The modern concept of, "me time" hasn't been something I've been able to fully perfect, let alone practice much of. Spending time working on hobbies, honing in on crafts, or even creating for creation's sake has always been something that I do for others. Ask me how many self-portraits I have, and I'll tell you I created one during a state of depression after feeling very alone and abandoned. Not being able to create for anyone else, I made something of my own, for my own. It never felt natural, and it didn't fulfill me.
For those that know me on an intimate level, they can attest to my constant battle between strongly disliking all human race and loving so many people in my life. The mistreatment of animals is usually behind the former, and the constant salvations from my dear friends have been the reason for the latter.
After losing my best friend in 2009 to cancer, I began to value the friendships that life still had to offer me in a different way. I had gifted him my drumset about three years before he passed, and the feeling of knowing that something of mine resided with something of his felt safe. There's a constant reminder that he enjoyed being a musician and that I contributed to that. It continues to connect us even after years of not hearing his voice or seeing his smile.
Seeing as I'm not one in any lucrative positions, I couldn't gift everyone that I love with lavish and dreamy presents. Therefore, my heart began to be filled by being able to create pieces of art that special people in my life could keep.
My watercolor and acrylic paintings are all inspired by someone that I love. I cannot find myself keeping any of my works, since I feel that they never really belong to me. My craft and time are both mine, but the final pieces all seem to find homes elsewhere.
My mind is vast and full of creative notions, and naturally, I couldn't just be satisfied with one form of art. There are many written letters and stories that my loved ones also retain for themselves. I'm constantly found at peace remembering that these fragments of my heart and mind are with those that have meant the world to me.
I once proposed to someone that is no longer my fiance nor in my life at all for that matter. I created a short stop-motion film to propose and placed his ring inside a box that I crafted out of Legos because he loved them. I enjoyed being unconventional and being the woman in the relationship asking for a hand in marriage. He also has two of my best paintings, and although my heart was shattered by the ending of our relationship, the feeling of him having a loving part of me with him is comforting. We are all someone else's monster, and I strive not to be anyones as far as I can control that.
During my senior year in high school, I documented many pivotal moments of that year with a camcorder to gift to my mother. She has some of my poems read aloud, the moment where I received my driver's license, being accepted into college, and many small improvisational pieces that I acted in during my time in drama classes. She can revisit my life as a young woman, with my friends, falling in love, and learning new experiences. Those memories are special to us all, on an intimate ranking, but it's magical for your parents or older guardians to witness it all from such a perspective. While I enjoyed experiencing that year to a certain extent, what got me through it was going back to school every day and facing the world to be able to record it for my mother. High school is definitely not the "best four years of your life." There are many other years in life that are far more meaningful, but those are some of the most formative. At the time I did not know what I was suffering from, but eventually, I was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis. I missed many, many days of school, along with many friends that didn't deem me worthy of being in their lives if I wasn't present, no pun intended, enough. My flare-ups were painful and lonely. Not knowing why I felt the way I did, and not being able to explain it to other teenagers made it that much more difficult. I began the downward spiral of suffering in silence.
My boyfriend at the time was the center of my universe. My heart was full of love and my mind full of hope. Unfortunately, my illness bore him and he made the ill-fated decision to break up with me over a phone call. He had some of my letters and paintings, too. However, something tells me those have begun to decompose in a dumpster somewhere. My sentiments eventually will start to float back into the universe from those pages and canvasses, and someone else will be fortunate enough to have them. It's my form of comfort to think that life returns to you what you give out, despite any levels of appreciation.
Over the years, I have painted many pieces for people that you could very easily say do not deserve them now. I hold onto the fond memories of enjoying the time that I took to create something for someone that truly held a special place in my heart at the time, and let go of the rest. When I visit a home and see something I made out of love for that person resting peacefully, I cannot begin to explain how it warms my heart. Sometimes I'll frequent homes that never exhibit what I created, and although that can come off as harsh, I don't deny myself who I am. I enjoy giving, and being thoughtful is something that I am completely guilty of. Regardless of how people have reacted in the past to my time and thoughtfulness, I continue to be who I am.
As I sat with my baby niece six years ago, watching her laugh and how this simple gesture brought an immense amount of joy to those around us, including myself, a story came to me. I wrote and illustrated my first children's book dedicated to my sweet niece. Quite literally, the dedication page has her precise name on it. I used a pen name with my grandfather's last name, Malver. It's not so common, especially within our Hispanic family. My brother and his wife didn't notice at first, as my current fiance had to point it out to them. The reaction we received paled in comparison to the one expected. It wasn't short of lackluster, as they simply flipped through the pages without reading or taking the time to take in the images. The book seemed to be a cheap escape from purchasing something mundane yet lavish, and it showed. I've actually never seen it in their home, and it was the only copy I printed. Hopefully, one day my niece will see she holds the first edition to my entire heart inside those pages.
Being able to create as my expression of love has been my escape from the painful realities of life. Romanticizing the concept of sharing my creative side in what always feels completely vulnerable to me is something that will continuously bring me solace. I won't ever take back a single love letter I wrote, or creative story or poem I jotted down during a dark time, or a painting I produced to make someone else smile. I don't regret opening my heart and inviting others into this troubled mind through my art. It's why I love Vincent Van Gogh. He's my inspiration to continue to see the beauty in everything, regardless of what's going on around us, or how we are being treated at the moment. There is always a reason to create, and my reason is every single person that has ever touched my heart.
Can I say that I create art to achieve inner peace? Not necessarily, no. My peace comes from those around me that inspire my art. I couldn't ever create a thing if it weren't for the love I feel, or the inevitable pains that come with that love. Both of these worlds reside within me, and I embrace them both.