Ep. 59 - Jaime Hamilton - Creating for YOU: Creativity as a way of Communicating with Your Deepest Self

Subscribe, Listen, Rate & Review (thank you!)  in Apple Podcasts 
Subscribe & Listen in Spotify
Subscribe on Youtube
OR listen in your favourite podcast app

Support CREATIVE GENIUS on Patreon



In this enlightening episode of The Creative Genius Podcast, we are joined by Jaime Hamilton, a passionate middle school English teacher and talented watercolour artist. Jaime shares her journey of embracing her purpose and navigating imposter syndrome while empowering teenagers to embrace their individuality. 

Jaime opens up about her personal mission to become the mentor she longed for during her own teenage years, now guiding her current students with compassion and wisdom. Through teaching teenagers, she has unearthed invaluable insights about herself and the human experience, offering transformative lessons on authenticity and self-discovery.

If you've ever grappled with your inner critic or sought guidance on navigating the complexities of teenage years, this episode is a must-listen. Join us as we delve into the heart of mentorship, resilience, and the pursuit of true authenticity.

Through her insights, she illuminates the challenges of self-judgment and conformity in the middle school environment, offering valuable lessons on authenticity and self-discovery. Join us as we explore the transformative power of creativity, resilience, and trusting one's inner wisdom.


Kate Shepherd welcomes listeners to another inspiring episode of The Creative Genius Podcast and introduces the remarkable guest, Jaime Hamilton, a middle school English teacher and watercolor artist from California. Jaime shares her personal mission to be the mentor she needed during her teenage years, now guiding her students with compassion and wisdom. She discusses her journey from being a reluctant English teacher to embracing the profound insights teaching middle school kids has given her, despite initially preferring to teach history.

Jaime offers a glimpse into her approach to connecting with teenagers in her classroom, highlighting the challenges of reaching out to certain groups while remaining authentic. She reflects on the misconception of mistaking our inner critic for ourselves and the liberating realization that brings. Jaime shares strategies for confronting our inner critic, including journaling and engaging in dialogue with it, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and self-compassion.

The conversation delves into various topics, from embracing imperfection in creativity to navigating childhood traumas and finding healing through self-expression. Jaime and Kate exchange stories about survival and resilience, emphasizing the transformative power of creativity and honest relationships. They explore the energetic portal of creativity and the significance of trusting one's intuition in the creative process.


  1. Embrace your purpose and overcome imposter syndrome by trusting in your abilities.
  2. Encourage teenagers to embrace their individuality and authenticity.
  3. Navigate self-judgment and conformity by staying true to yourself.
  4. Find balance in chaos by focusing on the next right step and trusting your intuition.
  5. Practice creativity for its own sake and engage in honest self-expression for healing and self-discovery.


ATR2100x-USB Microphone-2: Hello there it's me. Kate shepherd. I'm so happy to be sitting here with you today for another beautiful episode of the creative genius podcast.

ATR2100x-USB Microphone-1: We have a really beautiful guest for you today. And I'm going to tell you a little bit about her more in a minute, but first. You know, those images that you look at and you see them a certain way, maybe you look at it and you see a horse. And then your friend says, Hey, I actually see an old lady. And then you squint at it and he kind of puzzled over it until you to see the old lady. But then now you can't. Unsee that. And go back to the image that you used to see.

It's an, it's an amazing thing that can happen when you have a profound experience of changing your perspective on something.

I've been having some experiences with my inner critic recently that are like that.

For most of my life, I thought. That, that thing inside of me, that was constantly whispering horrible things at me, , making me believe that. Things were scary and that I should stay small. Or that I wasn't very good at creativity or that I was too loud or too opinionated. I too many feelings or I wanted too much, or I wasn't worthy of love. Or friendship. At life didn't have my back and I better keep hustling. That's too late.

I'm too old. I'm too fat. I'm broken beyond repair. I'm a lovable. Things are never going to work out. So I better not relax all of those things. That that voice would whisper to me. I really believed that that was me. I heard that voice and it sounded like it was happening in my, my voice. So I thought it was me. But I've been starting to see, really see that, that inner critic isn't me and it never was. And once I started seeing that I couldn't unsee it. I see now. That that part of us and we all have it in us. Is, uh, it's an apparition of some sort, it's a, it's a facsimile of a person.

It's not actually a real person. It's not you and it's not anybody else.

It's a conglomeration of people. And it's a mechanism that I, as far as I can see sprouts up to keep us safe from various different things in our life when we're too young. You know, when we're little, we need to have a little voice in our head saying don't run into traffic. Or don't climb that tree to the very tippy, tippy top. And it serves a purpose.

It keeps us safe and its job is to take all of the salient information from the outside world. Internalize it and animated in such a way that helps us make good choices, ones that help us survive.

And as we grow through life, This ever evolving. Audio hologram for lack of a better term. Is fueled by fed by informed by this rolling collection of the most influential people and situations in our world, parents, teachers. Bosses boyfriends, husbands, wives, coworkers, friends, neighbors, even media. Fragments of their voices and ideas gathering. Momentum and volume, and it's powerful enough to paralyze us into inaction. Or into smallness or what it thinks is safety.

Unchecked. This entity starts gathering some of the most scary things it can find because it, I think it feels like those things are the most useful. And it's constantly sending us warnings about them. And we can find ourselves in a place where we don't want to. We're too scared to have a voice we're too scared to ask for what we want.

We don't feel like we can be confident. We're scared to go after our dreams. . We're immobilized by fear from, from things that this thing is constantly whispering to us because we've left it unchecked. We haven't checked what the inputs are into this thing. I have been personally very paralyzed by that voice.

I let these, this inner voice squeeze my own, voice it to silence. I let it isolate me from friends and lovers and.

Communities and I let it make me not say what I really felt or thought. I let it make me be on my best behavior rather than brave and bold. And I let it take me quite far away from myself for a long time. Because I really did believe when it told me that if I didn't bad or dangerous or scary things would happen.This part of us gets formed when we're really little to keep us safe.

You know, that little kid who shouldn't be running out into traffic it's about that time. I think that this part of us starts to form. And for those of us who didn't have a wise. Resourced adult at this pivotal time and the creation of this inner guide. We ended up modeling after whoever was there.

