When what I make isn't pretty and doesn't make sense

I often share with people who ask me about art journaling and how I use it, it's okay to make things that aren't "pretty".

I share about layering, painting over pages, showing up to the page with no judgement, and letting go of perfection. I practice all of those things in my own journaling process and wouldn't share them if I didn't believe them.

@anna.k.art on Instagram

@anna.k.art on Instagram

Lately, I've been struggling with them, though. 

My need to be in control and attain some level of order in my art journal has reared its head with the intense decline of my Dad's health. It's brought about some pretty significant changes to our family's routines in the last month or so...longer for Dad.

In short, he's fairly close to near complete heart failure. He's under the care of a pretty fantastic team of medical staff, but I wish he'd been able to get to them sooner. He has some heavy decisions regarding the possibility of major heart surgery to insert a LVAD or continuing to treat his symptoms with medicines.

Granddaddy and Nana, photo by me from a few years ago

Granddaddy and Nana, photo by me from a few years ago

In addition to that, my Granddaddy, Dad's father, passed away Friday. I'm still processing his passing and all that's happened since. 

So, in the few moments I've been able to sit down to do a quick art journal entry I've not been able to finish a layout. Or even make sense of what I need to leave on the page. 

I know this may seem pretty trivial to whoever might read this. Who knows, maybe I'll read this later and think it is, too. For me, art journaling and creativity in general, are how I keep tabs on my world and how I'm processing what's changing in it and, by extension, me. It's a self-regulatory measure that helps me the best I can be for the people around me and for the ones I love.

It helps me be the best I can be for me, too.

So sometimes what I make isn't pretty and doesn't make sense. 

And, to quote a Southern colloquialism, "It is what it is, 'til it ain't."

The point of this is to keep showing up to the page and keep giving myself the space to be whatever it is I am in that moment.

I'll remind myself of this as often as I need.

If you, dear reader, need that reminder, here it is. Let's show up and not worry about making something that's pretty or makes sense - to us or others.

Process over product.

And that, loves, is where the beauty will be found when our days aren't pretty and don't make too much sense.