I loved to pick dandelions when I was a kid. I especially loved to pick dandelions for my mother. I would collect them for her with such care, plucking the flowers off so close to the head that only the barest bit of stem remained. Of course, it never occurred to me that stemless dandelions wouldn’t survive in a water glass. So I cried over the injustice of it all, then turned around and picked more stemless bouquets the next day. I still love dandelions now, though I’ve given up the too-short picking process. I love them not because they’re pretty, or because they’re sentimental. Actually, I love them because they’re weeds. Ugly. Invasive, Unwanted. Weeds.
But they’re also survivors. Weeds are the ones that thrive in the unlikely, imperfect, adverse conditions. These aren’t hot-house orchids or cultivated garden roses. They grow in bad soil, rocky soil, even no soil at all. Imperfection is their native land. They embrace it. They work with it. They accept its presence, and learn to live well in the middle of it.
Creative people, we’re a bit like weeds ourselves. We get planted in adverse soil, not because we’re worthless, but because we are the ones most capable of thriving. Creativity makes us resilient, giving us the emotional and mental reserves needed push through difficult moments and trying seasons. Where others see rocks and death, creativity lets us see the root hold. It gives us vision that not only can things become better, but we can be the ones to help it change. We see the beauty and the hope, and we find the means of expressing it.
If you feel like you’ve been planted in a wasteland, don’t give up hope. You have everything you need to survive, no matter where your roots take hold. You have endless creativity, and a brilliant opportunity to exercise it! Dig in your roots, lift up your bright head, and thrive in your creativity.