And in a lot of cases, there's a lot of baggage in that person that we end up internalizing too. And what I saw that I couldn't unsee I just think is the most incredible miracle in the world. Is that by design? This thing is malleable. It's designed to evolve over time. And while it may have evolved to tell us all the negative, scary things that keep us small with practice. And compassion.

We can feed it new information. And train it to help us better. We could actually deprogram the guilt and the shame. And begin to feed it with trust and curiosity and joy. We really can. We can partner up with this inner moderator. And show it. What kind of information is useful to us? We'll help us navigate. Into a life where we're thriving. And letting it all hang out. And where we're really expressing ourselves and enjoying ourselves.

And our guests today.

And I talk about that. Jamie Hamilton is a middle school English teacher and watercolor artist. From California. Whose purpose right now is being that teacher. That she needed when she was a teenage girl.

There are a lot of really profound insights in this episode. And I can't wait for you to hear it.

I feel like I was really born to do this work, For a lot of my life because of those voices, I didn't let myself believe that I might have a purpose. And as soon as I started doing the creative genius podcast, I realized this is what I'm born to do. To have these conversations to give voice to this wisdom and this intelligence that is bursting at the seams to try to find its way back to us. And it is an honor for me to do this, this work.

And it's my gift to you. It takes me. I realized the other day at about 25, sometimes 30 hours. To create one episode, all the things that go into creating the episode, finding a guest and reading their book and pouring over the questions and having the time on the phone with them and then editing it and then mastering the sound and creating show notes and social media posts and newsletter articles, and sitting down and recording these intros and the outros for this. I mean, it's just a huge job and I love doing it.

And like I said, it's what I'm born to do. And part of what I'm learning, how to do is how to lean into support from my community to support me, to create the thing that supports you. So I'm asking you, if you listen to this show and you, and it touches you and it feeds you and you receive something from it. Please consider signing up for my Patrion.

There are multiple different levels that you can join. , there's the $5 Patrion, which would be brilliant. It's a $5 a month. It's like buying me a coffee to thank me for creating the show. And for that, you get all of the episodes a week early.

You'll get a bonus episode. You'll get the occasional extra bit of content here and there. And it is a wonderful way of supporting me to keep creating this show for you. And I really actually can't do it without you. And there are other levels too, you know, there there's the colorful community where once a month I do, uh, in depth hour long live workshop on how to activate our intuition and creativity. And wherever you are in that, please know that I'm so grateful to be in this relationship with you. And I really do rely on your support.

So if you haven't signed up to be a Patrion please consider doing it. I really, won't be able to continue doing it without. Receiving support from the community. So thank you for considering that there are other ways to, you can help. You could buy my artwork or jewelry on KateShepherdCreative.com or on loveMorningmoon.com. Those are fantastic ways of supporting me to continue to do this work. And there might be other ways that I haven't even thought of yet that you might think of to support me, to keep growing the show. We need to do public relations. We need to do emails and marketing and editing. And there's so many ways that you might plug in. To helping me grow this show and continue to create this really deep and profoundly healing and beautiful content for people. Um, that I might not have even thought of yet.

So if there's a way that you want to plug in and help, please know that. I'm open to receiving that support from you now, or so if you want to get in touch to discuss any of those things, you can email me kateshepherdcreative AT gmail.com or you can send me a direct message on any of the social media platforms.

You're going to love this conversation with Jamie today. She, her whole being is just a smile, a beautiful, gorgeous smile. She came from a pretty. Rough beginning. She didn't have loving, compassionate, gentle parents when she was small. And in fact had to navigate some pretty.

horrible messages from her own parenting. But she grew up to be this person who just has the biggest heart and is so naturally loving and beautiful and encouraging. And accessible.

, I think my favorite part of this episode is when I asked her.

part of the journey that we go through in being brave to show up in this life as our true selves. You know, when we transcend some of those voices, our inner critic has been laying on us for years and we finally realized, oh, there's another version of me here. That's trying to show up. That can be scary.

And I asked her. You know, how do you do that? How do you navigate showing up as your full self? It's scary. It can be, especially at first and. Her answer was so simple. But. Profound and helpful. And it was another one of those kind of light bulb moments for me.

So I can't wait for you to hear that part of the episode. So if you have an inner critic in your life, if you have. Teenagers in your life. If you're looking for inspiration and encouragement to. Find the bravery and courage to. show up as more of your true, authentic self. This episode is for you. And I can't wait for you to hear it. Enjoy my conversation with Jamie Hamilton.

Track 1: I'm so glad to finally meet you. Thank you for coming.

Jaime Hamilton: Me too.

I'm, I am so honored. Like, I, I've listened to some of your guests and I'm like, super imposter syndrome here. I'm like,

what do I have to add? Like, these incredible artists and these people who've written books and stuff. But, we put that in a box.

we put that in a box.

Kate Shepherd: Well. I, so, but let's talk about that for a second, because actually I've been going through a lot of that lately of, of just like that and realizing that that voice is not me, but I've thought it was me my whole life. And Well, maybe let's come back to that for, hold on. Back up the truck.

love that we're order there. Why you start off by,

Track 1: telling our listeners who you are

and, where you are right now? And if you had to put the work that you were put here to do in the world into one sentence, your highest purpose, like if you feel like you have a calling,

you know, what would it be?

Jaime Hamilton: my name is Jamie., I live about two miles from my. Childhood home in California and Sonoma County I, I'm a mom to a 6-year-old co-parenting mom. I am a middle school English teacher and I'm uh watercolor artist my purpose,right now is to be in the classroom Being that teacher that I needed

when I was a teenage girl,

you know what I


And showing them that it's okay to feel it's okay to have emotions. It's okay to create, it's okay to be weird. it's okay to be all of these things. being an artist and selling my work at farmer's markets, it's really interesting to see the way kids just naturally come up to my booth or to me, and then on the flip side to see how their adults or the other adults do too.

So I think that I'm on this planet to serve teenagers, because they're some of the neediest human beings that we know.

Kate Shepherd: I believe that creativity is the intelligence that's animating the universe. It's that quiet thing that nudges you to create your art or to leave a job or a relationship. And as far as I can see it, I think it's that same thing that tells Bamboo how fast to grow or starfish, how to move across the rock.

Like it's all creativity

and we could come up with different words for it. And you know, we do and we have, but really, for all intents and purposes, that's, that's what I think creativity is. when we suppress it or uh, don't let it express itself freely in our lives and let it guide us, we start to glitch.

