Once upon a time, people thought that the ‘left’ and ‘right’ sides of the brain were responsible for two different forms of thinking — The left is for problem-solving and logical thinking, while the right is for creativity and intuition. Based on present-day brain imaging scans, however, we now know that both sides of the brain are quite intricately codependent.
Now, while the ‘left-right divide’ is widely accepted as myth, the idea that there are predominantly “left-brained” and “right-brained” people still persists. Isn’t it that some are just born more logically inclined while others are just naturally artistic?
Well, to answer that, let me tell you the story behind the little schism that once upon a time happened within the recesses of my own brain.
Now, I have an overactive imagination, and when I was a kid I used to draw these out. I’d draw things like how my set-up would be like if I got stranded on a deserted island (from the wooden bridges to the fishing contraptions next to my cave), what the layout of my own zoo would be, the inner workings of my awesome draw-bridge tree house, and the like.
I was also an avid reader of comics (Archie Comics were my favorite), and in my spare time, I fancied myself as a comic artist. I would hastily draw stick figures and make short, albeit corny, comic strips.
I would happily draw these out for fun, but even as a little kid, I was already secretly looking to be recognized for them. But as these drawings weren’t very good, I never did get praise for them.
In time, I would look at these drawings and eventually decide that, perhaps, I didn’t have what it takes to draw after all.
On the other hand, what I was encouraged for was to get good grades in school, and work hard in core subjects such as Science, Math, and English. I was particularly praised for my writing skills, debating prowess, and logical reasoning. People told me that I’d make a great doctor or lawyer one day, so that’s what I set myself out to believe.
I worked to improve in more “intellectual stuff” as these were placed of higher importance when getting into good universities. They were the ones I’d be needing for my future, I reasoned. Needless to say, creativity went into the back burner.
Though as I delved more into the practicalities of typical schooling, and later on into jobs that were more in tune with my practical skill set, I didn’t realize how my soul was slowly being sucked out in the process.
In studying BS Psychology, surely I should continue on with doing Human Resources, Marketing, or proceed with some sort of higher education… but was that really what I wanted to do?
I already spent my whole life working on skills I only halfheartedly felt like doing, should I just continue doing that for the rest of my life?
“But, what else did I know?” A little voice inside my head said.
And as I always did when I was blanking out, I took out a piece of paper and started to doodle. Little squiggly lines and cute characters began to fill the page.
Thinking about it, squiggly drawings such as this one was exactly the thing that used to give me so much joy when I was a kid.
How did I lose sight of that?
I decided then that even if I wasn’t good at it, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Progress had to start somewhere, right?
So one night, I took out a pencil and started to draw some of my very own characters. I named them Bunster and Hariet. They were to represent the “two sides” of my brain.
Bunster is the more practical and logical side, while Hariet is the more playful and creative side— Two sides of what was now whole.
I was going to create my very own comic strip, and I was going to write about the topic I knew best — me.
I may not be the best artist, but my years of writing essays and theses meant that I could at least decently write. What I could not draw, I would just make up with my writing, exactly like how the brain adapts when it encounters its own physical shortcomings.
As with the ‘two-sides brain myth’, I don’t think people are just born inherently logical or creative— You become those things you choose to nourish, and I have realized that it’s never too late to be both.
After years of being pounded to the ground by school and the real world, I have gradually realized how the creative part of me was just dying to get out, and here is me, finally giving it some much needed fresh air.
And deep down, I know the creative inside me can also flourish, if only I give it even just a little push of encouragement…
And this time, I’ve concluded, I needed to be recognized by no one else but me.