Last year around this time I started thinking about taking a leave of absence from the classroom. I thought it stemmed from the emotional battering that I was taking from a few select middle school students but yesterday I had a realization. As I sat at the WeMake Celebration, a conference for makers, next to three of my creative art educator friends I remembered my feelings when I was sitting in that same auditorium by myself last year.
I had paid out of pocket for my ticket, taken a professional day off from teaching, written sub plans and relished in being able to sit in a roomful of adults and immerse myself in the speakers' words. It was an 8-hour onslaught of creative inspiration. "These are my people," I thought as I took notes and dreamt of my own art journey.
I felt the same way yesterday as I watched slides pop up on the screen, displaying work from internationally and locally renowned illustrators, designers, musicians, poets, techies, and makers. I sat in that dark auditorium while is stormed outside but somehow felt more at peace.
"You can me driven and completely aimless," stated Lotta Nieminem as she talked about her multiple disciplines and her constant determination. "My work five years ago is not the same as today and I hope it's different five years from now."
I agree. That's me. I am so purposeful yet feel somewhat indecisive and scattered. And this professional who I came to fully respect in her hour on stage said that is okay. So, I settle into my seat and soak it all in throughout the day. Statement after statement challenged my brain and appeased my soul.
"It's fine putting something on the side until you're ready and find meaning in it again." -Lotta Nieminem
"I contain multitudes." -Lotta Nieminem
"I prefer working with other people." -Lotta Nieminem
"I'm not going to define what I do." - Bowen Ames
"Build a portfolio just to test things out." -Bowen Ames
"I make stuff so people can see it and tell me what it means to them." -Bowen Ames
"Part of the evolution of the business was me becoming a business person." -Britt Howard
"Now you have the scraps. What will you do with the scraps?" -Britt Howard
"Making things with your hands is a process and there's a lot of trail and error...nothing's ever easy." -Britt Howard
"We are all creators. We create our lives." -Bibi McGill
"If your plate is full, there's no place for passion." -Bibi McGill
"Be your authentic self." -Bibi McGill
"It wasn't about doing it well, it was about doing it." -Jean Jullien
"I use my word to dialogue with people, not to assert my opinion." -Jean Jullien
"When you do your own thing, it's okay to be messy." -Jean Jullien
"Simply look around every morning and just play." -Jean Jullien
So maybe, after all, these were the people that motivated me to take a leap of faith and explore the possibilities of my own creative life. Thanks, WeMake for the inspiration and courage to explore my multitudes, be playful, and foster my authentic self!