Written by Jessica Annette Rocha
2017 was a year of heartbreak and abuse, independence and humility, but most importantly in 2017, I discovered painting as an unexplored passion of mine. I don’t think the timing of it all was a coincidence; it was all beautifully orchestrated to play out as it did. And for that, I am grateful I found the most healing way to express myself during a time of extreme change. It brought balance to my life again. I believe that pushing myself to create and finding new ways of self-expression led to my healing, which I am still working on today. My very first piece was from April 2017, as pictured below. During that time and a year before it, I was experiencing some of the most traumatic times in my adult life. I was trying to salvage a failing relationship with someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, keep the peace in a home we had shared together, and help that person grow and heal like I was. I had realized that I could never push or lead anyone to growth or healing even with unconditional love, but they must ultimately get there themselves.
I had to put painful change in motion in order for all that to happen, but I was conflicted on the change. This is the person that introduced me to this community, and I felt I was placed in their life for a purpose and them in mine. Although painful, this sense of purpose helped me gain peace and understanding about letting go. This left me feeling full of emotions that I needed to somehow visually see so that I could understand them more to truly let go. I was craving a new outlet for what I was going through, and maybe this is why I subconsciously chose colors like the different shades of blues and greens, colors that represent calmness. I was releasing all of my conflicted feelings of calm as I was painting, with no idea of what I was painting, just releasing. This is still what I feel when I look at my first painting now. The painting makes me remember the beautiful chaos of emotions I was feeling at that time, and how I transformed them into colors from my heart. This is the beauty of self-expression, and why I am so grateful to have found painting at this point in life!
Before I dabbled in paints and canvases, my first passion was writing. I started out as a first grader confessing everything in my Lion King diary. I mostly wrote about boys and drew in it my own renditions of my favorite band at that time, TLC, but it was the release I needed then. My needs have changed a bit. I need to see my emotions turn into color. As we grow and change, so do our interests, wants, needs, and ways of expressing ourselves. This is why it is so crucial to re-evaluate your mediums of self-expression and reflect on how they are still serving you. Are they still a form of release?
This release is so very important for overall well-being, and it is a big part of healing through expression. Maintaining inner balance is also critical for our well-being. In doing this, we are conflicted, constantly pushed and pulled by the forces around us at play, and drained and recharged from everyday circumstances. It is inevitable to release all of this accumulated energy somehow, and any form of self-expression is one of the most constructive and healthy ways to do this. When we are caught up in such small things that keep us bound, we lose balance. When we give up the notion that we must be in control of everything at all times, we become more balanced than ever. It takes active awareness to keep this balance in check, and mindful maintenance to release and recharge when needed.
If you think about all of the moments you experience day-to-day, and how many thoughts, ideas, and emotions sweep over you, it can be overwhelming. That’s why it is so crucial for personal growth to have an outlet(s) for release, whether it is painting, writing, cooking, and/or singing. When it comes to active awareness, the key is identifying when you need to recharge and being in tune with yourself to notice. This can be hard to do because society tells us to keep going until we burn out, and that is where we go wrong. We wait until there is nothing left for us to give ourselves, let alone anyone else, rather than recognizing when we need to take some time out to recharge. Mindful maintenance is how we choose to replenish that drained energy, and to reflect on how it serves us.
When we let go of things that we don’t need anymore through self-expression, we are truly healing and growing. Discovery comes with expression, and you can always discover something new about yourself, but you can’t discover if you don’t explore first. You must take the time to explore new outlets, and you might be surprised to find a new passion was waiting for you all along. True growth comes from showing your true colors, how will you paint them for the world to see?