March 22nd, 2011
How I Discovered my Secret Powers (redux)

A recent email from a reader caused me to dig out this essay. I provide the links to each section in case you missed it the first time. Sometime in the future I would like to write more on this. I have learned that there are many people who might be in a similar situation to what I went through right now. Sometimes it helps to know that we are all more similar than we know.

(the previous links to the Penguin site are no longer working so I created a pdf for you)

Mar 22 2011
3:59 pm
Tracy writes:

If I ever grow up, and I’m honestly hoping that does not happen, I’m putting in an order with the Universe that I get to be you. On second thought, I’m putting in an order that I be me. ;)

Mar 22 2011
4:30 pm
Zom G. writes:

thank you

Mar 22 2011
4:33 pm
Barbara writes:

Loved it. I am trying t be a creative grown-up, after having to conform as an academic high school student and a boring uni student.
I am, of course, loving every minute of it! (so thank you!)

Mar 22 2011
5:20 pm
Nina writes:

This was just what I needed to read right now. Thanks for sharing

Mar 22 2011
6:07 pm
Jill writes:

Every time I stop by your blog I really just STOP, and never leave in the same frame of mind that I was in when I entered.

Mar 22 2011
7:06 pm
Caatje writes:

Thanks so much for posting this. I really enjoyed it. You’re an inspiration!

Mar 22 2011
8:05 pm
melody writes:

Beautiful, I admire you and relate to you so much!

Mar 22 2011
9:43 pm
paula writes:

thanks–i’m a teacher and i am fully aware of students like you were–i try to be aware of their talents and gifts. maybe you could write about how your experience as a student shapes your approach as a teacher?

Mar 23 2011
11:40 am
Robin writes:

At my 30th high school reunion, I discovered, much to my surprise, that many of us were in pain and feeling misunderstood and woefully inadequate during those years. What a shame we didn’t feel safe telling one another back then!

Thanks for this.

Mar 23 2011
11:49 am
Helen writes:

Fantastic Keri!! I feel like a blast of winter air just hit me. The reader above said it so well, I just STOP when I get to read your inspired thoughts. Thank you and thank you again.

Mar 23 2011
12:08 pm
Ramona writes:

thanks for reposting this.
my son is almost 16. he is struggling to find his way. your thoughts/ illustrations have given me some new insight.

Mar 23 2011
4:28 pm
Paige writes:

Ah, today I find hope. My son too is struggling and I have printed your post in three parts to give to him to read. (I’ll have to put it in the bathroom and say nothing, so he won’t throw it up in the air when I hand it to him.) He’s 17 and about to maybe not graduate from high school for no apparent reason other than he won’t sit down and do his homework, although he’s the smartest kid on the block, the south side, the city, the universe…you can find him riding his bike on this fine spring day, whistling a song, while his homework assignments flutter in the wind. I hope he turns out like you.

Mar 23 2011
5:14 pm
Lorra writes:

Ahh, this is so wonderful! love love love it.
Ah I want to take your Emily Carr classes so much.

Mar 23 2011
6:08 pm
:P writes:

You are incredible. Thanks a bunch.

Mar 23 2011
11:30 pm
Lyndsay writes:

I. Love. This.
This is why you were one of my role models all through my teen years, and why I continue to follow your blog and collect your books as a young adult.
I’ve always thought I had inferior intelligence / treated myself like I was a lesser person than those around me. It’s kind of wonderful, in a weird way, to realize that someone I’ve admired for so long used to feel the same way.
Thank you, many times, for sharing the yuck of the past, and the difficult, getting-to-the-place-where-you-can-love-you transition. <3

Mar 24 2011
5:12 am
Norlin writes:

Love this post soooo much! As a mum, I’d like raise my kids free from fear and judgement. And this post further strengthen my belief to allow my kids explore their natural talent!

Mar 25 2011
3:04 am
Menachem writes:

Guess I gotta try to read the secret during the day, cuz twice now, late at night, I tried and go the message that site was going thru maintenance. I will try again!

Mar 25 2011
9:39 am
M. writes:

The links don’t work :(

Mar 25 2011
12:21 pm
kerismith writes:

the site is undergoing maintenance. try again later.