And that's why I say humanity's, glitching. 'cause we've just systematically found all of these ways to indoctrinate people into this world of the rational mind where creativity doesn't really have.

Home and in my own work as an artist and as a, an intuition coach, which I find myself doing more and more of as people are kind of hungrily going, okay, well what is this other part of me that I,

that I know I have inside?

And how do I learn how to, you know, I'm often reminded just how widespread that is. Like how routinely we are denying this part of ourselves. And, you know, so many people just truly believe that they don't have creativity in them or that they're not entitled to it or that they don't deserve it. Or the imposter syndrome.

I mean, all of the ways. And so that's why I dedicated my, I wanna be in service to helping as many people as I can come into contact with this beautiful thing and let it lead their lives. And I was really so excited to talk to you, especially as a teacher of middle school kids, because I feel like that is.

That is such a critical pivotal time. I mean, I think, what do you think about what I'm gonna say here? I feel like around 10 is when we start to that judge, the self judgmental side, we start to interpret all those things and then, and then you go right into being a teenager. And what has teaching shown you about all of this?

Jaime Hamilton: this is my 15th year teaching In so many ways, it's changed and in so many ways, kids are just always the same. You know what I mean? Like the neediest ones ask for love in the hardest of ways. And, what I've discovered teaching English, which I, I did not enter teaching to teach English. I wanted to be a history teacher 'cause that's what my major was. And I hated English. I just hated it, you know what I mean?

Like in high school it was like, Shakespeare sucks , I'll never do this again. And I love teaching.

Am Midsummer Night's Dream too? Teenagers because they're like, I like this girl, but I don't want her to know, you know? And like Shakespeare, he gets teenagers, but I digress. in middle school we are so trying to be just like everyone else and it's like. You talk about that glitch, that disconnect.

And they're so unhappy trying to be like everybody else. And if they just realized how freaking amazing they are individually, what makes you beautiful is that you are so different. I have one girl this year who is just quirky as all get out, like laugh at inappropriate times, just like she's like a mini Jamie, you know? And, and I tell her all the time, like, we would've been friends if I was 12 and you were 12. But like, she is so like unabashedly herself and it's so interesting watching her peers. They don't like it I don't know. It's really hard to explain. I, I feel like in my classroom we do a lot of talk about, we're all different, we all have different experiences.

We're, um, you know, and that's what makes us great. We don't have to be the same. We don't have to think the same. And in, in middle school it's like really, it's this sweet spot where yes, you are combating that like need for, um, conformity, but also they're still open to the idea of, well, I am unique and I am different.

And I am special. And, you know, I, I didn't have a lot of, uh, love or support growing up, like, especially in the middle school Era, for me it's equally like, it's even more important to remind them that they are beautiful, that they're unique, that they're rad just the way they are, and that they don't have to have it all figured out.

'cause these middle schoolers, they're just like, they're stressed. They're stressed out.

Kate Shepherd: What are they stressed out about? Are they stressed out about that tension between wanting to express their true self and the need to conform? Would you say that's like the biggest

thing? Yeah.

Jaime Hamilton: Yes. Like this need to fit in. , it's like jamming, what is that phrase? Like a round

peg into a square hole or whatever. You know, they, they need to fit in and like, that's what school's teaching them how to fit in and commas, but you know how to fit in. But. They're like, their insides are just so diametrically opposed to that because they don't fit in and, you know, I don't think we were meant to fit

in. my daughter was just diagnosed with autism. She's six and her dad, and I know that she's neurodivergent. We know that she's different. and it's just been really interesting going through the IEP process with her and, and watching her with her peers. she's so different and on some level she doesn't care. But it's that same thing on another level. She knows that she's different and she knows that she doesn't quite fit in. So it's like a push pull, if that makes sense.

Kate Shepherd: Yeah. What, what is IEP?

Jaime Hamilton: it's called an individualized education plan,

You know, as teachers, we love our acronyms.

Kate Shepherd: So when you are close to kids and you see them going through this and grappling with this, I. To me that feels like if I, like, if I had to be in that situation, I feel like I'd be so overwhelmed by how to deal with it.

'cause kids are powerful. They have this big energy.

They are, they're a little scary. I mean, I have kids and I find them a little scary sometimes. You know, those big feelings. And,

Jaime Hamilton: Yeah.

Kate Shepherd: and, but you also said a minute ago, you know, they, some of them ask for love in some really difficult ways. in those moments, how do you, how do you show up for them?

'cause this juggernaut of an idea that you have to be acceptable and be a certain way and be like everybody else, or be the thing that is, you know, curate yourself so that you're palpable and, or that you're acceptable and people love you. And that's really enormous. Like that is woven into the fabric of, of our reality.

And so trying to help. Anybody, whether it's a teenager or yourself and your own inner critic, navigate that and, and tease it apart and find another voice to listen to. I mean, I'm finding it as a 47-year-old woman, really hard to do now even. So how do you do that with your kids when you come up, when you see that that's what's at play, how do you guide them through that?

Jaime Hamilton: With everything that we do, we have to just be authentic. And kids more so than adults can tell when you're lying or tell, they can tell when you're BSing. And I, I used to tell one of my former student teachers who is an incredible English teacher now, him himself, just be truthful.

Just be honest and be true to you because they know they can sniff out a liar like nobody. and not all teachers do this, my, approach is, is use, honesty and truth. You know, one of my tattoos that I have on my shoulder, it's truth without fear. And I really do try to live by that in my classroom, in my personal relationships, in my relationship with my daughter and her, you know, my co-parent, when my students are struggling or grappling with these big ideas or grappling with who they wanna be, or even just small behaviors in the classroom, nine times outta 10, it can be fixed with a personal one-on-one conversation like, Hey man, you seem like uh, you're a little off today. Do you wanna go take a walk and just come back? You know, and allowing them the grace to misbehave because they're going to misbehave because they are teenagers. demonstrating too that we as adults have off days and this is how I cope. This is how I deal with my off days. It's a very, relationship oriented approach to teaching. now in 2024 when there are so many competing things for their attention, you know, having that eye contact, having that face-to-face, having that like true conversation I think is the way to, get through. And we do a lot of, um, like journaling, art journaling. We did this really cool coffee filter activity the other day where I had them in a coffee filter, put right down the seeds of things that they wanted to grow, and then we put like markers on 'em and then we used water to spread it out. treating them like adults or treating them like human beings, I think is really what I'm trying to say. because. People give teenagers a really bad rap, but I think they have it more figured out than we give them credit for. And their moral encompasses are tweaked by hormones, but I mean, who isn't? I think at the end of the day, they know what's good and they know what's not good.

