A parent came in yesterday; a rather cool fellow. Ex military, a drummer, a single dad with two young ladies he’s raising. He’s been following my stories of DIY exploration on Facebook. He told me about a bit of drama that unfolded last weekend. On a major evening. PROM NIGHT. FOR HIS DAUGHTER. AND THE CAR BREAKS DOWN. This is BAD folks.
He’s telling me the story of the ordeal…and it was more than a bit stressful…BUT….he fixed the car. So he tells his story, and then he adds, “And I open the hood, and I look at the parts I fixed, and they are still together!”
I reply, “This is where you get to say, “I gave the finger to the man.” And it feels good.” As in “I did that MYSELF and it worked out.”
I remember when a boyfriend watched over my shoulder while I did a brake job on the very first used odge Grand Caravan I ever owned. That thing went through brakes….because…it’s a van. Hauling gear. So I decided to learn how to DIY the brake work. MYSELF. NO HELP, just watchful eyes in case I made a mistake.
I finished, and then I got in, burnished the brakes, and drove it. And it WORKED.
AND IT WORKED ALL WEEK…
AND ALL MONTH…and yeah, you get the idea.
“I did that AND IT WORKED OUT!!”
I was so excited.
Over time, I came to find that empowerment really is the same high…the same force…behind that creativity that artists feel. Taking control of your environment, doing for yourself, and creating something unique. In art, you are creating something that might be unique to you…you uniquely get to say with your own voice if you’ve done the work to develop it. Something no one else can do, in your own style. And hopefully something that pushes your boundaries. BUT it’s the same rush of creation.
Obviously, it doesn’t ALWAYS feel that way. Nor is it necessarily convenient. Just like this fellow…sometimes the opportunity arrives at an inconvenient moment. I had a wedding performance a few years back. I had just loaded the truck with my amp and instruments. So I went into the house to get my formal wear on. I had just put on the evening gown for this wedding gig…I come back out and the 4Runner’s rear door glass mechanism broke. I’m staring at the truck going…right now, really??!!
I really don’t need to feel the annoyance of “I gotta fix this after I manage to lower the glass and get my rig out so I can play a wedding.” The 4Runner played nice (as it usually does) and let us in without any craziness…just had to physically help the truck get the glass up and down by lifting the glass. That being said…it was all fixed the next day.
But that value is there…and there creativity in fixing.
My family may not have been artists, but I grew up around creative problem solving. And that’s all the same power source. Sewing, gardening, coding, fixing a car when you don’t have “all the parts”, and you have to make them…literally….you get the idea. To be clear on what this reference means…I watched my dad make new brake lines for my Bronco II when the original lines rusted through and failed. Another time I made one working printer out of two broken ones. Creative problem solving.
It was great to see this parent feeling empowered after being forced to solve a scenario outside his comfort zone. It’s all coming from the same source….that creative energy inside us. It just takes practice at using it in different scenarios (not just confining it to the stereotype of the ‘arts”, and then you’ll see that it manifests wildly through multiple areas in your life. Which is how some people are wildly multi-talented…”Renaissance people”, if you would. They let that energy flow freely through all their skillsets. AND they keep asking questions with a growth mindset…which usually keeps in a growth state. Anyone can get better at this. Learn to be comfortable working in the state of being uncomfortable because it is forcing growth. Meaning…throw yourself into situations that confront your fears or challenge you on topics you know little about. Make friends with the unfamiliar. Like all things, it just takes practice.