"Because... I... Wanted to," I eyeballed him with a look of determination. No I was not studying fashion. Fashion did not make the world go 'round (neither, technically, did international relations - a winning combo of gravity and the hand of God is responsible for that phenomenon. But still. International relations is closer than fashion). I knew I had a passion for fashion - I would spend my moments off sketching new outfits and designs (while other kids were out drinking and partying, I was having a fashion party for one. Good times. I sound like a fashion nerd… Promise I had a social life). But by the time grade 12 came along, and the dreaded High School Certificate exams loomed, I had shoved my more creative pursuits aside to study such lofty subjects as economics and modern history. Who has time for dresses when you are learning about truly marvellous and beautiful things such as federal reserves and budget deficits, the very building blocks of our society (granted, we spent our economics classes designing outfits for our next party, as most high school girls are wont to do. That's right, PARTY - told you I had a social life).
In any case, I all but forgot that I had a creative side (heck, I have at least 5 of them - probably had to create a few to write my economics essays with) and dismissed my sartorial aspiration as nothing more than a pipe dream. There was nothing to do with my degree that I could do with fashion, short of creating an item of clothing that would somehow engender world peace.
I had convinced myself that I was not creative. And I may not have been being creative, but that did not define me. However, I allowed it to.
Often, that's what we do – say "Oh, I'll leave that to the professionals" and confine ourselves to consuming rather than contributing to the world of art, which manifests itself every day.
We give up pay cheques for a pair of shoes (or in my case, ten pairs of shoes. Which reminds me, I need some new shoes) and wear them with our favourite outfits in a combination of self expression and necessity (as not wearing clothes is generally frowned upon), yet when someone asks if we are creative, we bashfully reply "No".
Who are we kidding? We are creative creatures, us human beans (I am aware that it's "human beings" but imagine for a moment if we were all beans. How fun). According to the Christian faith, we were created in the image of a creative God, so each of us at least has a seed of the creative planted within us, waiting to grow.
It's time we stop letting our definitions define us - we should not be hemmed in (haha, 'hemmed' - fashion pun) by who we say we will be. You could define yourself as "not creative" one day and realise you are absolutely creative the next. I'm not advocating split personalities, merely saying that slapping a title on yourself will never define your whole being or personality. I dare the accountants among us to come out of their holes (sorry accountants, I'm sure you're not actually hole-dwellers) and start a fashion design company (as my friend from high school has - check out formejuste.com) or a cupcake business, or just bring the creativity back to number crunching (and I don't mean creating numbers. I'm talking creative facility, not moral deficiency).
All this talk of moral deficiencies brings me to a whole 'nother point of conversation: use your creative efforts for good. Not evil. Or self indulgence. All creative pursuits are not equal, neither are all expressions equally valid in my eyes. An abundance of creative content is presented to us on a daily basis and generally, what we feed ourselves on is what we end up craving. So next time you turn on the TV for your favourite vampire show (I know some of you are outraged but the idea of blood-sucking undead humans still fails to capture my imagination) and wonder where your sudden appetite for blood has come from, you know the answer (Jokes... But seriously. If you're perpetually watching shows about entitled teenagers, and have no idea why you're suddenly lusting for money, fame and awesome clothing, you should look no further). So let us think about and create things that are noble and noteworthy. Let us add to the world the creative touch which I know we all have, and let us have fun creating what we did not know we could create. Go forth and get creative!
Grace Mathew is a Sydney-based writer and recent graduate of Politics and International Business at the University of Sydney.