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Finding Joy in Little Doodles

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I am not the best artist and far from it. However, I found that it is okay to not achieve the outcome I want. If it brings me joy, that is enough. 

As a kid, I loved creating artwork. In fact, my mom even bought me a notebook where I could draw scenes and create short captions or stories at the bottom. I loved drawing so much that in my school notebooks, or any notebook I had, I would create little doodles at the top, bottom, left and right, filling in all the spaces. My notes looked cramped and not aesthetically pleasing. After a while, the doodles became more sporadic. 

Over the years I doodled from time to time in my notebooks, drawing little clouds and filling them up with additional notes. Although I would try to avoid them as much as possible. With the knowledge that I was no Picasso, I developed this “if I’m not good at it, then why should I bother?” mentality, and whenever I did art I found myself getting frustrated for not achieving the idea in my head. 

During the summer, I rediscovered the art of doodling, even though I felt a little discouraged. Then, a similar conversation I had with my sister rang in my ears, her voice telling me that just because I’m not good at drawing doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. That I should draw if I want to. 

I just let myself be and began to draw little doodles. I don’t exactly remember what I drew, but I felt so happy and satisfied. I didn’t think about the outcome. I felt some sense of relief when I drew these little squiggly lines, butterflies or stars. It was as if my brain was sending me a message that I often forget about which is: you’ll pull through, be positive. 

Recently, I was overwhelmed with all of my coursework and would constantly create mental schedules of what I should do each day. The more I didn’t accomplish the tasks at hand, the more I thought about it. I didn’t think I could handle it and felt as if I was being crushed under my own pressure. One day, I took out a piece of paper and did a quick doodle of stars and suns. It made me smile. As I drew, I managed to get out of my head and pull myself back to reality. I thought of something else other than the list of assignments I had to check off my list. 

As I doodled, I recalled that a few weeks back as I was taking notes in class, I saw a big empty space in the middle of my notebook. Instantly, I thought, “I have to fill in the space.” I drew the first thing that popped into my head: a butterfly. For me, a symbol of hope. 

When I create these quick doodles, I release the inner critic in my head that tells me, “this is so ugly.” I remind myself that I shouldn’t just do things that I am good at, as I will be avoiding the challenges that help me grow. That I don’t always have to be too hard on myself and should learn to be proud of myself whether the outcome is good or bad. Moreover, I shouldn’t take everything too seriously and be so rigid. I can let loose once in a while. More importantly, I should never feel discouraged due to the outcome. If it brings light into my life, I should do it. I should not hinder myself from experiencing joy solely because I am afraid it will end up badly. 

Joy is powerful. It can empower us in times of doubt, fear and struggle, as well as

ease any form of negativity on our shoulders. There are times when I do my work and say, “I’ll fake it till I make it,” then halfway through I think to myself, “I can make it.” 

Life is not without its stresses, and we should attempt to spend and fill our days with light, love and laughs in any way possible. 

If things don’t seem like they are going your way, or life’s stresses are catching up to you, you might find yourself in a similar situation to me: picking up a pen and letting the stars, flowers, suns and butterflies guide you back to life’s joys, no matter how small they may be.

Belle Tan

Emerson '23

Belle Tan is a junior at Emerson College majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Publishing and Music History and Culture. During her free time, she enjoys playing the flute, singing, reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.
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