I’ve always known that I don’t love the arts and/or creative activities. From my kindergarten days, I remember just getting irritated by our teachers having to make us sing the “Summer Kindergarten and daycare center song”. (A song about the kindergarten I went to)
After the song, we would then have watercolor painting sessions. That too was another pain of mine. I remember that I used to mess up my uniform so that I could be excused to go get it fixed.
It was not until Denise Bhakita (my very first crush) showed up in my life. It was around the last days of school leading into the Christmas holidays. That day, I had just finished my toilet hideout when I came upon a group of kids singing the Feliz Navidad song.
But they had replaced the words “Feliz Navidad” with “Denise Bhakita”. They were all singing to her, but she didn’t like that kind of attention which is probably why she was crying.
At that time, I remember looking at her and getting struck by her beauty. I mean she was the first human that “blew my 4-year old mind”.
I want to tell you that I swooped in and saved the day, but this is not a movie. I chickened out and ran to my sister, dragged her over, and told her to help Denise. That began the friendship between both of them. Or at least I want to believe that that was the reason.
Anyway, because of her, I started looking forward to being in these creative classes and even found them fun at times.
When Kindergarten was done, Denise and I went our separate ways, (I never spoke to her once, I don’t even think she knew my name).
Primary was on, and we had now started the real learning. I didn’t like it either but at least it was not the creative stuff I was tired of.
This went on until 5 years into primary school. I never engaged in any creative stuff in those first 5 years.
Then when I was in primary five or six, there was all this talk about the East African Community, and the primary school I attended had made some sort of concert to celebrate the birth of this idea.
We were supposed to sing so I signed myself up. I think I wanted to be seen as part of the choir that was singing so beautifully.
The choir teacher at that time hated me to his core. He had once even changed answers on my exam sheet and accused me of sneaking into the staff room and doing that. My body smell always disgusted him as he called it a mixture of rotten eggs and fish.
I know this was not true because all kids at that school who used to smell like that were always humiliated by the headmaster who paraded them in front of the whole school and told them to take a shower. And besides, matrons always washed our clothes and supervised us as we bathed.
He just hated everything about me and when the time came to join the choir, he told me I could not get into the damn group. The choir had already started practice and his excuse was that I could not be able to learn any of the voices in time.
My response was to go and learn all the voices within 2 days and then went back to him. Even in his hate, he still found my efforts impressive and I was told to sing tenor.
That began my involvement in music and that is where I met so many creative people that fascinated me.
Then the seminary came. I had to learn music as part of my lower secondary studies. I failed the guitar exam and I was the only one who did out of the whole class. This hurt me so I went and dedicated a lot of time to learning how to play the guitar at 14 and by 16, I was the guitar president in that school.
During those times, I taught many kids how to play the guitar and one of them is a musician now because of it. Around the same time as I was learning the guitar, my height made it difficult for me to just go sit and watch as other kids played basketball.
I just loved watching people play but other kids forced me to use my height more productively. I got into basketball, a sport that I had abandoned in primary school.
I had to learn how to make lay-ups and so on. I think I became good at it because I ended up being awarded MVP and Best Basketballer of the year in a few tournaments.
My creativity then coasted until I got to university. There I got access to all the tools and resources I needed to become good at whatever I wanted.
I became even better at the piano, guitar, and basketball, and I even learned how to draw. I got into fine art just because I wanted to get a gift for my friend, ok… and another girl I had a crush on lol.
Some of the many drawings and paintings I made. Crush? The one in spects.
Art was an important part and I think it is still an important part of my life today. Besides, I make money from it and it’s the most passive way I earn money today.
But throughout all my creative pursuits, I have always noticed one thing. They all drain my energy.
When I am just starting, they are exciting. Like when I was learning how to draw in 2018, I could spend 4 -7 hours seated and in a flow state.
I loved it so much. But today, if I spend just a few minutes, I just feel like I’ve played 4 basketball matches.
Now I am asking myself whether this is part of the journey or does it mean that this is just not my thing.
There are many creators I see having fun all the time with their work. They may get burnout sometimes and maybe this is the feeling I have although for me it happens regardless of whether I take breaks or not.
I have never done any creative activity simply for the sake of it. When I look at all the things I have done creatively, it was always some crush or desire to prove that I could actually do it.
I don’t know what it means to be creative because so far to me, creativity has been a huge energy drain. And when I strip away all those motivations that got me into it in the first place, then I have nothing to work with. It almost feels pointless to keep on doing these things.
Maybe these are feelings that every creative goes through. Maybe not. I do not want to give up though, but I am keeping my mind open to the possibility that I may not like the whole idea of being creative. Time will tell.
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