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Episode 17: Are you creative?

Many people would say that they aren’t creative. I don’t believe that! We all have a creative side. I talk you through my own creative journey including truths that no one would ever want to admit.

Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Kelly and the Encouragers podcast. So today it’s going to be just me again! Now, these last two weeks, we have had the honor of speaking with two different creative individuals and what I love about our conversations is that we addressed art, absolutely! Both of them are fantastic artists.

But, it’s been really interesting to see how creativity has played out in other parts of their lives. So that to myself, how does creativity play out in my own life? You know, I mentioned it during one of the episodes that I never really thought that I was creative. If you would have asked me three to four years ago I would have said, “Nope! Absolutely not.”

What’s really interesting now is that I know that I am. Now when I say that I wouldn’t say I was creative, I mean I would have said not at all.

Let me give you some examples.

Anyone who knows me from way back then could probably tell you that this is absolutely accurate. I faked playing the clarinet in band for three years.

Okay...just in case you didn’t hear me...I faked playing the clarinet in band...for three years.

You may ask yourself, “How is that possible?”

And what I would tell you is I refused to play any time they wanted me to play by myself. I absolutely refused to play! Now it wasn’t just that I refused to play. I also would make a big stink if our band teacher asked me to play individually.

Now, I’ll be honest, I haven’t asked any of my friends but I would almost guarantee that everyone knew. Everyone had to have known. I told my husband the other day that I was pretty sure I was the third or fourth...I don’t even know if there was a fourth...clarinet. But, if there was, that would have been me. I literally moved my fingers and no noise came out. Luckily, I had a few good friends that actually could play the clarinet. And so they always played and I just moved my fingers.

To this day, I cannot read music. I actually was better at playing by ear than reading the notes. I honestly could not do that. So, it’s just really interesting how that worked.

This is when I would like to take the opportunity to say Mrs. Jones, if you ever listen to this podcast, I am so sorry that I was such a jerk. It wasn’t about you. It was about me! I just could not play the clarinet and I didn’t want to say anything! And I’m sure that you’re as happy as I am that I stopped pretending and just quit. I did us all a favor, really. You’re welcome.

But truly, I’m so sorry.

I wish I could say that was it. (laughing)

I wish I could say that was the only thing that happened. But it’s not, dear friends. I also got yelled at in art class for not knowing what makes purple. Let that sink in for a minute. I’m pretty sure I was in Junior High or High School. We were doing a project and all of the colors had to have some kind of connection. So, I chose purple which has always been one of my favorite colors and red and blue. I asked the teacher if I would be able to use these to which she proceeded to say, “What makes purple?”

Well, if anyone else has anxiety in life, you probably know that when someone has just yelled at you in front of the entire class, you clam up. And although you actually know what makes purple, you can’t get the words to come out of your mouth because of anxiety.

So that one, I will not apologize for because that truly was not my issue but the reason that I bring this up is because even then I thought, “Oh man, I’m not creative. I’m not creative, I’m not artistic, I don’t have what it takes.”

And so those negative thoughts came in even then.

Which leads me to my next story.

You thought that it was done! But it’s not. My journey with creativity was kind of a train wreck at the beginning.

I actually pretended...oh man, I hate to even say this. I was pretending that I had laryngitis so that I wouldn’t be able to sing for my music teacher who also happens to be like my second cousin twice removed, something like that. She’s absolutely fantastic. She’s so talented in music. Her boys are super talented in music - instruments, everything. And I thought that if she knew that I couldn’t sing, that would be extremely embarrassing and she would think that was hilarious. I don’t know why I thought that. She would not think that’s hilarious! In fact, if anything, she probably would have helped me! But, instead, I just kind of went with the fact that I couldn’t sing.

So, a few years ago I mentioned that to her. And I said, “Hey! By the way, you know that I actually could sing and speak that whole time, right?” and she said, “Yep. Absolutely, I knew that.” (laughing) So, that was pretty hilarious. Seriously.

But, that was my journey! Because I just didn't believe that I could do it. I didn’t believe I was musically talented! Which I’m still not, let's be real.

I didn’t believe that I was artistically talented! Which...again...still not, let’s be real. But I did not believe at all that I was creative. I thought those were the only things that made you creative.

And that’s just not true.

So here’s how I have figured out that I am creative. I am creative throughout my entire day. My entire day. And I think the way that I have been able to figure out different ways that I am creative is really to look around at the people around me. I mean, I have artists and teachers of all types - elementary, music, of everything. I’ve had multiple teachers surrounding me my entire life and my family. My dad’s carpentry work. That right there, that’s creative; that’s a skill. And so I think that I started to look at ways that other people are creative, the ways that I could identify for them and then I looked at my own life.

So, here’s how I am creative. I am creative from the minutes I wake up. Now, you’re probably thinking how is that possible? But it really is. And think about your own life. Do you consider yourself creative? I’m guessing you’re probably going to say...well, maybe you’d say yes but some of you will probably say no. And I’m going to fight you on that because I think that you can be creative even with your schedule.