Kate Shepherd: I feel like I would be scared to hang out with a room full of teenagers all day. Maybe I wouldn't, may, maybe I'm not giving them enough credit. I just remember who I was as a teenager and I think, oh my God.

Jaime Hamilton: It's really hard to connect with them some days. I have one or two classes in particular this year where it's like, okay, I cannot share my true, true self with this group.

Kate Shepherd: So how do you navigate that? How do you, so you have a feeling I cannot, I cannot show up as my true, true self here. That's, I'm presuming that's the voice of wisdom in you showing up. There's something wise in you that goes that they're not ready. This isn't the place. I can't, what, you know, it's intuition is guiding you in one way or another.

how do you figure out what to say? How authentic to be I, 'cause I struggle with that in just like day-to-day life. You know, how much of myself can I really show up as you know, how much of my messy,


I don't know what I'm doing self can I

bring this? Especially if you're in a leadership role.

That's a,

Jaime Hamilton: Yeah.

Um, you know, it's funny, I was having a conversation with a kid, um, on Thursday about this, and he was like, I find it easier to talk to strangers online. And I said, I find it easier to talk to strangers on the street. And then I said, be careful what you say online kid.


Track 1: Right.

Jaime Hamilton: but, um, you know, this idea that sometimes with people that we don't know, it is so much easier to be your real and true, authentic self

because there's not that pressure of knowing that they're gonna come back and we're gonna continue to have conversations. With this one class in particular, it's just the makeup of the group and,

Kate Shepherd: Like a Lord of the Flies kind of vibe.

Jaime Hamilton: ish. I connect really well to those kids who, come from not super great homes. I feel like I have more in common with those kids and I have a really difficult time with, um, entitlement so I just kind of have to take a step back when I can see that,

and not everybody is worthy of seeing your true self. Not

everybody is worthy, , or has earned the right to see those pieces of you. With that particular class, it just takes a little bit more time and a little bit more relationship building and a little bit more, they need less of me and they need more of each other.


think that's really what it boils down to.

Kate Shepherd: So what has all of this taught you about navigating your own inner protective parts and, and personality and, and it, you know, pasts traumas and, because I imagine you can't do this work and it not bring up stuff for you. Yeah.

Jaime Hamilton: It does. It absolutely does. I started seeing a therapist in 2020 during the lockdown to deal with some really heavy family stuff.. What's interesting is that the, the things that I've thought that I've healed from the things that I thought that I outgrew, , with this new job. 'cause I started a new, at a new school in August, and with this new relationship that I'm in, which I also started in August,

it brought up all of these things that I thought that I'd fixed or that I thought that I'd addressed.

And even my counselor last week, she was like, you have, but this is just the next layer.

Kate Shepherd: Oh good.

Jaime Hamilton: Oh, I know, right?

Kate Shepherd: there's more layers.

Jaime Hamilton: I know, I know. Yeah. Uh, that was, that was a hard session.

I do a lot of journaling. I've always been a journaler, I've always been a writer. I've always been, you know, a crafter, a creator or this, that, or whatever.

I play music, I sing, I, I do all this stuff. And, when life gets really, really heavy, one of my coping mechanisms is just to shut everyone and everything out. Close the door, sit in my notebook, sit in my paint, sit with my guitar, you know, uh, listen to James Taylor, who's my celebrity crush, and just to go internal and the struggle this year, since August specifically, again with this new relationship and this new job, is I can't go internal anymore. Like I have this, I. Incredible man in my life. And he's like, you, where'd you go? You can't go there. it affects my teaching, because I, I just, I get grouchy, I get angry, I get, you know, moody and teenagers, man, they match

whatever energy you have.

And that, I'm gonna tell you right now, that is a long 100 minute block.

Kate Shepherd: Well, and I think there is this weird idea that we're supposed to con like find out who we are, heal our stuff and show up as the best version of us. And just like, you know, always show up that way in the, in, in all the different places in our life. And I mean, we are laughing about the layers, but that's actually a gift.

Like we're going deeper and deeper and deeper and. and. There isn't supposed to be a place where we arrive and we're just good and we're done and we're,

but that's really hard to be in the world in a consistent way, you know, authentic. Like showing up authentically really means like, sometimes, you know, especially for a lot of people listening who I think are probably people pleasers, a lot of us creatives tend to tend to be people pleasers.

Jaime Hamilton: Or it's like, here, I made this thing. Love me. Look, I

made this thing Love me.

You know? Or like, I made you this thing. Love me.

Kate Shepherd: I mean, I noticed this a lot with my little kids when they were, when they were little, little, and they always brought me art. Like my daughter just, she's nine and she's just stopping that phase where she would, you know, draw me little birds and bring them to me. Like I have just, every notebook is got stuff falling out of it, and they're always giving you gifts.

And it's like, look what I made you, I, to me, the, what I was hearing was, look what I made you. I love you.

Like, like always an offering of like, I love you. I love you. I

Jaime Hamilton: Well, and then at what point does that look what I made you? I love you. Turn into look what I made. Love

Track 1: Mm-hmm.

Jaime Hamilton: And I feel like in that middle school, you know, between 10 and 15 is really when, when our kids shift, you know, like, call it puberty, call it socialization, call it whatever. it's just really interesting.

And then we as adults spend that the rest of our lives trying to go back to that. Look what I made, I love you stage. And it's just, it's really interesting.

Track 1: Especially if, if you're somebody who it, your creativity and your drive to create is quite large, it makes natural sense that you would want to turn that into your livelihood. And that is the, that is the dynamic in that livelihood is, look what I made, love me, buy it from me.

Right? It can't just

be a pure offering anymore. And it, and it, that's a hard line

to walk.

Jaime Hamilton: I'm so glad you brought that up because, I experienced the most intense burnout in December I was looking at my Instagram post, 'cause I, I try to post every day 'cause it makes me feel good and, and I, I love putting my artwork out in the universe, but there were like two and a half weeks where I didn't post anything, I came into January knowing I need to create, not for anyone else, but for me. I'm at this place right now where I just have to create, for me, it's not to sell, it's not to do, it's, you know, it's not to launch a collection or this, that, and the other, but I need to create just for me. yes, we're serving others by creating our art and putting it out in the world.

