Do not leave your longings unattended

Austin Kleon has talked about phantom limb pain that results when you cut off some of your passions to focus on one for a while.

Don’t throw any of yourself away. If you have two or three real passions, don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Don’t discard. Keep all your passions in your life.

Did you know that I used to be an art major? But then I burned out, took a couple years off college, and graduated in journalism when I went back.

I don’t regret changing my major – I love writing and for some reason have never burned out from that – but I do wish I had drawn more.

When I was watching Gravity Falls, I noticed how snacky I got while watching TV. I decided I needed something new to do with my hands, and so I got out my notebook and started drawing Mabel and Dipper.

The next day at work I was having a pretty rough day, and so I got out my notebook and started drawing. This was my result:

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When I was an art major, I cared so, so much about how my art looked. I would beat myself up for not wanting to draw – and I often didn’t want to draw because almost immediately my mind would think, “This is crap. This is awful. This sucks. I am terrible at this.”

But drawing this at work was therapeutic because I didn’t care how it looked – I just tried to use it as a way of thinking, rather than focusing entirely on creating something objectively beautiful.

Here’s another thing I drew the other night, illustrating my insecurities as I try to figure out what I want from life:

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I think it’s good to draw again, and in my case, focus less on how good it looks and more on how productive my drawing is. How does this help me think? Am I moving forward? Am I making positive change for myself? Am I feeling a little bit better about my uncertainty?

It makes a difference, and I’m grateful for it.

2 comments

  1. I love this! I definitely struggle with anxiety and feeling like I’m “not enough” in so many ways, and hiking and reading books helps me deal with that. If I was any good at drawing (seriously, I’m on a stick figure level) I would probably love that because it would keep my mind busy. Your pictures are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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