So, for me, I have my son and I have my dog and my husband who obviously gets himself ready and he gets to work relatively early so it’s up to me to get our son and take care of our dog. And so I’m creative even as I’m figuring out what I need to do next and what’s going to be more efficient for me and if I need, like lets say I have a snag in my schedule, how am I going to be creative so I can get everything done that I need to before I go.

So, even in that sense, I’m creative. I am creative with the sessions that I have with clients. I had never thought until recently of therapy being such a creative tool. But it is. I mean really, when you are listening to someone’s story and you have the honor of holding this space for them, it is so remarkable and I want to honor them by actively listening, by staying on my toes, by being as present as I possibly can so that I can assist them in whatever way they need me to.

Within reason, of course.

And so I’m actively listening and I’m on my toes and I’m being creative with interventions and resources and thoughts and I’m asking questions to help them work through something that they may not have even realized.

And it’s not like I’ve pre-thought these questions. I mean, there may be times that a client pops into my mind and I want to make sure that I ask them something later. But most of the time, I’m just in the conversation and as it’s moving and flowing and I’m thinking of different questions to help them get to the bottom of things.

Healing is a creative practice. It truly is. It is not just about art and music and acting and all of those things that are fantastic. It’s also about being able to be creative on a daily basis and help people find their own healing.

When I started thinking about creativity that way I was like, “That’s really cool.” I really think that I’m really a lot more creative than I had originally identified with. So, that was amazing.

The next way that I am creative is through writing. And sometimes I get kind of weird about mentioning that. I’m not really sure where that comes from - I’ll be honest with you. Other than my sister is a very eloquent writer and so I’ve always told her for years, “I think you should write a book! I think you should do this or that!” And she mostly just laughed at me. In a very loving way, of course. But I think I always had viewed her as such a good writer that I thought maybe there wasn’t enough room and this is going to sound goofy to you but this is what I thought so I’m sharing it. There wasn’t enough room in our family. We already had a really eloquent speaker, we already had a really eloquent writer. And so...we already had that. That spot was not needed in our family so maybe I just couldn’t do that. That was truly what I thought in that moment.

But last summer I went to a writing workshop at the University of Iowa. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the University of Iowa. I grew up in Illinois! Obviously, if you know this, maybe you don’t, it’s a connecting state. So it’s not like we’re that far. But I didn’t really pay attention to other colleges. So I had no idea that they had one of the best creative writing programs around. So I went there. I signed up for it with no knowledge of that. I shared with my sister what I was doing and she explained to me that it’s a really fantastic program and was really excited for me.

I went there super nervous because there were people who have actually published books and articles and are working on books and I felt insecure going into this situation because I didn’t know what to expect.

I am actually working on my own book. I’ll just throw that out there to the world. Maybe it’s just a book for me. Maybe one day it will go somewhere. But I was really scared to say anything or show anyone or do anything.

So I went through the workshop. There were often times she would ask for volunteers to read their writing and of course, you and I both know, the people who were published and people that know that they are really eloquent writers, they were much more willing to volunteer.

It makes sense. They already know their writing’s good. But there were maybe half of us that weren’t so confident. And so we were there and no one was volunteering after everyone else had volunteered and so I took one for the team and I shared my writing. And it made people laugh! And people enjoyed it! And I was like, “What?! I can be funny in writing? I can make people laugh? I can throw in some “f” bombs at the perfect timing and people respond to that?”

I had no idea that that was even a skill that I had. So, being about to get that feedback, that positive feedback was amazing. They did, I mean I’ll be real with you, the creative workshop they give you recommendations and suggestions so it wasn’t always positive praise. There were some things that they did share with all of us that would help improve and that was amazing.

But what I learned over that was that I didn’t need to be scared to write different things. I didn’t need to be scared about the fact that I’m working on different projects. I don’t need to be scared to share that I’m working on a book and I hope that one day you’re able to read it. And I don’t need to be scared to share that anymore because I can do it! And so can you!

And that’s really the point of this is like who can I show you through my daily life how I used creativity so you can start thinking about it too. Because I am convinced truly that every single person is creative.

I just had this conversation with a friend and she mentioned that too and I was like, “Yep, I agree! Every single person is creative.”

So, another way that I really feel like I am able to be creative is just to write through different situations that have happened. I mean whether it’s notes with clients, whether it’s me just jotting down a little not to myself, I jot down conversations I have or whatever that might be. I mean, it’s a super easy way to be creative for a few minutes.

I have to tell you about this. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. I even ran it by a few friends and said, “Should I share this? Should I really share this?” Because it feels kind of deep and kind of heavy and I just, I mean we do deep and heavy on this podcast. Let’s be real. I want people to speak their truth but sometimes it’s scary to speak your own. But I think it’s important to share so maybe someone out there needs to hear this message.