And yes, we're mothers, we're serving our children and we're doing this. Or we're wives, or we're sisters. Or we're daughters, or whatever it is we are. But I think it's really important that we, check in with ourselves and, and create just for the sake of creating.

Kate Shepherd: So

tell me about what that looks like for you. When I think about creating, just for me, I, I can't even imagine. I mean, I love the act of creating, I love the idea of. Making something that didn't exist five minutes ago, like and beauty, I love generating beauty. That is just

what a trip that we can, that we can just do that at will.

But creating for myself, I don't really know what that means. What does that mean to you?

When the world is really, really heavy or life is really heavy or I'm just in this mucky place, I have to get it out of my head in, into my notebook or out of my head and onto paper I do a lot of my processing in my notebook for me it's more therapeutic, I guess.

Track 1: Can you give

us an example of something you might create that way

Jaime Hamilton: I keep coming back to, these onions after my counseling session. It's just like onions on the brain. And I just started doodling. These onions, it wasn't, it wasn't for anybody else but me. When you look at an onion, it has all these rings. And it made me think about, I did watch Shrek with my child a couple weeks ago and, you know, ogres have layers, so do humans. But like at each layer, what, what are we dealing with?

What are we experiencing? What, you know, what questions do I have? What, what's at the juicy, meaty part of the center of this onion? Like, what am I trying to get to? And so, for me, the act of just creating for creation itself is more of a, I think, a conversation with myself,

Track 1: Yeah.

With a part of, with a true part of yourself. 'cause we were talking earlier about this, and I've been thinking a lot about this thing that I've mistaken for myself my whole life, which is this kind of, it's my, my inner critic, right? Which, which I've accidentally, 'cause it's so close and it's so embedded that I've mistaken it for myself.

But when I really sort of look at it, I realize actually it's this like. Facsimile of a person. It, you

know, that sort of sits really close . And so I had some words with it this morning. Like, you know, it was being really hard on my like, oh, it's too late, you're gonna fail. You've already failed.

All the failure. Failure, don't even bother trying. And then I just get really heavy and tired. I wanna give up on everything and I forget all to see all the good. And I've been in therapy talking to, you know, we're trying to be gentle with it and let it find a new job for it. And I've been doing that for about a year and this morning I was just like, that's not working.

and I just kind of had this really intense conversation with it where I was just like, I'm onto you. I know you're not me. Like I, like you're, I've I've found you out and what you're doing is really not helpful. Like what you're doing is, what's the point in making me feel like shit all the time?

What are you trying to, like, I get that you started off trying to help me and make me survive when I was like six years old and needed to have a parent voice, making sure that I don't run into traffic and

all that stuff, you know, in my head. But like, now, what are you doing? Like,

you're fired. you're fired. and I'm not, and I know you're gonna still be here jabbering on and on and on, and, but, but I'm onto you now and I'm gonna be looking for you and basically fuck off.

I've, I've, and I've tried being gentle with it

hasn't worked,

Jaime Hamilton: my inner critic is, um, she's really ugly. She's really, really ugly. Like, do you remember those anti-smoking ads from the eighties and nineties

where there was the, it was covered in tar.

That's what my inner critic looks like. And she says things like, you're not beautiful.

You are not enough . You're, unlovable. You're not, you're not worthy. And she's not me. I know that she's my mother because those are things that my mother would tell me. And, uh, those are things my father would tell me. And it's so important for us to know that those voices, they're not coming from us and they don't stay long term. and so what I've had to do, you had to tell yours to fuck off this morning. I really wish I could, but mine just needs to be reminded. No, you are beautiful and you are lovable and you are not perfect. But we love you anyway. And you are worthy. You are worthy of the love that you are seeking.

You're worthy of the love that you're putting out there. I have to write myself love letters and, and it's funny 'cause I, I too write my dude love letters and I put 'em in the mail. I love the idea of snail mail, but I have been writing myself love letters to remind myself just, how. Desired and lovely and wonderful. We are, because there's just, there's too much in the world telling us that we're not like, especially as women,

you're supposed to be a mom, you're supposed to be working, you're supposed to be doing this. The, the kitchen's supposed to be clean, the laundry's supposed to be done, you know? And um, I say fuck off to all that personally,

Track 1: I have had moments where, that inner critic, for me, it's so close that it's, it's, I don't even see it as a thought. It's a, it comes in as a feeling and it's just like

already overwhelmed. I've already failed. It's already

futile. There's already too much.

I'm broke.

Like all the things and I'm curious what you think about the, you know, I, I got to a place today where I was just exasperated with it,

and it gets to be like a house of mirrors inside, right? It's like, who's exasperated with who and who am I? Who's writing love letters to who and where's the

real, how do you find the real me in all of this?

What, which one of those things to you is the real you?

Jaime Hamilton: I think that it's really important for us to have friendships with people who, who know and see the real us

because when we're in those intense moments of like, I am a fucking failure. I did this one thing wrong and he's never gonna wanna talk to me ever again, or I did this one thing wrong, I'm gonna get fired. and. I think that our friends, uh, like our, our close friends and chosen family are the ones who can just put their hands on our shoulders and just say, when we can't ourselves. you're okay. I mean, you're not okay and it's okay not to be okay,

but you're okay and it's gonna be okay. Because, um, it's a lot to carry those multiple people in our heads, hearts, whatever. and I, I try to carve out time in the morning to, to write, to journal, to write my notes to myself. but when life gets busy, I think it's, it like that connection piece, connecting with others is so incredibly important. And especially for someone who likes to isolate, it is so important.

Track 1: I think a, a very common response to having gone through really difficult things in the past is to isolate. And so there might be, you know, people listening to this going, okay, well yeah, that's, I, I, I have all that too, but I, there are, there is nobody in my world who really sees me, who I've let see me, what, what would.

You say to either a student you had or you know, somebody listening to this going, yeah, but I'm alone. I don't have that reflection. I don't have anybody to do that. For me,

Jaime Hamilton: Such a hard question.

Track 1: is, I know.

Jaime Hamilton: we talked earlier about sharing with strangers and I, I think that

that is a great place too. You know, the beauty of doing these farmer's markets that I do is that I'll have strange conversations with people that I'm never gonna see ever again.

