Take Up Your Space

My childhood best friend growing up was one of the most creative people I know.

I remember we would sit in her room as young girls and each draw pictures of dance costumes for imaginary dances that we choreographed, or pictures of what our wedding dresses would look like one day.

Her pictures would always turn out so stunning and beautiful and..creative, while mine were always sorry attempts at dance costumes I’d worn in previous recitals. At age 11, she already had such a charming sense of style and and eye for interior decor.

Her room looked like a shot straight out of a vintage 50’s magazine. It was innate; it was in her veins; it was apart of her; it was like her second layer of skin.

Another close friend of mine started her own business not long after becoming a mom. Yes – on top of mastering the crazy, full time job of newborn mom life, she also quickly began crushing it as the founder, entrepreneur, and designer of a company selling hats for littles.

For her, too, it was second nature. Her life would not be complete if she didn’t have creative outlets that brought life to her and to others.

Then there’s my friend who started a company making stationary with pictures that she photographs herself, along with adorable burlap banners for any occasion you can imagine. She, too, does this on top of her full time gig as a stay at home mama. Her free time is poured into her passion of capturing beauty in everyday things and artfully curating it into a product that allows people to pass it along to others in the form of words.

And then there are people like me who thrive with step-by-step “how to’s.” They’re my jam. Words like “creative” or “innovative” make me literally crumble and hide.

I have a system for just about everything and the thought of giving myself the space to not have a system, but to explore and consider something other than what is already safely placed right under my nose, immediately triggers anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

Literally – if it weren’t for Pinterest, my wardrobe would scare people, my house would look like twenty seven people (all with different styles) tried to decorate it, and my recipe box would either be empty or filled with nasty, inedible recipes that would cause anyone I fed in my home to make a B-line for the closest restaurant in town.

So you could see why, then, after years of comparing my friends’ knacks for artistry and design, I deemed myself as simply not gifted in this area called creativity. I had other gifts and talents and that was just fine. Not everyone is gifted in the same way, and that’s the beauty of life, right?

Not quite. The thing is, it all comes back to how we define “creativity.”

What if we “uncreatives” are using the wrong measuring stick to define whether or not we have this gift? What if we are incorrectly defining “creativity?” What if we are trying to create, to bring something out of nothing, in areas that are not the areas where we are truly gifted, and that is why we are left feeling inadequate, incompetent, and void of anything worth bringing to the table?

We have it twisted, friends. You see, being a creator is not something we do.

It is someone we are. Every one of us.

Creativity is not something we have or don’t have, but something that manifests itself differently from person to person. It is present in every human soul, it is simply embodied in various shapes and forms.

If creativity only meant being able to draw or paint or design with poise and elegance, or create the perfect aesthetic in a room, or combine the tastiest ingredients off the top of my head and create the yummiest dish known to man, count me out. So not my lanes.

But to be creative is simply this: to bring something into existence that was not there before.

That’s it.

There are no rules when it comes to being creative – and that is the beauty of it. Be it starting a business, gardening, thoughtfully giving the perfect gift, dancing, singing, writing, cooking, teaching, painting, drawing, sewing, fashion—you name it; creativity comes in all shapes and sizes.

Bringing something from nothing.

We are all creators – it is who we are at our core. And when it comes down to it, I believe that is why there is such deep satisfaction and joy when we create.

Anytime something is brought from nothing, creativity is born and we are our truest selves.

Art and creativity are not secondary—they are central. They are sacred. And they are found in everything.

They are where our souls come alive. They are where the mundane of everyday meet the holy, and the value of life itself is felt in the deepest, richest, most powerful ways. They are where we find the answer to the inevitable questions of, “Why are we here? What are we doing? What is this all about?”

So take up your space. What shoes can only you fill?

Because here is the cold, hard truth: the world needs less cookie-cutter, safe, “socially acceptable” success and perfection and more vulnerable, real, raw, honest art – in all of its forms.

It needs more of you.

Hey friends! I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I live for the little things in life, like friendship, coffee, and a good belly laugh. Oh, and sometimes I write; you can find me at alhanson.org.

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Dee


  2. Alexandra

    This spoke to my heart! I feel like I’m my best self when I’m creating, whether it’s an brainstorming ideas, writing or a hands on project. Thanks for summing it up so beautifully.

    • Alex Hanson

      Glad you enjoyed it, Alexandra! 🙂

  3. clarice

    You never fail to amaze me, and it seems more each time I read a piece from you.
    Your life is full and I’m so happy & pleased for all of your accomplishments.

    Much Love,


  4. Lori

    Great article! Thank you.

Join thousands of readers
& get Tsh’s free weekly email called
5 Quick Things,

where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.