Fiona Myles grew up in a small town in Scotland, always aware that she was different from her siblings because she was adopted. As a teenager, she became increasingly isolated and began to rebel. She moved to London to work as a nanny, but quickly got caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol, ending up homeless and sleeping rough in Victoria Station.
She even had a brush with death when she tried to commit suicide, but failed. She realized that she needed to make a change.
She eventually found the supportive network to help her rebuild her life and began helping other girls in similar situations.
While looking after her own adopted daughter, she began to write her story, finding that the words flowed out, and led her to a more positive, empowered life.
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For this episode, I'm speaking with Fiona miles about her experiences of growing up adopted, struggling with addiction and mental health issues and finding her way to a more positive life. In recent years, Fiona has helped many others on a path to recovery, through her outreach work and through her writing. Please be aware that in this episode, Fiona talks about taking drugs and attempted suicide. Hi, Fiona, how are you? Hi, I'm fine. Thank you. Good. You have written two autobiographies so far, in which you talk about being adopted, among other things. And currently you are keen to help other adoptees where you can. So can you start by explaining to me what your family situation was? As a youngster? Yeah, no problem. Yeah, I was adopted as a baby. I believe my mum and dad came and they were matched with me when I was about eight months old. I was told a lovely story about being in an orphanage and they came and picked me out of all these babies, but I've since found out that that's what a lot of social workers tell them to see. Basically, I was actually in a foster home and they just came and picked me up which doesn't sound as romantic really is the other story but anyway, so I've always known my mum and dad told me, you know, all through my Savella years and I think it was I think was about six when I actually twigged at the retail wouldn't be something that was actually made me different, you know, to my brother and sister was like, oh, that's, that's different. You know, I kind of started to sink in that I was adopted, you know, and what adopted was? Yeah, yeah. So you were in the middle. Yeah. So while I was I was in the middle, my mum and dad had had a son of their own, my mum was fostering children. And they actually wanted to adopt another little boy that they had been fostering. But it didn't work out. They're sort of boys thankfully, went back to his own mum and dad, which was nice. And so then they got matched with me. So they adopted me. And then, as far as I can gather, they weren't intending on having any more. So my little sister was a bit of a surprise. So I ended up being a middle child and adopted child. Yeah. Did you have a creative childhood at home or at school? And was writing something that you enjoyed then? Yeah, I remember I did write, you know, when I was when I was young, I used to have like notebooks and stuff. And I would scroll down imaginations. My mom used to call them my little stories, you know, and stuff like that. So then I got a typewriter was bought for one of my buddies, and I remember batter in a way on that for ages. You know, I love the sound of it as well, I love to, you know, click clack biobank. And one you know that, you know, I really enjoyed writing on that I liked the whole sort of process of writing on that. But that just kind of came to an end, you know, it just it came to a bit of an end, I just stopped doing it, I probably had a negative reaction to something, just story or something that and I stopped using it. And the tape later went away, and never came back out. I had a typewriter as a child in the 70s as well, I had this yellow one, and I absolutely loved it. And my children now, when they were a bit younger, they love my mum has got an old typewriter and they just love playing with keys. Beautiful. But anyway, I digress. So did you feel that this creativity it was encouraged at school or at home? Do you see a place where it's stopped for any reason, I don't think it was really pushed to the fore because unfortunately, my behaviour took a bit of a turn for the worst. I remember a story of wanting to be a ballerina, you know, Anna and I had this little tutu and everything. I remember my dad telling me that I was just like a claw topper that. I think that was a cartoon at the time, Claude Walker, and had great big feet, you know, just kind of made fun of the fact that I wanted to be a ballerina, little things like that. They have such a profound effect on a child. You know, it's kind of tilted me over to the well, I'm no good at that. And I'm no and I've had a negative experience with the right and I was no good at that. So basically, the creativity side to me kind of went to the back burner. I was fairly clear. I've been making up stories to get out of trouble. And that didn't go away. You touched on there that perhaps you weren't the best student? No, I wasn't. I think in primary school, I think there were very glad to see me heading off to high school. I lived in the country to our prime minister was fairly small. And then I went to high school, which was just was huge, but it's probably not huge. You know, in comparison, it's city life. You know, that's the city No, but Oh, high school was just awful. Because it's had teenage I was already distressed being adopted, I was