I've always been a creative person. As I child I loved painting, singing, drawing, you name it. But as the years went on, I found myself continually stifled from self-criticism and a perfectionist mindset that nothing I create is good enough. Embarrassment of being judged and being self-conscious stopped me from experimenting with my creativity more.
Thailand gives you a completely new perspective on yourself. It's been such an encouraging adventure. The culture here is very careful about saving face and not making others feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, and it transcends into your mindset after a while. You gain a lot of self-confidence.
In my 4 and a half months here I have explored the depths of my creativity and found out what's been lying dormant all these years. I began drawing again, I started singing in public, I started taking pictures. And I am so happy I've been doing it. It shocks me I was so embarrassed to share any of that side of me for so long, and now I can't wait to draw another mandala or sing on Friday nights.
At first I found putting my art, photos, and singing up on social media as vain and self-centered, then as quickly as that thought came to me, I let it go. Why would I not want to express my joy and art? I want to share with my loved ones bits and pieces of my happiness, and no one should feel shame in doing so.
I've changed my mindset and have now been thinking, why not me? Someone will always be better than me, and someone always worse. But even thinking about comparison at all starts that tumultuous cycle of judgment before you even start. While those thoughts still come to me, I've gotten much better at enjoying creating for what it simply is and how much joy it brings me.
I've been given the opportunity to make a painting for a bar in Chiang Rai, I'm blessed to perform with a group of outrageously talented musicians every Friday, I've met other artists here exploring their creativity, and I even won first place for the CIEE Photo contest for school related photos!
So while this post has nothing to do with teaching really, it doesn't need to. Teaching abroad isn't all about teaching. I have this program to thank for rediscovering my love of art and music, and how I now feel that I am good at it as opposed to feeling ashamed.
If you are interested in any of my work, check out the website I made ! ----> www.ameliaskinner.com