When I was in high school, I went through several different stages of creativity and feeling the urge to materialise my ideas into actual physical things. When I was about 14 years old I developed a kind of obsession with reading, which still hasn’t let me out of its grip after all these years. At my peak reading times, I was finishing about two books a week and probably three or four on school holidays. I was crazy about reading, and after a while I felt the need to bring my own fictional story to paper. So one day I just sat down and started writing my book. And just in case you’re wondering – no, this book never got published, and that’s not the point of this story anyway. Again, I was obsessed, this time with writing. I would sit in front of my laptop for hours, typing word after word in a mad frenzy. Soon writing was just part of my everyday routine, something that I looked forward to all day at school, something that I got incredibly excited about. Writing made me feel good, made me feel like I was
Again, I was obsessed, this time with writing. I would sit in front of my laptop for hours, typing word after word in a mad frenzy. Soon writing was just part of my everyday routine, something that I looked forward to all day at school, something that I got incredibly excited about. Writing made me feel good, made me feel like I was creating, like I was doing something special with my time. When I was 15 years old, my mum, my stepfather and I went on a vacation to India, where it got so hot around midday that we had to retreat to our rooms for a couple of hours every day. In the entire year it took to write my book, I never spent so much time at once writing as on that holiday, and it’s part of the reason I have a special place for it in my heart.
Anyway, I finished the first draft of the book in just under a year and attempted to go through it to make a second draft, but soon realised that my story had some major plot holes, since I’d done a total of 0% planning before I started to write. I thought about fixing it up and trying to get it published, but decided against it after a while. To me, it doesn’t matter if the book got published or not, what matters to me is the time I spent writing it. That time is something that nobody will ever be able to take form me, a time in my otherwise quite angsty and confusing teenage years that I think back to with a smile on my face.
Soon after I went through a phase of being in love with fashion design and I would spend hours drawing dresses and skirts and other clothing items. Admittedly, I wasn’t very good at it, but that’s beside the point. Good or not, I was creating.
When I was about 17 years old I developed a new obsession, and that obsession was photography and videography. I saved up for quite a while and with the help of my birthday money I bought myself a Canon 60D, which is probably the most expensive thing I own to this date (it cost about 1000€ in case you’re wondering). I took it with me wherever I went and started taking a lot of photos. If you’re reading this, chances are you found this post through my Instagram page, which admittedly contains quite a lot of pictures of myself, so could you believe me when I told you that I actually used to hate being photographed? Back then I took photos of everyone and everything, whatever I could get my hands on really. I soon developed a love for shooting video as well, and especially for video editing. One of my best friends and I would spend hours shooting ‘music videos’, which usually included a dramatic storyline with one of our favourite songs in the background. I also shot videos by myself, and those usually turned out a bit more weird/ creative. I had started uploading those videos to my Vimeo channel and shared them on Facebook as well. Why did I do that? Well, because I was proud of them. Because I thought they were good and inventive and creative. I honestly didn’t even think about it twice before sharing the link on my Facebook page. At the time I was taking part in a videography course and learned a lot of new and exciting things about video editing, which in turn I then used in the videos I was making. I made a lot of different ones, but there’s this one that stands out and is a bit of a sore spot for me. Why? Because after uploading it I got some pretty negative feedback. When I was making it I didn’t think anything of it, I got that same feeling I got when I was writing my book. The exciting feeling of creating, of being creative. When I heard that some people from my school had made fun of the video and me – I felt horrible. I felt ashamed of the video.
I instantly took the link off Facebook and the video off Vimeo. I felt stupid. And then I felt angry. Why did I let other peoples opinions have so much power over me? Why did I care so much? At the time I didn’t really understand the full scope of this situation, but this incident effectively led me to put down my camera for a while and to not creating new videos.
Who’s fault is that? Entirely my own. I should have never cared so much about what other people think and years and years later that is easy for me to say, but the reality is that when you’re a teenager most of the time you do care.
My point? Two things: First, there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like what you are doing. Whether it is in your life in general or creatively. Second, don’t let anybody ever shame you into not living out your creativity. You are unique and so is whatever you create. Not everybody is going to like it, and you know what? That’s totally fine. The main thing is that somebody else’s opinion is never going to stop you from being creative and creating. And most of all – don’t be scared to get a little weird sometimes. Because who wants to be normal anyway? 😉