Art is therapy and making art is therapeutic. This is a well-known theory that comes in diverse forms of quotes, discussions, and topics.
However, when you are suddenly hit with a wave of unexpected heartbreak, this theory suddenly becomes bleak and creates a mad case of a blank canvas in your heart.
Amid woes and heartbreak, creating seems almost impossible. You are dealing with all these emotions that you would rather not have, you have become a zombie and a breathing walkie talkie because that’s the only way you can function without dying.
At the same time, you have heard of millions of Artists (okay, maybe millions is kinda exaggerated) whose works came out from painful breakups and heartbreak, like Adele, and you are tormented by the thought that you can’t create or produce while stifling snot and literally preventing your heart from passing out through your chest.
“So, how did they do it?” You are wondering.
How did Adele create through the pain? And Mari Andrew…how on earth did she turn a season of grief and loss into becoming an artist?
Well, according to Mari Andrew, she needed a new fun form of self-expression to lift her up. She tried guitar, salsa, surfing, and instructional cooking videos, but the illustration is the hobby that really stuck.
Or beloved Adele who wrote the album 21 over three months at the start of 2010 after her relationship had ended.
Sam Smith is also a great example of this.
How can you then cultivate the art out of your heartbreak? 😉
First thing first is to not be in denial of the fact that you are hurt, your relationship failed and it is not revivable, and you are in pain. Acknowledging is like pouring libation unto a circumstance, it helps you come to terms with the fact of what you are going through and you understand it has become an experience in your life that can neither be ignored nor changed.
This helps you process the pain into something worthy of reflecting upon in the form of creativity – writing, drawing, design, sculpting, using math in new forms, adding to a body of philosophical work, etc.
One of the things that heartbreak does to you, because of the jarring nature of it, is that it breaks your routine – shatters it. This means that you have to create a new routine to replace this old routine and pattern that has been broken away from you without preparation.
Building a new routine takes time, which is where art comes in – the examples above show you that they started creating something new over a period which ended up being their new routine, bringing out the creative juice that can be squeezed out of a bad situation because you are installing a new pattern or as our scientist friends like to call it, new neural pathways.
An awkwardly beautiful thing about heartbreak is that it makes you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. This disempowers failure and the fear of failure in your life. You think “after all, this is a great failure and nothing can be worse”. Thankfully that’s a sweet spot for creating because you are less afraid of how your work looks, you know you are laboring to birth consistency and creativity and that labor becomes more powerful than fear.
Another brilliant thing about a breakup is the wave of emotion that crashes over you, it keeps you in a search for dopamine so that you can feel happy. This search is what you turn into art, search for new artworks, for new food, for executing new ideas – these are all dopamine chasing syndromes that can be used to your advantage.
In all, even though heartbreak sucks – you can squeeze something good out of it. Who knows? You may just win a Nobel prize, grammy awards or something that’s of worth to you.
Over to you! in celebration of Valentine this 2020, What are your thoughts? What are some of the things you think will turn sucky moments into beautiful phoenix moments?
Gbemi Lolade Adekanmbi is the cultivator of For Creative Girls. She is a firm believer in the fact that there is no division between the ability for science and the ability for Art. Her goal is to cultivate this ability with as many people as possible and make creatives a living, breathing part of how the world, organisations, and societies run.