Creating in Isolation

Creating in Isolation
It has been one week of isolation since Boris Johnson addressed the nation outlining a series of strict social measures. I have personally been isolating since 16th March, making that two weeks today. At this point I’m lucky to have found a nice little routine that’s working for me; however, the first four or five days were a struggle. ⁣

The immediate interruption of daily routine put a stop on all physical and mental output I had become accustomed to, so it was four days on the sofa in the same clothes working through what seemed to be the entirety of Netflix. On day five, when I sat back down on the sofa, I felt a sense of panic as anxiety spiked in me. Shit, am I really going to do this indefinitely? ⁣
I have felt a real absence of creativity since the implementation of this lock-down and so to replicate that sense of achievement through creative output I’ve decided to start drawing.⁣

For most the creative process breeds a space of relaxation, comfort and nostalgia, allowing us to return to our younger selves; a time when an abstract stick figure was the perfect portrait of our mother, and the sense of excitement in sharing that picture to the subject herself was infinitely gratifying when inevitably viewed with gleaming pride. Whilst my mum is still the first person to see one of my doodles, I often find her praise doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot like it once used to. While I am of course appreciative of her compliments, I’ve found myself seeking validation from further afield, and what better place to do that then Instagram, of course. However, upon completion of a doodle I deem good enough to share I find myself participating in a tug of war with my internal monologue. ⁣

Do you really need to post this on Instagram? ⁣

Do you really need the validation of other people’s opinions?⁣

Do they care?⁣

Do you even care?⁣

Just post it, why not? You’re proud of it, aren’t you? ⁣

What IS this frantic dance I do when deciding whether to post something I created on social media!? By the time this little charade is over my anxiety is higher than before I started drawing! And that was NOT the point of me taking pen to paper today! ⁣

In such, I have been making a conscious effort to ensure I am drawing for the reasons I started in the first place; because its relaxing, because it’s fun, because I am proud of the silly little doodle I just created! I must remind myself what purpose this exercise serves, and to not seek those short spikes of serotonin we get from a love heart of approval on Instagram. I have found it truly heartening to see the ways in which people have been filling the creative void left by these unprecedented social measures and hope we all remember to use social media in this time as means of inspiration not validation.⁣

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