The Art Experience | Finding The Feeling of Freedom

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July 16th was the day I felt freedom for the first time in a long time. In my favorite city of Chicago, sitting on the floor cross-legged, I had a blank canvas in front of me. My friend, Rachael, was already painting. As the “Have a Good Day” Spotify playlist played in the background, I looked at my blank canvas. I had to think. I couldn’t put anything onto the canvas until I had an idea. So, I finally eyed the color that I wanted. It was a beautiful turquoise color. It stood out among the bunch. This was it. I was finally going to paint.

In the corner of my eyes, I see Rachael going to town on her canvas. With little regard to any vision she may have had, she just layers colors on colors. Her fingernails are now a different color with a mixture of acrylic paint slowly drying on her hands as she is in her own world. I’m jealous because I won’t let myself do that. I’m trying to make sure that the paints stay on the clean plate I’ve put a couple dabbles on. The horror to imagine the paint getting into my manicured nails. I don’t know if this will stain or now. So, I carefully caress the canvas with my flathead brush as I cover the canvas with a sea of seawater blue. Every stroke feels like I’m transferring any stress from my body to the canvas. The energy is turned from stress to relief. However, in the corner of my eye, I see Rachael has now taken a cup, mixed with various colors proceeds to pour the entire cup onto the canvas. My GOD! I’m not OCD, but the mess! I’m freaking out in the inside, but more than anything I’m jealous. She’s so free. She is painting to paint without the restrictions of a vision. How ever her canvas turns out, it will be great. It’s a guaranteed masterpiece because of the energy put into.

At this point, I decide to get a little “frisky” and take a copper, metallic paint and softly stroke some on the canvas. It’s always a stroke. Precise and intentional. Boring. It’s okay. I’ve definitely painted something like this before. I know how it’s going to true out before I’m even finished. It’s my usual. It’s creative, but not risky. Just enough not to get me out of my comfortable zone. I don’t know what to do next because although this is quite boring, it’s nice. But, I’m jealous. I’m jealous because I realize I care completely too much. I was so close to asking Rachel to give me another canvas because this one was ugly (more so basic). It wasn’t going to be revived. I almost said that. But, thankfully I did something that I will forever be grateful for.

Taking a note from Rachael, I take all of the colors that spoke to me and I squeezed them on the back of the plate. Then I did something I would NEVER do at home. I took my perfectly structured canvas and splatted the paint on my canvas. And I did it again. And I did it again. And I did it again. When I ran out of paint, I put more on the plate and repeated the process. Every time I splattered the plate onto the canvas, I didn’t know what would happened, but I kept on going. I just did what felt good. I kept on splatting until I was satisfied. Then I looked at my canvas in complete shock. It was nothing I would expect, but it was everything I loved. It was free. It was freedom.

My canvas turned into art because I gave myself the chance to be free for once and not put expectations on the outcome. I did what felt good. I did what felt free. Sitting and looking at my canvas, I couldn’t believe I made something so out of bounds. What a masterpiece. What a mess and a masterpiece at the same time. My hands were now covered with paint. I didn’t even reach for a paper towel. I just asked for another canvas because I wanted to feel that again. I wanted to allow myself to feel and not think. Just do what feels good. Art is about feelings. If you don’t feel when you make it, no matter the sentiment, you aren’t really making Art. So, I attribute July 16th as one of my many recent awakening moments. That’s the night I fell in love with painting because I felt it. So, thank you to Rachael for being fearless and showing me that it’s okay to let loose. Here’s to painting more blank canvases and allowing myself to be free.

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So, whatever makes you feel free, do that.

Signed,

Art Undone

Stop Torturing Yourself

ART - Stop Torturing Yourself.

(Note/Warning: This was definitely a self-read so here’s a look into my stream of consciousness)

At some point, you have to stop torturing yourself. Replaying and internalizing situations that you know are no good for you or are no longer available to you. You have to break up with the ideas of these things happening because at this point you are self-inflicting yourself with wounds that need time to be healed instead of re-opened for more exposure to harmful environments that can cause infections.

Stop putting yourself through voluntary mental warfare just to see if you are progressing. Allow yourself time to fully heal before you voluntarily go back to the battlefield. It’s not helping your healing process.

Sometimes you just need to let things go. I don’t mean storing them in a storage bin in your closet for ‘just in case’ scenarios, I mean take that shit to the city dump, toss it in the pile and never look back. You have to fully let go in order for something new to have the chance to grow. Scabs don’t disappear until you stop messing with them. Cut off all contingency plans and allow yourself to be free. Be free. Take off those mental chains that won’t allow your brain to process new horizons and be completely free of this mental battlefield you don’t even have to fight.

