(Kate is a guest blogger who files occasional reports on her progress in overcoming panic disorder and agoraphobia)
The Drawing Challenge
When I read Hal’s “Drawing on Your Serenity” blog post I made a mental note to pull out my sketch book and challenge myself to do some drawing.
I am not an artist by any means, but I love art and enjoy being creative either through painting a collage or knitting a pair of socks.
On the first day of the challenge I worked steadily in the office and peeked around to see if my sketch book was in sight. It was. (Sitting on another desk in my office) I said “Darn!” in my mind as I wanted to have an excuse NOT to draw. After I bundled all my files away for the day and shutdown all my email correspondence I walked over to the other desk and picked up my sketchbook and pencil box. I carried it down to the living room and it felt like a ton of bricks I wanted to dump and not pick up.
I was really agitated about this challenge. My brain was having a creative tantrum and the sketch book sat for a couple of more hours before I would get in gear and do it.
I picked up my best drawing pencil, looking at the tip, it was dull and I had no energy to even sharpen it. I was about to drop it and abandon the whole idea feeling really irritated at that moment that I had been reduced to “art therapy”.
Instead, I did the opposite and flipped open my sketchbook to a blank page (not before I perused some of my past drawings). My focus was on a cat and a cat’s face. As I started drawing I could feel my brain resisting each line. I was careful not to erase anything too quickly as I knew it was important to get the outline of something in front of me before I gave up for good.
An hour later, I had one fully sketched full bodied cat and one detailed cat face. Yes, they look like feral anime characters but I can tell you the pride of accomplishment I felt and the sense of creative peace my brain was hosting, felt amazing. I could actually feel the physiological change in my brain at about the 15 minute mark. It is like opening a window on a fresh spring day or on a crisp fall morning. A real awakening took place in my mind.
When my family came home and saw my open sketchbook they were in awe. “Did you draw that mom?” came an excited squeal from my daughter. Even my husband chimed in and said, “Wow that’s really good!”
The next day, I drew the face of a woman peering back at me from one of the many biographies I like to read. This drawing came so much easier than the one from the day before. I sketched freely and erased calmly and carried on conversations with my family as I drew. And, yes, this poor woman looks like a witchy skeletal version of her real self. But I did it freehand and it amazes me I am able to do it. We all had a good laugh at what I had creatively done to this poor woman and I felt great.
I wonder what or who will be my muse today.