Mar 25 2011
5:14 pm
Folkscallmejonny writes:

I guess that makes the secret powers even more secret.

Mar 28 2011
4:30 pm
Raenda Brightwater writes:

Hi Keri! I was kind of like you in elementary school–I didn’t get the concept of sitting and listening patiently to the teacher. I wanted to be up and making things with my hands, like eraser monsters, paper ponies, etc. I got classified as having an attention disorder. Now I’m an A+ student in high school. It’s incredible how school can tell someone they aren’t smart, even when they are, just because they don’t completely conform to what the school wants them to. I love your books and eagerly await the next one!!!

Mar 29 2011
6:08 am
Joy writes:

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been gradually changing things about my life to make it the way I had secretly wanted it to be, but was always too afraid to do so. Reading about your struggle and eventual discovery of your power to transform yourself and your life has been encouraging indeed. For years, I had this belief that the creative people I admire, including you, have had an easy path to the life they lead now, and there was no way that I could do what they have done. It’s comforting to know that a lot of creative people have gone through the same struggles that I’m still going through.

Mar 30 2011
2:10 pm
francesca dileo writes:

you truely inspire

Apr 8 2011
10:20 pm
snap writes:

hello this is very fantastic …i have already a lightning power….

Apr 16 2011
12:38 am
Jane writes:

Keri Smith, you are my hero

Apr 19 2011
3:25 am
Arifana writes:

Thank you Keri for sharing. It’s truly inspiring.

Apr 23 2011
11:41 am
Laura writes:

Wow! I love reading your blog, but I somehow had the impression that you were just born naturally and perpetually creative and sunny. There is hope for those of us who haven’t been perfect from the get-go! Thanks for sharing.

May 1 2011
7:14 pm
Patti Miinch writes:

I’ve tried to follow the link to read the entries, but all 3 of them take me to a Penguin books site, and I can’t find your entries there. I’d love to read them, so if anyone can share a way to see them, I’d appreciate it.

May 3 2011
10:10 am
Trudy writes:

Dear Keri,
today I found your blog, so great! Since I read ‘how to be an explorer of the world’ I’m a huge fan! I wanted to read your essay ‘how I discovered my secret powers’, but the link no longer works and I’ve only found bits and pieces of it online. could you post it once more please…?
thanks from holland!

Jul 7 2011
10:40 am
Leisa writes:

So inspiring. Thanks for being real with your struggles. For all of the reasons that you mentioned and more, I made the decision to homeschool my twin daughters in kindergarten two years ago – and believe me, I am not the homeschooling type.

What I came to realize is that I had been homeschooling from Day 1. I was the one that taught them to sketch what they saw outside, taught them to sing, taught them their ABC’s and more.

Those kindergarten days of homeschooling, which were really more everywhere but at home, were some of the best days of my life.

My daughters decided they missed the classroom and daily routine of preschool an asked to go to school – and I didn’t want to keep them at home for my own benefit so they are in school. But i continue to keep a watchful eye, and if I ever feel that they are suffering as you did, I know what to do.

Thanks for reinforcing my beliefs. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Most people think I’m a crazy hippy non-conformist dressed up as a PTA mom. You know, I kinda enjoy the misconception…it makes me giggle.

I think you are a rock star! World dominion awaits. ;-)

Jul 11 2011
8:34 am
Rita Nunes writes:

You just made my day with this. love it!! :)

Aug 24 2011
10:12 am
Charis writes:

I was another one who found school pretty boring. I loved primary but after that it was dull & yep, I didn’t get enough attention, but I wasn’t naughty so instead I just kind of wilted. I didn’t bother with university but managed quite a good career… but have quit that to go back to school & reclaim my imagination!

Sounds like you had one hell of a ride but now you’re an inspiration to so many!

Sep 5 2011
11:32 am
Wendy writes:

Keri, I am about 3 years older than you….ah, memories. I got the message early~be perfect, do what is expected, conform, behave. I balanced my rebellion with high school and college. Now I am 40 + and trying to find a way to get the creative child lost within me to show up again and have some fun. As was expected of me, I am now an elementary teacher with two children of my own. I so want to find a way to appreciate the creativity and individuality of each child in my life. Within all of the rules and regulations of the public school system, your wonderfully honest words about your childhood remind me to be the teacher I need to be for my students. Thank you!!

