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I Stopped Creating
The internal struggles of consistently creating while ever changing
For nearly a month, I haven’t made anything.
I haven’t done the morning pages. I haven’t made doodles in my notebook or on Post-Its. While I did accomplish some new art for my last art event, this came last minute and in a spurt.
I’d been battling in my mind for so long that everything felt overwhelming.
My husband & I looked into buying a house 40 minutes away. Because of gas prices and the drive, we decided against it. But now we’re both watching like a hawk for new listings in our price range without needing a remodel. This ate up much of my mental energy.
On top of that, my general energy and attitude have been down. I’ve been more snippy at work, more exhausted when I come home, and overall more pessimistic. At first, I thought this was the monthly bane of womanhood. Yet the longer it stretched, the more I realized it was something else.
I was becoming burnt out, but I wasn’t sure what was stealing my energy so fast.
I’d search for clues. I attempted to sleep better. This solved the mystery for a day. Then I became tired again. I looked into what I was eating, if I was drinking enough, and the like. Stress had amplified at work again, but not by a leap or bound.
The longer I searched, the more frustrated I became with myself. I beat myself up for not knowing and being in this limbo state. This, of course, only added to the weight.
I cried in my husband’s arms, mind spinning with doubts, fears, and thoughts that hadn’t surfaced this strongly for at least a year. The whole marriage thing definitely brought those up.
That’s when I realized it was the fact things were on the cusp of change.
While looking into buying a house, I’ve crunched numbers several times to find the best deal without stretching us too thin. My husband is waiting to hear from his boss about a potential raise for a new position he may be taking. If he doesn’t get a proper raise, he may be finding other work.
We both know having kids is on the horizon for us. We’d love a house by then, but know we can make due now. Just, well, maybe not financially. I’m also not off my steroids, which is a process that needs to finish before we make any attempts.
It’s a lot. None of it’s certain.
We might find a house now. We might find one in a year from now. We might have kids now, or maybe not. Our finances may become more flexible or not. It’s all in the air on top of all the changes at work.
When I finally made art for my previous event, something clicked.
My husband was out of the house. Everything was quiet, minus the YouTube video I pulled up on my phone. I soon silenced it. My hands took to the paper cutter, slicing the prints I had created. Each swoosh broke the stillness.
When I realized the printer was out of photo black ink—again—I didn’t panic. I noticed the regular black was still full. I pulled out some off-white and brown card stock and then printed in black and white. They turned out stunning, more so than I could have ever hoped.
I went to draw some original art. I’d imagined a collage mixed with a drawing or something complex. But, when I sat down, I took out black cardstock and a silver marker and drew something simple.
That’s when I realized the missing piece.
I hadn’t let my mind rest. I was constantly on my phone, listening to music, or distracting myself from my thoughts and anxiety. Naturally, I didn’t realize the full extent I was until after I made my art.
My mind was in chaos and needed a break.
Instead of blaming myself, beating myself up, and running myself ragged, I needed to give myself space. I did have time for a 5-minute rest from all screens. I did have time to take both of my fifteen-minute breaks. But I needed to actually take them.
If you’re in a similar position, take a step back. Are you giving both your mind and body a break? How are you feeling today?
Wishing you a mentally rested week ahead,
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