I was raised in a family where creativity wasn't an asset. Money is an asset. Harsh, I suppose. In the end, I did end up at a good university and some very good paying jobs after college. I also ended up with a bit of a disconnection with creativity, respect for it and success.
I can sit here and think about my academic career. I had a lot of successes. I'm not going to say it came easy to me but, I didn't really work all that hard at it, either. I can think back to times when my creativity was awarded, but not really acknowledged. In my family, creative awards didn't really matter. The A in Calculus is what mattered.
Then I took my SAT's and scored better in verbal then I did in math. I was really surprised for some reason. I totally thought math was my thing. Looking back, that was the door cracking open just a bit. My AP English class my senior year nudged it just a little more. I learned how to write and how to appreciate someone else's writing.
Then I had History 101 at William and Mary. Its a weeder course. You know that course that tries to make freshmen realize this ain't high school in the 'burbs anymore. My professor relished in her role, too. My first paper was a D. I want to say it was a C but, I'm pretty sure it was a D. I don't think I had ever gotten a C or a D on anything in my life before that paper. She gave us hell. It sucked. I worked my butt off on that next paper, though. I was ecstatic when I got a B. She even wrote a few nice words on the back of that blue book.
The thing is, I wasn't raised to appreciate the product of creativity. You probably wouldn't make a lot of money doing it, so it wasn't worth the time. Plus, math and science are pretty cut and dry at the top level. Notice I say top level....I know it gets way more complicated and I obviously can't handle it when it does... It was easy enough when you skim the top and I could get by without even trying. As I got older....and away from my parents...I realized creative is hard. Sometimes you have it and sometimes it goes away. Its hard to create a product that evokes a real emotion and not criticism. It just breeds insecurity and self doubt. At the same time it brings such a sense of accomplishment and happiness. It can bring a self defined success.
As I start to accept myself as more creative and less mathematical, my voice is evolving, too. Where that voice is going, I'm not sure but, I do know that I want it to show and evoke true emotions.
As parents we get wrapped up in the smiling perfect picture of where our life is at this particular moment. I think that's probably where "say cheese" came from. Our lives definitely have moments of perfection but, often what makes up our memories are those non perfect moments....when we're not saying cheese.
These parents sat back and let me just talk to their little guy. During our conversations, this is what he showed me....the perfect picture of life at that particular moment.