Creativity takes courage and expressing vulnerability through art takes true bravery. I love art, and I want to show appreciation for the art that I’ve enjoyed this month.
I’m a blogger but my motivation was lacking this month. I didn’t publish much new blog work in February, but I did share a lot of art to my social networks. I want to feature some of the artwork that I shared. In this post you will find my favorite works of art from February. With each piece of art I included an art description (with alternative text for the visually impaired), and a reaction paragraph that explains how the art made me feel. I hope you enjoy this art and remember to check out the artists that created it.
Learning to Let Go, by: Kelly Malka
My Reaction: Before this month, my last haircut was in the Spring of 2017. Getting my hair cut is a type of self-care that I fall dreadfully behind on. This month I finally picked up the phone and made a haircut appointment. In and of itself, making the appointment is a huge victory for me. However, anxiety hit hard the day before my haircut appointment, and I seriously considered canceling. But, at that exact moment, Kelly Malka posted this figurative haircut art to Instagram. It seemed too awesome and ironic to be true. Literally, I picked up my phone to cancel my appointment, and saw this art. Sure, Kelly wasn’t being literal in her interpretation, but it’s funny how art can speak to so many things. So, I took this metaphor literally, and I got my hair cut. This month I got my hair thinned and trimmed. It isn’t a big aesthetic change, but it’s a huge change for my comfort. This will make my hair more manageable, lighter, and it will make me feel much better. This is a form of self-care that I deserve, and art helped me get there.
Important Lines to Draw, by: Liz and Mollie
Art Description: The title reads “Important Lines to Draw”. Beneath you see hands drawing figurative lines. The lines read; “I need some alone time”, “I can’t take this on right now”, and “I am allowed to feel feelings”. This art was created by Liz and Mollie; visit their website and find them on Instagram and Twitter.
My Reaction: I needed this reminder. I need to become better at drawing lines for my mental health. I recently started thinking about something: When someone is drinking wine, you’ll sometimes hear them say, “I’m gonna have a hangover tomorrow, I should stop.” When someone is working out, you’ll sometimes hear them say, “I know I’m gonna be sore tomorrow, I should slow down.” These people draw lines for themselves. So, why shouldn’t I do the same for my mental health? So, that’s what I’ve been doing, I’M DRAWING LINES FOR MYSELF and my mental health, and it’s amazing. Since I started implementing this I’ve had many more good mental health days. Additionally, I haven’t experienced the crashes that typically follow a really good day. Here’s how I do it, on good mental health days I ask myself; “how will this make me feel tomorrow?”, “how much energy will this take?”, or “have I reached my limit for today?”. If I feel like I’ve passed my limit I simply say, “I’m done for the day”, or “I’m going to save that energy for tomorrow”. Basically, it’s about me knowing my limits, and caring for my mental health needs on the good days as well as the bad. This method has sincerely worked for me. I can’t remedy all bad days. Bad days are a part of life and a part of living with a mental illness. What I can do is care for my mental health on good days so I don’t experience a “mental health hangover” crash.
Different Ways to be Kind to Yourself, by: chibird
Art Description: The title reads; “different ways to be kind to yourself”. Beneath you see an illustrated list of ways you can be kind to yourself. It reads; compliment yourself, make yourself tea/coffee, reach out when you need help, let yourself be sad if you need to be, treat yourself every so often. This art was created by chibird; visit their website and find them on Instagram and Twitter.
My Reaction: My reaction to this is short and simple. I deserve kindness. I want to improve my self-kindness routine. This art was a pleasant and much-needed reminder.
When Your Friend Needs to Vent, by: Liz and Mollie
Art Description: The title reads; “What To Do When Your Friend Needs To Vent About Their Bad Day”. Beneath you see an illustrated list of ways you can support a friend. It reads; don’t interrupt, don’t multitask, don’t immediately give advice, just listen. This art was created by Liz and Mollie; visit their website and find them on Instagram and Twitter.
