They say a picture says a thousand words. And for the longest time, I relied on words to express myself – artistically and emotionally. I was into writing, and it had become my only artform and creative outlet.
Never would I have thought I could create something visually appealing. I can’t draw or paint. Stick figures don’t count, I’ve been told.
Enter photography into my life. For the past year, taking photos has been my way of finding beauty in the world. It’s been my way of staying and living in the present and absorbing my surroundings. Prior to buying a camera, I lived much of my time in my own head – in a fantasy world. I rarely looked around when I took my dog out. I didn’t smile at people I passed on the street. I never noticed or took in the world around me.
I do now.
I got into editing my photos a few months ago. It was simple stuff. Filters and presets.
But I always wanted to create something that really expressed my creative side. Something that accurately demonstrated what went on inside my head, and heart. I wanted to create… art.
On a whim, I bought an unaffordable copy of Photoshop – a digital art and graphic design program. All the professionals use it, I figured. So why not me?
I was awful at it right off the bat. I gave up after a few days of tinkering around with the countless tools the program has to offer. I might have just as well flushed my money down the toilet, I grumbled.
What I’ve learned about perseverance, however, over the course of my journey through mental illness and addiction, is engrained in me. And after a few days of cursing the Photoshop disc sitting on my computer desk, I took it up again. Maybe this time I’ll be better at it.
When you go through a long and difficult struggle, like my experience of mental health challenges, you learn the value of fighting through hard times. You learn how to be resourceful. You learn how to cope with challenges. And you learn, above all, the value of determination and perseverance.
I needed an outlet that surpassed writing. Words are powerful, but pictures more-so. How would I ever build an Instagram empire without powerful posts? How would I ever impress women with my unbridled imagination? And how, would I find a job that didn’t involve pushing pencils in a stuffy office?
So… I gave it another shot. I seized the opportunity to become an expert photo manipulator. Again.
Today, I’m much better at the visual artform. I practiced and immersed myself in online tutorials and graphic design forums. I dedicated days and nights to learning how to layer, mask, and overlay.
I’m still a novice. And by no means have I become an Instagram mogul. Yet.
But I’m seeing results and am receiving a lot of positive feedback. It’s rewarding to see your art appreciated and accepted. Validated, as a legitimate form of creative expressionism.
I place a lot of importance on emotional outlets. They are a way to channel any emotion I’m feeling (that may be overwhelming), into something productive and concrete. My outlets help me maintain good mental health and keep me moving forward. I’ll always have these outlets to help me cope with day to day challenges. These outlets are my way of processing what goes on in my world.
There’s a quote I read a while back:
“He who sees beauty in the world must sometimes walk alone.”
I’ve seen beauty for a long time. And for a long time remained isolated. But the great thing about art is that it brings people together. I’m less alone now.
I still see beauty wherever I go. More-so than before. And while I may walk alone in life, I do so together with those who dare explore the depths of imagination.