So how can I be of value?
I’m really nervous.
Well, maybe nervous isn’t the right word here. Perhaps it’s more excited, anxious, scared and impatient.
That’s a lot of things to be feeling all at once!
You see, I’m starting something new this month. As of this week, I’m officially a student again.
And I’m still making my art, but my focus this year is studying.
It’s a curve-ball, but here’s why.
Sometime last year I stopped. I stopped making art, I stopped trying to figure out how to create a business doing what I love, and I decided to play computer games.
I was stuck in my own head.
Stuck because I couldn’t see the value in what I was doing.
I felt like I was just another artist, making art no one else cared about.
I struggled to find motivation, or inspiration to do any of it. Doing what I love was not paying the bills, and was pretty much making me miserable, so why bother?
I wanted more from life than just a 9-5.
I wanted to create value, to leave a legacy.
It’s a little morbid, but I’m not getting any younger and now my baby is all grown up, I’d thought I could have some time for me.
To figure out who I am.
To find out what I want.
To know myself deeply enough to be of value.
That’s what I really want. I want to leave a legacy of not just pretty art (although that wouldn’t hurt), but to help other people. To be of service.
I want my life to have had meaning.
No, I’m not dying or anything, but if I’m honest with myself, I felt like I was.
Because I felt worthless.
So, toward the end of the year, I decided I want to help others be creative, because it’s given me a sense of worthiness. It’s allowed me to find out who I am, and explore all the bits – dark, light, grey, happy, sad… And it’s still a work in progress, but what if…
What if by helping other people to find their own creative outlet, to see the value in themselves, I could see my own value? What if helping others will help me?
After a little bit of research, I decided on Art Therapy as my goal. If I can help people express themselves through art and gain healing for themselves, that would be a legacy I would be proud of.
Something that I won’t regret having not done.
I discovered that I’ll need to do a bit more learning though, before I can be the creative therapist I want to be, which lead me in a beautiful circle to Psychology.
Believe it or not, it is a full circle. Psychology was my first choice of study straight out of High School, but as a naïve 17-year-old, I honestly wasn’t ready. I took the other option back then and went to art school instead. (That’s a whole other story, for another day).
As an idealistic kid, I thought Psychology would be the way for me to change the world. To achieve Big Things and Make a Difference.
I see it differently today.
Today I see Psychology as a means to get to know myself better.
To heal and grow as a person.
To learn ways to help others heal and grow too.
To be an artist that doesn’t just make pretty art, but art that has value, and meaning.
To be a healer.
To be kind to myself.
I may have bitten off more than I can chew here. As well as studying, I’m building a community of like-minded creatives in the Perth Arts Network. I’m preparing for an exhibition with a friend. I’m writing this blog. I’ve got art I want to make.
Mostly the writing is for me. If all this stuff I’m thinking about is out of my head and on paper, maybe it’ll be easier to deal with. Maybe I’ll get more sleep.
Speaking of sleep, I think it’s time. I want to be fresh for my next class!
Wish me luck, and thanks for coming along for the ride.
About the Author
Toni is an artist and illustrator for people who believe in magic.
Through her vibrant and mystical paintings, inspiring blog posts and fun, intuitive art workshops, she’s here to help you create your own fantastical world to explore and share, making every step feel like the adventure of your dreams.
Some of her favourite adventures involve playing pretend with friends in tabletop and online role-playing games, reading books that make her cry and indulging in a lot of chocolate.
The artwork at the top of the page is called You are the Dancer, part of her inspirational prints series The Blue Lady Speaks.