My Reaction: I’m focusing on becoming a better friend, and a better support system for people in need. My main focus right now: being supportive and listening without offering immediate advice. A lot of people (strangers and friends) come to me with problems, and I’m sincerely glad they do, but I feel like I offer too much advice sometimes, in lieu of support. My goal is to be more supportive. Sometimes people don’t need immediate advice, they just need a supportive person to talk to. They want and deserve validation. They need me to just listen. When I offer an outpouring of immediate advice, I take some of the support and validation away from them. I’m growing.
Marveling at Captain Marvel, by: Penelope R. Gaylord
Art Description: Goose the Cat sitting beside Captain Marvel, and looking up at her with pride and love. This art was created by Penelope R. Gaylord; visit her website and find her on Instagram and Twitter. The featured art for this blog post (Goose and Captain Marvel cuddling) was also created by Penelope R. Gaylord.
My Reaction: An important part of my mental health self-care routine is proudly emoting the geeky things that bring me joy. This Captain Marvel art truly warms my heart. I love seeing Carol with Goose (Chewie?). I’m a huge fan of these two, and I’m super excited to see them on-screen in Captain Marvel. I love strong women, and I love animals, so this is the perfect happiness combination for me… I’m very excited to see this story unfold.
Bad and Broken Days, by: Frizz Kid
Art Description: A drawing of a broken coffee cup that has been put back together, with a quote that reads; “You’re allowed to have sad days, bad days, broken days. You can work on it when you have the energy.” This art was created by Frizz Kid. Find them on; Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.
My Reaction: I loved this art so much that I wrote a blog post about it titled; “Broken and Worthy of Being Put Back Together”. I had broken days this month, but you don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be alright. I’m allowed to have broken days. I’ll put myself back together. I always do. One day soon I’ll have the energy and I will put myself back together. Like this piece of art: A drawing of a broken coffee cup that has been put back together. Visit my blog to read my full reaction to this art work; I talk about my broken days, how I remember goodness during them, and how I put myself back together after…
Stuff I’ve Learned from My Cat, by: Introvert Doodle
Art Description: The title reads; “Stuff I’ve Learned From My Cat”. Beneath you see an illustrated list of lessons that cats teach us. It reads; It’s okay to change your mind (with a cat who wants back inside, moments after you let them outside). Take time to soak up the sun (with a cat doing yoga). Nap as often as possible (with a cat napping). There’s joy in companionable silence (with a cat and it’s owner reading). This art was created by Introvert Doodles; visit their website and find them on Instagram and Twitter.
My Reaction: (1) I need to work on embracing CHANGE: Change has never been easy for me. Perhaps it’s one of my hidden symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I don’t like deviating from my routine, or from what I know. Although, lately I’ve discovered that change can be truly amazing. (2) I need to soak up the SUN more: The sun and fresh air, do wonders for my mental health. But, when I’m struggling with depression I become negligent. I accidentally deprive myself of sun and fresh air; I hull up inside. Getting outside does wonders for me. I need to make a point to venture out more often. Perhaps just sitting on the porch would be enough? (3) I need to fix my relationship with NAPPING and sleeping: I’ve never been one for naps, although, I can respect how useful they can be. I focus more on sleep. Sleep is a kryptonite for me; I have trouble getting to sleep, which causes me to sleep restlessly, I typically have horrible anxiety nightmares, and I normally oversleep in the morning. Going forward, I want to work on my relationship with sleep. (4) I love COMPANIONABLE SILENCE: This is my favorite. I have reading time with my dogs and cat, and it is absolutely delightful. My home has an unused room upstairs, I recently adapted it into a library/reading room. It is a space for unlimited companionable silence and reading. It is truly amazing. I’m also looking forward to warmer weather, so I can read outside in the sun.
I hope you enjoyed this art. I also want to say “thank you” to all of these amazing artists for bringing me joy, and inspiring me.
I’ll be back in March.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife