Ugh, y’all. I’ve hit a bit of a slump. A metaphorical wall. A point where I just want to sleep and read and watch reruns of Law & Order. I totally ship Amanda and Carisi, by the way. Needless to say I haven’t felt like doing any painting/art journaling.
When I get like this I sometimes wish I didn’t feel anything. I think, to be numb, that’d be great. Of course that wouldn’t be good either. But sometimes…
I become really down on my life and my work and I get pretty fed up with myself. I wonder why am I like this? I have no reason to feel this way. So why do I?
It’s here that I need to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this way sometimes. It’s okay to take a time out. It’s okay to just read on a Sunday afternoon. It’s okay to not create anything for a few days. It’s okay to watch video after video of Bunny Meyer when you can’t sleep at night.
It’s important that we be gentle with ourselves, to give ourselves as much breathing room as we would someone else. After all, we are sometimes hardest on ourselves.
But today, I began cleaning off my work table because in my “absence” it had become a catchall for other stuff. Like a bottle of concentrated liquid cleaner and my son’s allergy meds (don’t get those two mixed up!).
By taking that little step to clean off my desk, it made me want to get my hands painty. I ended up with lots of scraps that I didn’t want to toss. I might be a hoarder. I didn’t have any expectations on what it’d turn out like. And it’s a good thing, because it is kinda’ a hot mess. And that’s okay, not everything needs to be fantastic – in life and in art journaling.
I haphazardly glued down the scraps, covering them with Titanium White and different inks as I went along.
The point is not perfection, the point is to do something. To get the juices flowing again. Because having a hodge podge mess is better than nothing at all.
Now for the winner of the giveaway! Didi congrats! I sent you an email!! 🙂 Thanks for entering everyone. I still have some stamps and other fun stuff in my Etsy shop if you missed it.
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. 😉
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. 😉