I'm not good at being stuck.
I could attribute this to my horoscope--I'm a wandering Sagittarius, doomed to long for travel, adventure, and isolation for all of time--or personality--I'm an Enneagram 5, craving the next thing to learn all the time--or my upbringing--I was raised in a church that truly taught me that it was sinful to leave the church, so you know, baggage. But I don't like being stuck. For someone who loves routine, being stuck in a situation isn't something I can just settle into and find a place of acceptance.
Instead, I typically rebel. You too? Lovely.
But I haven't really had the opportunity to rebel safely during the pandemic (I also heavily value safety; humans contain multitudes) because, you know, there's a pandemic. So I'm stuck, just like many others.
To put the ICE-ing on the cake, Texas was burried under ice and snow last week, and since that's really weird for this part of the country, everything had to shut down, including therapy appointments that were finally going to happen. Something in me snapped a little when this happened, and I got out the scissors.
And the magazines.
And the glue sticks that I ordered a few months ago while stress shopping.
I dreamed of a world where I could go to the grocery store for a long leisurely stroll, and choose my own produce by squeezing it without fear of contagions assaulting my hands afterward. I dreamed of exploring the chip isle, finding new flavor combinations to bring home, laugh at, and sample together. I dreamed of remembering to buy the cereal because I just happened to walk down that isle while snapchatting my friends. Slow, glorious meandering through the isles was my favorite part of food, and I didn't realize that until I needed to switch to a delivery situation this past year.
So I put that dream on paper, with paper, in the form of collage. And guess what? I felt notably better.
Along with all of the personality tests, I often forget that I'm an artist through and through. My therapist rescheduled with me, and I was able to get in for an appointment on Monday. When she asked me what my coping strategies were, and what was working, I showed her my collage and she said, "Do more of that. Make art." And she's right. It's where I would escape to as a child and it's where I need to continue to escape to as an adult. I have a portfolio filled with my favorite creations in my lifetime, and I will fold this one in with the others eventually, but until then, it's hanging proudly on the corkboard in the hallway, like I'm six years old again. But it's reminding me that creation is what heals me and to turn to my artist self when I'm hurting.
What did you turn to as a child? Have you used that healing practice to process your pandemic stress? Let me know in the comments below.
Taylor Vogel was a public school teacher, and isn't any more. She is the creator and host of the podcast, Now That I'm Not Your Teacher.
Now That I'm Not Your Teacher is a podcast that helps you tackle the responsibilities of adulthood with the support and structure of a (former) teacher's guidance.