I decided recently to start messing around with art. Not in a serious, I Am An Artist way, but in a “This is creative, and I can do it in 10 minutes on a post-it at work” way. One consistent theme in the last six months — and in my life, more generally — is a desire for a satisfying creative outlet. I’ve tried my hand at many a craft (crochet, knitting, scrapbooking) and dreamed constantly about learning an instrument (we are determined to be a musical family and want to acquire basically every instrument we can — we got a free piano this summer), but didn’t have the resources (and now, the time) to make progress on that (I got up to “When the Saints Go Marching In”). They key word is satisfying, though, and the learning stages of a new craft are never really satisfying. It takes time and effort and practice to get good, and once you’re good, you can truly enjoy a hobby. I’m talking about flow here.
My parents made creative outlets available to me, but never pushed me to stick with it through the tough spots*. I quit singing lessons when I got bored. I had pastels and watercolor sets, but wasn’t diligent about working with them to get past awkward, 2D horse drawings. Finally, I feel ready to focus and practice, and drawing is what I can fit in my life right now. Drumming will have to come a little later.
”To get good at anything, you have to work, and children on their own never want to work.”
I’ve already confessed my aversion to buckling down and seeing things through. I mean, that’s a rather obvious feature of me. I’m human and flawed and being lazy is part of who I am, for better or worse. I’m seeing this as baby steps, but mostly? As fun. As something satisfying and just for me in days dominated by meeting the needs of others. And progress is quick! And inspiration is everywhere. So I’m making myself worse. And yeah, I’ll be hounding my kids to practice piano, and/or drums, and to keep practicing their drawing so they can get past the frustrating stages, to keep trying that cartwheel, because they can. We can.
My therapist is also encouraging me to pursue more “left brained” activities to process my experiences since I’ve sort of burned out the right side with words words words and thinking thinking thinking. Maybe this will lead to a breakthrough. We’ll see. I downloaded an iPad app to mess around with, and hope to get a stylus at Christmas. Here’s a very simple effort while brainstorming ideas for my sister’s nursery (she’s due with her first in March).
* Clarifying: it’s not my parents’ fault that I never finish anything. I just seem to be a person who needs external motivation through the early stages or difficult spots, and I can imagine my kids will be the same way. I love that my parents gave me a lot of creative outlets.