One of the most important times in my life was when I felt really free to explore my creative side, and it happened to be at a time of intense stress. It was my final year of my bachelor of education, and I was doing really, really poorly. My cooperating teachers were being entirely uncooperative, and I was in danger of wasting all the work I'd done in the three previous years. I was questioning every single decision I made and every single word I uttered.
I happened to be in a program that required its pre-service teachers to put themselves in the same position as the children in their classes. You want them to read? You read. You want them to write? Then write. You want them to dance, sing, play? Well, get out your dance shoes, warm up your voice and play a little tag. I had a notebook in which I recorded all my ramblings, practiced my words, and worked out problems. I also had a sketchbook that held all my forays into paint, charcoal and ink.
It was a really interesting experience, because my days of failure were being tempered by moments of success: a successful pencil sketch, a page of beautiful, saturated colour, achieving the perfect shadow, watching watercolours spread across the page. I firmly believe that these moments of success were what made the difference for me... that I could get through all of this and come out on top.
I graduated with distinction, if not with a whole lot of confidence. I spent the next few years finding my path as an educator, and eventually, I found it.
I've never forgotten the joy of discovering the power of that sketchbook, and I want to spend some time in that world again. Each day, I'll explore a little bit of life on the page, and learn to play around again with pencils, pastels and charcoals.
Here's to a month of colour and healing.