"Nancy, you're a lot of things. Good things. But, you're not creative." A friend of mine said this at the tail end of one of those spontaneous dorm room gatherings that makes college college.
At the time, I had nodded my head. In my mind, she was right. Back then, I had a pretty narrow definition of "creative." Creative people sculpted, painted, wrote poetry, or made films. They went to performance art installations or poetry slams.
They certainly did not attend state universities, major in English Education, and work at parking services. They were not active in Lutheran Campus Ministry, nor did they watch Melrose Place.
Simply put, creative people didn't do any of the things I did.
Or so I thought.
I realize now, though, that I'm a balloon, and I stay aloft by my creative outlets. If I do not have a chance to express myself, I wilt and wrinkle.
For many years, I flexed my creative muscles in the classroom. When a project or lesson took flight in "real life" the way it did in my mind, I floated for the rest of the day. It was a genuine rush. With the advent of testing and standards (which, by the way, are not necessarily bad things), teaching became less fun. I felt like a parody of my younger, more enthusiastic self.
Now, my outlet is this writing deal. If I don't post, I feel off, a bit achy. But when I write something that resonates with others, I feel a keen satisfaction, an awareness that my words, my life, my experiences...matter.
I know that my life is significant without writing, but with this daily discipline at the keyboard, I am able to observe the world with just more. More joy. More absurdity. More grace. More humility. More gratitude. Just more.
And because of that, I am so grateful that I am creative enough to see past my friend's sincere, but misguided words. God made me creative. And because of that, I see more of His world.