I know I’d posted to my socials with some musings about ‘messy’ paintings and I’ve still been thinking so much about them. They make me feel out of control. In a good way. Which means that I’m getting myself and my poor nervous system regulated again.
Many words have been used to define me or things about me over they years but I think the earliest was ‘organized.’ I was extremely organized as a kid, my mom still tells me that I was way more organized than she was, and I know that it is true. Seeing the piles upon piles stacked all over her desk made my skin crawl. I could not, would not end up with things like that. I don’t know that I ever remember thinking that so coherently, though. I just somehow knew that mess was decidedly not my thing. How wrong I was…
And things I’m learning these days are helping those early experiences make a bit more sense, too.
Coming back into myself I’ve been finding a lot of discomfort in things that I’m not completely, enthusiastically interested in doing. And, sometimes, with things that I do with other people, even when I like the other people. People are messy. The overarching concept is control. And this has been harder to manage in the dysregulation I’ve felt after the family vacation.
In the weeks following the vacation I couldn’t manage to do more with my time than work (under massive mental protest and stress) and game…mostly by myself because other people meant demands that I was uninterested in dealing with. I think it may have even been on the level of legitimately couldn’t have dealt with the demands other people imposed simply by existing…
I felt very frustrated and ashamed of it..to the point that I couldn’t even communicate with a friend that gaming together online was off the table, I ghosted them a bit (I’ve since been able to explain, they very much understood, thankfully).
But this is just the tip of the iceberg at times. I have such large need to always be in control of my life that when I don’t have control (even only in small ways sometimes) it really, truly triggers me. Other people become a demand and I don’t even want to see them, be around them, or interact with them. The only way I can get back to center is to be alone and do my own thing.
If I have to be around people I am literally the worst. I am a cranky, moody bitch. And, contrary to some popular beliefs, no, I cannot just be nice, or hold it together. So I do my best to keep to myself when I reach this breaking point.
All that to say that while I’m learning to embrace the chaos I’m needing to do it deliberately and in a framework that works for my unique needs. Learning to give myself the space to be who I am, and also push the comfort zone I’ve built for myself. Finding room in my heart for my cranky, moody bitch and validating her when she’s super triggered because what she brings to the table is just as important as the nicer sides of myself.
This is why I’ve loved, and felt discomfort around, painting these ‘messy’ paintings. They are a sign to me that not only am I capable of ‘messy’ art but that I can make myself comfortable with new things. They bring me both joy and grief.
Joy for the new room I’ve given myself in both life and creativity. Grief for the strictness I’d felt necessary to survive this world because there is so much more to life than strict, organized structure. It has it’s place and yet, should be balanced by joyous chaos, too.
And hey, maybe I do have ADHD and/or Autism. I don’t know, really, it is just a gut feeling. What I do know, though, is that finding information and stories out there in the great wide world that help me piece together a better understanding of myself has been so, so healing. I am not alone, we are not alone.
The more we see each other, the more we can create a better world, I hope, with more understanding, creativity, healing, and joy.
So, if you think you are alone in needing to have control and getting really, really bent out of shape when you don’t have that. Know that you are not alone. Give space for your nervous system to reset, maybe even do some research, I don’t know. Sometimes the only thing to be done is get through the day.
PS. In case you missed it, these are the 'messy' paintings. I've been sitting with the discomfort they've brought and haven't gotten to any other art since I created them. My creativity comes in starts and stops, often. Something else I'm learning to embrace...which may also fall under the large umbrella of chaos I guess.
Here's what I wrote on the socials about them:
I painted two ‘messy’ paintings this week. No sketch, no lines, just one layer. And I’ve been thinking about them a lot, in my struggle against perfectionism and the feelings of imposter-ness I’ve been looking for ways to simply create more. Messy always seemed wrong but now I’m seeing it as absolutely necessary to find my center and to embrace my whole creative self. To find holistic creativity where all parts are welcome at the table. It’s ok to create something ‘messy’ or ‘bad’, in fact those words have no negative connotations, here in holistic creativity. The goal is to heal, grow, create, and show your genuine weird self; show yourself love and show the world the wonderful reflection of that love. We all deserve to be seen and loved. Maybe we can all be saved through art and creativity, creators or viewers, whichever side we find ourselves on, just a thought 💜