I’m on Day 14 of a 30-day writing journey, led by two writers I greatly admire, Andrea Balt and Tyler Knott Gregson. My intentions for participating in this course were to establish & maintain a daily writing practice, in the middle of a life transition (a week and a half ago, I moved across the country), and to get more comfortable with sharing my work. I wanted writing to become a non-negotiable part of my daily existence, especially during this life change.
So far, the writing-every-day piece hasn’t been as difficult as I anticipated. I think it helped that I already had a daily journaling practice. But the other side of it, the sharing — well, it’s still a deep, dark rabbit-hole in which my fears take over and I overthink, dwell, “forget” about pieces I’ve worked on or am in the process of writing, and tell myself time & time again that the world just doesn’t need or want my words.
So in an effort to think less and share my heart more, here is what I worked on today.
Today’s prompt gave us the quote:
Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.’ -Hugh MacLeod
And one of the dig deeper questions asked “How & when did Life (or people) take your crayons away?”
Yikes…I can’t remember when Life (or people) took my crayons away. I honestly don’t remember a pinnacle moment when the crayons were taken. I do remember being so imaginative as a kid. Life appeared magical, and so it was. My days seemed to just sparkle. It didn’t sparkle as my days do now, from the possibility of Hope & Love & Faith & other Words used to explain sensation far greater than any woven letters could reveal, although all of these Words were present, underlying the process. It was just pure sparkling light, on its own. I think that might sum up the “kid experience”. Sparkling days. Glittering nights. Fairy dust connecting it all.
Like when we went to Ocean City in the summer, and Mom&Dad planted “happy rocks”, small colorful stones with smiley faces drawn on, so we would find them anywhere we went in that beach town, and it was pure magic. No doubt in my mind, the happy-rock fairy was with us that trip.
Or when Dad taught me to ride a bike on a warm summer eve, and I felt my legs moving and the wheels whirling and suddenly, somehow, he was no longer there, holding the seat in place, and I was flying forward, on my own, balanced & upright, until I fell to an exhilarating halt.
So when did the crayons disappear?
Maybe it started to happen that time in kindergarten, when my Best Friend told me that Santa Claus wasn’t real. She “had seen her parents put the presents under the tree”.
Maybe it happened when I was playing on the jungle gym, and fell flat on my back and got the wind knocked out of me. Cold, hard awakening to reality’s perils.
Maybe it happened as a result of hundreds of small encounters, with other children & adults, jaded from the disappearance of their own sparkle, telling me that mine wasn’t good enough, and it needed to change, to disappear too.
I honestly don’t know. But I do remember when it came back. When my days began to glitter again and I flew down winding green roads, listening to music that sang straight to my soul and feeling like anything was possible. When I started to write, unfiltered, from the heart, and when I rewrote my own damn story until I created an ending with which I could live. When I freed myself from my self-created prison of needing to fit into a certain box defined by society’s constraint-driven standards.
And the one thing I’ve discovered about this magic-seeming Life? I need to fight to keep it so. It is SO easy to allow the mundane, soot-covered footsteps of checking-boxes and treading-lightly to cover up the glittering edge that lies underneath the surface. Staying in this place, where wildflowers are alive in the breeze and my heart guides my every move, well it requires a lot of work. A lot of waking-up and sitting-with-what-is and allowing my spirit to explore it all, suffering & freedom, darkness & light, pain & love.
Working with children, it breaks my heart when I hear them say things like “Look at me, look at this A I got!” Or “That’s not the right answer.” Or “You’re stupid, of course the Tooth Fairy isn’t real.”
I know we can’t stay children forever, but why rob the children of childhood by telling them the so-called “Truth” about life?
Why rush them into formats and standards and checklists and you-are-better-than-me-because-you-get-good-grades?
I don’t have the answers and I sure as hell can’t say I hold the key to Happiness and Freedom and all of the other Great Things we humans aspire to. But I can say with certainty that a little more magic, a little more sparkle, and holding onto the crayons just a little bit longer should not be prevented; rather it is the thing that will save your heart, preserve your spirit, and allow your soul to shine out for all those around you to feel & hear & taste & see.