Guest post by Rachel Kornak
I used to imagine myself at some bizarre support group, admitting my secret addiction…Hi, my name is Rachel, and I’m a closet artist.
There’s always been a burning desire in my soul to create. I’ve been trying to suppress it for decades, but it just won’t go away. I used to satisfy my cravings in the shelter of the night. I’d get up at 4 am and tip toe across the house so I wouldn’t wake up my partner. Then I’d sneak into our extra bedroom, flip open my laptop and write poems. I was paranoid that someone would diskover the files on my computer, so I created a website under a pseudo name and typed the text directly on the site so there would be no evidence on my computer. I made sure you couldn’t figure out who I really was in my bio picture, which was just my shadow (see above). I even went the extra mile and added a password to the site so no one could see the content online. When I finally worked up the courage to share it with my best friend (the only person who has seen it to this day), I mailed them the URL and the password in a handwritten letter with no return address, so no one could link it back to me. I remember thinking that someone might steal my computer and then search it for evidence of my crime – self-expression.
I was absolutely terrified to share my creative side with the world. I even choose a career that I could hide behind. My job at the time was a database manager for a scientific research program. I was in charge of dividing the world into black and white boxes and translating these into lines of computer code and websites. Sometimes I would muster up the guts to do something outrageous like adding a pretty picture to the top of a data entry program I designed or choosing a font other than Times New Roman. They were little slips, and no one said anything. Phew! I didn’t get caught!
Fast forward 8 years later and I am in a very different space. I finally came out of the “creative closet.” Now I’m proud of my unique talents and don’t want to hide them under a blanket. I help other people do the same thing through my consulting business and books. I have to admit, I was tempted to hold back even when I designed the site for my business, http://zesty.world. Originally I was going to go for a serious look, so people would take me seriously. I made a whole website that was a super snoozer! It was common, ordinary and lame. But then I deleted it and recreated something that shows who I really am – unexpected, silly and smart. I went out on a limb and made my logo a cartoon zebra standing on the beach with glorious rays of light around it. I laughed to myself and gave the zebra a snorkel so he could swim through my portfolio and a parachute so he could come to the rescue in my services section. I picked loud, bright colours that made me smile. And you know what…people love it! I attract clients that are fun and whimsical and want to go out on a limb too.
One of my big turning points last year was changing my Linked In profile picture to show my authentic side. I used to have a stuffy one of me in a tight black suit so I fit in with the rest of the business world (photo on the left). I replaced it with one of me having fun on vacation (photo on the right). My hair isn’t brushed, I’m not wearing makeup and I didn’t touch it up in Photoshop. It’s just me, how I look in normal life. I realized that the kind of people I want to work with now don’t appreciate robotic shots. They’d rather work with a real human.
My current pet project is a book called Doodle My Dream (http://doodlemydream.com). It’s the first project I’ve worked on where I didn’t hear a nasty voice in my head telling me to be less creative. It uses art projects and kids games to help adults figure out what they want to be when the grow up, again. The text is singsongy and sounds a bit like Dr. Sues; the illustrations are silly cartoons. I hope other people embrace it, but that’s not my goal anymore. I did it for me because it makes me happy to express the wild ideas swirling in my head 🙂
So don’t be afraid to show your true colours. They are beautiful.
P.S. Here’s one of the poems from my top secret website, exposed to the world for the very first time:
Aged buildings stand tall and straight.
Wooden shutters with peeling paint.
Crows cackle and gargoyles laugh
from balconies of twisted black.
Friends stroll hand-in-hand
through manicured gardens
where fountains toss water
and statues stand.
Milk froths in outdoor cafes
where cakes and tarts
are proudly displayed.
Umbrellas hang leisurely.
Vendors display their wares
along tree-lined streets.
Lots of commotion and places to go.
Forgotten bikes stand in silent rows.
Suddenly, clouds roll in.
Thunder rumbles and roars.
Church bells ring ominously.
Silence falls over the city like tar.
Not a soul to be seen, even from afar.
Pitter patter, split splat.
Raindrops splash upon my back.
Slowly at first and then they quicken.
Torrents of rain draw patterns
as they flood walkways.
Old men in wool hats
scatter like mice.
Crowds crouch under
stone doorways and arches.
And then just like that,
the clouds blow through.
Chaos and commotion ensues.
The city is alive –
Cars and trains rush by.
The only signs
the storm went by
are scattered leaves
along cobblestone streets
and puddles of reflection.
Sneaky rain drops
gather along awnings,
waiting for the perfect moment
to catch you by surprise.
Rachel Kornak is an author, lifestyle business coach, and creative mentor. She specializes in newbie entrepreneurs who need a helping hand to turn their dreams into reality through her company, Zesty World. Using her mantra of “Dream Big, Start Small,” she helps you sift through the daunting possibilities, cut out the crap and focus on what’s important for where you’re at. Her book, Doodle My Dream, encourages adults to revisit the joys of childhood while designing their dream business. Learn more at http://zesty.world and http://doodlemydreams.com.
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