As my current bipolar season continues, I’m ever so grateful for this new tool of Art Journaling. Since there are several stages to creating a spread, I can always find some piece that will fit my state of mind. Whether it’s pulling images out of my stash for the collage bits:
Or finding new ways to use text:
Or slipping into a Zen state while making boarders and lines:
Or trying out a new tool, like this very fine tipped Pilot marker:
I can camp out at my coffee shop with my journal and let my illness be.
Megan, my therapist, said I’m not fighting it anymore, and that feels true. It seems to be getting easier to accept whatever my illness brings—the quicksilver changes in mood, the sudden shifts in functionality. Those things aren’t good or bad anymore. They’re just me.
I still try to stuff myself into a “normal” sausage casing sometimes, expecting to move around in the world the way other people do. But, as I sit with my journal, with all the space it creates in my head, I’ve started to unhook from those expectations and get curious about how I might move differently in the world.
Today, for example, I looked at how I keep trying to make commitments (like being on a committee or taking a class) when my illness makes that nearly impossible. At some point, when my symptoms become severe, I’m forced to drop everything. So, instead of continuing to bash myself over the head for being “unreliable,” perhaps there’s another way. Maybe it’s a matter of showing up when I’m able. I know the world doesn’t work this way, but I do, and I would like to honor that more.
More acceptance. More integration. That seems to be a by-product of all this artsy-fartsy stuff. I’m breathing more with my fingers, slipping into meditation with color and line. It’s a new kind of Practice.
I’ve come to a place with my art that I found a while ago with my writing—loving the mistakes and crap as much as anything that “turns out.” The Shitty First Drafts and the Muddled Attempts are my best teachers. They point me to the next piece of Practice. They’re the ones who taught me to accept it all—my writing, my art and, of course, my bipolar disorder.
Funny how that all comes together.
I’m on a Funny Adventure.