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Growing creatively: part 3

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately on creativity. A few weeks back, I sat in my friend’s living room and we talked about all the things women do in that circular non-linear way that we best communicate. Children, husbands, school, life, work. And then a good dose of faith and creativity. Fast forward almost a week and I’m still thinking about it. Something feels good and right about these conversations. It’s the power of connection – MEANINGFUL connection where you are nourished at the end of it all. I have all these thoughts and ideas on the topic, especially having hopscotched through a class at church on \ Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection last semester. There is so much rich content here, friends. Creativity is essential to wholeheartedness – I believe it to be true! So I’ve been writing about creativity on my own, and I’m going to share it in a few parts over the next few weeks. Part 1 and Part 2.


 

A few years later, and I found myself in California at Pepperdine.
I gamely proclaimed my major to be theatre for an absolutely solid two whole weeks. And then I realized quickly that I was a fraud in comparison with the accomplishments of the other theatre majors who had far more experience than I did with my paltry school plays, total lack of dance talent (save for those 3 weeks of tap lessons in the Del City, Oklahoma log cabin studio of a chain-smoking leotard-wearing 60-something dance teacher), and general lack of education of theatre overall.

So I called my parents sobbing, and I could hear the sigh of relief when I told them I was going to ditch theatre. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for me.

I was exposed to people with ideas so totally different than mine. But at the same time the theatre crisis was going down, I had also found my people – people who were interested in design and culture and ideas. Design became something tangible to me thanks to a basic introductory class in graphic design that was less about artistic principle and more about creative ideas. I began to see that there was true value in design, beyond something merely pretty. Could I really pursue something creative? I felt myself grasping at what I didn’t know at the time was graphic design.

In France that following summer as a French language student, I found myself enthralled with the graphic nature of vintage travel advertisements that I found in little postcard shops on the Cote d’Azur. I collected them by the handful, drawing and re-drawing them and buying Caran d’Ache watercolor pencils to experiment with. I thrilled as I dabbled in art supplies, things I hadn’t touched in years since my childhood.

A return to Oklahoma to enroll at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. I felt adrift, unsure of what it was I was supposed to do. I didn’t feel right in communications or journalism. I kept returning to that feeling of wholeness that happened at Pepperdine in my design class. Some research drummed up that OU offered a course in graphic design. My heart fell when I saw that it was in the art school. Nope. Can’t do it. I am not an artist. But the more I read into it, the more I felt that this could work. It could be a fit. I could belong there.

I sensed again that anxiety in my parents when I announced that I wanted to pursue graphic design. “I think this is going to be the best fit for me. I’ve got to try.” They were nervous – the art school! Think of the weird people! The CREATIVES! FINDING THEMSELVES! But they let me go, and in doing that, it was maybe the best thing they have ever done for me.

That first day at OU, in the art school, I experienced the same thing that happened at Pepperdine in the theatre department. “What am I doing here?” The fraudy feelings surfaced and the voice started in, “You should turn right around and walk out of here. Go do something safe, something normal. You don’t belong here.”