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Seeking, Finding and Being You — Creative Outlets

By Lindsay Hutton

Seeking, Finding and Being You — Creative Outlets

“We all need to have a creative outlet… so we don’t lose track of ourselves.”
-Norman Fischer, poet.

Life in this culture leaves us in something of a paradox. On one hand, we are given so many more freedoms than any generation before. At the same time, there are just as many forces at work that offer little opportunity for us to be creative, authentic individuals.

Consider the quote set atop this article and what it means. In our lives, there are a host of identities we need to take on. We don’t take on many of these by choice, yet they’re still important, though at times they don’t feel like it. Student, sister, son, Subway employee — sometimes none of these identities can sit very comfortably. However, the trick is to carve out spaces of time where you make the rules, and kickstart the creator in you.

First things first. You’ve probably heard that everyone has a talent. Maybe you’ve figured out yours already, maybe not. If it’s the former, terrific. If however, you’re among those of us who feel like every day resembles the last and your face has taken on a near-permanent expression of intense “meh,” then pay attention. It’s time to unlock from the everyday with everyone else, and learn about who you are and what you can be.

Here’s another tiresome, yet painfully true, old saying for you: The first step is always the hardest. Here are a few ideas to help you start the ball rolling towards living a life for and by you.

Honest to Blog
The good news about the Internet is that everyone can be a writer. There are blogs about different kinds of motorcycle tires (seriously), blogs about the history of candles — everything under the sun. Sure, many aren’t worth the screen time, but the commonality shared by all good blogs is that they’re done with honesty and integrity. Have a special cupcake recipe or an interest in soccer lore? Get writing.

What’s written on the Internet is forever, so don’t get too personal — not only is it unsafe, those blogs are creepy and boring, anyway. Make a plan about what you’d like to present online, and check it over with your parents. Then go here to see how it’s done -- properly.

Volunteering?
Practically every teacher will probably squawk about the benefits of volunteering, right? The thing is, a lot of the opportunities you’re likely to hear about at school may not be the most interesting. Most art galleries, publications and community organizations, from politics to community gardens, offer internships and volunteer opportunities. Though these positions are almost always unpaid, they look great on your resume and give you some contacts if you decide to get more involved.

Tip: Be sure to research the organizations before you submit a request to volunteer or intern. Even better, ask a trusted teacher or adult to look into it from their end, as well.

Get Crafty!
The past couple of years have seen an explosion of people taking the sort of crafts your grandmother used to do, and turning them on their head. Looking at Etsy, a clearinghouse site of crafts galore, you can see wares from people of all walks of life doing and making…stuff. There’s clocks made from boomerangs, sculptures made from vitamin bottles and everything else you could possibly imagine. Grab a glue gun or a paintbrush and let your creativity fly.

Some of these suggestions may work for you, and some not at all. Remember that everyone is a work in progress; any step toward building your interests and dreams, even if those around you deem them silly or misdirected, is a step in the right direction. If it’s starting a ‘zine with friends or even taking out a library book on clock making, you’re getting there. Even if you don’t know where “there” is… yet.