The other day I decided to dive into some boxes. You know the ones that’s been covered in dust and you sort of know what’s in them. That got packed up quickly when you moved and for some reason never got unpacked.
But then as you start going through them you discover small pieces of your life. In my case I found my old Walkman that I treasured so much. I found a floppy disk where the sticker said Finished Book on it. I found old poems and doodles. I found my old employee card from when I worked crew on a TV-show. I had really long hair then. I don’t even remember ever having long hair but looking back on photos that’s what I had.
I found my old snowboard instructor certification. Deeper into the box I found a letter from a publisher encouraging me to submit my book. I have no memory of doing so. Or maybe the rejection letter is floating around somewhere because clearly there is an unreleased book still on a floppy disk.
I found old diplomas and certifications that various employees have given me over the years. And really deep into the boxes I found magazine articles that had my name on them. Most of which I forgot I even wrote or that I did illustrations and graphic design for.
I used to be creative. I would write, draw, take photos and do layouts for magazines and various organizations. I almost went to art school. I was encouraged by many to go down the path of art. I can’t remember why I didn’t. Practicality?
So where did all that go? It didn’t go anywhere. My creative side got tired of screaming and constantly being told to shut up so it went dormant. I got busy. Just like so many of us. Life got in the way. But thinking back it didn’t go dormant until I started a corporate job.
My corporate job had a creative side to it but that side was telling a graphic designer how to create an ad. I remember early on I was flowing of ideas but quickly learned that no matter how great my ideas were, they would get changed. They had to fit a very specific mold. Don’t color outside the lines kind of thing.
After a while you get in line and stop being creative. You become a machine and spit things out without much thought or effort. Mostly because you know it’s a waste of time trying to push the limit. All bad? Absolutely not. Learning to stay consistent with a brand look is great but it can also kill your creative mind.
After a day at work you’re too tired to come home and be creative. Your thought process has been trained to color inside the lines. There are no limits at home, but they still sneak in and that creative muscle of yours gets weak.
Why is our corporate world killing our creativity? Because they are built on the same philosophy as a factory. You work 8-5, take lunch, do as you’re told and follow the rules and guidelines. It doesn’t matter if you have a job that allows for some creativity. That creativity isn’t limitless. It’s a freedom with a very small window of what is allowed and what is not.
It’s the “don’t rock the boat” mentality. I’m naturally a rebel questioning why things are done a certain way, but after a while you get dizzy banging your head into the walls and even the most non-conforming of us starts to conform.
Wow…I got conformed. I don’t like the feeling of that. At all. So I’m taking my creativity back. I want to be that girl again who colored outside the lines and always spent her time in an unrestricted mindset. I hope you join me.
What are you doing to take your creativity back? Let’s share our stories in the comments below.