I grew up enchanted with magic. My reality was a place where pigs fly and anything could happen as long as someone believed. Late nights were spent reading fairy tales under the covers and jumping off tables in hopes of finding an unknown superpower. Yet, as I grew older, I became increasingly aware that life did not always play out the way it had in my books.
As school began to take a major portion of my life, fake wings and broomsticks were quickly replaced by math formulas and laws of physics. Despite this, the lessons from my beloved stories have become ingrained in my values, even guiding me when facing obstacles. My childhood hero, Harry Potter, taught me the value of imagination and creativity. Every since I was young, I loved colors. Whenever my mother would take me to the supermarket, I would continuously point and name each color and each object.
Strawberries were a “ sweet Aurora pink”; grapes were the “ Evil Queen’s Purple Pills,” and watermelons were a “ zingy” green with “ fuchsia pink tummies.” My love of colors soon grew into a passion for art. To me, art is a form of magic. It has taught me the power of observation and to appreciate the things around me. In my opinion, art is the thin line between reality and fantasy, and it is often my outlet for dealing with life’s troubles. When I was young, I moved to China where my love of creativity was challenged.
While I had been taught in kindergarten and preschool to value the fluidity and freedom of colors and art, Chinese education systems focused on rigorous technical skills and a methodical approach towards art. Even though it is necessary to have a strong technical base, our creativity was limited by the harsh rules. In my third-grade class, the students who copied the teacher’s example the best were commended. Quickly, art had changed from my means of escape and expression into a list of facts and ways to draw a series of lines. Eventually, I became aware that this style of learning art had begun to confine me. The night before the final “ art exam” at school, I noticed a dusty copy of my favorite Harry Potter book in my room.
Pouring through the pages, I was reminded of the power of imagination. The next day, when I began my test to draw a copy of flowers, I remembered a quote from J. K. Rowling: “ Imagination is the power…
that enables us.” Rather than rendering another version of the picture on the board, I whipped out my pencil and began drawing the wizarding world of Harry Potter. While my grade on that test was less than satisfactory, I realized the value in creativity and individualism. Even though I continued to take art classes at school, I learned how to make art enjoyable and unique. Whether it was the imaginative backgrounds or the subtle hint of color, I was able to explore my creativity.
Imagination and creativity are valuable assets. Individual expression and creative approaches solve problems in our daily lives. Even in small doses, creativity is powerful and distinguishes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Sometimes it is necessary to remember the lessons from our innocence, whether it is the curiosity of youth or the stories about magic, in order to guide us in the future.