I was struck last night by the realization that I am still bringing my need for perfection to my art/gratitude journal. How ridiculous is that? I’m making space for my creativity, yet I’m trying to control what I produce. I’m leaving pages blank because I don’t have a perfect idea for what to doodle, draw or paint. In trying to open up my life I’m contributing to making it smaller with my deep-seated need to control. How crazy is that?
I understand why therapy – and in some cases antidepressants – is necessary for people suffering from chronic pain or a chronic illness. It is so easy to get lost inside yourself while you try to control the smallest things because your life, your body, is not in your control. It is so easy to lose your awareness because you spend every minute fighting to hold on to your old self instead of creating a new one that isn’t stifled by your new circumstances. It is so easy to try to impose perfection onto an imperfect situation.
I have so many blank pages in my art/gratitude journal because I’ve been combing the internet trying to find the perfect creative ideas to fill its pages. I’ve been searching to see what other people – perfect artistic people – do to fill the pages of their art journals and sketch books instead of listening to and expressing more of my voice. Last night it hit me that I’m wasting my time and making myself feel worse instead of better. In my search for the perfect things I’m comparing myself to others and the person I used to be. And this journal isn’t about perfection.
This journal is about giving myself space for a few minutes – or hours if necessary – each day to express myself. To put on the pages whatever spills out of my mind, even on the days when what shows up doesn’t feel or look like it came from my mind. It’s my space to draw imperfect shapes, doodle imperfect lines, and paint imperfectly matched colours. This space is mine to be free of judgement about whatever it is I might write or create.
There is no room for perfection in this space. And I know that each of us inflicted with chronic pain or a chronic illness need to have some space where we can feel free being ourselves whatever that might look like.
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive