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Weird, Wonderful Creativity

Weird, Wonderful Creativity

I have some issues with the word creative. I feel like it’s a word people say about you when they want to say that you are weird, but you are also in the room. This is really a shame because to be someone who creates (and is weird) is awesome! I create every day in my job at a Shakespeare Theater and most days in my downtime as a way of de-stressing.

I have always loved painting. As a kid, my favorite days were the ones when Mom let me put on my plastic Smurf apron and use watercolors. I still make watercolor art to this day. I section off watercolor paper with painter’s tape and drop and splatter the paper in the colors of the current theater production and use them as cards for opening or closing the play. This is a necessary way for me to release some of the exhaustion and tension that working 50+ hours a week can build in me. Sometimes I think I am too tired to do anything extra, but I have learned that I always feel better after painting.

When I was in my late teens, my grandma taught me to knit. She gave me tons of her old crochet hooks and knitting needles and away I went. Knitting can be very complicated, but since I was doing it to decompress, I mostly knit scarves. After every one of my friends and family had received a scarf, I put the craft away for a while until just this year… when I knitted a whole blanket! This taught me that I have more perseverance than I ever realized.

Recently, I taught myself cross-stitching. I love it so much. There is something so incredibly satisfying about filling in little blocks and watching a picture emerge. It feels like I am doing a puzzle somehow. I am finding the picture by stitching a secret code into the fabric. Sewing isn’t my favorite, but for some reason I find cross-stitching really entertaining. This has taught me that if something looks interesting, I should try it. Even if I think I won’t like something, I should give it a go, because you don’t know ’til you try.

From cross-stitch, I decided it was a small leap to learn embroidery. I watched tons of videos about different stitches and then I just started doing it. It’s so much faster than cross-stitch, and so much more immediately gratifying. It’s a very different skill, but tons of fun, as well. I stitched a bouquet of flowers that matched the décor of my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s bathroom and left it there as a surprise ‘thank you’ gift. This is a creative reminder for me, too, that I can make time to give something back to the people around me.

I facilitate creativity for my full-time job as a dresser at the theater. I physically take care of the costumes during the run of the play and I help actors get into them (sometimes very quickly) before and during the play. In this way, I am safeguarding others’ creativity. I make sure the clothes look the way the designer has envisioned, and I make sure the actors are comfortable and safe in the garments during the show. This teaches me to have pride in my work as well as to give and receive trust unconditionally.

Maybe I was wrong about disliking sewing, and I will soon find out. I am in the planning stages of designing a quilt for my fiancé’s and my bedroom. I want it to be simple but beautiful and to match any future rooms or furniture we might acquire (so, linen with a subtle rainbow, of course).

I am having to remember math that I’m not sure I ever learned properly. I am choosing fabric and getting ready to start cutting and sewing. It will be the greatest test of my creativity yet, which is to say, I will need all of the lessons that being creative has taught me. I will need to push forward when I am tired. I will need to persevere over the course of what may be several months. I will try something new, even though I am not sure I will love it, and I will give the gift of comfort to my fiancé. I will trust myself and go slowly so that I can be proud of what I have accomplished in the end.

I will continue to be creative because creativity encompasses everything that I want to bring to the world. And if in the process I make the world a bit weirder, too? Well, I wholeheartedly approve.

This post reflects the views and experiences of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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I am a theater professional living and working in Chicago. I enjoy painting, Nintendo, my boyfriend and our cat Tallulah.

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