And now…for the giveaway. Nothing too fancy, just a thank you for visiting my blog/video. (Sorry, this is only open to US residents since I’m paying out of pocket for shipping. lol )
Today I’ll be giving away a mini-journal featuring one of Roben-Marie Smith’s ArtPops cards for the cover. The little booklet is full of assorted pages just waiting to be art-ed up.
But wait, there’s more! (Sorry I can’t help my corniness sometimes.) I’ll also add a set of my favorite Faber Castell stencils. Oh yes, it’s the one with the hexagon’s! They are made of heavy cardstock and I have used them over and over and over again. I should have purchased two. One for the giveaway and one for myself.
I’ll also throw in a Stabilo pencil, as I buy these in bulk and have a few to share. 😉
SO to be entered, go watch and like my video (obviously I have no way of knowing if you did this, but I trust y’all) and come back here and let me know which single (not the whole set) stamp is your favorite. Giveaway ends Friday!
Day Two of the mini countdown until the stamps go on sale! So that means another video using the stamps of course. The main stamp that takes center stage is Perfectly Imperfect. Because, y’all, ain’t nobody perfect! Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. What’s perfect to one person, isn’t to another. A LOT of people would look at my art journals and gasp because they think they are so ugly. lol So you just keep on doing your thing. You are perfect!
If you follow me on Instagram, this was the one I posted saying it could be a mess or it could be beautiful. I decided it’s a beautiful mess.
I always loved art, but never felt I was any good at it. The household I grew up in used any vulnerability I had against me, against anyone, really. IF it was noticed, I’d be teased mercilessly. So what little art making I did do, I kept it mostly to myself. Afterall, my ninth grade art teacher said I wasn’t good at art, because I couldn’t draw. She must know. She’s the educated one. *rolls eyes* Needless to say I didn’t do much art because of those external factors.
When I was a young mom, (ugh, I feel old saying things like ‘when I was a young mom’) I began scrapbooking. It was a fun and easy creative outlet. I couched it. Kept it simple and without much emotion or feelings displayed. I definitely didn’t do a whole lot of journaling alongside my pictures. Because, oh.my.gosh. what if someone saw it and made fun of it.
Art is very personal. Not that scrapbooking isn’t. I personally just kept my scrapbooking more generic I guess. Art is a different monster all together. Something everyone seems to have an opinion on.
The old me, the me from even a few years ago, would have never in a million years think she could create art. I mean, just who did I think I was? Someone special? Nooooo way, Mister.
In the few years since I began making art, even though I’ve worked hard, I still encounter this negative self talk. It’s buried so deeply in my psyche, it’s ingrained into my thought pattern. A side effect of growing up in a negative and abusive environment.
It’s no secret that a traumatic childhood can lead to mental health and emotional problems later in life. Problems ranging anywhere from depression to drug use. It’s really quite sad how we carry all that baggage into adulthood, whether we realize it or not.
Anxiety seems to be my “emotional problem” of choice. Except it’s not a choice.
Yes, I know. Everyone gets anxious. It’s normal – whatever “normal” means. Trust me when I say this is different kind of anxiety.
Anxiety is as unique as the prints on your fingertips. It’s different for everyone. For me, my anxiety feels… suffocating. Like there is a brick on my chest weighing me down, interfering with my ability to breath correctly. It’s living in a constant state of unease. Irrational, intrusive thoughts interrupt my day/hour/minute. It’s feeling so wrong and so bad and not being able to explain exactly why. It feels like I’m drowning. Some days it’s all consuming. On the worst days, it takes all my energy just to function because I’m sinking under the weight of it.
It’s so easy to remain stagnant. To get stuck in this pattern. But it was no longer serving me (not that it ever did) and over time, I realized I had to get past this if I ever wanted to be released from its grasp.
SO, how did I “fix” myself, you ask? Or maybe you’re not asking, but I’ll tell you anyway.
Are you ready? Its pretty earth-shattering. Basically this is what I did:
That’s it. I stayed away from people that made me feel like shit, cutting most, if not all, contact.
Okay, it’s not that simple. And it sure wasn’t easy. It also didn’t fix things wholly. (Wow, that word looks wrong, but it’s the correct usage. Promise. I looked it up.) It was a start. I also found a therapist.
Another major thing I did was to begin working on art again. Painting. Creating. Making a general mess. I hid it away at first. Again, who did I think I was?
As time passed, I became more confident in my art and felt compelled to share it on Instagram.
I began to shed the abusive baggage in my life and began talking a little bit more openly about my anxiety as well as my art. People were kind and understanding and, to my surprise, interested.
