Generations of Creativity

Creativity runs in my genes, but is expressed within different ways among each of us.  My mother is a fashionista, my brother is a designer, I’m transitioning to being a writer, and my aunt’s 10 year old daughter is a multi-faceted talent.  Most recently she received the Charlotte Miller Simon award for a poem she wrote for a classroom exercise.  It was then submitted to a local competition with hundreds of other submissions.  She came in first for her age group.  The poem is below, and tackles her experience of race in a personal way.

Roots by Jordyn Colbert

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray

Trying buns, bob cuts, and even bangs

Nothing’s working my hair’s too thick,

I don’t think YouTube tutorials will do the trick

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray once more,

Maybe the bob cut isn’t the look I’m going for

I browse and browse through the magazines,

None of these girls look like me

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray again,

Ugh! I’ll never get it right!  this will never end!

The ladies in the magazines are all white girls,

And nothing’s working for these crazy curls 

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray one more time,

If this doesn’t work it’ll be the end of the line

I straighten and style and all done let’s see,

Anything it takes to look like the girls on the magazine

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray but this time I won’t,

I put down the empty spray can and I feel a tightness in my throat

I look into the mirror then take another glance at the magazine,

Watching other light-skinned girls live out my dream

Mama walks in and comforts me,

“You are beautiful and you’re the best you’ll ever be” 

I hug my mama tight as I look into the mirror and smile,

I’m different, I’m dark, and I love my profile

Growing up in small town Ohio twenty years ago, race was minimally discussed.  Since the area was primarily Caucasian, few understood the dynamics of diversity.  They viewed racism as solely a black white issue, and didn’t think others could possibly be discriminatory towards me.  Others were ignorant of how acts of discrimination could arise.  A blind spot seemed to exist on how the world and community saw variations of the browns and other hues in between at that time. 

Jordyn expressed her struggle of being Filipina and Black, of not fitting into what America’s ideal of beauty is at the moment.  Although the media has allowed more variability of what constitutes beauty, many still feel they do not fit into the mold. I appreciate the boldness and authenticity Jordyn offered in her poem, and being able to be the voice for others to note and finally see her (and others’ experience). 

A Reminder Stress Is Good

“Comfort is the opposite of stress.  Modern living tends to seek stress-free conditions, where we are comfortable, but this comes at a terrible cost: fragility.  Said another way, comfort is fragilizing.”-Bernie Clark

I am currently enrolled in a week long yin yoga anatomy class.  For those who aren’t familiar with yoga, or yin yoga, here is a brief explanation.  We have all heard of the term yin and yang, and perhaps are familiar with the yin yang symbol.

Yin yoga is the compliment to yang yoga, or our current modern day yang world.  Yang is action, doing, busy, movement, sun energy.  Yin is receptive, stillness, reflective, moon energy.  One is not all good or all bad, we need both to survive.  The facilitator of the class and author Bernie Clark says that “Yoga is a dance, not a wrestling match.  Yang is about changing the world, yin accepts the world as it is.”

Yin yoga focuses on working on our deeper tissues, our fascia, and stressing our joints.  This is to elongate them, release stored up chi/energy, and to balance the body.  

In the class, it was mentioned that we yearn for comfort but to not stress is to atrophy.  I couldn’t help but think of this metaphor for life.   I myself am a creature of comfort.  I do long for what is easy.  Who wants to struggle, when we could ease through life?  But if I keep turning towards this ease and comfort, I do not grow.  I need to remind myself this at difficult times. 

I want my life to be full of ease, and part of me continues to pivot towards this. But if this perpetually happens will I atrophy and decay away?   

The instructor discussed how astronauts who are floating in space for months at a time, they are not using their bones.  When they finally land back on earth, often they need to sit in wheelchairs.  Their bones are weak after not having used them.  We need to put pressure on our bones to support us.  It’s called anti-fragility, but I believe we know this more in our everyday world as resilience. 

We crave comfort, and indeed this is called for at times.  But we cannot live in this space.  In order to continue to grow, we need some stress.  We need to get out of comfort zone.  This could be travel, new jobs, new friends, new experiences.  There are so many ways to shake up one’s routine and patterns.  Pushing oneself is good for you, although it can feel overwhelming.  

It may be helpful to ponder in this season of your life, how are you stretching and stressing yourself?