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Processing Life With Creativity

by Courtney Weston a day ago in art

How Making Helped Me Heal

I was encouraged in my creativity at a young age by my parents. As a result, I spent most of my time exploring new crafts and asking for supplies for holidays. I begged my friends to spend time with me, illustrating homemade books. I was fascinated with taking a pair of safety scissors to a stack of primary-colored construction paper. Creating made it seem like anything was possible. For me, it was.

I colored next to my mom at our kitchen table while she sat at her sewing machine making matching clothes for my siblings and me. While on road trips, she would embroider tiny details on a dress I’d soon spill orange juice on and grow out of. She never minded. It was about the process of creativity for her.

Throughout my adolescent years, I followed her footsteps and tried many different mediums of crafting. Painting, drawing, woodworking, forming clay, and then I settled into sewing. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, my simple answer was, “I just want to make things.”

Our family moved around often while I was growing up. To handle the change, I turned to crafts. The time it felt so foreign to move to an entirely new state, my mom stood by me while we painted my room with wildflowers so I’d feel at home. The next time my Dad’s job changed, I made personalized good-bye cards to all my friends with my trusty pair of scissors and stack of construction paper. Then, I entered high school and found a place to belong in engineering class, building and inventing. Though filled with change, my childhood was happy because I was free to create.

That same freedom to create moved me to start a craft blog ten years ago and “just make things,” which led me to pick up my more refined and sharp scissors to a stack of leather to create accessories for my small business.

I became pregnant with my first daughter and found respite in the waiting months of her arrival by creating a gift for her every month for nine months. From hand-stitching a quilt to painting abstract art, crafting helped me process and become more eager to meet her. They were some of the happiest months of my life!

She came on a Saturday morning after a traumatic birth experience. One that left me not only broken physically but mentally. Something I could have never prepared for but could only walk forward in. The days of postpartum were long and dark. I felt empty and lost. She was here and so full of joy, but I felt like I was not.

My husband encouraged me to carve out a unique space to create since my creative space became a nursery. So, slowly, I’d sneak away during nap times to sew. It didn’t matter what I was making. It mattered that I was making.

My mind began to process the trauma of my daughter’s birth experience as I sewed together a dress. As I took my scissors to the gingham fabric, healing was taking place. I connected the dots that this is what I’ve been doing my whole life. Creating was the avenue I used to process the many different moves and changes as a child. Creating helped me make friends in the awkward middle school years. Naturally, creating led to my first business. Creating is how I love my family well. Creating is at the core of all of it.

It was for my mom too. Perhaps her sitting at our kitchen table with her sewing machine was her processing through life and having her happiness restored. With every stitch on the bumpy road trip, she was weaving together the story of her life. Without her even knowing, she was weaving together the story of mine as well. I can’t help but think that I’m doing that for my daughter today.

Courtney Weston
Courtney Weston
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Courtney Weston
See all posts by Courtney Weston

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