I recently discovered a quote that embodies how I feel about life at the moment: “Life is about using every crayon in the box.”, which Ru Paul said very astutely.
I also recently came across a concept that completely changed and challenged my perspective about my abilities, interests, and dreams, and which has been infinitely valuable to my current goals. That concept is multipotentiality, which is a psychological and educational term referring to the potential of some individuals to be interested and follow multiple pursuits. (click this wiki article for more info.)
A multipotentialite is. “.. someone with many interests and creative pursuits.” – puttylike.com. Emilie Wapnick
Ted speaker and multipotentialite Emilie Wapnick studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University, and runs the very eye opening, informative, funny, and amazing website, puttylike.com. She also wrote a book,
How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up, which
I must use my amazon gift cards for.
A Multipotentialite How To Guide: How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up, by Emilie Wapnick,
If you have an inkling you may be one of us, or even if you’re not, check her website out as a start! There are tons of articles about finding reason to your madness and to your passions.
An illustration I created for a charitable art show. Finding your calling(s) can be like braving the Big Bad Wolf.
So if multipotentialite people are those who have multiple interests and pursuits, that’s wonderful, and it’s nice to have a name for it, but where do we go from there? The Albert Einstein model brings up a novel and reaffirming way of discerning this. Did you ever hear about Einstein’s day job? I didn’t think so, because neither had I. If you have, you must be an Einstein biographer.
It just so happens that in order to place his myriad genius ideas into action, Einsten had to work a day job approving patents for the Federal Office for Intellectual Property. If it weren’t for the time and income this day job allowed him, he may have never garnered the energy and resources necessary to develop the revolutionary discoveries he’s gifted to the world. Having a day job while pursuing your true passion then, shouldn’t be shamed but applauded. Other methods multipotentialites follow in regards to surviving while etching out a means to delve into their passions are the Phoenix approach and the Group Hug approach, which Wapnick details here. These two methods respectively involve melding your passions together as sort of a Renaissance man or woman, and pursuing your various passions in succession, individually. Jim Henson is a great example of The Group Hug approach in my opinion, and one of my heroes. I know several phoenixes and I’m sure so do you. Whatever method works for you may be one of these, a mixture, or something wholly unique. At the moment I’m following Einstein’s approach, entirely by accident.
Source: pinterest. Illustrator unknown.
I discovered a deep love of art, music, and writing through being an only child.
Illustration: L. Chen
Since I didn’t have many options in regards to people to talk to at times, I crafted my own stories and my own world at times.
Illustration by illustrator Pamela Zagarenski.
I got lost in albums, CDs played until I knew every word, and my notebooks full of writing and drawings. My favorite musicians and the characters in my writing were my friends when no one else was around.
I loved writing and illustrating my own stories since second grade and began creating characters in third grade.
Illustration by Pamela Zagarenski.
When asked what I wanted to do as a child, I would either say “artist”, “ballerina” or “fashion designer.”
Painting by Edgar Degas. As a child I read many books about Edgar Degas with my mom. I saw my grown up self as one of his ballerinas, free, graceful, and effortless.
You may ask yourself why I would even have a clue about being a multipotentialite, and that is a valid question. Since childhood and into adulthood I’ve dabbled in writing, drawing/illustration, dancing, music/singing /song writing, teaching, translation, blogging, and editing.
An illustration I did to promote the duo I’m half of.
I took a short break to do as I was told in college and tried to specialize in one pursuit, but it didn’t really work out for me. I may or may not have a job because of my degree; I’m still not entirely sure.
Illustration by Chris Nickels for NPR.
I wouldn’t really call my pursuits dabbling though, because I’ve seriously considered each of them, and pursued them all with equal care and attention, as if they were all my children. My dear grandmother on my mother’s side had eight children, and I completely understand how she felt when she told them she loved each of them equally.
As many of you may or may not remember, in addition to blogging, I have other creative pursuits at the moment only because I can’t sit still and have too many ideas for my own good, or so I thought. I still love to draw, write, and sing, and these pursuits seem to be ingrained in me. I began to sing in a musical duo during my last year in college. By the time I had a Bachelor’s Degree, I also had a gig almost every weekend, knew what a harmony was but had no idea how to read music, and intended to record an album, and I have.
Illustration found on pinterest.
I played the Special Olympics, The Whiskey, The Viper Room, Molly Malone’s, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, OC Fair, and a ton of other events and venues as my outbox will proudly tell you.
I began blogging my third year of college after my fashion obsession was becoming something I needed to share with others and my creative writing teacher gave me the feeling that I shouldn’t stick to specializing in one pursuit. I’m so glad I took that class on a whim. Naturally, I created posters for my duo and fashion illustrations for my blog. I have participated in art shows for a local charity, which donates its proceeds to sustaining arts programs in schools and have sold a few illustrations.
An illustration I created for an art show.
Regardless of all of these amazing experiences though, I hadn’t found a stable job I liked even mildly until recently. It goes without saying that being an artist is anything but an easy path. I’m sure many creative people have wondered what it’s like to not need to create. It’s a strange thing to need with all your being to express things that can’t be said in plain words. It can be painful to go against the beaten path and to draft the blueprint to your life out of nothing but sweat, passion, and a pat on the back or a seemingly sincere “I love your music” or “Your writing is amazing” as form of payment. Still though, life would be even more painful without art and creation.
Source: medium.com. Illustrator unknown.
It’s almost impossible to pursue a creative talent and career while also making a living in the beginning stages. Sometimes you may feel isolated or overwhelmed with everyone’s expectations including your own. Certainly being an artist is not as emotionally draining as being a doctor or a lawyer, I have thought, though maybe it it is.
It’s stomach wrenching to never have a solid answer to the inevitable questions, “So what do you do?” or “How’s work going?” at lunch dates and Thanksgiving dinners. That’s okay though. I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that maybe I don’t need a solid answer, and that I’ll find my way among my Multipotentialite super powers.
Sometimes I may make no sense to my friends, or I may get bored midway through a blog post. For instance, it’s taken me three fused and failed attempts to write this post. I’ve been trying to do and write a tutorial and review on a cut crease look and new product as well, all weekend. I’ll have to forgive myself though. It’s the new me, and I’m wearing her with style. I must ask you, what is are your super power(s)? If you think you’re a multipotentialite and this post resonated with you, please email me! I’d love to interview people like us as a series.
Thanks for reading and I love you all!