Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Comfort Zones and Expectations

At the beginning of the year, when I was feeling so good, I did a fair amount of acrylic painting, as I said I'd wanted to.  I liked, and still do, nearly all that I created.  Some pieces are influenced by other artists whose work I love; many pieces are wholly my own.

But then I lost confidence, as depression engulfed me again.  And I've stopped painting now...until I feel stronger.

Art, for me, has always been "something to do," a way to utilize my creative skills...but I've never felt compelled to make art, like "Make Art or Die."  For many people, art is what "saves" them, especially when they're going through difficult times in other domains of their lives.  It's not that way for me -- I need to be feeling good inside in order to push forward with art.

And when I say "push forward," what I mean is going outside my comfort zone.  In looking back over my life as a whole, I can see that I pushed through comfort zones, virtually endlessly, in every area of my life, because I had to. The only option would have been to vegetate, to stay totally stuck wherever I was. And being a survivor, that wasn't an alternative I could have chosen.

I can't push myself right now to venture beyond my comfort zone, creatively.  What I'm really comfortable with is collage, so that's where my creative energy is focused these days.  Albeit I'm currently doing less here than previously, because my back and neck have been bothering me lately.  Still, collage is what I continue to gravitate towards when the mood strikes.

Too, I have a couple of small knitting projects in the works, very simple scarves made with my own handspun silk yarns from 10 or more years ago.  Rather mindless, but keeps my hands busy.  I also sometimes have "cutting jags," where I'll spend whole days cutting out ephemera for collage, which I find meditative.

I've had to let go of my expectations for myself, regarding painting, or the making of art in general.  It might even be that those hidden expectations, even though I kept trying to convince myself I didn't have any, contributed to my becoming depressed again.  Other than my interactions with people, which in nearly all cases have soured with time, all of the stress that I continually experience is internally generated.  I see that; I know that.

The healing is about learning, mentally and viscerally, how to do everything differently.  And that is my own personal Mt. Everest.    


Carol Cohn said...

You seem to be very personally intuitive, Connie. Your examination of your feelings, moods, and thoughts is realistic and seems totally unbiased and unapologetic. Just the facts, ma’am. I hope you will soon be seeing some positive changes with your new med regimen, but you know that’s not an overnight fix. May you come to realize over time that the boundaries and boxes you find now contain you are starting to disappear, and thus allow you to once again push more boundaries, artistic and personal. ((((Hugs))))

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I totally get this post. But back up a sec. I just never understand why we have come to think that we must step out of our comfort zone. Usually the end result is showing your effort to someone whether it is in person or here on the cyber world. You want approval for your efforts. Isn't that really the reason for the insecurity? Make your art when you want to in whatever media you want...just enjoy what you do whatever it is.

I still remember completing a project that I actually loved and was devastated when someone commented that is was "Quite Primitive". Nothing more said. For a bit it suppressed my subconscience desire to step outside my comfort zone. When I finally shook it off I got mad. Who did she think she was? She certainly was no Superior in the media I was attempting to try.

I hope you will paint, if that is what you want to do. I hope your meds help you to emerge from the Funk.
xx, Carol

jenclair said...

Having fought fits of depression and anxiety most of my life, I often find myself retreating to my comfort zone. I'm in and out as situations change, and as I get older, a bit less concerned or guilty about my retreats. We may never conquer our personal Everests, but learning and trying may be enough.

john said...

You are very brave, Connie. Reading what you wrote tells me you know yourself really well and you are doing what is necessary to heal. You have many supportive readers of which I am one. I love that you can collage monocromatically.. It is so calming to look at.