Yesterday I filled an entire notebook (Moleskine Softcover in large) with every image I liked from several magazines. The journal contains the whole picture of all the images I came acrossed that I liked. It wasn’t a collage with purpose, nor a moodboard to show off taste. The only deciding factor in whether an image went into the journal or not was whether I liked it.
The process took the whole day and it was a lot more of an emotional roller coaster than I had expected. I thought this would be a fun thing to do, something creative to do for the day. I didn’t realise it was going to be a battle with my negative, judge-y thoughts in my head for the right for me to express myself.
The first negative thought was ‘oh my goodness, I am wasting an ENTIRE Moleskine on just whimsy stuff I like.’ Followed by ‘who do I think I am to be wasting a whole notebook, a Moleskine no less, on stuff I like? It’s not like I have good taste. People would think this is a blasmouphus act towards a notebook!’ That was quickly followed by ‘Only artists get to fill up a notebook with images they like, you know, because they are artists. I am so not an artist, I should not be doing this.’
So on and on my resistance shouted and screamed at me the whole time. On and on I ripped pages out of magazine, stuck them in my journal, washi taped stuff in. The resistance throw everything it had at me. How I’m doing something that isn’t my right to do (the whole not being a ‘proper’ artist’ thing again), that this wasn’t journaling or art journaling, what on earth was I going to do with it afterwards.
My answer to all those resistance was ‘it doesn’t matter. I want to do this, in this way, and THAT MATTERS.’
What you want to do, in the way you want to do it matter too. Your brain will throw you a countless reasons why you shouldn’t start/stop immediately what you are wanting to do/are doing. Those thoughts won’t even fade away just because you are doing it. Those thoughts will stay with you the whole damn time. But keep going. Ignore the resistance and keep going. It’s totally worth it.
You might not like the result of what you did when you’ve finished. That’s totally normal. After all, it’s very hard to like and enjoy something you’ve created through so much hate messages coming from the one person that really knows how to hurt you – you. Give the work some time alone.
Give the work some time alone. Give yourself a break from the horrid thoughts that have been going through your head. Go away and come back the next day or the following week and have another look. I promise you you will love what you’ve done, and you will love the you that worked through all that resistance and created this beautiful work.
Once you’ve come back to your work and reconnected with that brave warrior you that worked through all those negative thoughts, then share your work. Share your work with your family, friends, and the world so that they too can get inspired to do what you just did – being brave, embracing yourself and allowing you some physical space to express who you are.
That’s exactly what I am doing by sharing some of the pages from my Dictionary of Me here on the blog. You can find my Dictionary of Me over on my flickr album. I hope this encourages you to make some physical space for who you are, what you like and express yourself in a way that you want to. Big hugs x