May 15, 2013
My whole life I have struggled with the reality of my brother being a genius. He was that intelectual kid who read the enciclopedia for fun, was doing calculous by fourteen and yet, somehow, still had a personality, making him a social triple threat;no joke. I, on the other had, was the creative, socially awkward one, who was terrified of other people and had learning “challenges” as my pc mother put it.
I was dyslexic, hated math, couldn’t spell, and struggled most of my academic carear. School and I were arch enemies until the sixth grade, at which point I decided it was all a bunch of bull and I would work my ass off, put my head down, and just get through it. Getting through it is a difficult task when your brother is brilliant and your parents hold two standards of learning (guys, I get it, we aren’t the same person [thank god] but it messes with your head to have your own paternal figures do that to you). If Bryce (the brilliant one) got a B he would get a lecture, they weren’t being hard on him they were being realist; Bryce could get an A in his sleep. If I got a C my parents congratulated me, told me I did my best and I should be proud of that. Listen, I realize this is just a parent being supportive, which is wonderful, but to me it felt rather patronizing.
I have fought this feeling time and time again. I never feel “smart” enough, I never went to traditional college (ok… I kind of did, but lets not kid ourselves, it was CC). I have adapted and grown into who I am with this thought ringing in the back of my mind and slowly it leached into the world that I am good at, that I DO feel qualified in; it started attacking my creativity.
While driving down the 5 the other day I listened to a TED Talk (I do this a lot, get used to the reference) on the idea of creativity. Elizabeth Gilbert, the critically acclaimed, award winning author of Eat, Pray, Love, spoke on the historical concept of “creativity”; in addition to sharing other ideas on how to stay sane while working in a creatively exhausting field.
In ancient times the Greeks and Romans believed that creativity was not something you had, it was something that you received. This means that having “writers block” or a “dry spell” isn’t solely on you. This does not mean you get to play the blame game, but it does mean you can stop beating yourself up so much. ANYWAYS the part of her talk that hit home, the part that nearly brought tears to my eyes was this: the Romans refereed to this “thing” this “spirit of creativity” as your genius! This concept had nothing to do with your intellect or intelligence it was said that in moments of inspiration you were embodied by your genius, your force of creativity.
DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS MEANS?! It may not seem like that shocking of a statement, it may not seem that mind blowing, but to me, this thought is healing; the term that once haunted me is now a word of empowerment and beauty. My GENIUS, does not lie in text books (I love knowledge, I love learning new things, and ironically history is my favorite subject, but traditional beliefs on intellect have always left me feeling like an outsider). My genius, rather, lies in my ability to look at the world through different eyes. To wait (some times not so patiently) for a gentle whisper, rustling through the leaves, to brush my cheek and tell me it’s there. It is a spark, it is that intangible thing, that “AH HA!” moment when you just know something, even when you have absolutely no way of knowing that thing.
I am still wrapping my head around this concept. It is so vast, so simplistically complicated, so unconventional, an ocean spilling out of a tide pool. But I love it.
Where do you find your inspiration? When do you feel your genius?