And I, I wrote something down the other day.

It's like I. In a lot of these conversations, I'm just kind of dropping these truth bombs you know, maybe more for myself than for them. But you can have really interesting and intimate conversations with strangers in a safe way, um, that you maybe can't have with other people that you are

Track 1: Hmm.

Jaime Hamilton: to.

Track 1: love that.

Jaime Hamilton: So, you know, I, there's a little dog park down the way here and when I'm in my head, I'll take my notebook and I'll walk down there and and, I always run into one or two people and we have a, a conversation, connecting with people I think is key, especially now , like post lockdown stuff and then, being outside The sunshine is the cure for everything.

Kate Shepherd: Yeah.

I, I'm hearing from you putting yourself out into the world. Even if you're

really alone, you can put, there are always ways to put yourself out into the world in

Track 1: new places. And it, and it actually leads me to something I wanted to ask you. You've written about finding balance in the unbalanced and love in surprising places and connection in previously disconnected places.

I wondered if you could say a little bit about that.

Jaime Hamilton: finding balance in chaos is like where I thrive, you know, like when I have a lot going on in my life, I'm able to just kind of compartmentalize and dedicate time, dedicate this, dedicate that. And so finding balance in unbalanced whatever is something that I feel like I'm pretty good at. Growing up we, we grew up in absolute chaos . From the outside it looked like a normal family. And, you know, it was not, but, um, finding love in surprising places, I think people act as mirrors, and we see in others the things that we love and likewise don't love about ourselves. I think when I wrote that piece, I was, and still am in this just beautiful place with this human being. in him I can see all the things that are lovable about myself and then conversely in him, I can see all of the things that are ugly and dark and need help. We're all work in progress.

Track 1: I'm imagining there are people listening to this going, Ooh, I wanna know more about how she finds balance in chaos. Because, you know, some people thrive in it, but some people really don't. They just sort of shut, because there's like, you either, you know, fight or flight and you're like, you're doing it all.

You're, you're, or you freeze and you can't do any of it. And so for the person who doesn't know how to find balance in the unbalanced or chaos, what would be your, if you had to throw them a life raft, what would you, what would you throw them?

Jaime Hamilton: it's just do the next thing,

Just do

the next thing. Uh, December was really, really hard for me. total overwhelm, total mayhem and my personal, my relationship, my child stuff. And the only thing that I could do was put one foot in front of the other I , I journaled about it. The thing that came out was, the only way through it is through it. You know, it's like that book going on, a bear hunt gonna catch a big one. I'm not afraid, you know, there's mud up ahead, can't go around, it can't go under it. You just gotta go through it. Some seasons that is way more difficult. Some seasons you have a whole cheerleading squad behind you cheering you on, and then others, it's just you and you just gotta put one foot in front of the next and just do the next thing that you can do.

Track 1: All those parts can come up and make you feel like, no, you should need to do this and you need to do that. And you're like, I can't just, what's the next right thing? That's such a good, that's such a good answer.

Jaime Hamilton: Well, and then trusting yourself too,

Track 1: How do you trust yourself? Do you, so, and I wanted to ask you about this, 'cause this feels like I, this is connected to creativity in that it's like, I think creativity is the voice of, of. All the opposite of what we're talking about. So creativity is the love and the compassion and the knowing and the intuition and the knowing.

I'm gonna say that again. 'cause I

feel like creativity is so much of that, that feeling, knowing or the action of knowing, like it's like dropping into this place that just spontaneously knows.

And there is this like, you know, tug of war between these two parts of us, it seems like where, you know, this, these these know-it-all parts wanna push us into doing things.

And this creative part or this intuitive part is just like, but it's just like this and they don't live in the same realms. And because we get ragdolled, you know, sometimes we're really in the rational mind and we're in the inner critic and we're in that and it seems so real. And that's how, like, that's our worldview.

That's the filter. We're seeing everything.

It seems so compelling and real. It can be really hard when the soft, quiet, gentle.

Invisible, but enormous and infinite voice of creativity comes in and just 'cause creativity. Doesn't ever, that's how I tell the difference between the two. Creativity will never shove me to do anything.

Like, it'll never give me a, you should do this, you should do that. It'll never have any urgency. But, but when you're all whipped up in, in, in that other rational mind place, it's almost impossible to hear. And even if you do hear it, that other voice has such amazing arguments for why you shouldn't trust it.

So how have you learned how to trust the voice of your own intuition and creativity?

Jaime Hamilton: interesting?

Track 1: that it's ongoing?


Jaime Hamilton: Well, what's interesting is, as you were saying that, I was thinking about when you're in that mode, it's hard to even breathe. I'm someone with chronic back pain. I have a disc that slips out every once in a while and it happens when I'm stressed. the one thing that I've learned through that, aside from, you know, diet and exercise Yeah.

Is that, is that you have to breathe, you have to breathe through your pain, you have to breathe through your discomfort, you have to bring oxygen into your body to get rid of all that other crap. I can tell when I'm getting stressed at work or in mom mode or the creativity's just not coming.

It's like I can feel it here in my chest and in my shoulders. And so the, the first thing I do is I always take a deep breath. And Lily, my daughter, she's so funny. She goes, it's okay, mommy. Just take a deep breath like this . And she does this deep breathing and it's almost like. unlocking, you know, a key unlocking something. And then once we get that oxygen back in our body and our hearts and our brains, then the path just kind of makes itself known. the beauty of being an artist too is that we don't have to share every single piece of art that we make. Like we can make bad art, , make bad art all the time that I don't share. sometimes just getting it out, whether it's a bad song or, you know, a terrible poem. I love writing terrible poetry. It's

Track 1: so fun. I, I do

Jaime Hamilton: I wrote one about onions actually.

Track 1: maybe you need to read it to us if you feel like you can.

Jaime Hamilton: I can later.

Yeah, it's. I

Kate Shepherd: You don't to.

Jaime Hamilton: I'm actually really

proud of it. breathing and drinking water are two very underrated

things that when we're in stress mode, when we're in like block mode, when we're in just, I can't do anything right mode. Um, like that's when our bodies are telling us, Hey, you need to

stop. You need to pause. You need to breathe, drink some water and go chill the hell out.

Kate Shepherd: How do you tell the difference between ego creating or the rational mind creating versus creativity? What's the, what's the, is it and how, like, how does it feel in your body? Creativity? Is it like, does it come to you in visions? Does it move your arms? Does it, how does it feel? What does the felt experience of creativity to you?