older to have an emotional breakdowns and just get into school and people tease and Yeah, and I've always wore glasses and had funny teeth. So I've always been teased, you know, just to get cookie for eyes and all that and silly things that cat sees. But for me, it kind of started me on this enmart thing of not wanting to come out, you know, and just be and you know, and I became a very sort of isolated, little kid, you know, and I've Yeah, it was difficult, you know, I found teenage difficult, I found the whole being adopted thing difficult. So any creativity that I had, because you do normally have, but at that point at this completely sandbagged under this emotional mess and become an all the rest of it. So yeah, I can understand. So you left home and headed off to London, age 17. Why and how did that come about? Well, I was kind of encouraged to leave home because I wasn't going to be allowed to stay at home from about the age of 16. I had been in a few live in jobs like in hotels and didn't work out because that was an absolute Froot Loop. You know, and I just ended up getting into trouble and causing trouble and all the rest of it. So I was always getting sent home you know, so my mum and dad and decided that maybe I would like to be a nanny and not And then really far away so couldn't come home that easily. So yeah offer when you know it necessarily is and we went to the back, say, you know from from a small place in Scotland and became a mother's help I think nanny is a bit too grand really just be in their cleaner their cook and take their kids to school. You know if I'm honest, I don't think that I don't even think to be a mother's helper anymore. And how was how was that experience? You've already explained from being in a real countryside and then in London, and you're on your own, you've got your freedom other than the job? How did that work for you? It was crazy. I mean, for me, there was the initial trepidation of going somewhere new, I found it all actually really exciting. In the beginning, I thought, wow, look, all this new stuff. And people everywhere and different cultures, you know, I had never come across people from a different culture, maybe one or two and the larger town, but I found all really fascinating. I wasn't someone that was a shrinking Bayla either, you know, I was quite quite out there kind of personality, you know, talk to anybody. It wasn't daunting in that respect. And did you find? Did you find that a good home? Did you find yourself feeling accepted? It wasn't that good. I didn't really, you know, it was brought up very well. So I knew how to cook. And I knew how to clean because we were all taught well, you know, my dad had taught us all to make soup. You know, from what we grew in the garden, we knew how to make good on pizzas and stuff like that. So the cooking side and the cleaning side was wasn't a problem. But I was bored. And Dean kinda contained as well, you know, within the house that this was all your tasks, and you had to complete them. So then we've got an eight off. So I found a thing in the paper that was like a nanny circle that you could join. So I thought, well, now, I'll join the nanny circle, you know, so for Wintel pup to meet the rest of them, and whatever. And that was the beginning or the end. Really? What do you mean? Well, they were most of them were older. And most of them were more worldly wise than I was. And so they were late during can have a laugh, tale story. So that's that and the next thing and then they would go outside and they would be rolling up spliffs and stuff and I was looking I was going to save with I'm wondering, was it no idea what it was, that's where it came to the gate and then to use and drugs and stuff like that and alcohol on a regular basis. That's where that all started from the nanny circle. Sorry, Nanny circle, if you still exist. Things got worse, you you concentrated not concentrated, but there was more and more emphasis on the drugs and alcohol than then working. What how did the rest of the years play out? Yeah, I mean, from there, it just went from bad to worse, because obviously, you know, this side of stuff became a lot more interest and then cooking and cleaning, looking after somebody else's kids. So then I was getting kicked out of the mother's health positions. And in those days, it was easy to just ring up and get another one, you know, and because there's no checks or any sense even to think about it now, you know, really, you're going to somebody's home and being left with their children. The last one I got kicked out of I ended up having nowhere to go. Because by then the agencies, my name was much so it was like no, we're not giving you any families. So I ended up actually sleeping in Victoria train station. That was interesting because I had no choice because I didn't want to I didn't want to fall home and see on well you know, it's all gone wrong again because like adults had done that quite a few times. And you know, my mum would always sort of send money or pay a ticket to get me somewhere and wherever so I just kind of had got to the point where I didn't want to phone them anymore. So I went to Victoria station because a new just let talking to people that a lot of the Scots sort of congregated in Victoria station for some reason. And she went along there just that started my life of being a homeless person. I was there for about four or five months, just sleeping rough and meeting characters that were totally out there and getting involved in them. And then eventually I went to live in a hospital met a whole lot of other crazy characters