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It’s October which means that many artists will be engaged with Inktober. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a challenge created to encourage artists all around the globe to celebrate and improve on their skills. Every day, throughout the month, artists will draw a piece of work based on an official list of prompts and they will share their work with #inktober online. The challenge essentially creates a supportive community of artists who will inspire, energize and encourage each other. 

It’s wonderful to witness as an outsider but this year I decided to participate. 

I am no artist but I have always enjoyed creating art. It’s one of those things that I was always proud of and was always praised for as a child so I continued to draw. 

Now that I am a bit older, art isn’t just a fun activity for me. It quiets and clams my hyperactive mind and it connects me to my culture since I try to incorporate traditional elements. While I don’t know what my future looks like, I am almost certain that creating my very mediocre art will remain a constant for me. 

So I decided to participate and although the month isn’t over, there are a few things that I gained these past few weeks that I wanted to share with you.

In the very beginning, I learned  that as someone who encourages and openly talks about the importance of vulnerability, I am horrible at being vulnerable myself. 

As I mentioned, my art is special to me so I found myself feeling uncomfortable to share something that is a part of me. I chose to share my work on Instagram and although I have a private account where most of my followers are people who I already know, I couldn’t share my work everyday as an Instagram post because that felt like too much visibility since all of my followers can potentially see it. Choosing to still share my work on Instagram stories instead, everyday, felt like I was taking a step out of my comfort zone and there is always value in doing so.

I have never been familiar with frequently sharing accomplishments or even mundane experiences on social media but I get it now. These past few weeks introduced me to the power of social media as a tool to stay accountable. On days when I didn’t feel like I would be able to finish a piece, remembering that I was posting on my stories every day gave me the extra push to start. Doing something consistently for several days helped me to improve on my trust in myself to finish tasks as I have been struggling to finish tasks during the pandemic. There are a lot of negative aspects to Instagram of course, but sometimes it works for us wonderfully.

Whenever we encounter self care tips, art as a form of care is often listed and I of course know and have experienced the benefits of drawing myself. But remaining consistent is a struggle for me. I am always open to trying self care tips; meditating, journaling, all of it, but they never effectively work for me because I never remain consistent. Participating in Inktober though, has worked wonders for my well being. For a few hours every day, I feel less jittery, my brain is thinking fewer thoughts and I am just immersed in my pen on paper. When I’m done, I found that after a while I began feeling more energized. I think of everything that I was able to gain from this experience that was the most valuable and the most needed.

Of course, we know that our culture values productivity and business above all. It keeps us disconnected from our own wellbeing and collective wellbeing. So, naturally, I don’t enjoy hustle culture. However, I am still deeply influenced by it and find myself feeling as if I am being useless if I am not doing something productive. Of course, I know that our own joy and wellbeing is valuable but to embody this idea is completely different. Drawing everyday though has been slowly helping me to embody the idea that our joy is valuable and productive because drawing left me with tangible proof of my own joy every day. 

Inktober has truly been a rewarding experience for me. In addition to providing a space to improve on my skills, I gained so much more this past month and I wanted to share my reflections on this month with you! 

October always feels like a special time so I hope this month has been rewarding for you too.

Tea-drinker| Bathroom-singer| Guyanese| Psychology Major| Extra small person with extra-large dreams
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