After a certain, very recent, enlightening experience, I decided to share a personal story about how art helped me get back on my feet.
I have been rather down in the dumps for the past couple of months, due to various reasons, leading to me being lethargic and lazy towards pretty much everything. I went through a major writer’s block during this period, which hit me hard because a writer’s block is possibly the worst thing that could happen to a writer, after probably a broken or paralysed arm, or losing one’s eyesight, maybe. But, anyway, in order to keep myself from brooding, I started concentrating on my assignments from college; I did more research than required, finished them way before the submission date (something I have never voluntarily done in all my twenty years till date), and started taking notes in class (when I wasn’t asleep).
But none of that kept the pesky thoughts away. I would find myself unconsciously drawn towards the darkness, and before I know it, I would be falling into the abyss. The harder I tried to stay away, the faster I fell. It was rather paradoxical and ironic, and very frustrating.
Then, about a month ago, my art classes started. So, for three days a week, I would focus all of my energy on whatever my instructors told me to paint or draw, and I found that by the time I was done, I had exhausted all of my energy on my art and had none left to brood.
This became something I greatly looked forward to every week. The half hour walk to and from class further helped me channelise my energy, and by the time I got back home, I was physically and mentally exhausted, yet I felt oddly satisfied and accomplished.
This became the beginning of my productivity. In college, I became more alert and focused, my writer’s block was cured (much to the joy of my avid followers), and I was able to focus my mind on whatever I was doing, no matter what the task, and keep it from wandering.
Then began the painting portion of my classes. Truth be told, I prefer pencils and the like over paint because I have more control over the medium. But I have always loved painting, and the patience and perseverance that goes into reigning the free-flowing colours in and bringing them under control is something I find thrilling. Thus, learning how to coax the colours to mix and blend in just the right ways and do my bidding gave me a sense of control, which translated into other parts of my life: I found it easier to wake up and go to class, I took my course work more seriously, I tried to reign in my procrastinating ways–all in all, art had, once again, helped me pull myself out of the pit I had fallen into. Slowly but surely, I was getting out, and that was a source of inspiration in itself.
Then came the new year, and I decided that my resolution for this year was to perfect the art of making lemonade using all the lemons life threw at me–and life rose right up to the challenge. Due to going on a psychology field trip this week, I was unable to attend my art classes, and I could instantly feel a sense of loss. I was already floundering, and considering all the things I ended up experiencing in just six days, I was afraid I would begin to relapse. I could feel the darkness creeping up behind me, and I knew running away would be to no avail; but, I was at an advantage this time around. I was no longer helpless and lost. I had the tools I needed to get my bearings straight.
And thus, the moment classes ended on Saturday, I brought out my drawing book, I picked up my pencil, and I drew. I drew for several hours, till the sun had set and my neck was groaning from being hunched over my desk for so long, and when I finally sat back up, it was to the sight of a masterpiece.
By the end of it, when I looked down at my blackened fingertips, I could feel the grin spreading across my face. I had done it. I had successfully climbed out of the pit and into the sunlight all on my own, my art acting as a guide and a cushion to fall back on every time I started to lose hope.
Thus, my art revitalised me and effectively prevented me from falling into hopelessness.
This may just seem like a heartfelt story to most, but to those who have suffered and found that one thing that has helped them realise themselves–to them, this is reality. And so, a friendly suggestion I have for my readers: whenever you feel your thoughts getting ahead of you, whenever you feel the darkness beckoning, find something that you can focus all of your energy on so that you can turn the negativity into something productive. Be it writing, drawing, reading, or even seemingly mundane things like cleaning the house, taking a walk in the park, or organising your bookshelf, find your anchor and set sail into the sunset and beyond!
That’s all from me for now.
Thank you for reading! And do let me know if you’ve ever had a similar experience in the comments below.