I did art right through High School, it was my absolute favourite subject so much so,I would hang out in the art rooms every recess and lunch. As a kid I also tried figure skating, ballet and jazz but overall art seemed to be my thing.
Sadly, that all changed at the end of High School when I felt my major work had not received a very good mark. In hind sight I have no idea what grading any of the other students got so it was a massive assumption to make and worst of all it caused me to put down my pencils and brushes. It disheartens me now to think how many times I have heard this same scenario since.
My family urged me to be practical and put me into a secretarial course which was useful and did end up landing me in media. I had 10 fun and exciting years working for a TV and radio station, while I studied marketing and went into selling advertising, coming up with ad concepts and designing whole promotional campaigns for businesses. I was actually pretty intuitive about it and seemed to have a knack for knowing what motivated customers. At 27 I joined a band. Now I realise that sounds completely random but my Dad and Uncle were musicians and I did harbour a secret desire to perform and I had had singing lessons in my early 20s. As it turned out, again, I was pretty good at it. So here I was at 27 singing in my first band and I was full of joy. Over the next 10 years I did stage shows, cabaret shows, variety shows, endless wedding gigs and a number of really high quality musicals, a live radio show and I produced a CD of 13 original songs. The connections enabled my daughter and I to have extras roles in the movie 'Backyard Ashes' leaving me with an IMDB profile which to this day I find highly amusing. I mean seriously, what a ride!
So what is the point I'm trying to make here? Well, at the age of 43, I found myself having to move for family reasons and I had to leave all of these fun adventures behind me and a fleeting 3 years after that I was completely consumed by depression. I could see no reason for my existence, nothing to look forward to and absolutely no reason to get out of bed other than being the facilitator for the lives of my husband and two children.
I had also spent years studying personal development. Countless books and seminars on the 'Law of Attraction' Creating your Best Material Life' blah blah blah and while I understood the concepts and I was overall very happy, they seemed to be promoting the 'it's ok to want more' concept and I just could never seem to make it fit into my existence in any meaningful way and now, shockingly and unexpectedly, I was at the lowest I had ever been. Clearly something in my life was not working.
In a desperate effort to try something, anything, I picked up the brushes again. Just for fun, something to do and a remarkable thing happened. I began to smile again, I still felt guilty about this little pleasure of mine that absorbed some of the family budget and certainly didn't seem to contribute to it but I just couldn't stop. I felt happier, more optimistic and in a very short period of time, the family noticed it too.
Then I read a wonderful book by Julia Cameron entitled 'The Artists Way' It caught my attention in the book store and inside I found all of the personal development I had learned applied to a creative life. Suddenly everything made sense and I had the tools I needed to move forward.
3 years later, I have a wonderful life and I have installed my first solo. exhibition. So what changed? What was the miracle event that turned me back on.........
In my very honest and humble opinion? It was creativity! It had come back into my life.
When I look back over the years I see creativity in many different forms. Art, Dancing, Acting, Performing, Figure Skating and Media. All of these things are creative in their own ways.
The lesson I gained is simply this. 'Creative people MUST be allowed to create'. It doesn't seem to matter what form it takes or how little time you can find to do it initially, so long as you are creating. Creativity is a beautiful intuitive journey that connects us all. It leads us along an unknown path which is divine in it's own discovery, filling our souls to the very depths of our being. It helps us expand into the best versions of ourselves by filling us up from the inside which in turn gives us the required strength to project our joy back out into the World.
This is what I want. A joyous, creative World filled with happy creative people. Surely that can't be a bad thing.