I was cooking dinner the other night and I had this phrase that popped into my head. And it kept running through my mind, running through my mind, running through my mind. I mean over and over and over and over again and I had never had anything like that ever happen. I was like, “What is this?! There is some reason that this is in my mind!”

So, I was cooking dinner and I just decided to record myself saying it real quick so I would remember it and I could think about it later.

I’m going to read you the first line. I’m not going to go all though it but I am going to read you the first line of it. I’m going to be very clear before I read this - this is not about any client, this is not about any situation that I’ve ever heard or been through or anything like that. It is just the most interesting phrase that has every truly run through my mind.

That’s why I think you’ll see why it caught my attention.

So the phrase is, “I sit there and I hear about their anger and depression. The monster in the closet and the monster in prison.”

And I was like, “Woah, hmm…”

I’m going to read that again. “I sit there and I hear about their anger and depression. The monster in the closet and the monster in prison.”

That’s kind of a deep sentence to have continually running through your mind. Especially when you can’t identify. Again, this is not a client situation. If it was, obviously I wouldn’t be sharing this at all. This is nothing that I’ve been through in my personal life. It just didn’t make a lot of sense and so it really hit me strong.

Quite honestly, over the next half an hour, five or six lines came to my mind. And I am not kidding you when I say this has literally never happened in my life ever. But I knew that there was something that. So, each time I recorded it and since then I have two, three, four...something like that. I’ve written more, what I assume are poems. I don’t know exactly what they are but I’ve written more of them and so it’s been really neat to see how that has unfolded.

So, one other part where I think that I’m creative. It kind of has to do with therapy but this is more just in my daily interaction with people in my life.

I feel that connection is really creative and again, this came up with a conversation that I had with a friend and I really started to think about it. So, my dad has always been known for being that guy that can have a conversation with anyone about literally anything.

You want to talk about golf? He’ll talk to you about golf. You want to talk about your trip down to Mexico? He’ll talk about your trip in Mexico. You want to talk about your desire to go fishing for trout in Alaska? He will literally talk to you about anything and what’s really interesting is throughout it he is very confident in what he’s discussing and there would even be times I would think to myself, “Dad, this is not an interest of yours. How are you so engaged with this person?”

What I don’t think he realized is that it really rubbed off on me. I really picked that ability up connect with people, to be able to listen to what their interests are and be able to manage that conversation, to learn more and to be supportive and to want to learn from one another and so I think even small conversations at Walmart or Target, whatever. I wish we had a target here in Jamestown but wherever you are! Those conversations can also be creative. How you manage that.

So, that’s what I want you to think about. First of all, do you think your creative? Yes? No? Maybe? Maybe it’s important to dive into that. Maybe it’s important to figure out if you’d like to do writing, if you are creative with you engagement with people in your life, if you’re creative with design. There are so many different ways to be creative.

I actually have a theory truly. It’s not scientific based so no one say, “Hey, you never studied that!” I just really think a lot of times people who deal with a lot of anxiety are actually really creative souls.

Maybe someone has done a study and I’m just not aware of it but I really believe that people who deal with a lot of anxiety often, not always but often, are just really creative souls and so if that’s something that you deal with, obviously if you see a health provider talk with them and see if that may be helpful for you to maybe dive into your creative part of you.

Either way I think everyone, regardless of what we’re dealing with in life, can really benefit from being creative and allowing ourselves to have that outlet, whether it’s painting or whatever it is, writing, talking with people, acting in plays, comedy! Oh, my gosh, I love comedy. Get me to laugh and I’m your friend for life. I love to laugh. I really do. I absolutely love to laugh.

So, those are some things that I just wanted to wrap up this creative, artistic little mini-series to help you to think about are you creative? Yes, I believe that you are. And I can’t wait to see the ways that you’re able to tap into that.

If you feel like it, let me know. If a month from now you’re able to write some really amazing poems or you’re able to do paint something really cool, let me know! I would love to hear that!

I did want to mention that I have been listening to the amazing podcast It is so good. It is called, “Unspoken” and the two hosts are Ruthie and Miles and Miles actually runs what is called On-Site, I believe. It’s a type of therapy that is done in Tennessee I’m pretty sure. Pretty sure it’s in Tennessee. Basically it’s like group therapy but it’s in really small groups. They just have this really cool perspective but their whole goal in the podcast is just for people to speak the unspoken and to own their own truths and I am absolutely loving this podcast. There have been so many things - there’s been greif, sexuality, there’s even been things as simple as employment. There has just been so many different topics - being artistic, actually. That was a part of it as well. There are so many different topics that really have hit home with me and I’d love to hear from different people’s perspective.

If you want to check that out, you absolutely can. No pressure on that by any means. I just think it’s fantastic. I’ve told everyone I know about the podcast and I’ve realized, thanks to a dear friend, that I’m a natural sharer so if I know something is great, then I feel like I need to share it with you. And you can figure out if it works for you or not but either way, I feel like it’s my duty to help spread good in the world.

Well, thank you for hanging in there with me and I will see you next week!

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