Okay listen, I’m not insinuating that I’m THE most creative person who lived but I am saying that my voice and expression deserves to be heard, as I believe yours does too.
I’ve restarted and deleted so much of my work and it’s one of the biggest things I’ve regretted. Although my short stories, fan fictions and videos were not the most delightful thing to be placed on a public platform, I think it’s important to show that you started off somewhere.
Do you think J.K. Rowling or Margaret Atwood just became great writers out of the womb? Definitely not. They’ve either had years of education or had years of practice, (or both). But that was my biggest issue as to why I refused to publish anything public.
I’ve been debating for years to start a YouTube channel. In grade 7 (2007), I was religiously watching Michelle Phan and Ryan Higa on YouTube. I thought to myself that I could really have fun making videos. I loved the idea of making your videos and curating the content to your liking, using editing styles, fun animations and creative uses of Microsoft paint. I was scared of public perception. If it didn’t look anything like Michelle Phan’s videos, I would immediately delete it. I was afraid to be mocked and teased by people I knew, and so I stayed quiet. This made me feel caged in, bottled up and angry because I had no where to place my artistic energy.
Growing up in a strict East Asian household with immigrant parent, creativity wasn’t cherished. Math and sciences became priority and everything else was secondary. I was always a child with big dreams and wanted more than just becoming a doctor (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They allowed me to join music, dance, and painting but they always said these are hobbies and not ‘practical occupations’. I was obsessed with expressing myself in a variety of different ways. With all that effort, my parents forbid me from pursuing anything artsy further than middle school. Little did they know, I was always against their authority. Everything I did: singing, drawing, dancing, and writing had to be perfect. Every time I showed my parents any of my projects, I was immediately shut down. I don’t blame them for doing so because I was a kid, the products I’ve produced were probably no where near to perfection and they were concerned for my future. But all that did was leave a bad taste in my mouth, resentment, and fear of failure.
After being constantly shut down by my parents, I no longer wanted attempt any creative endeavors. I spent most of high school focusing on English literature and being better at the sciences. Naturally, I had trouble caring about those subjects. This is when I realized that I would do my best at things I care about most.
Yes, this blog might have a lot of grammatical errors, content and engagment might not do as well as I would like, YouTube videos won’t go viral and neither will my Instagram, but I’m proud of myself for having the courage to post publicly for my friends and strangers to see.
I’ve always been told that the only person holding you back, is yourself. Nothing is truer than that. It’s important to note that everything you do is for yourself first, you are priority. Public perception is just a bonus and for the most part, the worse that can happen is that no one sees your work and honestly, that doesn’t sound too bad at all.