that were in a you know, hotter trucks that had taken LSD, you know, sniffing cocaine doing stuff and basically I was just off my head, just in the heat of madness and meeting not nice people but me not really knowing that we aren't nice people until they started doing not nice things to me. So that that in itself brought layers of protection where I knew I needed to stay in that place of have taken substances to stop me thinking about the stuff that had been happening. So it became like a vicious circle. And that went on, right up until I was about 2122. When I decided that I'd had enough, you know, and I know I didn't want to be here anymore. Well, that's good to know about the next stage. So I was gonna ask, how did you? How did you get out of that destructive situation that you'd got yourself into into that vicious circle? What did you do to change? Well, things have gone from bad to worse, bad to worse and all dressed up and then ended up in Glasgow, and is flat and the Gorbals. And she lived 21 stories up. And I was there on my own. And I was just drinking and just in a mess. And there was one night there was a really song came on the radio, that we guys used to come on the radio on a Saturday night Tiger, Tim, I don't even know if he's still alive. But it was really good. And he used to sing the song when he finished and he said, what you're going to do after the Tigers gone. And I was laying there late, totally Stephen and Saint Marcel, I'm going to throw myself off the balcony, because there's nothing left for me here, you know. So I've managed to get myself in the balcony. And very determined to put myself off the balcony, I thought I need to do something where I'm not going to survive, because, you know, I'm not going to half measures kind of person. So I've got on the balcony, and I've thrown myself off, have been still alive. When I've come round. I'm like, I don't believe I can't even do that. Right. I'm still alive. You know, I had visions of pieces of maybe, and, you know, all over the Gospels. But what has happened was actually fallen back into the balcony. So was lying in the balcony had gone off the balcony. And I think that was a real wake up call and self that hadn't been able to tick to happen. And so I just kind of managed to get myself together enough and find my mom and dad and tell them I was gonna heat up in Glasgow, they thought I was in London, they didn't even know I was that close to them, to be honest. So they came and got me and I went home for a little while. And then I went off and got a flat to live in Glasgow, and really just kind of got my life on our place where I was sort of just sort of staying drug induced enough to still be able to function. If you know what I mean. I'm still taking drugs, we're still drinking. But it wasn't to the point of Obliteration all the time. So to me, that was me getting better. Worked up. You told me a story about about an and about the church. Yeah, I mean, I then eventually I was married and living in Falkirk. And this girl Anne had moved into our street, we lived in a street where it was all people that were taking drugs, drinking and whatever. And like my husband at the time, he was selling drugs, and he was selling harsh from the house. And she saw a lot of tune in throw in and whatever. And I had, you know, that have quite a volcanic, I think severe personality and I would lose the plot a lot. And so I used to get lifted for feet and and stuff like that. So she realised that was real problems in this house and her house was opposite, she'd actually asked the council to be put in that street, so that she could pray for all the people in the street, possibly Wow, when I found all this. So she started praying directly into her house. As time went on, I started to realise that things couldn't keep going on like this, I became very ill alcohol was doing bad things to my body, I've taken seizures ended up in the hospital, and they were poking little pins in my legs, and I couldn't feel it. They were saying you need to stop, you know, you won't come over seizure or, and stuff like that. So I had to really start thinking about what I was doing to my body what I was doing your to myself and all the rest of it. And then the schedule was kinda she was getting an entire lives by she's didn't come and do clean, easy, you know what she would chat with you on the doorstep and all that and whatever one thing led to another. And I started asking her about the church and stuff. And she took me along to her church. And I didn't think that I could go to church and feel anything or even be allowed in the doors. You know, some of the things I've done have been away. And I had such an experience where I knew that something had definitely happened to me at that point, I wouldn't have been able to tell you what it was, but I knew that I had experienced something. So I was 29 then, and I just kept going to the church, you know, and I knew that things were going to change. And then the minister was asked in your normal data by the lake to accept Jesus as the Saviour. And I put my hand up, not really knowing what I was doing. And I was like, oh, no, what if I don't, but I had no idea how to manage situation because I've never been in church and I felt like I shouldn't be there because of the life at lead. But the people that got Rome me were so understand and even when none of them are, you know, none of them had been in that kind of position. But there were so understanding of where it was at and made me feel. I was welcome. You know, even though I was still smoking, like a chimney and whatever, because