I woke up this morning with this overwhelming feeling to create. I wanted to create badly. As I looked in the mirror, disappointment. My hair didn’t look good, I would have to wash it and flatten it… That would take a couple of hours. “Maybe today is not the day. Tomorrow.” I shot myself down then and there. As I went out to walk my dog an overwhelming sense of anxiety began kicking in.
As per the usual, I was listening to a podcast on my morning walking route with Betsy but I was hearing none of it. The anxiety grew bigger and my thoughts grew darker. The feeling of despair began taking over. I’m tired of listening to successful people. I am tired of struggling, I am tired of excuses and I am most certainly tired of sabotaging myself.
Recently, I have been challenging myself to look at an object and ask myself what I would create with it. This has allowed me to channel my most inner creative self when I feel creativity escaping me. Problem solving is one of my greatest strengths and passions. I look at moments like these as a problem solving exercise.
“What can I do with my hair as it is?” I asked myself. My hair is in a high bun. “Perhaps you could do a ballerina photo… No, a real ballerina would probably see through it and know I am not a real ballerina.” My anxiety began growing bigger. As my podcast played I just wanted to scream, “How is it possible that other people have found something that has worked and I am still stuck here??!” Anger ensued and then another overwhelming wave of anxiety.
I returned home and fed my dog. I sat on the couch next to her in a huge bout of anxiety, anger and resentment. “Why not me? Why am I still stuck in the mud? When will it be my turn to succeed?”. Then, inspiration struck. This is why I love following my intuition and gut and fully trusting in the Universe.
“Create a piece about anxiety. You have this emotion that you are feeling, Anna so what are you going to do with it?”
With this new insight in mind, I began to explore my feelings further. What does anxiety look like? What does it feel like to me? If I was creating a portrait, what features would I include? My hair in a bun is perfect. I am perfect as I am right now in this moment. I choose to create with what I have and I challenge myself to do so. Anxiety feels like something is restraining me. Anxiety feels like my basic senses have been taken away. I cannot speak, I cannot see, I cannot hear, I cannot move. Anxiety. It’s dark, it’s ugly. it’s restraining.
What does anxiety feel like to you?
If you could pick one emotion to create from, which would it be?
A bit about the edit:
I wrote this excerpt first because I NEEDED to get out what I was feeling. Thoughts can be very destructive if we give them life. The only life I wanted to give my thoughts was to channel them into art and nothing more. I acknowledged my emotions and didn’t entice them further because I know they are not true. As I went through the edit I knew a couple of things. The white scarf represents “surrender” as in a white flag of surrender. It’s covering my eyes, ears and restraining my hands as if it is forcing me to surrender. When I feel anxiety, I cannot see, hear, speak or anything else. My world goes colorless and dark.
The scratches on the image represent wanting to claw out of it. I am dressed in black because it is somber and obscure to represent what anxiety is doing to me. Black and white photography is something that I hold very near and dear to my heart. It is where I began – in the dark room – it is what made me fall in love with photography as an art form. I wanted to also infuse that part of me into this image.