Sep 11 2011
10:10 pm
Ryan writes:

You’ve givin me a reason to live. Not that I was about to do anything drastic, but life just wasnt worth the effort anymore. I think that now I can be myself and not worry anymore about what the so called “world” thinks about me. =) Thank you.

Sep 12 2011
10:36 am
KYLIE writes:

That sounds like me!!!!

Dec 10 2011
4:18 pm
Mel writes:

Thanks!!! So good to know there are other rebels out there in this conformist world. Question everything, indeed. Love what u do. So inspiring.

Dec 29 2011
9:04 am
Cherri writes:

Funny how the universe leads you to the knowledge. I have a child who fits your description. I have known since she was 3 days old that she was not going to be like the rest and she has certainly lived up to that. After having read your story I will parent her differently. She’s never going to fit in to that little square box, so I will just stop pushing. I think our lives are about to get a whole lot better!

Jan 20 2012
9:28 am
Nicky writes:

Just wanted to share with you a little tale about my daughter aged (almost) nine, and her take on your book.
As I write, she and a friend are dragging a ’journal’ around the house trying to get the cat to attack it, which she is obligingly doing.
They have just come back from a holiday workshop called …. “Wreck my journal”.
The teacher used your book intermittently throughout the day which also included other fun writing tasks.
After reading your blog entry “How I discovered my secret powers” I was struck by how my daughter was interacting with a book written by someone whose personality is so different to hers. It made me smile.
Granted she’s only 9, but she is the child the every teacher wants in their class. She sits at the front, quietly listening and asking pleasingly probing questions. She’s a great and gifted kid but I have to keep letting her know it’s O.K. if she’s not.
Then along comes your book! I can just imagine how unsure she would have been at the start of the day. I think throwing the book off the balcony of the building she was in (her favourite part of the day) would have marked the realization that anarchy was fun.
She and her friend are delighting in coming and showing us the latest misfortune to befall their journals. The more we feign horror the better!
This morning I thought I was sending my daughter to a ‘journal ideas’ workshop only to find this evening I’d sent her to a workshop that has created a paradigm shift, one which I hope continues!
So to sum up why I’m writing to you – Thank you!

Dec 19 2012
4:38 am
Hema writes:

hi Keri ^^

I wish I had stumbled on your blog in my teenage.. I am a creative soul but rarely do I receive much enthusiasm about it, everyone around me has dreams about what I should be except no one knows what I really would like to be.. should is a very bad word.. .I know that by now… I have done many things I don’t like for people I love and I don’t regret doing them.. your blog is an inspirations and today I realize that without giving much importance to what people think about me, I should just go out and make my dreams happen before I die and finally regret not having lived my way..

I would be doing many of the things in your blog and I am going to buy your books the first thing now .. :)

Keep up the good work girl..

I love you..

Feb 27 2013
4:27 pm
Darcie writes:

Hi there – just came across your site and the links aren’t working…and I want to find out about to discover your secret powers!!! Any chance you could let me know when the links are up and running again.
Your site is amazing. Love love love it.

Jan 14 2014
10:40 am
elisabetta writes:

hey! i discovered this web and your work only today and i find it super!! and now i’m so curious to read what you wrote … but the links are no more working!! … pityyyyyyy!! (but i will try again and again to open them) :)

Jan 23 2014
5:54 pm
Kate writes:

I really appreciated this! I was that student in high school too. Was going to fail English near the end of grade 12 because I just didn’t see the importance in trying and completing my homework. And when I did and got 70% thought it was all a joke. This is reassuring that I can survive in this world without conforming. Thank you!

Mar 28 2014
2:26 am
urvashi writes:

hi keri!!

i love the way you write and express your feelings…you keep me hooked up..this article was so so inspiring for me…m looking forward to the points given by..hopefully i too will find myself one day…

thanks ,thanks a lot!!..
keep writing!!

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