Art Therapy


Good evening if you’re reading/listening to this life update in real time. It is October 22nd 8:44pm as I am writing up this blog post. I’m about to have a much-needed night in after a heavy week of emotions and chaotic energy and regrettable decisions. So, I am taking a second to slow down, and reflect, and recover, and be gentler with myself.

I finally called back my therapist.

I have returned to venting into the pages of my journal.

I cleaned out and reorganized my two messiest drawers.

I’ve started getting up earlier to paint in the mornings before work.

I water my plants every Wednesday now.

And I turned down plans tonight to go out and opted to spend time with myself when I didn’t feel like I had the energy to socialize. And now I’ve got the apartment to myself to write my blog and drink my tea and maybe watch Little Women because I saw a clip of it on Twitter and it looked like it could make me cry in a really good way.

Now is the time to be reinvesting in myself. It is my season. Happy Scorpio season everyone. It’s time to let your emotions empower and strengthen you, to lean into your intuition, to let go of obsessions, to be vulnerable and resilient. With the intensity of this week plus the full moon a couple days ago and now the start of this season AND the cold weather we had today I feel such a shift happening in my life and I honestly welcome it.

Another change I’ve noticed recently, and what I want to get into with this blog post is that for the first time maybe in my life, my art has become an emotional outlet. This morning I needed to paint, not out of obligation to anyone else but out of personal necessity.

Prior to these last few months, I only ever created art to have an external impact, not for myself… at least not entirely. My focus was always on getting the technical skills right (enough) or making it special to someone else by really tailoring it to their style and preferences. And don’t get me wrong, that was fulfilling in a sense. I would feel proud of myself when I could see objective skill development and a solid execution. The external validation was great too. We all love receiving praise, especially when it is in line with our internal evaluations of our work. But I was always that person in art class who would just make up the meaning after the piece was totally complete, when in reality is was never that deep. But now it is THAT deep ;).

It has felt so right and so special. I get to take the incessant thoughts and motifs in my head and manifest them onto my canvas. My memory has been absolute shit recently, but I have vivid imagery of moments that are deeply attached to emotional events from my life that pop up any time my mind gets too quiet. My paintings recently have allowed me to narrow in on those images or feelings or memories and create something that can be shared with other people. In that way, the paintings I’m creating give me hope that, when I am ready to share them, I will be seen and heard and understood.

It also really sweet to me that when I really needed to process my feelings but was neglecting to do so, my creative side stepped up like this. It just reminds me of my capacity, even on a subconscious level, to survive, to look out for myself. It reminds me that I can care for myself and console and comfort the parts of myself that are hurting. Making art can be an act of self-love.

I’ve been creating these really emotionally charged paintings to address some of the negative feelings I’ve experienced in my recent past but using art as an emotional outlet has opened the door to more than just that. I have so many fond memories and happy feelings that I can’t wait to let come through in my work as well. All of my work just has the potential to be so much more meaningful now and it’s resulting in objectively better art (in my opinion, so maybe not objectively).

It feels like sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Dodge Caravan and after weeks of annoying my siblings with my obsessive failed efforts, I’ve finally learned how to snap my fingers, and now I can’t even push my thumb across my middle finger without making a sound. And I don’t know what exactly I’ve even done differently, but now I’ve got it and my siblings are really going to have to bear with me as I show off my newfound talent. I can’t lie, I kind of snapped with these last paintings and I’m excited to show them off in the future because I still do be loving external validation.

Something has shifted in me and even though I don’t understand how things are going to work out right now, I have a feeling that they will.

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