This battle doesn’t have to be fought. You already won the war. You have to get out the mentality of the game and step into something new. Have the audacity to leave the battlefield and never look back. Stop letting the ‘idea’ of someone hurt you. Stop letting the idea of someone hurt you. It’s all in your mind and even if it is true, that’s none of your business. Focus on yourself. Love yourself. Feed yourself. Free yourself.

You were once walking into the jail and closing the door because you liked the familiar surroundings. No longer. We don’t do that any longer. We are freeing ourselves of relying on these made up ideas of others and accepting people for exactly who they are. That doesn’t mean we don’t deal with them, that means that we take away the costume we put on them to make them fit into our life.

So, what are we doing now? We’re also taking off the idea of us that we have hung onto that’s hindering us from growing. We’re being honest with ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are we now, in whatever part of life we are in and not covering ourselves with layer after layer of who we think we are. Instead, we are living our absolute truth and loving on ourselves. The energy we put into creating storylines for the people around us, we’re taking that energy back. We are taking that energy back and putting it into our own mental, emotional and spiritual growth. That cloak of emotional invincibility, we’re taking that off too. We’re going to be honest with our emotions. We’re going to let ourselves feel. We’re going to let out all of those emotions and then, we are getting in the car, going to the city dump and letting all of that shit go. We’re not holding onto emotions for ‘just in case scenarios’. We’re not allowing ourselves that opportunity anymore because better opportunities are worth taking.

So, if you need to heal, take the time to do so. Comfort those demons, but after you’re done, let it go. We’re not going back just to live in the past. We’re not going back just because the feeling of pain feels almost comforting and familiar. Instead, we’re moving forward and letting all those ideas, dreams & detrimental case scenarios go. We’re going to be free. It will be glorious.

Love,

ART Undone

The Mental Diet | Watching What You Think

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I’ve been on a new diet and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s something that’s been much needed because honestly my previous diet was filled with a lot of trash with no nutritional value. It’s called a mental diet.

I’m on a mental diet where I’m consciously watching what I think by looking at my mental intakes. Basically, the information I consume on a daily basis dictates my thoughts, therefore watching and limiting certain mental intakes helps me to think better thoughts and be a better person.

My junk food of choice happens to be social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. Mostly Twitter, if we’re going to be honest. So, Twitter is like my Zaxby’s of mental food. It feels good after the first and second bite, but too much and I’m useless. From celebrity news to regular news, my consumption on a daily basis invades my thoughts, subconsciously, and makes me feel full. Full of thoughts that are just illusions of nothingness that don’t contribute to any beneficial nourishment.

So, here I am, now on a mental diet trying to live a better life. Not completely cutting out the mental junk food, but limiting my intake until I have more discipline.  I’m working on supplying myself with nourishing mental meals in the forms of books, articles, blogs, marketing information and even my own thoughts (writing). I realized that part of the reason why I wasn’t writing as much as I used to was that I wasn’t giving myself much to work with. I needed the energy, knowledge, and thoughts to even operate on my normal schedule. Therefore, I had to really put myself on a mental diet, no matter how crazy that sounds.

So, how does a mental diet work? Here are some pointers that I’m learning on my journey:

  • Write down the thoughts that occupy your mind the most during the day as an assessment
  • Identify the things offer you some sort of nutritional benefit and the things that offer no nutritional value
  • Point out 3 things you want to learn about for your personal or professional growth
  • Find multiple resources that you can consume on a daily basis to learn about those 3 things
  • Create reminders and fillers to replace your mental junk food with something more beneficial
  • If social media is an issue for you, update your phone with more useful apps and move the ones you use too much to a less accessible place or take them off of your phone until you can achieve a new normal
  • Find a happy balance for your mental diet that works for you. Cheat days are completely understandable

Well, good luck! Let me know how this goes for you and I’ll do the same!

Signed,

ART Undone

Dear ART at 25

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Dear ART at 25,

Hey Girl! I can’t believe I just typed 25! Woah, it’s crazy how time flies when you’re living life. I feel like we just turned 24! Anywho, here we are, live and in color.

So, ART at 25, I wish this that your 25th year is one of the best years of your life. This past year has definitely been one for the books. It’s been a fun ride that had its twists and turns. You thought you were done learning about yourself, but every day there seems to be more layers to this work of ART.

As you continue to live life, I hope you continue to learn and love yourself a little more every day. Also, don’t be so hard on me and your past. While we have made mistakes, we’ve always tried to do the best we can. It’s a learning process. You’ll make mistakes this year and possibly let yourself down in a few areas, but the good news is that if you stay true to yourself, you’ll make a way through.

