Rather than start from scratch, I'll just post part of an email I just sent to a friend:
I'm not sure what is going on with me. This unsettled feeling started yesterday when I was at Barnes & Noble. John was looking at gaming books, and so I went to the craft section. I found a book on Art Journaling, a topic I've long been interested in, but have never pursued. I started reading through it while John was doing his thing and I started crying. Just a few tears, but crying nonetheless. I'm glad I wasn't sobbing (although I was on the inside; it was a very emotional moment for me.). I chalked it up to being emotionally exhausted and having had therapy a little before. Why else would a book on art make me cry?
In the middle of the night, when I was NOT SLEEPING, I was blog hoping, and I found a post about a video on YouTube about art journaling. I clicked over to it, and started crying again. What the ... ? So, there's a second video, with a challenge that starts "Get a photo of yourself when you were five years old..." More tears, as I doubt there are any photos of me at five years old still around. There are probably slides, and there are definitely home movies, but my mom and dad had three kids before me. Snapshots of the baby wasn't a novelty anymore. Somewhere around my house is my second grade school picture, but I have no idea where it is. My rigid perfectionism told me that without the appropriate photo, I couldn't play along. Maybe I'm just still in the very tearful mood that yesterday's email found me in.
I think it's pretty obvious that I ought to be art journaling, huh? Something about the concept has really touched me today. So, I journaled about it, the old-fashioned way, and came up with some startling insights. Well, startling to me, but probably either obvious or boring to you. I'm emotionally exhausted because I tend to keep my emotions in tidy little boxes. I need to have, and have joked about this in the past, a breakdown where everything just comes tumbling out, tidy little boxes be damned! I tend to look at these boxes and I've labeled them appropriately, but I don't ever really muck around in the boxes. I spend more time feeling *about* my emotions than I do feeling the emotions themselves. Even with the emotional pain and discomfort I've felt lately -- over the past couple of years, even -- I've not really FELT what was going on with me. Thus, the exhaustion. I'm tired of holding it in. I'm tired of restraining myself.
So, what does all of this have to do with art journaling? Art journaling is MESSY. It's RAW. It's FREE. Definitely unrestrained! It's some of the "ugliest" art that a person can make. But it's expressive and emotional. It's journaling with art techniques, so it's all about getting it out there, putting yourself out there. To me, it's the real art, because it is about expression. What I do may be pretty enough (and lots of days I feel like even that is debatable), but it doesn't express anything about what I'm feeling or what I'm going through at the time. It's just the accepted use of line and color, arranged in a pleasing fashion. I think I need to be expressing myself visually instead of ... what's the word for "through words"? See, there's no such thing as parallel construction in a visual journal! There are no damn grammar rules! In fact, there aren't really any rules at all! I need to be doing this, and yet, I'm intensely frightened by the idea. Yep, scared of art. I'm frightened of what may happened, both emotionally and artistically, if I were to start purposefully poking holes in the damn I've built. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but that's what I'm feeling right now. Fear. Intense fear.
I'd love to hear from you. What do you think of what I just said? Is there any form of expression that you're scared of? Am I just being neurotic?