Construction Paper Blockage Removed by Pipecleaner

October 7, 2008 § 5 Comments

My fear was that I’d never regain the limitless creativity and passion for art after going through detox.  All I could remember was being warm and comfortable on my painkillers and working on a scrapbook page for an hour, or writing for six hours or some other amazing marathon session.  And for a long time, it was true.  I stopped taking my painkillers in May of this year, and for many months following I had no desire to do anything.  I abandoned my writing, my journal, my scrapbooks, my painting, pottery, sculpting in favor of naps and Bravo Marathons and whining about why I’m sure I have Hirschsprung’s Disease or a Bezoar, or some sort of incurable cancer because my leftmost toe is throbbing.

Paper clippings from my collage ephemera

Paper clippings from my collage ephemera

But in the past week or two I feel like I”ve been overcome with a wave of creativity that I can’t possibly keep up with.  Were I not afraid of being thrown into yet another doctor’s office, hospital bed, I’d swear it was what the pros call “mania”. 

I went Antiquing with Meredith last weekend, and almost everything I picked up I had an idea for, including a twenty or thirty slot time clock punch rack that I couldn’t find once I’d talked myself into buying it.  It didn’t stop there, and it hasn’t stopped since.  I want to rehab a house.  I want to sew clothes and embroider flowers and vines on them.  I want to make a quilt that resembles an abstract sunset, make a felted christmas tree, shadowboxes for the four seasons.  I want to start a charitable foundation.  I want to make a set of greeting cards.  And most of all, I want the time to do it. 

I created a little ‘idea book’ last week that i carry around everywhere.  Not only is it a binder for holding pictures and articles from magazines, but there is blank paper in each of the six sections (Self/Beauty,Gifts,Home Decor,Crafty,Travel,Christmas) where i can sketch my ideas and write down the vision long before I’m able to tackle it.  Already the “crafty” section is smudged and blurry from sketches, ideas, scrapped ideas drawn over with new ideas, lists of supplies.  In a dream world, I’d become good enough at my crafting that I could perhaps sell a few things on Etsy, but for right now, it just pleases me to make a bookmark, sit back and look at it, and then pause for ten seconds before making something else.  This must be what they call ‘living in the moment’.  In a life full of nostalgia, regret, guilt, worry, hope and question, I am constantly missing what’s happening right now for fear of breaking my leg five minutes from now.

This creativity has become what my counselor calls “self care”.  I’ve never been able to grasp onto the idea “You can’t love others until you love yourself.”  I understand that all of you firmly believe it, but to me it makes no sense.  If I give and give and give of myself, if i devote my life to keeping my daughter, husband, dog, family, friends, coworkers happy, why do they care if I sit at home saying “Gosh I’m a great person, I’m super duper in love with myself.” 

first in a series

A Kitty bookmark: first in a series

It was my counselor who took the word love away. He explained that it wasn’t a matter of loving yourself, but of taking care of yourself so tht you can take care of others in the way you see fit.  The obvious example is that in order for a mother to be at her best, she needs rest and nourishment and an occasional emotional recharge.  So instead of feeling guilty for going to pottery class because I’m not spending time with my only child in this finite and rapidly passing lifetime, I should see it as me taking care of myself so that when I return home to Charlotte, I’m the best ,most energetic mom I can be.

Then this art is part of my therapy. Even though it serves no purpose, doesn’t put food on the table, doesn’t do laundry or prevent disease, it has some importance.  It allows me to be nostalgic.  It lets me use my favorite side of the brain.  It recalls stories, experiences, places I’ve gone, it gives me a reason to buy more Hints From Heloise books.

I’m not sure how long this CraftMania will last, if it’s a one time blow out or if it’s forever, but I’m trying to enjoy it while it’s here rather than worry about it leaving.  I’d say that’s a li’l bit o’ progress.


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§ 5 Responses to Construction Paper Blockage Removed by Pipecleaner

  • Allison M says:

    I am not kidding…i have been in CraftMania mode, myself. I hadn’t painted in 6-7 years, and I just recently started doing it again. Knitting like crazy, using all of the gorgeous yarn that I’ve been collecting for ages, but never used. sewing more. budget re-decorating. the whole 9. I started an “inspiration” file of my own, among all of my work crap. And even though I’ve been completely bogged down WITH work, I have been more apt than ever, to call it a day and start creating! i love fall!

  • Mom says:

    Hi J,
    I’m so happy to hear that you have those creative juices flowing again. I know that was a concern of yours.As far as having no purpose …you’ve got to be kidding!Whenever you’re able to express who you are or how you’re feeling,its worthwhile. Not only for yourself but for those around you. You have alot of creativity and it’s got to come out somewhere. The outlet might change over time (as it has)but the result will be the same…self expression!
    Love you , Mom

  • Cathe Holden says:

    Wow. THAT was profound. What a wonderful read. I LOVE how you put creative time into perspective.

    Being creative is my job. That’s how I make my money as a designer. But being creative for ME always felt incredibly self-serving. Your way of explaining it gives me great peace.

    Thank you for your wonderful comment on my post today, and for the scripture. You, too, are a beautiful soul.


    PS. Congratulations on your detox.

  • Leah says:

    wow. great read. saw you on indie fixx.

    hey. if you are ever in the area i will TAKE you to an auction. we will find an auction to go to. i will encourage you to get your own number though. but we will have to communicate as to not bid each other up! {my husband and i did that to each other once}.

    again, great read. stop by my blog any time!

  • Meredith says:

    WOW! That kitty bookmark is SO. CUTE. The person who uses that lil meowy page keeper must be A Very Special Friend.

    I think you’re awesome. That is all.
    Keep craftin!

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