that didn't just stop. I didn't just have one of those wonderful epiphany, spear efflorescence taken away from me, it was more of a process, you know, and it was one thing, you know, when and then another and I began to see, actually that God was doing something for me that cemented the belief that I had definitely found a faith found God, I had found something because of myself that, you know, I was able to be a part of as well, because it always felt so out of it in every sort of area of life. Yeah. And you fit in here, where perhaps you felt you hadn't fit in, in other places? Yeah, I mean, that was definitely my boss word does an adoptee join in groups and stuff, for some reason that always felt like everybody else communicated, but not with me. And I don't know whether that was just in my head, or whether that was a reality. Your I still don't really know. Yeah, there's always been that. And even now, you know, to this day, a recent thing that happened recently. And this is just a bit silly. But this is just just to prove a point. I joined a group, which isn't a big group. And then a few other people joined, maybe four other people joined. And all of those four people were welcomed into the group. But I wasn't welcomed in the group when I joined. So that little drip and tap of rejection, it's still there. Yeah, but obviously, I know No, not to act on that. And not to, you know, feel the things that I used to feel that would take me down the paths that used to take me down. I was just, you know, I was able to sit in my car. Well, okay, that happened. So what get over it, so that that little drip and tap does still happen. But I'm more able to manage that kind of thing now, but it still, I still feel it. Creativity found.co.uk is the place to go to find workshops, courses, supplies, kits and books to help you get creative. So if you're looking for your own creativity, found experience, go have a browse to see what's on offer so far. And if you can help adults to find their new creative passion, please get in touch on social media, or through the contact details on the website. You started helping other women in similar situations. Yeah, don't don't I feel a real way in our gym call to, if I could get out of that situation and become drug free, alcohol free nicotine free, and still have this crazy personality, then other people could do as well. So I started going down to the places that are new, you know, and I would go back in and you know, for people who are looking at you normally Oh, you'll never guess what happened to me. And I'm like, come up to my house. Let's get you off of drugs. And let's do this. Let's do that. And you know, I started just bringing people in at my house off the street and some went off to recovery places and somewhat late, you're just a nut job. Let me hear bye. But then the church kind of got behind me a bit. And then what I started doing was taking women that wanted to detox before they went to Teen Challenge they would come to me and I would do a 30 day detox with them and then take them down a Teen Challenge. And then Teen Challenge which sent me their face for girls that just needed to be out of the programme and doing something that was really good. And then from that became a part of a similar ministry called victory outreach, late Teen Challenge D have recovery homes for men and women and I became the manager of the women's swim there. And I managed that for four years, which was I loved every minute of it. I just loved seeing them coming in. For me I was able to know how they were feeling because I knew what I felt like coming into like a Christian place I found it just great to be able to see a look again Yeah, I know the the things I felt when I first came in a Christianity you know people move in their handbags and all that. So it's kind of like a new how that fail and a new how to help them to get through even even that never met. The detox never been all the stuff they needed to learn going forward. Even some of that life experience stuff. It was great to be able to, to bring that to them. You know, it's being able to help give an holistic approach. So it's not just a matter of right we put you in a place and get you off the drugs. There's so much more to it, that that we need those extra people who can understand that and help with that and give the whole life meaning not just this is the box that you're in drug addict get you off Drugs, everything will be fine. So that's really good that there are people out there like you that that can help with that side of things. And it's it's the whole emotional journey. We talked about your possible issues with fitting in as an adopted child, or the feelings that you had around that. And you have an adopted daughter yourself. Can you tell me how you came to adopt Georgie and how do you think you can ensure or help her to feel differently than perhaps you did? Yeah. Well, as there is three years yearning for a child, I lost a child when I was very young, because it was, like I said, Before, it was in my less bad crowd, and I got badly beaten up, didn't even know I was pregnant. And I'd lost a baby at about five months, 20 weeks, I think was five months. And then from then I never conceived naturally, again, I went through IVF with my second husband, and that feels I lost twins through that. And I didn't want to do the IVF. Again, I found it very invasive didn't like it should then going on, when I've got married to Brian, you know, I've let them know that we're not going to be able to have kids, blah, blah, blah, then, you know, time goes on the menopause, we've been told that we'll never have children naturally, I didn't want to adopt because I knew how difficult I had found that as a child and as an adult that not knowing and even finding your natural doesn't actually put an end to the mystery. Because you realise very quickly, you don't fit in that nest either, because you weren't brought up with them. So anyway, I don't want to adopt. And then I my sister from the family was adopted out of became a Christian. I went up to see her getting baptised we hadn't really seen each other for a long time, my natural mom had died and been a few number hadn't really spoken much after that. Went up there, went to her baptism stayed the night with her. And she began to tell me about her son had a little girl who was in foster care and was quite poorly, chat a lot wrong with that she had had a brain haemorrhage. She'd been born addicted to drugs, and lots of things, she took seizures and all the rest of it, but she needed, you know, a forever home kind of thing. A couple of years previous to that, you know, I had been at a conference where I had, I believe that God had told me to have a child at 50. And I remember kind of standing there thinking to myself, could that not be a bit earlier, please? Bailey, we immediately knew this was a child you know, and in the lead up jet because of the work that was doing in the in the women's home and Victoria beach. I kinda thought one of the girls would have a baby and leave on the doorstep. I kind of worked out that's what was gonna happen, you know? Anyway, we went through this whole process of assessments and all the rest of it, and Georgie became just six weeks before it was 51. You know, so that came to pass, which for me was fantastic. And also, you know, we then became parents and, you know, I'm 50. So we had this baby that needed so much attention was it was an incredible life tilt, because we had been all those years. You know, we know children, doing whatever we wanted, going wherever we want it. And then all of a sudden, this little baby was in our house that needed such a huge amount of attention. I was always scared, you're gonna have a seizure of you know, and all the rest of it. Not that I've ever seen or haven't one, but she she didn't take seizures, and the foster carers have given us old information and junk medication she had to take every day. So it was a big thing. It was a huge thing for us a huge life change, but it but it was the ultimate and enjoy because we had a heart desire. We had a child, there was the two sides of it that balanced each other out. We were told she might not walk, you know, she runs rings around us. My husband actually had he got cancer just before we got Georgie. And so he had chemotherapy and was office work when we got charges. So he spent loads. He's a marathon runner. He spent loads of time robbing on legs and doing things like that. And, you know, I came home from work and she was walking, obviously, or is it look at this, which is yours. You know, it was just one of those moments where, wow, but developmentally, yet she does have problems. She's in a place at the moment where she still can't read or write. She's, she's making great attempts. And so we know that there's potential there, but it just might be later than, you know, she's not at the stage that six year olds should be, you know, not by a long shot. She's in special education where they are fantastic with her because she has emotional problems and she can get a very aggressive and very highly emotional. She has ADHD. She has autism. She has something called D do which is a defiance disorder. I was like, I think every kid has. It didn't know that was a disorder. And I thought just every kid that natural defiance, you know, but at the end of the day, there are areas where Georgie far exceeds six. You know, she has like a memory that blows me away. She can go on a walk somewhere. And tell us you took me here and my Green Prom? i What? You know, she she even remembers the colour prom she was and because we went through a lot of problems, which are J. But yeah, yeah. And for some of my guests, having children is what puts their creative pursuits on hold. But with you, it was the opposite wing how you started tapping into your creativity. Yeah, basically, when Georgia started going to nursery and stuff a plane of obviously got well, you know, it's got the old clear and whatever, he went back to work. So we decided that he would work full time and I would, you know, stay at home because we realise quickly, when she went to nursery, there was a lot of problems, we'd get phone calls, you need to come and get, you know, say Oh, God. But anyway, I decided to stay at home. But I thought I can't sit here I just kept sitting here doing nothing, you know. So I started in a lake brooches and stuff. So I started in a little thing where I would buy brooches and clean them all up, and Audrey sailed on. And then I started painting hearts and stuff and just doing little things where I was filling my time at home because I thought getting bored isn't going to be good for me. But I knew I had to be available and you had to be you know, so I couldn't exactly Aiza go and meet a friend two hours, we are an hour away. Because if I got a call had to get back, couldn't even fill my time like that. So I started doing lots of little things when I was making stuff and selling it. And then I started writing the books, it was almost like him, a pilot late went on. When I started writing the book, the first book, because I wrote it short, quickly, it was fairly easy to read. You know, and and