I hit that wall today.
The I-want-to-create-so-bad-but-am-soooo-tired/sore/in-pain wall. The one we all hate. The one that drives us insane. In our support group, Steph wrote about how she had so many ideas but was in too much pain to do anything, something I wholeheartedly can identify with and have experienced myself. And Stephanie Corffee posted about how she’s been having issues with her hands and wondered what would happen if she couldn’t use them at a later point in her life.
The short story is, we’ve all been there, at one time or another.
This is how my afternoon played out:
Girl sits down on the floor in front of her TV and puts a movie on (Anchorman!).
Girl does some art.
Girl’s Back says, “Noooo, we’re not sitting down here!”
Girl’s Legs say, “We don’t like being crossed!”
Girl gets up and sits in chair.
Girl goes back to her art supplies after 15 minutes.
Repeat four times.
I wasn’t going to accept that I couldn’t do art. I wouldn’t. Nolwenn told me over IM to not push myself because it wouldn’t do me any good. I told her, “But I wanna paint!” Taking breaks is my way of honoring my body’s wishes (when they don’t line up with my own!), so I kept getting up, resting, and then sitting back on the floor.
But sometimes, you just can’t win. And you need to be okay with that.
Are you listening, dearheart?
You need to be okay with that.
If your body or mind is telling you that it isn’t in the cards to sit up and paint, then don’t. I know you’re going to want to, and I will tell you right now — I stopped, at a certain point, when I knew the art I’d create wouldn’t be as good as what I’d make when I was feeling better. In fact, the longer I kept resting and coming back, the less joy I got from the act of creating.
When I hit that wall, I was creating to win, not to have fun.
And no one wins in that game.
How do you know when it’s time to stop creating?
When your pain wins over the art.
You’ll be sitting there merrily painting and then BAM, you feel the pain in your joints or back or anywhere else it likes to live. It’ll break through the happy fog of creativity and say hi really, really loudly, and that is when you know it’s time to step away and maybe come back tomorrow.
And while you’re resting, you can doodle. Or dream. Or prep in your head. Make lists. Just because you’re not actively creating doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything. There’s so much you can do from a couch or comfy chair or bed, while your body rests. Because you want to be able to hit the ground running tomorrow, and so you rest for today.
A little bit of art, 15 minutes every day, can create a rich, colorful life.
The work above was done in my Smash book, with stencils and craft paint. Yesterday night, I stamped in my journal with alphabet stamps and black ink. And it is enough.