I was a late bloomer. Growing up, I was an unremarkable child. (Unremarkable by normal child prodigy standards, that is)
I had average grades. I was a quiet and terribly soft-spoken girl who blended into wallpapers seamlessly. Nothing stood out about me except that I was a littleee tinier and skinnier than my classmates. Okay, a little is an understatement. I was downright tiny. And I had bucked teeth. And was incredibly shy. I followed the rules and didn’t stray. In fact, I was a pretty good rule-keeper. Doing new things and being the odd one out was a nightmare to me. So there, that was me from birth till 12.
Our lives are a sum total of our experiences we face.
And I’d like to think that my mom had a huge part to play in awakening my creative side as I began secondary school.
She would write birthday cards for people using interesting and funky penmanship, and would teach me how to write the serifs and draw bubble letters for variation. She did loads of arts and crafts for Sunday School (she served as a teacher there) and often roped me in to help her. Soon after, my penmanship skills grew and I was exploring different letterings and crafts on my own.
My ‘breakthrough’ moment came was when I was 14 years of age — in secondary 2 — and we needed to hand in a geography assignment. While assembling my printed pages and stapling them together, I saw a box of unwanted CDs beside me. I took the discs, strung them together, got the scissors out, started cutting up my report papers and never looked back. My teacher was flabbergasted when I submitted my 5-page global warming report on a string of CD-roms. I got an A for that. Way to go, Tanglin Sec!
From realising that creativity can flourish when you are limited on resources (I only had CDs and papers around me, so I just combined them together) to realising that people do recognise your creative efforts (many thanks to my Geography teacher for not turning down my submission even if it wasn’t binded and printed double-sided), I found a joy and a surge of purpose every time I got to question the status quo and come up with a creative solution.
And so, that was the start of looking at the world from a creative perspective.
Now I want to hear about your story too, tell me about the time you discovered creativity!
This article was first published on Medium.