Updated: Nov 13, 2018
Every person is creative and using your creativity is a necessity, whether you believe it or not. You are creative everyday even if it's through regular tasks like cooking dinner or folding laundry. Yes, folding. Ever heard of origami? Yeah, you fold that t-shirt into a crane girl. I dare you. That being said, if you allow yourself to take time to be creative, then things can really start to happen.
A little background on me: ever since I was a small child creative expression has always been my outlet, or my go-to, if you will. I have never believed myself to be much of a fine artist, who would focus and master one thing at a time, but more of a jack of all trades, too bored too quickly with the same media or subject matter day in and day out (and a rampant obsession to own every type of art making material, surface, tool, media and accessory human beings have come up with...thank you Blick Art Supplies). I graduated from Tyler School of Art at Temple University (hoot, hoot!) with an art education degree, but, for a variety of reasons, that career didn't exactly pan out for me. I spent the years after college working in museums, galleries, pottery paint shops...even a very successful auction house, as well as launching my own online store to sell my work and teaching children's classes here and there. I've always felt a little bit like a failure for not securing that art teacher career my parents wanted so badly, but now, I'm thankful for the incredible opportunities I've had in the art world because it has given me quite a well-rounded experience, as well as realistic expectations of what I can do with my art and my abilities.
I've also never been very good at the whole, "self-care" thing and it's only gotten worse since having my first child. Like so many other women, I suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to our daughter (one of two of the best DIYs of my whole life). This time period triggered a lot of fear, worry and stress that I, unknowingly, lived with for years prior to childbirth, and now having a tiny human to care for, the symptoms went through the roof. My husband helped as he could, but as the primary breadwinner, his sleep meant more than mine, and let me tell, you, I DO NOT handle sleep deprivation well. 20 months later I had our second child and went through PPD again, and I believe at this point my brain logged away the cavernous feeling of loneliness and isolation during those long newborn nights just for the fun of flashing them to me over and over again for the next few years in the form of random anxiety attacks. My son is now almost four years old, and I have only recently started to manage my anxiousness. You'll never guess what did it...I'll give you a hint: it involves practicing self-care. Go figure!
"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis (the "Tony Robbins" for women) was a game changer for me. Yeah, I've read my fair share of self-help articles, online blogs (let's face it, I hadn't read a book in about 4 years until this one...kids...amiright?!) and I follow lots of influential, no bull-shit people on instagram, such as one of my favs, @garyvee, but nothing put a fire in me like Rachel's book. I won't bore you with my rendition of what it's about because you should already be heading over to Amazon to purchase it for yourself (cuz I said so, darn-it), but there are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book that it is impossible to ignore her advice. Seriously. I wrote down so many quotes on so many different pieces of paper that they are now all over my house. The best thing about reading her book is that I finally said to myself, maybe out-loud...maybe not..."This is ridiculous. You have wanted to teach art again for years, you've come up with a fantastic idea for a fun, no pressure, creative workshop for people who are curious about getting their hands messy with paint, while simultaneously...um...DRINKING WINE, and you have all the tools and know-how to make it happen. You also have a deep, personal desire to be creative, every, single, day and you get super cranky and hate yourself if you don't. Stop making excuses. Stop letting the fear of failure keep you from fulfilling what is obviously your passion. Stop seeing only obstacles and roadblocks and believe in your own ability to make these plans a reality. Dammit girl, just flippin' do it." So guess what? I am.
I started a daily practice. I paint or create, EVERY DAY, even if it's only for the three stolen minutes between each bedtime escape those little stinkers attempt, or doodling in my sketchbook while watching the second season of "Making a Murderer" (um...please tell me you've watched this series on Netflix. If not...go now...stop reading my blog and watch it. It's cray-cray!). I TAKE the time. I use the word "take" on purpose because as women and/or moms, that's just how it feels, and I'm pretty sure I speak for most of us in this area. We are desperate for that self-care, for the time to hang on to who we were before all of the responsibility, but when reaching for that goal doesn't fit into the daily, sometimes oppressive grind of caring for EVERYONE ELSE ON THE PLANET, including most, if not all of the cooking and folding y'all...we feel guilty, like we have to steal time for ourselves. So yes, I TAKE the time because I deserve it, dammit, and honestly, everyone else in my household is better off if I do. I suppose saying that I "give" myself the time would be a better way to phrase it...perhaps a little more graceful...but what the hell, I've never been much of a dainty flower so I'll just stick with "take." For me, this time has become a necessary form of self-care. My daily practice has become essential to my health and well being. The time and space to release my creative voice is doing more than help me to become a better artist, but is having actual health benefits, such as drastically reducing my anxiety. And my anxiety attacks? Almost completely gone. All because of *giving* (insert eye-roll here) myself that time to make my heart happy just for the sake of making my heart happy. It's call self-care y'all...refueling...after all, you really can't pour from an empty cup.
You can do the same. Everyone is born with creativity. If you have ever had an itch to paint or draw or write or sing, please, do yourself a favor, take some time and allow yourself to try. Read Rachel's book. Believe in yourself. Let that inner creativity have a voice. I know that it will make you a happier person. And I know that you will gain so much more insight into who you are when you use your creative inclination as a form of self-care, versus sitting in a chair getting your hair or nails did. Of course, if that's what makes you happy...go 'git those nails done girl! Just promise me you won't worry about getting them dirty when you come home to continue your creative "you-time."
Still nervous about letting your creativity loose? Let me know. I'm here to support you in anyway that I can.