Writing and artwork by Lucy Hotchin
I’ve always had a passion for art in all its forms, but I’ve always had very little confidence in my ability, particularly in visual art. I’ve participated in a lot of Art Therapy sessions over the years, and I’ve accepted that it’s not about talent, it’s about expression. With that in mind, I’ve drawn and painted for the last 10 years but to no end. Sometimes I’m happy with my art and sometimes not, but I’m always drawn (ACCIDENTAL PUN) to art when I want to express how I’m feeling. Usually I write, but for the past few weeks writing hasn’t been helpful, so I got out my pencils and figured I’d do some drawing.
I recently came off an antidepressant and the withdrawals made me cry all the time. It was frustrating but also funny, so I set down to drawing a not so beautiful self-portrait of myself crying with some of the reasons written down. I took a photo of myself with the typical intense crying face I make and outlined all the parts that make up this face. Sketching the wrinkles and lines that I make when crying is an interesting experience. I found it cathartic and expressive when words could not describe how I felt. When adding the text I included things that made me sad as well as things that were amusing to me– for example, crying because I was crying.
Yesterday, there were a multitude of small things that made me smile and I decided to do a similar self-portrait. I took a photo of myself smiling and drawing the smile lines that appear on my face made me happy. They aren’t necessarily pretty lines, and it’s not a ‘beautiful’ drawing, but it was cathartic to draw and add text. The things that made me smile ranged from what I consider huge achievements to tiny things such as having a shower.
What I noticed most was how the little things that happened during the day play such an important part in my general mood. Recording the little things that made me smile allowed me to acknowledge what I can do to make myself happy. Having a shower and brushing my hair, for example, give me a feeling of accomplishment, little things that I can do for myself to boost my mood.
Making any kind of art that shows the little things that influence my everyday life makes me feel good. Ignoring the nagging voice in my head saying “it should be better” and “it’s not perfect” makes me feel like a rebel. I’ve found that rebelling against the need for perfection that lives inside us and that’s placed upon us is liberating.
I feel creative and in control when celebrating and mourning the little things in life. They are little acts of art that explore internal landscapes and they make me smile. If you feel like it, take notice of the little things, the seemingly insignificant things that leave you feeling a certain way. Maybe note them down and find a way to appreciate them or acknowledge them. Enjoy and experience!