Today I decided to attend our monthly art night solo. Everyone else was busy, but I still really wanted to go. This is pretty out of character for me because I never go anywhere alone. I am not one of those people who eat at restaurants or attend movies as a party of one. I like to go in groups. But surprisingly, I did not have any issues going alone. I was actually super excited.
These monthly art nights have provided an incredible release from all of life’s stressors. I used to take art classes when I was younger, and it was always just for fun. I’m not particularly talented, but I enjoy it so much! I love mixing colors and watching the canvas transform into an image with depth. As much as my writing has offered an incredible outlet for processing, there is something different about painting, sketching, blending. I’m able to zone out a little more and let my mind wander. Like this particular outing, where I brought headphones and came away with several personal realizations.
The weight of being alone didn’t hit me, until I was driving over. I started worrying about not being able to find a seat. I have a few fears about being left out, forgotten, or simply being in a position where there is no room for me. I was painfully shy as a kid, and certain situations put me right back to being a nervous ten year old who couldn’t find a spot at the lunch table. So I walk in, pay my $5, and realize there are zero empty tables. Great. So I meander through the tables, hoping I missed an open one. Nope. Nothing is free. Now I’m going to have to ask someone if I can share her table.
I’m desperately scouring for an open space, praying I find one where people are welcoming. There is literally nothing open. I’m beginning to consider going home, which would have been such a bummer. It always takes a lot of planning for me to get coverage for my three little ones, especially for the dinner and nighttime routine. I’ve already put so much effort into just being here, I would be really upset to have to just turn around and head back home.
I’m starting to get really hot and flushed at this point. I feel like everyone is staring at me, as I wander around looking for an available seat, which of course is ridiculous. No one is staring at me, but I’m still sweating like everyone’s eyes are locked on me.
I was about to put my supplies down and head back to the car, when I saw a chair! Around other moms too! So I place my hand on the back of the chair, “Is anyone sitting here?” One of the moms smiles at me and shakes her head. “Nope. It’s all yours.”
For any introvert reading this: VICTORY! CRISIS AVERTED.
I sit down and take off my jacket because I’m literally just stress sweating through it at this point. Great way to start my night of self-care. I pull out my headphones, put on my Raign station, and settle in.
As I’m sketching, my mind wanders, exploring different ideas, chasing different thoughts. With my therapist training, I’m all about introspection. So I start analyzing my passion for writing and the joy derived from other art forms: dancing and painting and music. I realized I had been an artist for a very long time. I realized I am actually a very creative person, and I absolutely cannot function without engaging in some form of artistic expression. I used to read a lot, and this seemed to satisfy my cravings for a while; however, this is not enough anymore.
I feel like everything has become an art form for me, even exercise. Yoga is all about rhythm, movement, and breath. It’s about being centered and balanced, and yet it still offers creative variations for the mind and body to try.
I continued to ponder the value of art and how it’s actually been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It was within these thoughts that I realized that although I may have come alone to the art studio, I wasn’t actually lonely. In fact, I was very happy to be surrounded by strangers because I got to let my mind wander and come to a greater understanding of my identity.
Would I have had this same experience, if I had been chit chatting with a friend or two? Probably not, but I would have enjoyed the girl time. Those art nights are also wonderful, but it was nice to just be with myself for a moment, without anyone needing me. I found peace in the solitude. What would you have found?