Arts and crafts  – not only just for the mental breaks in the movies

So I’m on my way to recovery…been on that way for a while, years, decades even, you know this, I don’t have to repeat this. I’ve been looking to enhance my well-being through a series of ways – like alcohol and memes, which my therapist seems to disagree on. …oh the eye-rolls and looks of disapproval… But! I’ve also seen enough of shows and movies where people have their mental breaks and end up in mental institutes. And. What do they do? Arts and crafts! So. I thought there  must be something to it. Sure, my therapist goes on and on about talking and crying, and weird stuff like exercising. But. Netflix shows and movies, they have millions of views. How many views does my therapist have on her stuff? One view, mine. And was I convinced, no. So. Arts and crafts.

Painting. Painting will be my thing. I went online and bought some brushes, paints, and canvas. I also googled “abstract art”. Abstract because I do know I have no artistic talent so abstract will have to do, and googling because; I am a perfectionist, and do want to be rich. So thought I’d just google what others do, kinda sorta do the same thing, paint stuff, sell stuff, become a millionaire. I thought it was a great plan.

I laid the canvas on the floor, took out my brushes and paints and started thinking of stuff to paint. What a wonderful journey it started. I painted my first thoughts, then other ones, then other ones, then… It tooks a good couple of weeks to finish. Or maybe I’m still not finished…but here’s where I’m now.

Version 1. Organized, structured. I selected the paints carefully, I measured the canvas, marked it with 10cm intervals. I drew a sketch on an excel sheet before to check the measurements and lines. I had it all planned out.

It’s funny because; that’s how I was thinking when I was a kid. Everything, everything! Needed to be planned out. My future, school assignments. I’d write down my school speeches from word to word and get anxiety pre, during, and post speeches if I missed a word. My life was planned out; married by 20, kids by 23, divorced by 30….. so structured.

But then life happened

Suddenly my pre-planned life didn’t make sense. Other things came up. But I remained calm, kept my structure. These new things, events, realizations, I’ll just box them up. They don’t matter.

They did matter. They expanded. The chaos, darkness expanded, it took over. My beautiful, boxed, structed life and plans, ruined. Ruined.

The years I spend coping with it, dealing with it. Ruined. Destroyed.

Getting help. Finally, after decades. Getting help. I felt guilty painting over it. It felt like denial; am I only painting over things pretending they didn’t happen. Should I keep them, to show I suffered? And then I realized. I’ve kept my hurt. I’ve kept it for me to see, not others, for me to see. I’ve lived my life thinking I need to suffer. I need to have my pain. I need my pain. I need to keep it.

There’s a difference between remembering your pain and letting it drive you and denying you have it. I’ve denied it, ended badly. I’ve let it drive me; ended badly. What I haven’t tried is moving on. Moving on. Remembering the pain, accepting it exists, but moving on. That’s what I need to do. Paint over it, not in denial, but in building new, building something new. Paint over it, keep it, remember it, but move on.

You paint it, you let it paint. You take your brushes, your paints, and you paint – not in denial but in remembrance. That’s what I did. I painted over. I changed it, I changed my life. I painted.

I’m proud of what came out. It’s certainly prettier than the squares I started with.

But here’s the thing. The thing I painted. It’s part of my childhood. It’s a view of my childhood and youngster escape. I used to walk to the strand from my place. 2 kilometeres and I’d be next to the sea, and this is the view I saw. This is the view, 30 years later, that’s what I painted. It was a place of hope, a place of relief for me. So, for my unconscious mind; is this a trip to the pain, or a start for something new – a new start, based on the pain and hurt, but driven by my safe haven?

I think it’s great example of life – we start with a clear view of our future, just to have it meddled with, completely destroyed and thrown over. And then we build a new. Then we build, having our past as a base, we build something new. We build. We should not forget our past, we build over it, we build. And we respect where we came from. For me, forever for me, my happy place will be by the sea looking at the world beyond. As a kid I wondered what possibilities it might bring. As an adult I want to make sure I’ve visited those possibilities. I want to make sure I can visit it all.