Art Saves Me Every Day • by Stephenie Hamen
Never Good Enough
I am about as Type A as a person can be. I was born this way. It has plagued me and tortured me my entire life. Nothing is ever good enough in my mind. Nothing. I am beyond incredibly hard on myself. I was driven to get straight A’s in school, to make every team I tried out for (and start every game), to sit first chair in the band as a flutist, and to graduate at the top of my class. I was to go to college, then to grad school, and then be the best in my chosen profession.
And I did it. All of it.
And I was miserable. I ended up in a job that was emotionally, and subsequently physically, killing me. I was in a deep depression, losing weight at an alarming rate (granted, I was model thin but it is hard to enjoy it when you spend half your day sick as a dog, worrying about how to get out of that situation), and not being a very good wife, mother, teacher, daughter, or friend.
I was not a good version of me.
The Happiest Version of Myself
Growing up I had a strong passion for art. I used to go through paper pads, paint, brushes, crayons, and pencils like they were water. My dad is an amazing woodsmith and he would let me hang out, test out the tools, and help out where I could. I remember being at my grandma and grandpa’s house and she had this bag of old wrapping paper and ribbons. It was like candy to me. With a pair of scissors I would sit back, curl ribbons, and just be. When I got older I would sketch, write poetry, and make “stuff.” Then one day I put it away. It was time to get serious. Time to make the grades, the team, the chair. There was not time for art in my life—at least not formally. And, what kind of career could I possibly have in art anyway? That’s not a real job— it is a hobby. A way to pass the time. Nothing more, nothing less. It was not something for me to focus on—it wasn’t part of my Type A plan, which meant it wasn’t part of me.
I was wrong.
It is the only part of me that is true. It is the only part of me that is real. It is the only part of me that allows me to be the happiest version of myself.
My Creative Path
I am now on what I would call my creative path. It has taken me 5 years, a job and city change, and a lot of meditation, prayer, and luck to be where I am now. And, believe me, I still have a lonnnnggggg way to go. Every single day I am trying and learning new things, but the one thing that I know, deep down in the pit of my heart, is that art is what keeps me going each and every day. It is what makes me smile after a rough day. It is what fills my heart with joy. It has made me a better, happier, and more-in-touch mommy to my boys. It has made me a much better version of myself.
It saves me—every single day.
I am Stephenie Hamen—Creative. Foodie. Master Gardener. Blogger. Mother.
To learn more about Stephenie Hamen, visit mycraftyadventures.com.