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When you’re feeling unsure about life, what do you do to feel better? Unemployment, sickness, unwelcome drama, people, or just everything can weigh you down. I have been there, and I am still there. It can cause such sadness that getting up can be excruciating. But... it must be done.
One of the things that I enjoy is some alone time with my pencils and paper. My sketching brings me to a different world where life is positive and beautiful. Drawing fills my creative mind with endorphins and energetic ideas that I can sketch all day.
What kind of art is a personal preference. Some friends or family recreate Star Wars in fingerpaint or watercolors. Others I know go all out with their gridded canvas, grids on their photo of choice, and sketch slowly for perfection.
I used to do that years ago, but realized that it was too much pressure for perfection that I stopped immediately. I stressed myself over nothing and was not happy with my drawings or paintings.
As time went on, that hole of sadness continued. It is certainly not easy being clinically depressed with anxiety with manic episodes. The roller coaster of emotions and thinking were, at most times, controlling me. It was difficult just to go to work every day and fight my insides to stay calm and not to lose control. It did not help that I lost all desire for art or any other hobby. I stopped caring about everything that used to mean something to me. Knowing that broke my heart more.
So of all people, my cousin’s 11-year-old daughter Elle knocked me out (metaphorically).
She is quite the artist, and has zero expectations about it. She is very talented and it brought me great joy to look at her sketchbook. She had a variety of drawings that took my breath away. The amazing part is that it was done freehand and whimsical. She was having fun and that was all.
My lesson from an 11-year-old girl brought me back to the art store. “Start small," I said. I bought a small, portable sketchbook that I can put into my pocketbook easily.
It was not so easy to take it out and start creating again. Who had the power? My manic depression did and I disliked it very much.
One evening, I was sitting in silence and finally took out that small notebook and a regular pencil. Start small, right? I took a page from Elle’s philosophy and just started to sketch with zero thoughts of perfection or a finished product. It was a rough start but I slowly became involved in my little picture. I started to finally enjoy the idea of no expectation whimsical action. I did not draw for long, but created the mask you see. I saw a picture of a woman holding a mask before putting it on. She was holding the stick. As my baby steps, I decided to start with the mask. For a short time, I forgot that I was feeling terrible about life. For just a little while, I was lost in the mystery of holding a mask and just stroking the pencil. I lost sight of everything around me but my book in front on me and something I was creating. No one showed me how to do it. I have been a sketcher most of my life; unfortunately I lost sight of it for too long.
Whatever ails you, finding a positive hobby or project is key to distracting you from your darkest self. Whether it’s art, music, sculpture, crafts, or knitting, they are wonderful ways to quell your inner demons that want to control you.
Now I can only speak for myself, but I finally realized what I should have been doing all along, and that’s my sketching. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, yet I love it. It was created by my own fair hands.
My sadness and illness is still there, but now I have a way to squash it before it balloons into chaos. It is possible to get outside yourself and have fun without guilt or sadness. I have spoken to my doctor about it and she is glad. I am finally glad.
Now is the test. I have sketched a total of three photos. I can only hope that I will continue this and not give up on positive projects.
It is the best distraction and help in releasing joy and tell your illnesses “Not now-go away!”
What do you do go take yourself out of sadness?
I hope you know that you’re better than your illness and stronger, too.
What passion do you have to endure the uncertainty of life?
Every day is a conscious choice on whether to be joyful or empty.
What’s your choice?
I hope that, whatever you choose, that you enjoy it to your maximum ability!