It’s been our stance from the very beginning that, “when it’s not fun, we’re done.” The paper outfits have been a Mayhem guided adventure, and Keith and I had many discussions when our story and images went viral about never forcing her into making (or wearing) paper dresses.
A couple months ago, Mayhem and I had (what I considered) a heartbreaking conversation. It went a little something like this:
Mayhem: Will people stop liking me if I stop wearing paper dresses?
Me: No way! And if people say they don’t like you anymore because of that, then they never really liked YOU to begin with.
Mayhem: I mean, I still like making paper dresses, but I’m not so into wearing them right now. I like making them for my mannequins and cardboard people and my Barbies. You know?
Me: If you never want to wear another paper dress again, you don’t have to. Got it? No questions, no pressure, no having anyone else make you feel like you have to. Ok?
Mayhem: I mean, I still might want to again some time, but right now, I’m just not into it. I like other stuff too, you know? Like making stuff out of cardboard. And making videos. And cooking. And sewing. You know?
Me: Your creativity amazes me every single day. I sure think it would be a shame if you didn’t use it for as many different things as you can. I think it’s awesome that you still like designing paper outfits, but there are SO many ways to use that imagination of yours and Dad and I love seeing you explore new ways of being creative too.
And with that conversation, I thought we’d seen the finale on Mayhem in paper dresses.
Until yesterday. When she asked me to help her put on this one: When I asked what made her want to wear a paper dress, she simply replied, “I’ve been seeing a lot of girls in prom dresses lately. And I thought I could make one for myself. I think this would be a good prom dress, don’t you?”
And so we did.
In case you’ve been wondering, the creativity hasn’t slowed down around here. In fact, it’s at an all time high. It’s just gone so far beyond paper outfits! We have cardboard creations that have overtaken our home, an entire bathtub full of mermaids, and “taped on shoes” are all the rage. Basically, there are messes being made at a staggering pace (which you may have seen on snapchat) and that’s just the way we like it.
Over the weekend, Mayhem announced that we’d be making a film (not a movie) and she was going to be the director. She planned out each scene, selected outfits for me to wear, and then added, “You need to know I’m going to be yelling ACTION and CUT.” And then she borrowed a tripod from Dad and set up her little camera and told us just what to do. In the end, she was SO proud to sit back and watch the little clips we made together. Next up, she says she wants me to show her how to put the videos on a computer and put them together … something I’m certain I was never dreaming of when I was six years old.
I really truly have no idea where all of this creativity and imagination will lead, but right now I’m content to hang back and learn from her. And encourage. And do my best to create an environment where she can continue to feel confident in trying out her ideas. I’m a firm believer that creative thinking/creative problem solving is a grossly underrated skill, and that virtually every career could benefit from a little out of the box thinking.
Later this week, we’ll be leading a “creativity workshop” at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University and we couldn’t be more excited to jump into some serious “maker-ing” while we’re there. It’s always fun to visit new places with Mayhem and try to experience it as she does … with complete awe and wonder. I know she’s going to have a blast hanging out with new people and offering up her creative insight.
As for today, I’m not exactly sure what will unfold, creatively speaking. I never really do. But I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my favorite people and the wisdom to embrace the mess.
So, now have we seen the last of Mayhem in a paper dress? I have no idea. But one thing I do know for sure … I’ll do everything in my power to make sure she always knows her value as a person goes so far beyond paper dresses, to corners of her imagination that she hasn’t even discovered yet 🙂
Oh, and one last note – the wrist guard … it’s just a fashion statement. No injuries have been sustained. She just thinks it looks cool.