welcome to chapter three of the gospel according to LEAUX. if you haven’t already, check out parts one & two. in this third (but probably not final) chapter, i want to talk about using creativity.
the gospel according to LEAUX: chapter III
after you decide to spread authenticity and live with boldness, it is time to use your creativity. i have chosen to use my creativity to cultivate a community of people dedicated to black women and our mental wellness journeys, thus on the LEAUX. maybe you will use your creativity to start a business, begin a new hobby, or improve your productivity at work and at home. however you use your creativity, know this: everyone is creative in their own way, and creativity cannot exist without failure.
everyone is creative in their own way
when you marvel at someone’s creativity, you are often admiring hours and months and years of practice. you may also think that you are not a creative person. but you’d be wrong. everyone - including you - has the potential to be creative in your own unique way; you just have to find out what that way is.
one of my talents is in writing. not bragging, just stating facts. i have enjoyed it since i was in elementary school, and it has been my go-to creative outlet, especially during periods of major depression. i started my first blog during an episode of depression in the summer before my senior year of college. although i was actively choosing not to interact with people in real life, i poured my heart out on “an affinity for the abnormal,” lamenting why i was being so anti-social and celebrating my general weirdness. it was “interesting,” to say the absolute least.
then, after having my daughter, i started a “mommy blog” to celebrate all of our milestones. it was cute, but that cheesy positivity barely lasted past her first birthday. i also have sporadically kept journals, primarily during my down times, writing pages and pages of rage and frustration and hopelessness when i felt like i was losing my mind, literally. so i have plenty of “practice” writing and sharing my stories.
however, it was not until being diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and discovering why my highs and lows were so extreme that it dawned on me to use my penchant for writing to help others, not just as an outlet for my ranting and raving. while working towards my own mental wellness, i want to create a community centered on helping other black women work towards their mental wellness, too. not only is it cathartic to share my story and struggle, but i also know that telling my story can - and will - help other black women going through the struggle of dealing with mental illness and Storm Syndrome.
all that said, maybe you’re not a writer. maybe you think you have no creativity whatsoever. i say, nonsense. the key to unlocking your creativity is to find out your natural talents and build on them.
when i was in graduate school (for Higher Education & Student Affairs, if inquiring minds want to know), i took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to discover my top five strengths. after flunking out of graduate school a few months later (more on that in a few), i did not lay eyes on those strengths until a few days ago. StrengthsQuest was mentioned in a blog post i ran across, and i was like “oh yeah, i took that thing a while back. i wonder what my results were?” so i went to find out, and these are they:
after revisiting my results - and remembering how spot on they are - i began brainstorming ways to build on and use these strengths both as an educator and a writer. i also marveled at how my results revealed things about me that i hadn’t thought about in years, such as how i build relationships carefully and how i see patterns in everything.
StrengthsQuest is just one of many tools that you can use to discover your talents, and i highly encourage you to research the best tool for you and use it to unlock your creativity so that you can begin putting it to good use.
creativity cannot exist without failure
the second thing to remember about creativity is that it is non-existent without failure. i failed my last semester of graduate school. i mean, failed so hard, the department couldn’t find me (that ish was cray). i barely made it to my assistantship most days, quit going to class, and applied for jobs knowing that my graduation was doubtful. when i moved back home with my parents after this #EpicFail, i went to the psychiatrist and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. i wallowed in misery and self-pity for three months until my parents were like “hey, ok, quit feeling so sorry for yourself and get a job.” so i started substitute teaching. after a year, i decided to pursue teaching full-time. now, i am going into my third year as a high school English teacher. my students love me, and i love them, and i love my job, and i wouldn’t have this job if not for failure. i would never have even considered teaching if not for failure. i had to get creative with my career options, because “grad school dropout” generally isn’t an attractive line during an interview. but i knew i could bring my creativity to a career in education, and it has served me well. and it started with an #EpicFail.
i tell you this story to say: don’t be afraid of failure. if you try one thing and fail, think creatively about what you can learn from that failure and apply to your next endeavor. every wrong turn contains a lesson to learn; you just have to be creative to find it and apply it.
i hope you have been able to take something helpful from the first three chapters of the gospel according to LEAUX. by sharing why authenticity, boldness, and creativity are important to me and how i use them, my goal has been to inspire you to think about your own “Core Keys” (core values / major keys) and how you can use them to make your life, others’ lives, and/or the world better. in fact, i’m working on something to help you do this; sneak peek coming next week. ;)
tell me: what are your strengths? where does your talent lie? how do you use your unique creativity in your life? leave a comment below and let me know. until next week!
❤️ lauren dee.