Recently I was looking at a painting I’d done the previous day, thinking about adding more color to it, and thought, darkness creates depth, which is true in life, but also in watercolors. When thinking about what to blog about this week that thought kept resonating, and truthfully, I could write in a million different directions from it, but for now I thought I’d share with you a little about my watercolor journey. This week is my two-year Instagram anniversary for my chronic illness account, Seaside.Spoonie, where I post my little doodles. If you happen to follow me over on Instagram, you know that I try to doodle and paint each day. I consider it a form of healing and relaxation for my brain, a form of art therapy. Multiple studies have been done showing the positive effects of art and chronic illness. It’s often one of the best parts of my day and thankfully this is something that can be done entirely in bed.
A couple years ago, I had gotten to a point in my chronic illness life where I needed to make a change for my personal wellbeing. After some soul searching and reflection, I decided to embark on the journey of posting my crafts and paintings on Instagram. I did it anonymously at first in case it was a huge disaster. I mean who was I to post watercolors with zero training or artistic ability?! But I did it anyway and decided to set some parameters for consistency
because I generally like to overthink things. First and foremost, I post my creation, no matter what. There has only been one time where I just couldn’t do it (it was a root beer float gone so, so wrong) but looking back I’d do it now. And second, I don’t usually go back to paintings to fix them and repost them as I was contemplating above, but never ended up doing. Each one symbolizes a day in my life. The next day is a new day, with a new doodle to be had. This may seem silly or unimportant to you so let me explain just one step further.
MECFS has had a significant impact on my memory. When you‘re homebound and every day is very similar your brain doesn’t store those repetitive memories so when you look back over a year your memories become less and less. After the first year of being sick I realized all I remembered were doctors’ appointments, and they, by and large, weren’t good ones. I had to decide if this was how I wanted my story to go, was this it? Was this as good as it was going to get? Was I going to look back in another several years and remember nothing but appointments? No. I didn’t rise above the things I have in my lifetime, the depths I’ve had to go to survive, to just throw in the towel now. So, I started down this path of posting a painting a day, as I’m able. I feel incredibly fortunate that I’m able to do this, I know many with MECFS do not have the strength or energy to do this. But just so you know, and I know I’ve shared this photo before, that’s me mixing colors, in bed, propped up with pillows. So that image you have of a person standing in front of their beautiful easel in an art studio filled with flowers and windows in perfect lighting, that’s not how this story goes. 😉
I’m happy to report that the experience has been nothing but positive! I mean really it had nowhere to go but up when it started, but I’ve also learned a few things along the way. First, I love to doodle, and watercolors absolutely fascinate me. If you haven’t watched someone talented watercolor in a video I highly recommend it! Seriously it’s so relaxing!! Second, I’ve learned to stop taking myself so seriously. The truth is, occasionally I have a painting I like, most I’m not thrilled with, but I post them anyway. Why? Because it’s for fun. I’m creating pockets of happiness in my day. Truthfully the more the painting goes off the rails, the more I laugh at myself. Third, but most importantly I learned that if I go back and look at each painting I remember drawing or painting it, maybe not much, but a snippet or two, or maybe my thought process when deciding what to paint. The best part of it all is that I’m making positive memories! When I look over at my bookshelf, which now holds 11 filled to the brim watercolor sketch books, I know that there are happy memories there, where there would otherwise be none. Losing your memory, or bits of it, can take your emotions in a million different directions. Doing something to retain any part of it that you can, feels like giving yourself a big ol’ hug. I mean not to brag or anything, but I guess I’m kinda winning at self-compassion on this one? Am I right!? 😉
So yes, darkness creates depth, in people, in struggles, it creates growth and character, it creates compassion and humility, and somedays it just turns light shades of pink to more glowing shades of red, hopefully the exact ones you were looking for.
Thank you for stopping in for my rambling today (my brain is mushy from too many appointments) and happy crafting to my fellow crafters out there. A few more of my doodles below and for those of you with incredible depth because life has been darker than any one person should ever have to tolerate, I see you and I’m sending you an I-get-it hug.
If you follow along regularly, the biggest of the three appointments last week was … gosh I don’t even know how to put it into words. Basically, the doctor doing the intake was so rude to me that I could no longer bite my tongue (first time ever in a doctors appt) and I told him he was being abrasive and there was no reason to treat me like that. He decided to take zero accountability and said if I wasn’t up to taking the test we should just call it. He never apologized and instead promptly saw us out. Truthfully, I wasn’t up for the test, but also truthfully, he had no business being so rude to me. Anyway, one more test this week and one appointment next week and I’m ‘finito mosquito’ for the year. I’ve so got this!
Wishing you all a happy holiday season. Be kind to yourselves out there and if you need a little pick me up and you like Ellen she has a special on Netflix called Relatable and I kid you not I smiled until my cheeks hurt and then I kept smiling.