Mental health, Wellness

Recalibrating my creativity

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September 10, 2012

When I was little, I loved the way brilliant colors would dance across a painting like a melodic song. Grandmom presented me with an easel for Christmas one year, and I became obsessed. I even proclaimed to my dad I wanted to become an illustrator when I grew up. He gently explained to me there wasn’t much money in a career as an artist. Slightly deflated but generally undeterred, my six-year-old self pronounced I would become a writer instead. This was probably for the better as I would like to think I’m a better writer than artist. Know that I inwardly shivered at the thought of this embarrassing declaration. I’m actually melting into my couch as we speak.

Embarrassment aside, being surrounded by such a blossoming arts community as Lancaster has recalibrated my love for art. If you’ve ever experienced the city come alive on a First Friday and meandered in and out of the galleries on Gallery Row, you might know the feeling. The walls of nearly every restaurant or bar downtown are adorned with local artwork. Even morning strolls through Lancaster Central Market are commanded by a vibrant buzz. While Lancaster may be considered a city, it still radiates the feeling of a tight-knit arts community. I particularly love that nearly everyone and everything is reachable on foot.

My reignited creative energy also has a bit to do with my talented friend Alax and her artistic passion. She has a contagious enthusiasm for life and art that makes it hard not being inspired around her. Even a simple visit to her apartment jump-starts my creativity. I’ve begun taking time out of my busy week to sketch and paint. I’ve even started to write again, something I’ve always loved but it got shoved in the trunk while my demanding career took a front seat.

Even if no one reads or cares what I have to say, it feels good to write. It’s important to me. It functions somewhat like the physiological process of breathing. If you stop breathing, your oxygen level plummets and you die. Whenever I stop writing, my mind becomes cloudy and the buzzing thoughts, like the carbon dioxide, have no way to escape. It also serves as a panacea for stress, something that seems to have invaded my life more so than ever lately. So, I’m determined to devote more time to being creative and nurturing my right brain. If for no other reason than to maintain sanity.

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