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Creative Spotlight: Ashley

Ashley (she/her) is a first generation Indian-Canadian, Registered Midwife, family-oriented lover and aficionado of both nap and adventure.

Can you recall a time where you felt “peak creativity”? Why do you think you were so creative in that time?

Childhood? Yeah, childhood and even into high school. I think the reason why there’s a question mark after childhood is that so much of what we did as children was not truly independently sought. I digress. I used to figure skate, play the flute, dance Bharatnatyam (an ancient and classical Indian dance form) AND Bollywood. I chose to audition as a drama/theatre major in high school and revelled in it. Inspiration was all around me, as I was surrounded by a mum and aunts that were and are dancers, singers, healers, henna artists and MOTHERS (that role really does take the gold medal in creativity) who gracefully guided, modelled and encouraged creativity. To be frank, your world can be a lot smaller when you’re younger, and I didn’t have the same stresses then, but I definitely had more energy and an effective way to orient myself and organize my life better then too.

Can you explain the relationship between creativity and your overall brain health? Intentionally or by chance, do you use creativity to better your brain health?

Truthfully, I have been having a real creativity existential crisis. I miss these things. Today, I spend 50% of my time on call 24/7 and 50% of my time wanting to do more with my time and nurture my creativity however, instead, spend it napping and motivating myself to take a walk and attempt to tackle that to-do list which includes making time for creativity (yes, creativity has now become a to-do item, unfortunately). It’s a weird, vicious cycle. In reflection, traveling has become my main outlet in adulthood — planning routes and mostly making it up once I'm in a brand new place without a SIM card and no accommodation booked. Maybe that last-minute-make-it-up-as-you-go was my creative release and thrill.

To summarize, the relationship is a rocky one right now. I feel so great when I finally sit down to paper craft/make cards for my loved ones and write poems like I used to (and often!). I thrive planning birthdays, weddings & baby showers and seeing happy smiles and the product of my hard work.

So, I guess, unintentionally, those moments do cultivate my creativity, are a form of self-care — and take me off these damn screens.

How else do you care for your brain?

I nap. Especially when I’m on call — the babies don’t wait for anyone and definitely don’t follow a 9 to 5. However, I do have my 2.5 year old nephew, whom I live with, to thank for keeping me creative and going and patient with my days spent with him. I’ll travel again some day soon. I’ve joined a book club. As the weather’s getting nicer, I’ll get back on my longboard (an adult hobby! this mind.on activity is really allowing me to see how I need to be more gracious with myself re: creative things I *have* started and actively do as an adult; so, thank you). Most importantly, remembering not to be too hard on myself. That’s how I try to care for my brain.

If this sparked any additional thoughts, please share!

I hope the hilarity of how this is written illustrates the nonsensicalness of my inner workings. I do not have it all together and wonder how I can be more like the younger me who prioritized her creative self. Maybe getting a lil’ lost and finding new ways is the best type of creativity. ╮ (. ❛ ᴗ ❛.) ╭”

Follow Ashely Jagga to keep up with her travels, Midwifery and music suggestions.



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