There is perhaps no worse fate for an extroverted attention-seeker like me than to be housebound for an undetermined amount of time.
So, I’ll admit that when lockdown was first announced in the UK, my blood ran cold.
As much as I understood and appreciated the gravity of the situation, my inner child was throwing a full-blown paddy and screaming about how unfair it was.
More importantly, I became immediately concerned for the mental health of myself and the general population.
We all know the links between mental wellbeing and a smorgasbord of everyday thing that we take for granted; exercise, fresh air, our social networks, human interaction and even eye contact!
The prospect of all these things disappearing overnight HORRIFIED ME.
But now that several thousand days of lockdown have passed, my focus has switched from what I’ve LOST during this time to what I’ve GAINED.
That’s not to say that I’ve navigated it seamlessly. Far from it – lots more blogs will follow which dive into the aforementioned horror in more detail, I’m sure.
But today I felt a ripple of gratitude that I wanted to share because there’s one thing that has significantly improved for me during my time in lockdown. Something which I’ve seen hundreds of other people in my network benefit from as well.
“I’m not Creative”
A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that you’re born either fundamentally creative or not – that there’s some kind of gene that the cool, artsy folk have been gifted with which qualifies them to brand themselves ‘creative’ while the rest of us can’t.
But the more I’ve explored ‘creativity’ as a subject, the more I believe we are all creative in our own ways.
Maybe we can’t all get away with living in vans, smothered in tie-dye and living off the proceeds of the canvases we’ve sold on Etsy. But the whole point of creativity is that it will manifest itself differently for each of us.
As much as our brains may jump to a stereotypical image of an artist in a studio, the joy of creativity is that it’s all to do with self-expression.
Creativity is about how we internally create a unique interpretation of the world and then externalise it through whatever medium we choose.
This could be through pursuing an artistic hobby or playing a musical instrument, but in the digital age the parameters of ‘creativity’ have expanded in myriad ways that me might not fully appreciate.
Take social media posts as an example.
Everything you post on social media is creative. Every piece of content combines text, images, video or audio to voice your opinions, tell a story, make a point, share information or have a rant.
Whatever you use it for and however you communicate, it’s fundamentally creative because that’s exactly what communication is; the process of interpreting the world around you, mentally consolidating it with your world view and then physically sending back a response.
Communication is creative, and creativity involves communication.
Working from this definition, even the conversations we hold are creative endeavours. Yet because the power of speech is second nature to most of us, we would rarely classify it in these terms.
But add just one more layer of complexity and you can have a poem, a blog post, a letter… boom! Creative.
When we speak, we have to tap into our creativity. Think about the amount of brain power it takes to choose the right words, to tailor our message to suit the recipient and to express ourselves in the right way. It’s a process of creation, editing and transmission.
We are all Artists
So, we are all creative by virtue of being communicative. The ‘artfulness’ then comes from how effectively we are able to do this.
And this, of course, is entirely subjective.
A lot of people ‘lose’ or neglect their creative streak because of negative experiences in their youth. A passive comment from an art teacher could make a child so self-conscious that they consider themselves untalented well into their adult years.
But once we can recognise and accept our innate creativity, this can give us the spark of confidence that it takes to begin exploring it.
Our creativity is both an inbuilt characteristic of our existence and a unique expression of it. Over the weeks of lockdown, I’ve seen myself and others explore it in many different ways. If you follow my personal Instagram profile [@alice.lyons.wellbeing] you will have been treated to a tedious number of doodles that have been keeping me entertained.
I have also rediscovered my daily writing habit which had become a little scatty and irregular, and this has culminated in me writing this blog.
The blog was never an intention – it’s just a happy by-product from weeks of playing, thinking, riffing and pondering. This process, in and of itself, was joyful. I’m grateful that the specific weirdness of the Covid situation allowed me the space and circumstances to indulge in this way.
To you, dear Reader…
Thank you for reading my first addition to the Dark Coffee blog. You’ll notice my style will vary massively from my fellow contributors, and so I’ve decided to fly my entries under the banner of ‘The Founder Files.’
My intention is to show the ups and downs of building the business, managing my mindset and anything else that I feel like sharing.
I can’t promise they’ll be as educational as anything you’ll read from my fabulous team, but I hope some of you will find them interesting.
If this blog has inspired just ONE person to accept their inner creative genius, I’ll be extremely pleased with myself, so please let me know if this is you! My Inner Artist is a vain-ass bitch who will very much appreciate the validation.
Lots of love,
(Founder + Director of Dark Coffee.)
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