For Sanity's Sake

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Blogging, Photography, and Digital Art are kind of like a therapy for me. Even before I developed these hobbies I always had this habit of browsing and looking at beautiful sceneries, creative captures, and abstract art online, I could sometimes do this for hours and I feel refreshed afterwards. It might sound silly but I do not delete forwarded emails that come with beautiful pictures of flowers, places, landscapes, wallpapers etc. The reason is, I can get to look at them whenever I'm in a bad mood and whenever I need to pause my heated brain for a while. Things like these help in keeping me from going insane during times of depression. So, I started these hobbies when I was at a really low point in my life and was having a major crisis of identity. I needed something to hold on to and to feel something so that I know I am still on this earth and am still human. I needed something to keep myself sane and not go into an oblivion or vanish into a big black hole.

I was never a very good painter but I appreciated art and was an art lover, but not until my insane moments did I realize that I could convert this insanity into something beautiful and make peace with it. I really liked the idea of digital art and graphic design and thought maybe there was a way I could paint on my photos and draw digitally. I quickly found out that I can, and started doing it using some available filters, brushes, and combinations in Photoshop. I soon recognized that I had a flair for it and kept practicing. Though painting on photos sounded like fun it seemed like fake art to me, even though I had to work really hard to make a photo look like a painting, so I decided that I will create some original art, and since I have always loved abstract art, I started creating abstracts whenever I had one of my blues and unhappy mood swings. My painting process is simple, I play with colors and to me each color has a mood and a memory associated with it. I convert the feelings and emotions behind those memories to paint on my canvas. My canvas is just an imaginary and virtual sheet so its limitless and I can always hit ctrl-z, so I run a lot of trails to get that perfect balance between my mood and the art created. Now, I know why I never really liked the regular flower vase, fruit bowl, and landscape art coz I never really found any emotion behind them. I no longer make fun of artists and especially abstract artists coz now I know that there's a lot of emotion, thought process, effort, and passion behind what they create. I am now an abstract artist by accident. Its funny, me an artist? who knew? I still do not like calling myself an artist but I get a lot of praise from my friends whenever I share one of my pieces with them and it is so encouraging to be appreciated like that. This is what has kept me sane and grounded and gave me a sense of survival. And most importantly I liked doing it, it made me happy, the appreciation however was only a plus and gave me a sense of achievement. OK, so I am still sane and alive.

"Art is what you can get away with." - Warhol. True, I could get away from my problems with the help of art.

Imagination is intelligence having fun - Anonymous. And I had a lot of fun creating art.

Photography was another passion I developed over the years when I was jobless (I had to quit my job and move to US with the husband), I was nuts in the beginning and had no idea what to do, so started blogging but like all other bloggers developed a writer's block very soon since in those days I was not really good at talking or writing about myself or my hobbies. I still am very skeptical about doing that coz it makes me quite vulnerable opening myself up to god knows who. So I stopped blogging, and looked for ways to keep me sane and that's when I found the use for my digital camera. I started clicking and noticed that I was good at it, atleast that's what my friends said, that my pictures looked professional and I should go professional. I know they were exaggerating for my sake but it made me happy and I needed that boost to my spirits. It has kept me sane.

Everybody needs a reason to wake up in the morning. We as humans have this obsessive need to be needed/belonged, and appreciated/liked. And we also have this bug to prove to ourselves that we have it in us to beat all odds and achieve something even when we are ordered to take complete bed rest. Just shows how competitive humans can be :). That's what keeps us sane and from pulling out our hair during times of crisis. Photography and Digital Art have been that to me. They have helped me redefine myself and brought out my inner talents which I never even knew existed. Maybe its my true calling too, I don't know, but for now they are what keep me sane, I have something to hold onto becoz of them. It also reminds me that we should all pause once in a while and look at ourselves, analyze what we are doing and what we would really like to do and go for it, you never know what you're meant to do or be, unless you give it a chance, and give yourself a chance. I was given this chance by accident and found something. And ofcourse there's blogging too, coz I get to write posts like this :) I might sound pathetic but sometimes we have to go along with what life throws at us and try to turn it into something sane, and something that gives us peace of mind. I also admit that I am a victim of retail therapy, clothes and make-up do that to you, they make you feel good from the outside and hide your pain (whether physical or emotional) and give you a diversion. But this can only help so much and until the credit card bills show up. So I parted my time between art/photography/shopping/cooking (yeah, I do that sometimes whenever I find a really unique and instant cooking recipe online which I have never tried before).

People go insane for several reasons, some are not satisfied with their love life, some like me have an identity crisis, some do not have enough money etc., but whatever maybe the reason they all need to get back into track and survive in spite of everything. This is when we look for things to fill those gaps created by pain and trauma and fill them with something we like and something that makes us happy. We all need a sanctuary to go to whenever we are in crisis where we can forget about our problems for a while. And hobbies are one such creative releases for our anger and grief. So I suggest everyone to get a productive hobby instead of wallowing in self pity.

A friend of mine found her sanity in swimming and car driving. Another ex-colleague said that he found sanity in his work coz he could immerse himself in his work and forget about everything else. A neighbor once said that she found sanity in her kid, her daughter redefined her and her life, and she'd go insane if it was not for her. Well, whatever gets you through the day, right? Its different things for different people but we always find something that we like in spite of all the craziness coz when God closes a door he opens a window, we just have to pause and look for it, instead of hitting a nearby bar, or smoking (I know a lot of guys do this). When hit by crisis its easy to look for an easy way out and I did that too, by comfort eating, but it only added to my stress and problems instead of helping me release them. That's when I started looking for productive ways like blogging, art, and photography. I think there's something for everyone out there, you just have to keep your eyes open. Once you find it, the world will be a better place and you will actually start appreciating things around you.

What do you do for the sake of sanity, do you have a goto place or hobby? Let me know, I wanna hear from you.


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