Jaime Hamilton: For me, the world is loud. And then when I put that paintbrush on the paper, it's quiet.

Kate Shepherd: Hmm.

Jaime Hamilton: And, um, you know, I'll put on a, a movie for my daughter and I'll sit in the same room and, you know, she gets so frustrated. Mommy, you're not watching the movie. Yes, I am, but I'm painting. for me that true creativity is, the actual act of, of painting or doing or creating There's another piece of it too, actually, Neil Gaman, who's one of my favorite writers, he says that ideas come from Confluence, like the connection of, of two seemingly unrelated things. so sometimes we'll be watching Kung Fu Panda or you know, the Disney movies, and I'll hear something that I've heard 10,000 times before. But because I'm in a different mode, it hits at a different level and it's incredible. When I'm in that mode of creation, I'm much more open and, influenced, not influenced influential

Kate Shepherd: Influenceable,

Jaime Hamilton: There we go. Thank you.

Kate Shepherd: is that word? Is that a word?

Jaime Hamilton: It's now, now, it's, now.

Kate Shepherd: I've, I've heard so many different ways of describe that creativity seems to move so differently in each of us, and

I'm always curious how people find their way into it. And it sounds like for you it's a lot about just creating some, a little bit of space with breath, with a little pause in the moment, some water


just almost switching off that other part and, and

not too much about it.

Jaime Hamilton: Which is so hard. , especially if we work a regular nine to five or, you know, whatever. Um, but it's really, really important, somebody asked me why I get up so early 'cause I get up at four or five in the morning to create, to write, to paint, to do

whatever. it was the only time growing up where it was quiet in

my house, you know, sometimes it's the only time in my house where it's quiet still. And I think that you nailed it. I didn't even know. But it's about creating that space,

Kate Shepherd: Mm-Hmm.

Jaime Hamilton: um, physical, emotional, in your chest, in your heart, wherever.

Kate Shepherd: Do you do that you like every day you've done that since you were a kid, you've gotten up really early in the morning and made stuff

Jaime Hamilton: not always. I didn't have space when I was a kid. Like my bedroom had three walls. It didn't have a fourth wall.

I physically did not have my own space

until I was maybe 13. when I taught for a year overseas in China and I journaled every day. I wrote every day I had a Tumblr, when I started teaching is really when I started to wake up early and, and do these things in the morning.

'cause my brain is on fire at 5:00 AM Like I get the good ideas at 5:00 AM and at 9:00 PM my brain is asleep.

Kate Shepherd: so much of it is about unlocking just how, how this system of yours works, you know? And, then, I don't wanna say hacking it, but just tapping into that and just being like, okay, like this likes to, like, sometimes I'll, I'll wake up at three o'clock in the morning for whatever reason,

and, and I'm awake and I'm annoyed that I'm awake.

And I used to fight it and try everything to go back to sleep. And now I just say to myself, oh, it's awake,

it's Like, let's just, and going with that rather than kind of fighting the creative flow. Yeah. I.

seriously. For sure. And at six 30 I always get this 'cause our, our living quarters are upstairs and our bedrooms are downstairs at six 30. My daughter will yell from the bedroom, I need you the best part of my morning. And it's like, okay, creativity's done. Mom mode is on.

switch has flipped. I used to try to get up early 'cause I also find that there are fa, not always, but there are seasons when that time of day is really, really, it's usually in the winter. But that time day is usually really good for me and I cannot, for the life of me, get my children up by seven 30 for school.

But if I sneak out at five o'clock to go and meditate and write. They are awake within minutes, mama. And I hear a quiet little soft, warm

voice, mama, like,

you know, and they're a little scared, like, why am I alone in, they sleep in my bed with me, mama, where did you go? And it's like, what? How did you, how do you, how did you know I was going to, it's almost like there's a departure.

I don't know. It's a weird thing. Like I haven't just left to go, they don't wake up when I go to the bathroom.

Jaime Hamilton: No,

they know when you're not there. Like we're, you know, and we grew these babies inside of

us, so there's something that will always connect us to them

Track 1: Yeah.

But it's like, I've left, like I, it's like I have left mama mode

and I'm in, I've gone into a different realm. I've passed through a portal. I'm upstairs. I'm not any further away than if I come up here to wash dishes or make lunches. They're not waking up.

But as soon as I pass through that, like there is an energetic realm I think you pass

Totally. Totally. Yeah.

It's like you've, you've severed the connection briefly and um, they can sense it.


percent totally. Yeah. My daughter is very empathic too, her dad and I, the three of us are very emotional and, and her dad and I are not together, but we are very good friends. The three of us can tell when something's not right with the other parent

Jaime Hamilton: and it's so interesting the way we are connected to our children. He and I are raising her in a way to have the childhood that he and I both wish we'd had. she can sense when there's disconnect. She can sense when there's turmoil, when there's sadness, when there's whatever.

And she can also sense when there's this incredible joy too. , that's part of the reason why I love teaching too, is because these middle schoolers, they're, they're, they're like away from that connection in a way, but they still get it and they're still connected. they'll call you out on your, on your stuff.

Like nobody will.

Kate Shepherd: Which

is terrifying, but also kind of, isn't that what we're all aiming for? I mean, I that that's what I want. I wanna be able to just bust out and be the real me and say the things I really think, but, but grounded in a place of, you know, self love, like energy, like the energy of my real self, which.

Might be brutal sometimes, but is also always loving.

And I

like, I think that that's what kids show us sometimes is just how to be that, you know? So bravely honest.

they don't sugarcoat it. Ms. Hamilton, you look tired today. Why didn't you put on your makeup? Um, thank you Ms. Hamilton. You look terrible. Are you okay? Thank you for that. Unfair. But then it's like, okay, I thought I actually looked good today. I thought was hiding all of this stuff that I've been going through, but that girl right there just checked me.

Jaime Hamilton: and same thing, they're like little mirrors. the difficulty comes in teaching them how to to keep that, you know, keep that honesty, keep that truth, but then also be nice.

Kate Shepherd: Well, in a weird way, those two, well, no, those two things can't go together. And in a weird way, we're most at ease around the people who are able to do that the best. Whether they're insane

and shouldn't

be leading countries,


or whether they're, you know, deeply wise the people who just say what they really think and feel.

