In this episode, I share my experience with Selective Mutism as a child and how creative resilience was a factor in me coming out of my shell. I was a REALLY shy kid. Like almost got held back in kindergarten because I wouldn’t talk to anyone. The turned-my-head-away-from-anyone-who-looked-at-me type of shy.
BUT. Put me in front of a tree and I would figure out how to climb it; to the very top. Throw me a kickball and I’d come up with a new game with my best friend/cousin. Tell me a story and I’d write three more endings. Give me one of those awesome square washcloth-making loom crafts and I’d make 50 of them in a day. (Bless my mom, she claimed everyone at work bought them for $1 each. Years later I found them hidden in a drawer!)
And that was the saving grace for me. I had parents who endlessly supported my creativity throughout my childhood, teens, and early adult years. My dad being a musician was always giving me a high-five for picking up another instrument. My mom, a total craft-a-holic, would allow me to watch over her shoulder for hours as she made wood-burned spoons, Christmas dough ornaments, and stained glass stars (she made those for our wedding!).
With all of that support, I eventually broke out of my shell and flourished in the right circumstances. I was lucky.
So many of the children we work with don’t have incredibly supportive parents. So many children have faced insurmountable trauma. So many children have developmental differences that make even the simplest things, incredibly difficult.
And creativity might just be their resiliency factor. Their superpower. Their out.
The research shows that creativity supports self-esteem, emotional expression, individuality, self-worth, and much more. As clinicians, we can provide that space for our clients and nurture that creativity muscle. But, we have to do some work on our end.
Now you know the story of why I am so passionate about this work. I’d love to hear your story!!!
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