My high school art class made me cry. Literally. At my super progressive, arts-focused high school we were all required to take at least one trimester of different media like visual art, vocal, dance, theater, etc. I loved anything that involved a microphone or a stage. Singing, dancing, acting, speech & debating - I ate it up. But if you asked me to draw something, I froze.
This particular class was on self-portraits and we were all seated at an easel with a blank piece of paper and a mirror. I remember feeling paralyzed by fear. There was not a single eraser in sight (!). What if I made a mistake? What if my sketching was unrecognizable as a human form let alone my own face? What would I do then?
I remember sitting with my pencil poised over the white emptiness of the page and suddenly bursting into tears. My teacher was understandably a bit confused but bless her she let me just wash paint brushes for the rest of class.
I'm not sure why the visual arts freaked me out like they did. Both of my parents went to art school (one is an architect and the other is a graphic designer) and I grew up painting and making clunky pottery and drawing (oh my god, so many) meticulous cross-sections of houses with all the furniture and people inside. Somewhere along the way, as many adults do, I lost my "I-don't-give-a-fuck" attitude about art and instead let my Perfectionism overwhelm that earnest little kernel of creativity inside me.
As a young adult I got comfortable with (and pretty into, if I'm being honest) arts & crafting media like scrapbooks and greeting cards. I for sure had plastic bins to organize my paper and stamps. I loved it and am not (entirely) ashamed to admit it. But the free hand sketching still freaked me out. It was the making something out of nothing that I think terrified me the most.
But this isn't a post about how I came to suddenly love sketching. It's more about how creativity shows up in a lot of different ways for different people and for me, it happens to be an odd combination of musical theater, crafting tiny houses out of shoeboxes for my stuffed hedgehog to live in, jello molding, and also...writing.
Which really is making something out of nothing and yet somehow I'm able to just down and put words on a page and not worry about whether it's going to sound the way I want it to (not always), or be perfectly grammatically correct (unlikely), or even be all that interesting (to be determined). And, you know, no tears so that's a win.
And also, making art of any kind is really good for you, science says so.