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Taken with Great Wall DF-

I wanted to post a plant photo today because Noreen liked botanical photos --although I don't think she'd approve of this one. She'd say, "Girl, why did you waste a picture on that sad-looking thing?"

I learned a few things about my aunt over the last couple of years that slightly altered my way of looking at my family background and people in general. Around the time of her retirement I discovered that she liked to do lots of graphic design work on her computer for fun. And when I told her I was taking a lot of photos she said that she had wanted to be a photographer. I always thought my artistic inclinations were another characteristic that made me an alien in the family. It goes along with my long-term feeling of having just dropped out of the sky. I just never seemed to fit in anywhere or with anyone. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that I come from a line of repressed artist types -- people who completely deny their artistic interests as useless folly.

I honestly believe that every single one of us has a creative side because we're all feeling, emotional beings and creativity is ultimately simply an expression of who we are and what we feel. And of course there are lots of ways to be creative; from cooking your meals to programming. When I was on the cusp of entering University and questioning a lifetime in science, everyone kept telling me I had to make a choice between art and science because they're opposites that can't exist together. It took me a long time to realise that that's not really the truth. We're so hopped up on binary opposites. You're either or this or that. This is over here and that is over there. I sometimes wonder if what we call artists are just people who have a stronger drive to express themselves in a specific way. Or maybe it's as some people say, that art is nothing more than edited creativity.

I'm glad my aunt found a way to express that part of her. I just wish she would or could have been open about it. We humans worry so much and put far too much stake in what other people think is appropriate or right for us. We listen to the voices in our head -- the voices of hurtful, damaging and sometimes well-intentioned but misguided people who tell us to set aside our dreams, ambitions, desires, little pieces of ourselves. We're told not to be weak, that we feel too much, are too sensitive, need to grow up, should suck it up and move on. The trick seems to be to sort through all the muddle and contradictions and figure out who we are and what we need underneath or outside of all that. And then to pursue it before it's too late.

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2003 a human