I am very fond of handicrafts that involve making something that is useful--yet is visually appealing, or something that I can make money off of--namely tsumami kanzashi. Charcoal portraits was something else I really enjoyed and had talent for. I am mostly left-handed but when I use charcoal, I draw with both hands--one hand with a vine charcoal stick, and the other with a compress charcoal stick. Then I joyfully blend and smudge using both of my hands, sometimes along with an elbow or two.
But it has been over a year since I've done any serious handiwork or artwork. I had intended to get into painting, but that had been tossed to the side after a while. Yoga, weight training, and belly dance was put on the back burner. Result? Some weight gain, lethargy, and an awful sense of losing one's identity.
I sometimes wonder if the increase of depression and hopelessness in people these days have a lot to do with advance technology that reduces the do-it-yourself action, the hands-on bit. There's nonexistent satisfaction from nothing being created.
I don't know about other people, but I don't want to rot away in front of the computer, in front of the TV. Letting my muscles atrophy. Allowing my mind to rot. Contending with a little grey cloud hovering over my mood. Counseling and antidepressants never worked for me, and now seems like the lazy man's way of dealing with adversary or just plain discontent. But of course, I know that is not everyone, and that there are those out there with serious mental issues that require some kind of outside help.
Several of you know that I just moved out into my own apartment in a new town a few days ago, after living with my folks for the past 3 years. I had moved back in with them so I could return to school, but during that time I felt restricted for many reasons--some self-imposed, some not.
Now, after years of being uninspired to do anything, I'm excited again to feel the full control over myself and my life--more so than ever before, since I know myself better and I know now what I want out of life (which I didn't before. It very much contributed to my isolation and uncertainty). I had let my depression control me for most of my adult life--but that shit stops now.
A plan has been laid out. I've already quit smoking and am now working on cutting down the drinking so I can improve my physical endurance and ability. Breaking the junk food habit and adding quality nutrition to my everyday diet. Jogging every morning for the daily endorphin boost and to help encourage some adipose metabolism. Drinking plenty of water. Getting plenty of sleep. Hand-writing in a journal daily. And the most effective, most rewarding part of my little therapy plan: a mandatory hour (or two, or three) of 'creative' time each day--tsumami kanzashi, drawing, painting, sculpturing, making various things out of felt/fabric, etc.
Any of you out there notice a difference in your mood when you are not creating something from your own two hands? Does life seem richer to you when you do some gardening, creative cooking, sculpturing, writing, etc.?