• Emily Mulan Mua

Creativity, Lockdown Life, Self Care & Finding the Light

"If you can't change a situation, you can change your attitude toward it" - Abraham Low

One of the things that makes me the most happy is being creative. Being dyslexic I can struggle with words, colour and texture on the other hand - that's my bag!

I use art to express myself in a way that I can not do easily with words. My art helps me understand and process how I’m feeling, can help change my mood and even a doodle can clear my mind or give me clarity.

I’m going to be honest with you, with the seemingly never ending lockdown, I have found my creativity gradually dwindle. I couldn’t find anything to paint, had no inspiration to design and was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Normally I would get inspiration from general life - a flash of colour from a jumper in the crowd, a pattern of a car seat, walking past a beautiful garden - anything really. But as my world became smaller with lockdown so did my creative sparks. I felt down just wanted to curl up with some chocolate hob nobs and Netflix’s- and if I’m truly honest this is what I did for a time.

Ultimately this left me feeling very unfulfilled and depressed. I grieved over the loss of my makeup artistry business, it’s hard watching something you have poured your heart and soul into evaporate over night. Obviously I know I can rebuild and overcome the challenges of 2020 and can make my business a success again but this is how it felt. As an artist, at times I know I can be over dramatic but not this time, this hurt.

I knew I had to make a change, I began following accounts that were positive, I found comfort in these and tried to share this positivity on my feed - we are bombarded with negativity in the news and I wanted my insta to be a safe little happy bubble of joy. I wanted to share a little light to those like me that needed it. I wanted to be part of the solution not contributing to the problem.

When I was a child & I would see scary things on the news, my mother used to say to me "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping" - Fred Rodgers

I decided to book on some online training for something positive to do and something to focus on - this worked wonders. Thankyou David* you reignited my fire, piqued my curiosity and you made me want to play again.

I started going outside. When I’m out and about I really look around me. I take the time to take in my surroundings instead of rushing from one place to the next. I embraced the slower pace of life. Saw it as an opportunity to reflect and just “be”.

I started to explore my local area, like an extremely amateur historical detective. I imagined the people who walked these walks before me, who planted the flowers and tended the lawns, who lived in the ruins when they were grand. And then slowly my creativity started to raise its weary head - I started to see colour and patterns, I wanted to mix them. I was excited

I still have days that are not great, it’s not all rosy. But I recognise this now and validate my feelings. I accept that it is ok to feel this way. When I feel angry I practice - I draw face charts with graphic liners, bold red colours. When I feel sad I get out the glitter - one can not possibly feel glum when they’re sparkling.

I don’t really know why I have written the post, maybe it will give practical tips to other people who have lost focus and need a bit of direction, maybe it will give insight to those who see others struggling. I don’t know, but regardless I hope it has been interesting.

"True happiness comes only by making others happy" - David O Mckay

For me, writing this - it feels good, good to embrace these feelings and also to write them down and let them go. It feels good to have hope and it feels wonderful to create again.

Self care is more than lighting a £75 candle and applying a face mask, I mean that's jolly nice and everything but it's not really addressing the root of the problem. Self care is about recognising what’s grinding you down or making you feel bad, validating these feelings and then finding a way to let them go. It’s about doing what you need for you.

Its cliche but also cut off the negativity, the constant exposure can really affect you. unfollow the accounts that make you feel bad, don’t engage in the conversations that grind you down. Leave the groups that don’t offer you what you need. Find the joy - whether it be cute puppy dog videos, funny memes, experimenting in the kitchen or in my case local history and immerse yourself in that.

Ultimately, be kind, not only to others but also yourself.

All my love as always,

Emily xxx

*David Horne - House of Glamdolls

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