Re-Igniting Self-Expression & Creativity

In the last post I made a point to discuss how traditional schooling hasn’t done much for me, and likely many others. Part of that may be due to the fact I’m an innately lateral thinker. Meaning I use both imagination and creativity, as well as critical thinking and analysis.

Another way of saying that is I’m also a holistic thinker, naturally using both sides of my brain fairly equally.

Many people tend to lean to one side or the other, which is neither here nor there, good or bad. It is what it is. The problem with school is that it destroys creativity, our innate curiosity and natural capacity for learning by overemphasizing the left brain quality often found in STEM programs. STEM for those who don’t know is basically Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

STEM programs aren’t bad.

I will never knock the Sciences and related subjects because I love learning about Science myself. However, I will never support a program or curriculum that downplays the Arts and Humanities. We aren’t robots and things like culture, language, creation, and other qualities that make us distinctly human will always have a place in learning and growth.  

With that in mind, I’m not only going to share the journey in re-learning Math, as well as deepening my knowledge in the Sciences (I’ve done quite a bit of Biology, now I’ll be adding in the basics of Chemistry, with other subjects like Environmental Science, Geology, and Sustainability topics) but also more creative pursuits.

So, in 2020 I finished an Associate’s degree that mostly majored in the Humanities and Social Sciences. I did History in both East and West, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Writing and Composition courses and more. Then I took a Digital Photography class as an elective. That re-ignited my creative capacity along with the Writing courses. I thought I had lost that creative spark years ago when I was slowly, painfully dragged away from sketching, reading fantasy novels, and other artistic hobbies that expressed who I really was and that wild imagination I was born with… and then lost all the outlets to express.

Because “you’re an adult now, it’s time to grow up”. Because “no one can make a living off of art”. Because “you need to get a REAL job and support yourself”. Because “this is the REAL world and life isn’t about having fun all the time”.

Well, why the hell not, Karen?

I’ve since come to the belated conclusion that these goobers are people I never should have listened to in the first place. I allowed their Negative Nelly bullshit and fear mongering to dissuade me from pursuing what felt natural for me. The things that brought me joy, fulfillment, excitement, and satisfaction. That which motivated me to actually work on the things that I loved and get even better at those skills. Skills I could have later monetized at a premium thanks to the Internet! I lost so much time I could have been utilizing to master my crafts, instead of dabbling in mundane shit because its predictable, marketable, and “safe”.

Except that it wasn’t safe. It was destroying me from the inside out and wasting my life and my potential as more time slipped away from me.

The point of this little rant? Never let anyone dictate what you should or should not do with your life. It’s your life, it’s your destiny to fulfill. Walk that path unapologetically and ignore anyone who doesn’t have their skin in the game or their asses in the arena!

So, what am I doing about all that?

I’m working to start from scratch, and making up for lost time. Re-learning the basics and letting myself play a little. Play is how I learn and expand, play and creativity is how a regulate my emotional wave and root myself in a currently unpleasant reality. By allowing myself to imagine the possibilities. Allowing myself to express everything I choose in color, light, sound, textures, and more.

I miss sketching, so I’m practicing the basics of tone, shading, line, curves, perspective, composition, etc.

I’m continuing to practice digital photography to show the world what I see. I’m expanding that into conceptual photography ideas and compositing, to add the element of imagination and incorporate my love of fantasy and sci-fi.

I’m learning filming, editing, and audio production to create different types of content and explore other mediums of expression and creativity. I want to create long-form video and possibly a podcast series this year.

In addition, I want to practice my writing skills. Not just here on this blog, but also in articles published on other sites. I may dip into the realm of fantasy or sci-fi writing and storytelling, with short stories or novels at some point in the future.

Beyond that I want to add in equally as creative and interest projects, but also more pragmatic ones, such a learning to formulate my own skin and hair care products. Plus, I want to learn how to sew. For myself as well as loved ones.

Right now, I have no intention to sell products. That would just bog down my creativity and stymie my growth and momentum at the moment. I am playing with the idea of uploading some of my work to places like RedBubble or Esty as digital downloadables or print on demand items. I’m not committed to anything in particular just yet, in that regard.

However, I will post weekly projects to a social media account over in Instagram, a sister account to my personal one under @ascendent.studio to hold myself accountable in my practice and to hopefully inspire others who have also been longing to express themselves, be more creative, and learn new skills!

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