How Following Other People’s Advice Snatched Away My Inner Child, but Inspired My Creative Adult

“Don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.” - Unknown

If that’s not my truth, I don’t know what is. I’m 26 years old when people ask my age, I strongly say that I’m almost 30. I say this because it evokes a feeling within me. It makes me realize two things: A) I still have more than enough time to make my dreams come true and B) It took me this damn long to start on them so now I’m going to go harder than any other 26-year old I know. It says to me, yeah, listening to other people led me to spend my adolescence and part of my young adulthood on shit that really did not matter, but you know what? That’s fine. Lessons.

Lessons, right? We learn them from the time we’re born until the time we die. Some we learn under the influence of others and some we have to learn on our own. I mean think about it, when you look at a child now, what do you see? Probably some little human who is unapologetically themselves whether that be the center of attention or comfortably watching others from the shadows. Kids are innately creative, constantly thinking of cool ideas drawing on what some would say is their imagination to bring the unthinkable to reality. ..and most importantly, they are themselves! It’s crazy, thinking about it, that I found myself jealous of younger kids who were so openly expressive and happy, because I’d realized that I let mine die off with age.

“The creative adult is the child who survived” - Julien F. Floren 

For 26 years, I’ve constantly been evolving. Whether I wanted to accept it or not, things were changing. I was changing. Things were happening to me and around me and those things began to shape who I’d become. I feel like a lot of us can relate to what I’m about to say…no matter your age, sex, occupation, etc., we ALL have that one thing that we love to do that we just don’t do enough. So my question to you is - why don’t you do that “thing”? Is work in the way? Are you tired? Scared of being judged? Hmm..ponder that.

Well my friends, this post is dedicated to me answering that question. As many of you know, I’m an artist, but what I never talk about is the shame I felt when the people who just found out would gasp at me after seeing my talent. “What? You paint? Since when??, everyone would say these things and oh man, I can’t lie, I was like damn I could’ve eliminated all of this shock had I followed my own path to begin with. BUT! We aren’t here to get hung up on the past, so I digress.

In my adolescent years, I spent a lot of my time creating. I’d draw on just about anything and art class was my favorite subject. As time went on, I started to want to do more with art. I wanted to go beyond expressing myself as a hobby just once a day in art class. I wanted to truly make art my life. Listening to others, I went the more traditional route and joined sports and just kind of got accustomed to watching from the sidelines.

When the time came to continue my education, I had my heart set on getting into art school. I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but I just knew that was for me. Decision time comes and in walked the opinions. “You shouldn’t go to art school.”, “What are you going to do with that?”, “You need to get a real degree!”. OOH, that last one is a personal favorite. [Insert Sarcasm]. So, I bet you can guess what I did right? Hold on, let me show you my receipt for $30,000 and a BA later. As a child, I was so creative, outgoing and fearless about my future. I just knew I’d be a fashion designer and my hundreds of sketches a day showed that, but I shot down my dreams to appeal to others and took their opinions as reality. I went to college, I studied business, I got the sparkly, coveted 9-5 job. Now 4-5 years later? Their opinions were still just that…opinions.

AHA! I had proved everyone wrong. (Or so I told myself) I did what they all said to do and I was still unhappy and dying to scratch that fashion designer itch. So what now? My creative child had died, right? Maybe so, but it was time to let the creative adult live. It was time to stop taking everyone’s advice. Unless you’ve done it before, issa no for me. As soon as I stopped listening to the negative nancy’s, the nay-sayers and the people who suppressed their inner child with no intent to revive them, I began to uncover mine. “You can’t start a business without going back to school” turned into: I started two by using my resources. “You can’t make money as an artist.” turned into selling out art showcases. You get the point.

Taking other people’s advice when it goes against everything you feel in your soul gets you nowhere but back to square one because that’s your square. Do your “thing” and do it proudly. I’m here now and I’ll never look back.