I was in a 6th grade art classroom working with students. I encountered a bright student that we will call, “Melissa.”
Melissa is a bright and plucky girl. As I observed her performance over the course of a week, I watched her avoid her creative capacity to achieve and instead choose to deny putting forth a sincere effort. Instead of listening with receptivity at the clear suggestions for improving her artwork, she resisted any effort altogether.
Her attempts and re-attempts became worse and worse as she became more vocal at her disgust over the instruction, that she was, “doing everything that the teachers told her,” and, “they said it wasn’t good enough.”
But Melissa wasn’t doing everything we asked. In fact, she didn’t do anything we asked, she actually did the intentional opposite.
Obviously, this encounter with Melissa stuck with me. Her resistance and self-sabotage stuck with me. I pondered why a girl who made a solid B+ painting would digress her paintings exponentially four times until the quality of the assignment reflected underdeveloped D- work. And then I realized that this was her intention to self-sabotage. She wanted to create a situation where her ability could not really be measured because she really didn’t try. If you don’t really try, you will never really fail. Melissa’s intention was to make it worse on purpose to avoid failure and to attract emotional attention instead of believing that with more effort she could make the next one better.
This made me think about what I create and what it reflects about my intention and how this might be a point of contemplation.
So, what do you create? What is the evidence of your creation?
Creativity goes beyond the art room and into everything we do. Creativity is the foundation of everything human. We create cave drawings, rituals, wheels, structures, systems, economies, beliefs, relationships, families, intimacy, and everything else we have ever identified and named as humans. We create responses of conformity or resistance, innovation or tradition, inclusion or exclusion, sincerity or insincerity.