Sometimes words aren’t enough. Sometimes writing our feelings out doesn’t justify the intensity of emotion we need to convey to feel better. We need movement, we need colour, we need to scream onto the pages.
It’s become a familiar scene for me to open my laptop to blog and instead I just cry helplessly. My dog slinks from the room with his tail between his legs, unsettled by my pain. Writing on paper is easier, but still, I’ve felt blocked and frustrated.
Sometime in the past few weeks I decided to change instruments, and I reached for my markers instead. At first I felt nothing but blackness and needed to fill a page with that.
After that page, the blackness of my emotions dissipated and I reached for a blue marker. This time more words came to the surface.
There is something so therapeutic about markers! More feelings tumbled out as I chose green, the colour normally associated with growth, turned yellow and sickly. Infection, rot. Sickness.
Next, anger and alarm and fear gripped me. Red was my next choice.
After that page, I felt better enough to sleep. The next day, I felt muted and alone. I picked up my markers again. I chose grey, to match my feeling of turning into mist and fading away.
The next night I felt similar to the night before, except a profound grief turned my grey feelings into blue.
After a few days of going back to just writing with a pen, I coloured this page the other night. More emotion came out with question marks and exclamation points.
None of these pages are going up on a gallery wall. They are juvenile, but really, my inner child hurts, so why not express myself like an eight-year-old would?
Creating these pages didn’t make my pain stop, but they made it easier to bear. Sometimes that’s all we can do with pain. Survive it, any way possible.
There are no tools that are off-limits in getting better, though I recommend getting your pain out through art supplies instead of through self-harm. The goal is to cope with pain, not create more of it.
I’m not doing well at all these days but I’m making art and that fact alone means that I’ll be okay. One step at a time.