Exploring the creativity in the imagined and fantastical…
Charlotte. 25. Tāmaki Makaurau. Student teacher, aspiring writer, flower lover.
This is a note I have stored in my phone to put on an Instagram bio as a reminder to myself or an attempt to clarify what I really want out of life. Honestly, I’m not really sure what it’s for. I’ve changed it many times, adding in that I’m British, love to dance, have two cats named after Queens, always have a loving relationship with my beloved partner, and my long time secret dream… be a successful published author.
And yet those few words squished together in a tiny space still don’t seem to capture my true essence. Gosh. I don’t know if I really understand what an ‘essence’ is. So, I silently struggle with this ‘thing’ and never share it because it just seems an impossible task to perfect. How am I supposed to summarise myself? Do I really have to market myself like this? Once I’ve put it out to what feels like a vast, busy space full of everyone and nothing, will my life suddenly change? Is this what it means to figure myself out?
I don’t have the answers. Maybe you do.
So, then I thought… What are the qualities that I am good at? What do I like best about myself?
That answer is easy,
Charlotte. Creative being.
Nope, that doesn’t sit right with me either. Aren’t we all creative beings? It sounds a bit aloof and airy-fairy. It’s definitely far too general for the Universe to ever grant my wishes. You have to be specific if you want to manifest anything, didn’t you know?
And so I dive back into the depths of despair. Which is a strangely comforting place for me to be. It’s here in the writhing stillness that after the initial aching, itching, dark discomfort that I get to do one of my favourite things… use my imagination.
Ahhhhh, my best friend. My constant source of comfort, joy, messiness. My little slice of me that I get to escape to at any time. Like sinking into an all consuming dream, that leaves me feeling revivified. A sacred prayer. A dazzling love affair. A sleepy dream. An antidote to the suffocating society we find ourselves in. A whisper in the air. The lick of the salty sea. The smell of sweet peas and honeysuckle. Freedom. Space.
The thing that I’ve created, just for me.
I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. It’s this beating part of me that helps me make sense of life. It’s the core of my being that connects me to that untouchable thing that we all don’t quite understand. Yet for so much of my life it’s been painted as a silly, childish thing that adults don’t have time to do. I’ve had to wrestle with people unloading their opinion from-who-knows-where, that it’s dangerous to spend too much time in an imaginative place. That if I’m not careful, I’ll lose touch with reality (which obviously has never happened). But isn’t that the whole point? To allow ourselves to explore the crevices of our mind, without the distractions of the world, and see it in a way that feels right for us? To make sense of the things that don’t make sense? Because we all know that it’s not always rosy in our imaginations, sometimes it’s dark, twisty, and tangled. Sometimes mine frightens me. Yet when I let it engulf me, I’ve never once completely drowned. Sometimes it’s in the thick, inky waters that I feel free. Because suddenly sparkling pin pricks appear and I’m swimming in the starry night sky. And then I laugh wildly. Like I can never quite do in the humdrum of daily life. Because in my imagination, the world has got me. Like a baby in a cradle. And so you see, my imagination is my friend. A kindred spirit. It always has been and always will be. I’d like to put that on my Instagram bio, but it seems far too revealing. And you know what, that’s okay.
Some things are meant just for me.
One of my favourite things to do to relax, is to put on a piece of beautiful, moving music… close my eyes… and let my imagination roam. I don’t ‘think’. I just let it show me a kaleidoscope of images, ideas, colours, feelings, smells, voices, words. I let it take me on a journey. I let it move me. And if I feel like it, I explore something really juicy. I write it down. Or take a mental picture and store it for a time when I want to see it again. Or I just let it flow through me, like silky water. Cleansing, clearing, and shaping who I am.
I have essentially built my own flower-filled world. I can go to it at any time. Sometimes it’s just for a few moments. Sometimes hours. When things inspire me, it strikes my imagination. When I love someone or something, it nurtures my imagination. When something hurts me, my imagination holds me. So, when those inevitable icky times hit I know that somewhere deep inside me, like a buried bulb waiting for spring, my imagination waits. It waits and waits until one day I feel ready to get lost in the ever-changing woodland of my imagination. In a time, where everything is shared, visible, curated, picked apart, and monetised. There is something unbelievably special about having a vast, unlimited place that is mine, and only mine. There’s no need to try and tame it, name it, or squish it into a few words on an Instagram bio. I just let it colour my world, dance with me as I move through life and sing to me in the loud, quiet and in-between moments.