have the potential to influence, inspire and affirm leave little room for questioning which allows me to just be.
I discovered a talent for telling stories in high school, most of my friends were mainly reading Sweet Valley High, Sweet Dreams, and Mills & Boon books, which I found so predictable (I was a Nancy Drew reader, not predictable at all, lol) and after butting in on a conversation about the oh so complex love lives of the characters in one of these novels I stated that I could write a better story. I had to come through, and I did. Armed with no more than a biro and an imagination I would spend any spare moment I had writing stories in exercise books and produced little novellas regularly, complete with book cover artwork and blurb on the back. I didn’t look for a course, seek guidance from anyone or doubt that I could do it.
At some point, I stopped sharing my stories and I don’t remember specifically why or when but I’m sure it had something to do with “growing up” and acting out a few mini dramas in real life. I transitioned to journaling and keeping things to myself because life proved to be stranger than fiction and there was no way I was about to share that with the world. I can’t help but wonder however what may have happened if I had followed my passion and continued writing stories to share, maybe I would have written that bestseller and be a millionaire but I may have forfeited the amazing journey that has been my life. I love my journals they were and are my counsellor, confidant, and friend they are funny, thought-provoking and revealing. They represent the part of me that is trying to figure things out and I was still using a natural gift (bonus). The more insular I became the less I believed I in my creative writing skill and it lay dormant for years but now the beast has woken and I am ready to share again and all I need is my laptop and mind. The tools may be different and more refined but the agents of creativity and action remain the same.
Often, we focus on what we can’t do instead of doing what we can. I say doing what we can do, not thinking about what we can do, to create we must do. One great thing about creativity in action is that it produces results. If they are the results we desire, great, if not, great, either way, learn from the experience and do better, whether that means moving in a different direction or improving process to achieve excellence. Another great thing is that creativity comes in all shapes and sizes and we all have within us a unique set of gifts that have the potential to change lives.
As I inspired my child to shine even brighter (upside down!) than I ever could, so could you inspire someone else. A chain reaction of inspiration and creativity is something our world could benefit from right now.