Can You Find Joy With A Glue Stick?

She Found Her Grace

I was on one of my first post-divorce dates and being quizzed by my “date” – which I put in quotes because I do not believe an offer to meet me at the Starbucks next door to his office counts as a date, it’s at best a meeting and, frankly, felt more like a job interview.  On his list of questions, and I’m pretty sure he had these memorized, was, “what kind of art do you do?”.  I hope this strikes you as an odd first meeting question because it sure as heck took me by surprise.  I responded, “I have kids, so, of course, I do craft projects with them sometimes…”  As my answer petered out lamely, I was thinking, “Are you kidding?  ART?  I’m a single mom and a partner in a law firm – when do you think I have time to make art?!”  He was astounded that I was not doing “anything creative” because he is “from a family of creatives”.  Which is awesome for him but did keep me from agreeing to any further “dates” – who knew what other areas I was lacking in that he was going to uncover in Round Two of “Date Quiz”?

In retrospect, his questions quickly established that we were not a match.  I’m sure that was the point, he was in his 40’s and had never been married and he was very experienced at dating, in fact, he had found a really effective, swift and low cost way to filter out the incompatibles.  I have a pretty strong feeling that despite being an attractive, affluent guy, he’s STILL single (note to any single guys reading this, making a woman answer rapid fire questions and then critiquing her answers, is NOT the path to a woman’s heart).  I didn’t think much of this for quite a while but when my kids got a bit older and I had a bit more time for myself, I did end up doing “something creative” (thank you, weird quiz date guy).

My first toe-dip into the creative waters was unintentional, I was taking a class with Brene Brown, Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen through Mondo Beyondo (which I can’t recommend enough, still one of the best classes I’ve taken) and one of the assignments required that we draw a picture and then share it with the others in the class.  I just about died when I read the assignment.  All those feelings of not being good enough just flooded on in – I had never been able to “color in the lines” or draw pretty pictures as a kid.  In college, I had a class where I HAD to draw for an assignment and present it to the class, the teacher made some sort of polite comment about not everyone having the “ability to express one’s ideas visually.”  Ugh.  But I reminded myself that this was just an online class and I didn’t know these people – so I started drawing.  And it wasn’t terrible.  It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t embarrassing.  I learned something really important – you can’t think about all the stuff that’s stressing you out when you are hunched over your drawing pad trying to draw a cat.

So I hesitantly took a photography class with Andrea Scher and I bravely posted my pictures alongside the “real” photographers as well as the other moms, grandmas and iPhone camera clickers.  Someone would post a perfectly captured shot of a red cardinal in flight and I’d post a picture of my kid sleeping – each a joyful accomplishment in its own way.  I later got a Groupon deal for a mosaic class, then did an art journaling class online and eventually, I found that I AM regularly doing “something creative”.  I’m not doing it to prove anything, I will always write better legal briefs than I draw cats, but I get wonderfully lost in the process of creating – no matter the outcome.

When I’m making art of any kind, I am distracted from my everyday worries and allowing myself to do something that’s just for me.  I’m not trying to teach anything to my kids or to create anything to sell – I’m just focused on getting this one cat, on this one page, to not look like a potato.  And that is an act of joy.

Do you have an activity (painting, surfing, knitting) that takes you away from your daily worries and puts your mind at peace?  Please share in the comments – maybe you’ll inspire someone else.

p.s.  This post is dedicated to Andrea Scher, who creates amazing courses that inspire everyone from professional artists to kids who could never color inside the lines to use art to find their courage.

Comments

  1. I create experiences for my grandchildren. Usually good ones lol. As an extremely busY workaholic doing what I consider work That makes life better for people it is very hard to turn off and not answer the pHone. WheTher we are at the science museum, hanging at the house, or Going on an adventure I simply cannot think of work. IT is a wonderful, happy, funny time that is totally relaxing. Trust me, I can’t help but Be totally Out of work mode when making pies with children especially ones that can include gummi bears
    and root bEer! Pure joy!

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