After days of feeling as low as only mental illness can bring you, this morning suddenly something hit me. There was no way I could simply eliminate the negative energy that was filling me. I could have waited for it to pass, but I wasn’t able to read or do anything with it, it had become so heavy. So I tried to transform it.
At that point, only one word popped up in my head: creativity. I needed to get creative to transform negativity into something good. Actually, I transformed negativity into creativity itself. Once I felt creativity flowing through my veins, I felt safe. It didn’t even matter what I was going to create, I just had to go with the flow. And I did.
The first result was a drawing. I had started this sketch of a phoenix about two weeks ago, when the idea of a coloring book was suggested to me as a therapy. I had decided to draw something myself and then color it, to keep myself even busier and to save the money of the coloring book. So I only bought the colors and started sketching this phoenix.
This morning I woke up around six. I actually fell asleep at half past eight last night, because I had taken a tranquilizer and I was exhausted from all the anxiety and panic of the past days. I stayed in bed until my boyfriend got up to go to work, and I turned on the music while having breakfast. That’s when I started to feel that I needed to do something, I needed to make something.
I remembered of the sketch, so I brought that, pencil and colors to the living room, and I opened all the windows to let in as much light and fresh air as possible – it’s not a very sunny day, actually the sky is white and I think it’s going to rain, but I still felt better with the windows open. I finished the drawing and colored it.
It was the first time since primary school that I used oil pastels. I enjoyed it so much. The paper felt so smooth under the soft point of the pastels. I just followed my instinct to choose the colors to fill the white space. I used a total of seven colors, and my fingers.
Then I felt I wasn’t quite done creating, and I tried photography. It is the first time I take a picture with myself in it, I usually only appear in photos when strictly necessary – group pictures with friends and similar. Today I pushed the limits of my comfort zone very far from where they were standing, and I’m going to take it one step farther by sharing the outcome of my morning with the world.
This is vulnerability at its highest. When I first had the idea of the photo I hesitated, because I had not shaved nor taken a shower. My hair was far from its best, and I was afraid all my physical faults would show too much. But then I chose the truth. It was an ethical choice between feeding the image of woman that I so despise by pretending to be something that I’m not (especially when I’m at home alone), or being faithful to what I preach and fighting against the standards society tells us we have fit in. I just wore a little lipstick and shot. I didn’t even change from the T-shirt I slept in or washed my face.
I improvised a pedestal by piling a small wooden box, a box of cereals, the computer, the ipad, the phone and a jar of mixed nuts. I only own a prime lens, so I had to push the pile of objects with the camera on top almost against the opposite wall. I don’t even own a remote, so I had to set the timer (it took me a while to figure out how to do it) and try to frame and focus in an unlikely position and then run to my position. It probably looked pretty funny, but I was too focused to realize that until I was done.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” Brené Brown