I’m not so great at saying what I’m feeling, but I can express myself with art in way I cannot convey into words. Even if I don’t understand exactly why I’m anxious, which is most of the time, I can sit down at my desk and create something and feel tremendously better. And if I don’t feel better at least I’ve done something that day other than fixate on my anxiety.
Simply put, Art Heals!
I stumble. I have bad days. But now I have the tools to help me cope. One day I hope to not have to consciously fight off anxiety. Hey, a girl can dream can’t she? Until then, I have my art.
The girl I used to be would never had shared her art with anyone, forget about doing so on multiple social media outlets. And never would I have thought I could open an Etsy shop and actually sell my art and the things I make. It’s amazing how situations can can change when you work on them.
When you keep moving forward.
So, it’s with great excitement (and a tad bit of anxiety) that I am trying another thing I never thought I could do (thank you Sherry and Michele for convincing me I should do this)…
And that’s release my own stamps!
I know, I’m shocked too.
The designs are simple and versatile, easily added to your own journals. Not sure where to start or want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your journal page? These are perfect for that.
If you’ve followed me for any significant amount of time, you know I’m a huge fan of scribbling. Hate your writing? Scribble. Don’t want anyone to read what you’ve written? Scribble. Want to add something else to your art that’s not obvious? Scribble. With the stamp set Scribble Scribble Dot Dot, it makes it super easy.
And the stamps of the Art Heals set, in my own scribbley handwritten font,are a positive reminder to add to your journal to keep you going in the right direction.
These stamps aren’t overly complex. I kept them simple for a reason. Life is hard, art journaling doesn’t have to be. 😉
To a lot of people releasing my own stamps probably seems so insignificant. So unimportant. And it probably is in the grand scheme of things. To them. To me, though, it’s a step in the right direction, a step away from my anxiety.
Please check back throughout the week for more sample pages using the stamps and maybe a giveaway or two. 😉
Really, it’s not so much of why we create as it is just something we feel we have to do.
And that’s the point. Creating, for me, is a way of life. If I couldn’t be creative in some facet or another, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now. I’d probably be rocking back and forth in the corner eating my hair.
Seriously though, I can’t help but wonder why some people feel they have to create, and others just don’t feel compelled to do so, which is fine. (Then there are others who are afraid to. But that’s another blog post all together.)
For me, it’s something to keep my mind busy. It’s a great way to get out what’s bottled up inside. Getting my hands painty and messy soothes my overactive mind and worn out soul.
It’s a way to express myself without saying, “Today I feel…”. Saying what I feel is something I’m not so good at, though I’m working on it.
It’s therapeutic slapping down paint and pushing it around a page without much thought and just letting my feelings, most of the time my subconscious feelings, guide me.
Veering a different way for a second…. let’s talk about Highly Sensitive People (HSP).
The term highly sensitive is basically described as someone who has a more sensitive nervous system. They are more aware of the slight subtleties that the average person doesn’t notice and can become more overwhelmed in an over-stimulating situation or environment.
It’s said that only 20% of the population is highly sensitive.
It’s also said, a good portion of that percentage is a creative of some type. Artist, actor, designer, ect.
Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, there are other studies that show a correlation between trauma in childhood and being highly sensitive and being creative. I believe one can be born this way. We are the way we are, you don’t necessarily have to put a label on everything. But being a child in an abusive home can increase one’s chances of being highly sensitive, or make an already existing highly sensitive personality more zealous.
Being in an abusive situation, their nervous system is kicked into overdrive.
It makes sense in my case. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to feel. I wasn’t allowed to be too happy, too sad, or, heaven forbid, angry. I grew up in a constant state of alertness to my parents erratic moods and my fathers psychological abuse. I knew how to make myself small and quiet. Insignificant .Which has, not surprisingly, given me a nervous system that is just plain ol’ wore out.
I’m not sure if I’m highly sensitive, or just accustomed to reading people’s moods and ignoring my own feelings which has given me a case of the anxieties.
One thing I do know is art journaling gives me an outlet.
Okay, now all that being said, let’s back to the topic at hand…
That’s not to say I don’t get frustrated while creating. I go through dry spells and there are times where everything I make is sh…. ummm, not good.
This one, for instance, gave me fits! I wish I would have taken process pictures. I suggest you do that, by the way. Sometimes it helps to see the stages an art journal page takes. But this one, it was so ugly and then magical things happened. I kept haphazardly throwing adding layers of paint and ink and papers and it turned into this.
And all the sudden I feel better. The frustration I felt about this page in particular, as well as some things in my life, just lifted. I felt so much better after creating something.
And this is why I create.
I used to think there wasn’t meaning behind everything we do. Now, I know there is more to life than free floating along. There is meaning. Even in our little art journals.
Side Note, I have some exciting things coming up so stay tuned 😉 Here are some sneak peaks.
