When I was a kid, I had a pretty vivid imagination. I would see animals in the clouds and patterns and pictures in the melting snow. I would imagine myself having success in whatever I was chasing after (volleyball, piano, grades) and picture the way it would look when I was honored as the best at whatever.
Then, I started getting made fun of for having my imagination. I used to walk home from school, with the latest song I was learning on the piano racing through my mind, my fingers playing the piece as I walked. But I got mocked. I would have pretend conversations with the boy I had a crush on, but I have a habit of talking out loud and someone would hear me and make fun of me.
By the time I hit high school, I was convinced I was not a creative person. I didn't want to write stories but research papers. Even though I got in-front-of-the-class praise for my stories many times, I wanted the praise for the research and analytical papers. I wanted to be smart, and I had been convinced that being smart could not allow creativity.
This was my philosophy through college too. I started pre-med, took a tour of college departments as part of the self-described major of the month program, and finally got the praise I wanted for my ability to research and write analytically.
Skip ahead about 10 years, three kids and a teaching certification later and I found myself teaching a creative writing class and scared out of my freakin' mind. I didn't know how to be creative anymore - how was I going to teach it.
So I started taking lessons in creativity - from my kids. I would start a story with them and they would allow crazy, irrational, completely imaginative things to take control of the story - enter remote control room cleaning alligators, birds whose bodies are hour-glasses, rainbows that show up and take a person on a slide ride to where they want to go. I gave myself permission to play, and over the next couple years, I found my creativity again. I found my imagination. And I have been doing whatever I could to keep it strong since then.
Did you ever lose your imagination? How do you keep it, and your creativity, strong and present?