There's a charisma to them. There's a magnetic,

Jaime Hamilton: totally.

Kate Shepherd: uh, draw to them and. I think, I feel like I've just a little bit, I'm, I'm not brave enough to really be the real me, but what would, what would happen if I was, what would happen if I, you could, just walk around my life knowing I'm a good per, like, I know I'm a good person,



So good person.

I, and I know I am, but, but I also still really curate, like, the version of me that you get is very nice. I'm very, I also came from a lot of trauma in my childhood and we were, I'm gonna use the word T in quotes 'cause it wasn't as gentle as being taught, but we were taught very good manners. I was terrified most of my life about not being, I had to be nice. I had to be a good girl. I had to be nice. I had to, my survival depended on it really. And so, you know, the yearning for me is like, man, I would love to just be like. Brutally honest about what I think about about everybody and let the chips fall where they may,

but I'm still too scared to truly do it. I

mean, I do it a lot, but,

Jaime Hamilton: that is so fascinating because your survival technique was, perf perfection. Maybe mine was invisibility. Like

I just wanted to be invisible because if you saw me. You might hit me, or if you saw me, you might tear me down. And so I spent my childhood trying to be invisible,

but then I realized around middle school, you can't really be invisible. So it's better to put on this version of yourself that is just a freak, like just weird as hell so that people can't see inside. So I used to wear these fire engine red doc marten boots in middle school. I'd steal my dad's boxer shorts and wear them and wear neon green tights underneath.

And these shirts that were too tight. And just like I curated myself in a way where if you took one look at me, you might make an assumption and then write me off because the alternative of you looking and seeing me. Was so terrifying. That's the thing that I'm, I'm constantly learning in my relationships with my adult friends and with my boyfriend, is that he sees through all that shit and it, he, like, he sees right down to my core.

And, um, and now as an adult, I don't wanna be invisible anymore. I, I, I'm done being invisible. I'm done being this version, this thing that you think I am. My dad could never live this, but he always used to say, say what you mean and mean what you say .

it's like really ironic because he just can't.

Kate Shepherd: Well, and to think about that, you know, those people in our lives as other versions of us there, he, he also was aspirational and probably if he had anybody in his. Sphere anywhere that could have had a, this kind of conversation with him and felt brave enough, to be honest, would've been saying a lot of probably the same things.

Like, I didn't, my, my parents couldn't and I didn't, and there was violence and there was this, and there was, and yeah. I mean, I think it's just like we passed the torch and And we all, and, and then, and then recognizing, oh my gosh. Like there's, that's how you survived. You became invisible. And I became, and, and so we've got all these like avatars interacting with each other and ever is the real, the real deal, you know?

But it's all there always peering out at each other. And we're like, it's like, hi, I, I'm here take the notes off. Yeah. Well and that's why I think it's so important to have those, people in your life who do act like mirrors or who do see through all that stuff, you know? 'cause they can remind us when, when we forget you are a badass, you're great, you're lovable, you're amazing. you don't have to be perfect.

Well, it brings me to, and I wonder if you've already inadvertently answered it, at the end of every episode, I ask , the billboard question. Um, which is, you had a billboard that it was a magical billboard and it could reach all of these people who long to express this true version of themselves with all the gifts that come with it, , which is to me another way of saying creativity.

But for all the reasons that we've talked about, all the traumas and all the. Difficult childhoods and all the mean mentors and all the critics inner and outer that they've had to navigate in their lives. They just don't believe that they have it in them. They just don't believe that they have the right to express it or that it really even exists in them anyway.

Or that there's any point or any of that. But you are gonna put this something on this magical billboard and, and the words that you said could get into this little crack and could, help somebody through that help somebody realize like, oh wait, there's another way of seeing this.

What would you, what would you put on it?

I came up one with one in the shower the other day, and then I forgot it .

I have this tattooed on me, and it came out of some intense journaling, it says, there's this beautiful lotus flower on my shoulder, and they only bloom in the mud, right? And so it says, beautiful things come from messy beginnings.

Jaime Hamilton: I feel like that would be one side of the billboard. And then the other side would be just start, we're not perfect. We're not supposed to be. and wherever you are right now is where you're supposed to be.

Kate Shepherd: That's beautiful. Thank you.


I'm gonna pick, so normally what I do is I pick a word for the episode before the show, but today I was, and I trust when this happens. I just had this strong feeling that I was supposed to do it in the episode with you here.

So I'm gonna draw a word for us out of my bowl. Wisdom. So it's a, it's a wizard looking angel. She's wearing like navy blue robes and she has purple wings and she's carrying a lantern that there's light coming all outta this lantern. And she's standing at the top of these snow covered peaks and she's just kind of holding, holding the lantern up.

And the word wisdom is beside it.

I love that.


Trust. Trust in your gut, trust in your intuition, trust in your inner wizard. That's Yeah

I love I'm gonna send you a picture of this.

tell us where we can find you and your and how we can support you and learn more about you and hear more from I am mostly, mostly on Instagram. Hey mama paints. That's me.

Um, that's one M-H-E-Y-M-A-M-A. Yeah. Hey, mama Paints.

paints. Yeah. I used to call my daughter, Hey mama. 'cause I wanted her to say it back. And so when I decided to start this as a little side hustle business, it was just natural. So, hey mama paints, and then my website is hey mama paints.com.

Jaime Hamilton: I do a newsletter every two weeks or so. And, that's, where you can find me. take a look at all my dirty cards that I paint,

Kate Shepherd: I love it. I'm gonna put all that in the show notes. Thank much. I like, I wanna hang out with you more.

I feel like I am meant to go back to Canada, so it'll, it's gonna happen.

Kate Shepherd: We've all been through so much in our lives.

We've survived, impossible situations and found ourselves at times, probably more than once with broken hearts.

Some of us came from really difficult childhoods. And some of us didn't but found ourselves in difficulties later on in life. Either way, most of us have so much that we are working to heal from. It can be hard to know what voices to listen to or where to even start in our own healing journeys.

so if you take one thing from this episode today, I hope it's to take to heart. Jamie's beautiful reminder that when we allow ourselves to practice creativity, for its own sake and just for ourselves.

We open up a conversation with the deepest part of ourselves.

And we just might find that in there. Liv's the wisest, most loving friend you've ever had. Who's been there with you all along.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published