Fear is a pretty prevalent emotion in our society. Lots of talk about anxiety disorders and panic disorders. And that’s great, we should talk about it. I have anxiety disorder with a side of PTSD from a traumatic childhood that I never dealt with until recently. So, I know. I know.
I know how paralyzing fear and anxiety can be. I know about the self doubt, lack of self worth. The negativity you feel about yourself. The persistent and unexplainable uneasiness.
While there is positivity if you look for it, the negative sometimes seems to be more prevalent, no? And easier to believe.
And what is the basis of negativity? (In my opinion, anyway.)
Fear is a natural emotion. It is important. Fear can steer you away from dangerous situations. It can tell you when something is wrong.
But isn’t is strange how much fear can keep us from doing the things we want to do?
While fear can keep us safe, it can keep us stuck. Stagnant. This is true from something as big as quitting your job and embarking on a better opportunity, or it can come in a simpler form, such as living a more creative life.
Because what if…
What if we just make a mess? What if we waste money? What will others think of what we create?
I’m not even going to pretend I don’t struggle with all these things.
But if I let fear control my ability to be creative then my anxiety gets worse and then depression joins the club. And that’s just no fun at all. I can’t let those negative what-if’s effect me. Even when my self doubt and anxiety is kicked into overtime.
When this happens, I have to force myself, yes, sometimes I have to force myself, to take even as little as five minutes to just slap paint down onto paper. Usually five minutes will turn into ten and then ten will turn into twenty and before I realize it I’ve created something I love (or not) and I feel better than I did when I sat down. I count that as a win. I won against fear if only for a little bit that day.
Because staying stagnant in your fear and anxiety won’t get you anywhere.
Today I’m veering a little off the art track, though I guess art still play a bit part in what my point will end up being. But ultimately this post isn’t about art.
It’s about us.
Christmas. It’s a stressful time isn’t it? All the get-togethers, the obligations, all the shopping. Its enough to make my eyes cross. I’m not much of a joiner. I’m an introvert and as much as I hate to admit it, because people tend to look at me like there’s something wrong with me, I really do not like the holidays. Or, its not the holidays so much, its really that I don’t like the obligations.
It started with the birth of my son 18 years ago. (18? Really? It feels like it was just a few years ago.) Everyone wanted to see the baby for christmas. He was just two months old and I was a new mom. Very nervous about germs and people touching my baby. It was ridiculous the number of get-togethers we had to attend, were expected to attend. And being young I felt I had to go to them all. That I couldn’t say no. Worst of all, I thought there was something wrong with me for not wanting to partake.
Fast forward to now and I am in a much more comfortable place to say NO. Plus, now that he kids are older, people aren’t as excited to see them. Funny how how that works.
But no is such an important word. One that people often look at as bad.
So many of us live for others acceptance and lose ourselves in the process. We allow guilt and shame and manipulation to run our lives. And why?
Because we are afraid of making others angry.
We spread ourselves too thin and then wonder why we can’t seem to really enjoy the holidays. We wonder why we are stressed.
This kind of thing, though, it happens in everyday life too, not just during the holidays. I hear so often that people don’t have the time for themselves to pee let alone to have a hobby such as art. And I get that backhanded comment of “Oh, I wish I had time to paint…”
The truth is you can make time for what’s important and you can say no to obligations that you do not want to partake in. It is okay. You don’t have to mean or rude. (Though be forewarned, people may take it that way. But that’s their issue, not yours! You can not control or are you responsible for what other people feel.)
So, here is my little challenge to you…
Say no. Say no to the things you don’t want to do that you do not have to do. Obviously you may have to work, you might have children to care for. You have to shower (occasionally anyway). But those things that you actually don’t have to do, those obligations we feel guilty if we don’t do, and don’t want to do? Say no!
Allow others to take responsibility of the everyday things occasionally (or everyday!). So what if your husband/significant other/kids don’t do the laundry just as you would? Let them do it anyway. It will be okay. Let them do it and you go create something. Paint, draw, mold, sculpt, write. Scribble! Whatever.
So what if they don’t load/unload the dishwasher correctly. It will be okay. The world will not implode if you take an hour to yourself. Be strong. Stand up for yourself. Say Hey! This is what I’m going to do (or not do) and go do it.
These are just examples of what might be keeping you from doing something you love, something that you put off because life is crazy and we’ve said ‘yes’ to too many things. The truth is we make time for the things that matter. And YOU matter, sister. (Or brother 😉 )
Let go of perfectionism. Let go of doing everything yourself. And take time to create something for yourself. Just for the sake of creating.
It will be okay.
Sidenote, these puppies are back in stock! And each includes a mini envelope. 😉