Why don't you make some art?
Any kind of art will do.
Take a pen to paper (or crayon to napkin, or pencil to junk mail envelope) and scribble some pretty shapes. Draw languid swirling lines and sharp diamonds and fill them in with perky polka dots and frenetic zig-zags.
Get out your old paint set and that crusty brush you packed away the last time you moved. "Why am I even packing this?" you asked yourself as you tossed it in a box marked "random shit." "I haven't used it in years."
Dip the brush in water and make a fat, drippy stripe of bold color across white paper. Then make another one. Isn't that the best feeling in the world? This is why you kept it.
But maybe you didn't keep an old paintbrush and a shoebox full of paint. Maybe you've never liked painting -- it's too messy. So maybe you sit down with your laptop and type out a little poem. A poem can be anything. It doesn't have to rhyme. It can be silly or serious or sad or joyful. Curate a collection of words that feels like a little gift in your mouth when you read it out loud. Don't forget to read it out loud. Empty rooms are great listeners.
Don't think about what your art will look like or what it sounds like or if it's "good." Don't think about who might see it, or what it might look like to them, or -- most dangerous of all -- what THEY might think about YOU. Clear your head of expectations and create something beautiful. Even if you can't convince yourself it's beautiful by any existing standard of beauty, you were brave enough to create it, and my dear, that's fucking beautiful.
Strum a few notes on a guitar or bang on some piano keys with wild abandon. Sing your heart out in the car. I mean, really SING until you feel your throat muscles vibrating and at the end of the song you're breathing hard and your hair's a little messy. What a sensual experience it is to really sing. Stop saying you can't sing. You can. So do it.
Remember that teacher in high school who said you weren't artistic? They were wrong. Remember how your brother is the only creative one in the family? That's not true.
Turn on your favorite song and dance around your kitchen. Shut the blinds first if that helps you really go crazy, or if you dance better without pants on, as so many of us do, take 'em off. My friend likes to dance in her bathroom with the door closed and earbuds in. She sways and twirls to Lana and Katy and Gaga until she's drenched in sweat and everything feels right in the world. That's art too, you know.
Stitch two pieces of fabric together or wrap yarn around a hook. Go to a yarn store and run your fingers over all the soft bundles of wool and cashmere and acrylic. Let yourself dream of all the things you can make with nothing more than string and a needle. Decide to make a sweater. Change your mind and make a lumpy scarf instead. Be proud. You made something.
Maybe the kitchen is your art studio. Mix together a few cups of flour, water, salt, and whisper encouraging words to a sprinkle of yeast. Watch it rise. Watch it come together to become something new. Making bread is a combination of science and art and magic. Say "ta-da!" when you slice it. What a great trick you just performed; in fact, it's the oldest trick in the book.
Make a soup from scratch, with or without a recipe. Take a second to admire a rainbow of chopped vegetables simmering in a pan. Serve it in a pretty bowl, even if you're the only one eating. Light a candle. Celebrate your delicious creativity.
Go outside and find a beautiful scene and take a photo of it. Or maybe you prefer scenes that are the opposite of beautiful: a cracked TV in an alley or an oil slick on a mud puddle. Is it beautiful? Depends on how you look at it. The most important thing is to look. Whether you post that photo on Instagram or develop it in your own dark room or keep it filed away on a memory card for all eternity, who cares? It's still art. It's still a story.
Speaking of stories, you have one. A great one, probably. Find a way to tell it that feels true to you -- in a diary or a Google Doc, in five words or 5,000. The main character can be you, or maybe it's a superhero from the future named Nebula Starforce. Maybe Nebula Starforce is actually you, but you don't tell anyone. That's OK too. It's your story. Just tell it.
Have you ever seen a beautiful painting or listened to an emotional song or read an honest poem or eaten a perfectly composed dessert and thought, "Thank you?" That's always the feeling I get when I experience art: gratitude. Thank you for making this. Thank you for sharing this. The world is better for it.
There are so many ways to be creative. There are no rules about who can create and how and when and why. In every incarnation, professional or amateur, shared or secret, creativity makes the world better.
Why don't you make some art?
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