You might as well know, due to some (mental) reasons, I am off work right now. Personally, I feel mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and being sick is being sick, whether it is a broken arm, Crohn's disease, MS, or depression with anxiety. (I do know the aforementioned illnesses are not all the same, but I think you get what I mean.) Being sick is no fun, and trying to get better is hard work. Often I am frustrated, angry, tired, and just fed up and feel like get-me-back-to-work-already. This little virtual art studio gives me something to look forward to; a place where I can say: "Hey, I still have value! There are some things I can still do!"
I often have endless hours looming in front of me and I feel like a prisoner with a life sentence. Some days, those hours are filled with mindless pursuits (video games, eating and sleep) because I *just can't* do anything more; it's all just too much. Some days are not as dreadful; I feel a bit better and am able to look at the world around me and interact with it. The best days are the (very few) ones that I feel almost normal, and can do almost normal things without wigging out or spacing out. No matter what, those hours are still there, waiting and needing to be filled.
With all those hours, I have had a LOT of time to think. Sometimes I let my mind drift and truly look at the world around me. Sometimes I just sit and day-dream about art I would like to create (and, boy, do I have a list!). Sometimes, though, when I am feeling a little energetic and restless, I listen to my inner voices. You know the ones, the ones that say "Let's eat cookies for dinner!" or "Don't forget dish detergent at the grocery store tomorrow." or "Whatever you are drawing, it certainly doesn't look like a bird." or "Maybe a protein drink is a better choice than cookies". They are all our voice, just different aspects of our needs and desires. I'm sure Freud would have something to say about my voices.
I have been sifting through the voices, listening to what they say, and trying to follow the most reasonable or healthy one. Now, I don't always succeed in following through, but I think just recognizing and acknowledging all of them is a big accomplishment for me. I get often stuck just listening to one voice, the one that always says: "You should. You shouldn't. You can't. You're crazy. Your art sucks and no one will ever like it. You are just wasting your art supplies. You'll never get better. Good girls do. Good girls don't." ad infinitum. But lately, I've been trying to listen to some of the other ones. Sometimes, the one that normally says: "I want cookies for dinner." says: "I want to play with colour! Let's go play!" And I do! And I have fun! And the pain is gone for a little while! Neat! Sometimes the voice that says: "You should do this or that" will say: "Yup, I know you are tired. Just a little more and you will have a completed piece of art. Go for the burn!" And I do! And I finish it and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment!
There are other voices too, faint and hard to hear, which are trying to tell me their stories. I am trying to listen. Maybe all I am going through is a great gift: the gift of having the time to learn about myself.