Using Creativity to Cope

Last year started out well. I had my goals set, knew the things I wanted to focus on, and had those written out as well. I had created my vision board. I was working on said goals. Focusing on the important things and working towards manifesting what I envisioned for myself. And then, MARCH and the RONA happened. WTH? And the beginning of this year, same. This year hasn’t been much better.

As a content creator, a YouTuber and someone who has content on Patreon, I had no choice but to show up, but there have been days over the past year, when the last thing I felt like doing was being creative. Between the news (lets not even talk about mainstream media news), the political fiasco’s in the United States, the lack of help and support for American’s by their own government (while almost every other country is helping their citizens, ours has been fighting like little kids on the playground). Not to mention natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and/or winter storms. Every day, or every other day, it was and has been something else.

I document my days, my life, in my journals and sketchbooks. Documenting what has felt like the Apocalypse has not been something that makes me feel like being creative. Have I documented some of it? Yes. Have I felt like documenting it? No, not really. When I was younger, and wanted to be a journalist, write about important life and human interest stories, I would have. I could have blogged about it. Taken pictures. Chronicled certain things via video. I suppose in some ways, I have done just that.

As things got worse, I began trying to find a way to cope. I started reading more–fiction and non-fiction. I’ve watched more Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime shows and movies than I have in quite a few years. I started doodling more. The fun kind of doodling, and filling in the doodles with watercolor. I’ve played around with learning gouache, I’ve not mastered it yet, but I’m having fun learning. I’ve started adding more collage and ephemera into my journal pages. I’ve recently been “art/visual” journaling again, a sort of mixture of collage, pictures, art, text, and whatever else I fancy that day, and it’s helped. But my creativity has ebbed and flowed, like the tide at Folly Beach, which is near where I grew up.

“Folly Beach Pier” by Bill Ward’s Brickpile is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The other day I went on an artist date, and captured a picture of some puffy clouds that were just gorgeous. I was so inspired by the sight of those gorgeous, puffy clouds, I later on watercolored the essence of it. Was my quick watercolor in my small sketchjournal as detailed as the photo? No. I wasn’t aiming for my watercolor of it to look like the picture I took, but I did have fun creating it. I did find myself inspired enough by it to sit down at my desk and break out the watercolors. I showed up. I was in the moment the whole time I was creating that small watercolor. And that’s how I cope. I show up. I work on something that will hopefully get me in that zone, so I can find my rhythm and flow, and be present in the moment, in the now. Each time I draw a doodle, paint, sketch, write, read, film, take a picture, work on a DIY project, watch a television show or a movie, take a walk, make a run for coffee (my favorite is the venti sized white chocolate mocha), or just sit outside and look at the clouds and pick out the images… “oh, look! there’s a shark with a mermaid holding on to its fin…”

Some days I’m more creative than others, some days between the stress and anxiety, pain (I have chronic pain thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibro, Tendonitis, and regular Arthritis), I’m doing good to read and journal in bed–those days don’t happen as much now that I’m taking vegan full spectrum CBD gummies, but that’s a whole other post. I’m happier when I’m creative. I’ve been journaling for over 46 years, and as much as I’ve wanted to chronicle this past year, the good the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, I’ve only managed to do so in bits and pieces, to do more would have been completely overwhelming. I applaud those who have been able to.

Since March is National Women’s History Month, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to every woman out there on the front line, to every woman at home with their children, to every woman who has had to stay home from work to be a caretaker for a family member(s) or who had to go to work to help take care of their family, and to EVERY woman out there. Thank you. This past year has been rough, in many ways.

I love what I do. I love that I am creative for a living. It’s not always easy when you have anxiety, depression, and ADHD, but it’s worthwhile. Finding inspiration and joy in the midst of all this chaos, confusion, and uncertainty has been hard at times, but it is out there. I hope you’ve found at least a bit of inspiration and joy for yourself.

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