Creativity has always been a loaded word for me. Being creative was something that I aspired to, but it somehow felt like it was only the purview of the naturally talented.

I made bad grades in art. I was too uncoordinated and rotund for dance. I was lauded as a good writer and even won some awards for short-story writing as a kid. I loved retreating to my room and letting the pen fly and the words flow. I read and wrote poetry daily in middle and high school.

When I went to college, I took my first poetry-writing course and was ripped to shreds by my painfully insensitive professor. He wanted me to write great poetry. I wanted that, too, but grappled with the definition of this greatness and of course, with my fragile adolescent ego, which promptly took its toys and went home. I didn’t write another poem for years.

It astounds me now, looking back on my life, how linear and left-brain we as a society are when assessing creative output. Art is “great” or it is pedestrian, based on a set of rigid rules. Purely enjoying creativity for creativity’s sake is Not Art, according to those in the know, and therefore not worth pursuing, or is even openly mocked and ridiculed.

I believed that until I chose to believe something else. Now, I believe that choosing to engage in creative endeavors and sharing them with your world is a radical act. Your words, your poem, your painting, might never hang in a museum or sit on a library shelf or be studied in an English survey course. But the joy that you feel as you unleash your voice, your body, your soul will reverberate across the Earth and enrich every person you touch.

Join me by reclaiming your lost, unknown, or underground creativity.