A Lack of Ideas

Author: Tsara Shelton
Published: 2022/10/27
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: I don't have new ideas; I tend to do things how I see them done or how I've been taught to do them. Never do I think to myself this is cumbersome or imperfect; I wonder if there's a better way. My mom adopted many of my siblings (I am the oldest of eight) and among us were challenges ranging from sexual trauma to malnourishment to severe autism to fetal alcohol syndrome to Irlen Syndrome. New ideas were necessary for us to grow up healthy, capable, and happy. Ideas are never-ending, constantly evolving, and forever in need of refreshing. We sit in our old rot and spoil without a willingness to consider new ones, without a purposeful seeking of ideas grown from uncommon soil, without the intention to listen and consider changing.

Main Digest

I don't have new ideas. I tend to do things the way I see them done or the way I've been taught to do them. Never do I think to myself, "Hmmmm... this is kind of cumbersome or imperfect, I wonder if there's a better way?" and, hence, I don't explore the idea of better ways. Even when I am thinking things along the lines of, "It's too bad this is cumbersome or imperfect," my automatic next thought is, "but if there was a better way it would be how everyone did it." So, again, I don't explore the idea of more ideas.

When I was little, I watched my mom create, explore, and insist on more ideas. I watched my little sister stomp her foot, push her fists into her hips, and, rosy-cheeked and cheeky, tell the grown-ups that her ideas were better ones. In both cases, I felt embarrassed, inadequate, and annoyed. Who the heck were they that they would have ideas? That they would be the ones who knew better when looking around I saw everyone else doing things - confidently and in great numbers - based on the old ideas.

I was a mess of wanting back then. I wanted to be wise and have ideas like them. I wanted them to stop standing out of the crowd with their ideas. I wanted them to stop getting us in trouble by refusing to back down. When they would explain the reasons their ideas were better, I couldn't help but agree with them, but then when others insisted that things had been done this way for so long and we should keep doing them this way, I couldn't help but agree with them. I wanted not to be like that.

Continued below image.
Illustration of a pencil and the written word idea.
Illustration of a pencil and the written word idea.
Continued...

My mom adopted many of my siblings (I am the oldest of eight) and among us were challenges ranging from sexual trauma to malnourishment to severe autism to fetal alcohol syndrome to Irlene Syndrome. New ideas were necessary for us to grow up healthy, capable, and happy.

Attempting to navigate the world doing things the way they had been and were being done was continually injuring us.

It wasn't easy for me, but I got better at trusting my mom and my sister's ideas, despite the status quo fighting us almost every step of the way. It became easier as the health of me and my siblings clearly benefited from these other ways of doing things. Soon, I recognized how everyone involved - family or not - benefited, regardless of disability, dysfunction, sexuality. My mom and my little sister, for some reason I can't fathom, have always been hyper-aware of discrimination. They've always had an eye on equity with an all-encompassing empathy, and they insisted on the same from others. For me, this understanding of a lack of empathy for the outliers embedded in most of the old ideas only revealed itself when I was living with and loving people who are outliers.

My lack of ideas was directly tied to a lack of diversity. Yet it was my resistance to the new ideas that feels particularly relevant. Embarrassing, but relevant.

It should not have taken me so long to give the different ideas a chance. Particularly since I actually thought they sounded good. When explained to me, I did see their value. But the moment I looked around and saw way more people doing things the usual way, the way they were already being done, a few things happened. I got afraid, for one. Of standing out and not fitting in. Of needing to prove the value of doing it different and not being able to do so. Also, I couldn't believe the world didn't already know what my mom or my sister knew. Hadn't already weighed the pros and cons of their ideas - with equitable and inclusive and kind intentions - and landed on the way it's being done. I knew there were people in the world who cared more about power and money than people, but I was absolutely certain that those people were fewer and farther between than they are, which led me to believe our society must be equitable and good already.

But loving my brothers and sisters, loving my mom, loving myself, meant seeing I was wrong.

As I grew more certain of this, and as I began to see the proof of it, I made it a point to seek new and different ideas, born from lives that rely on them. The ideas run the gamut from practical ways to build private and public spaces, to shifting our social commentary, to making political change, to examining and reforming some of our deep seeded beliefs about humanity.

Life-hacks are a helpful trend and I like discovering new ways of doing mundane things. These are almost always suggestions I not only wouldn't have come up with on my own but I never would have tried coming up with a solution to begin with. Because I am just not that type.

When I was young, I thought it might be because I was not smart. But whether or not that was true then, it is not true now. I still do not tend to invent new ideas. But I am smart enough to seek them out, to truly consider them, and to decide for myself if I think they will make life better in the long run for the most people. Funnily, life hacks meant only to make things faster or easier are not often ones I choose to implement. I've discovered that ideas meant to speed up tasks take away greatly from the wisdom of and connection to the task. That's not always the case. But often it is.

Ideas are never ending, always evolving, forever in need of refreshing. Without a willingness to consider new ones, without a purposeful seeking of ideas grown from uncommon soil, without the intention to actually listen and actually consider changing, we sit in our old rot and spoil.

Some of us have the skill of seeing what isn't obvious to those they are surrounded by. I am not that. However, those of us who are less able to see are powerful too. We are able to listen, to learn, to make friends and family of those who - often by necessity - are seeing what isn't obvious, and willing to share it with us. Not all ideas are better just because they are different or new, but they are ideas. Which are always worth exploring.

A lack of ideas is not the fault of ideas. It is the fault of idea seekers who are unwilling. Unwilling to stick out, unwilling to be wrong, unwilling to be inconvenienced, unwilling to listen to outliers and other people vastly different from themselves.

Let's be idea seekers who are willing.

Author Credentials:

Tsara Shelton, author of Spinning in Circles and Learning From Myself, is a contributing editor to Disabled World. You can also keep up to date with Tsara's latest posts by following @TsaraShelton on X.com. Explore Tsara's complete biography for comprehensive insights into her background, expertise, and accomplishments.

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Cite This Page (APA): Shelton, T. D. (2022, October 27). A Lack of Ideas. Disabled World. Retrieved April 15, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/blogs/tsara/ideas.php

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