Even better news, I’ve set you up for the ultimate come up! You know what you have to do, you just have to do it. Don’t spend so much time pondering what needs to be done. JUST. DO. IT. Yes, get up and do it and stop talking yourself out of your greatness. I may not have made every layup, but I have the ball in the air; All you have to do is catch it.

Side note: you know that one thing you ridiculously afraid of failing at? Do it anyways.

This year, I hope you surprise yourself. I hope you exceed every expectation you once had of yourself. I hope you get out of that comfort zone and rise to the occasion. You are gathering all the tools you need for your journey, the only thing that is missing is you putting your all into it. I hope you decide that you deserve to give life your full court press.

It’s important to remember that you’re not always going to be at 100%. Sometimes, you’ll be operating at a much lower level. That’s completely okay. It’s okay to do something, instead of nothing at all. Stop holding yourself back. Progression over Perfection.

Let’s not forget: No matter how strong you are, you didn’t get here on your own. You have been blessed with an amazing support group that shows up and shows out for you constantly. Don’t take them for granted. They have helped you grow exponentially. It still takes a team. Nurture those relationships.

Also, don’t forget to make yourself smile. I see some new things entering your life. Remember that the essence of ART is ART. Don’t forget about ART. Love her. Cherish her. Appreciate her and all her forms.

Remember, instant gratification is a sham. Save your coins so you can take even more trips.

Finally, just do the best you can with what you have. Cherish your family. Save your coins. Read more. Please read more. I can feel that this upcoming ART year is going to everything you could ever want in the best possible way. Get ready girl, because your future is BRIGHT and ready to shine.

I love you girl, don’t you ever forget it.

Love,

ART at 24

P.S. This year was LIT! Don’t let anyone tell you different. You lived your best life as ART at 24. Doors have opened that you have never even thought of and more great surprises are on their way!

P.S…. Every day the world is changing more than we ever thought it would. In some ways, it can be very terrifying. Please don’t forget that there are good people out there. Remember that you are one of them. Don’t compromise your truth for temporary gain or satisfaction.

Computer Love | Hitting Reset

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Has your computer ever start ‘failing’ you while you’re hard at work typing your heart out?  You have all your current tabs open and you’re working, but minute by minute, your computer is starting to malfunction. You have everything you need open and you’re working hard, but your computer is responding slower with every click. You get the same “time for an update” notification that you’ve ignored for over a week. You ignore it. You figure you can push through a little bit more and your computer won’t let you down. You are doing everything in your power not to have to restart your entire laptop, but you know and your computer knows that it’s inevitable. Just your luck, right?

Well, here’s the thing: Once you update your computer, you know it will work that much better. The update will also give you a clean slate to start on. You probably didn’t need all those tabs open anyways.  Even if you get the “restore all tabs” once you reboot, you’ll be more cognizant of overloading your computer the next go around because you remember how it felt to have start all over again because of the last reset.

So, ART, what the heck are you talking about? Are you really writing about a computer upgrade!?!

Just follow me… Imagine, your mind is the computer. While you may be the latest and greatest version, at some point, you’ll need to restart your computer and update (or reset). Imagine the tabs and programs are tasks and thoughts in your head. While you may be able to contain and process many things at a time, if you overload your computer, usually one of two things will happen: the computer will slow down and completely stop working (forcing an involuntary shutdown and reset) or voluntary shutdown and restart because you have taken the ‘power’ in your own hands. The choice is yours. It’s imperative to pay attention to the signals and know when to reset and when to keep going. Taking care of your ‘computer’ is the same thing as taking care of yourself.

More specifically, realize that sometimes you need a fresh start to operate better. It’s all great and dandy to be able to exit out of a couple ancillary tabs and keep it moving, however, a complete reboot comes with a clear mind.

If you find yourself working on a project for an extended amount of time and nothing is going how you imagined it in your head after multiple attempts or you see yourself slowing down drastically, don’t be afraid to completely shut it down and refresh. Yes, updating means you are completely taken out of your zone. However, this gives you a chance to come back with a clear head and fresh approach. Yes, time will keep moving and you may feel idle while everything is updating; However, tell me what’s better than logging onto your computer after an update with a clear screen and a clear mind? Also, the time you’ve had to wait and reset can offer new benefits you never knew you needed. Timing is everything.

So, go ahead and give your computer some love! Hit that reset button and update. Tell me how it goes :-).

Signed,

ART finally resetting