obviously, like anybody else, when I pitch it through for the people to read, I thought oh, they're gonna, they're gonna get back to me and see if that's rubbish. But I've got so much good feedback from it. And there was very little knitting done at, you know, and then and process and whatever. And then the second book again, it was very quick getting written as well, I don't think the second book is quite as good as the first one. But the second book is the one that seems to be getting all the attention. But anyway, so that the rating thing was at that was a late going on. You know, and I can't stop, right. And you know, I've just started a new blog that I'm doing every Monday, I'm on Book Three. Now, you know, it's like, and I've written a few articles. I've written an article for adoption, UK on adoption, trauma, I've been in the newspapers and stuff like that, you know, it's just seems to have all sort of taken off. I'm almost famous. You said that you wrote, you wrote the books easily from getting the words on the page point of view, and not needing a lot of editing, which is fabulous. But how about the process? Were you able to process everything that you were writing? Or were there emotional consequences of telling your life stories? Yeah, yeah. I mean, in the process of writing, especially book, one word of, I've kinda told more in the book than I've ever told anybody, you know, some scary stuff in there. But I realised a lot of it had remained on, visited, just stayed there, you know, at the past, and there was an incident at work. It was kind of billion euro. But anyway, it affected me, and it overly affected me and I couldn't work out why. And then when I was writing the book, I realised that that was something that hadn't been dealt with, because I've been attacked by men in the past. I'm not sure what type you didn't, it was just a similar sense of fear, you know, that came around. And so I realised that that hadn't been looked at properly and actually got professional counselling, which was incredible. Because it was one of those things where she would see one thing, and then I'll just start talking, I thought more came out of my mouth than I've ever said normally. And I was like, I must have just been waiting for this pot to pour it all this and you know, that was very good for me. I felt much more empowered and stronger and more able because I have had a lot of emails and people contacting me that have been in a similar situation, you know, and I felt in a better place to actually connect with them and say, Well, this is how I managed to get through this. I can support adoptees, in particular, because I know how they feel, you know, and I know how I manage those feelings. Yeah. So speaking of which, and you've touched on the fact that there's a book three in the making as well, what are your plans or hopes for the future? Well, I have lots of plans. I'm going to continue to write a feel that, you know, I feel I can give a lot through today. And I want to say more about the specific feelings that people who have gone through trauma can have. I think, in my head, I'm going to do four books, which will be novels, focusing on a main character that goes through some traumas. Oh, how exciting. Yeah. And I have started a group for adoptees, especially older adoptees, I've started a private Facebook group where we can just say the things that we're feeling, and some of the things that affect us and it's actually working really well. I'm really enjoying that journey. Oh, that's brilliant. That is so very helpful. So thank you so much for speaking with me, Fiona, there are links to the books so far, this is me and adopted on the creativity found website. But how can people connect with you directly. And I have a website, WW dot, Fiona miles author.com, where everything that you need to know is on there, the picture on there, my blog is on there. And it does focus around adoption and being adopted, it's going to swing between me and Georgia, you know, things that affect are the things that affect me, the trip and tap, you know, all the things that set the drip and tap off that kind of thing. And then the links to my Facebook group, and the website. I also design adoption where it sounds a bit weird adoption. But some of the things that you have a great t shirt that's really, really popular. And it says it just simply says Warning. I'm adopted. Because I said dot days can be a bit difficult. But sensitive, you don't say the wrong thing, or will never speak to you again. Being You know, a stay at home parent is said to be someone that works really has brought out, you know, a whole new say, to my life. You know, I didn't know I could design stuff. I didn't know I could write like that. You know, I didn't know that I could produce things you know myself at yeah, I've loved just finding that. Yeah, well, that's really interesting and joyful, that there's variety in it as well. And you can try the different things and really tap into all kinds of sides of your creativity. So that is just brilliant. Thank you so much for talking to me today. Fiona. No problem. Hope it all makes sense. It will it does. Thanks so much for listening to creativity found. If your podcast app has the facility. Please leave a rating and review to help other people find us on Instagram and Facebook follow at creativity found podcasts and on Pinterest look for at creativity found. And finally, don't forget to check out creativity found.co.uk The website connecting adults who wants to find a creative outlet with the artists and crafters who can help them tap into their creativity.