If you've spent any amount of time browsing through Tollipop, you may be aware that my mom passed away in January, just a little more than a year after she received the diagnosis of a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Especially as of late, but even throughout these past eleven months since she died, I often find myself lost in a nostalgic gauging of time with thoughts of what she was doing one year ago from the present day. The memories are visceral, sometimes sad, and always filled with a deep love and longing for her.
I mention this experience because of something amazing I learned from it. One day, several months after my mom's death and while I was feeling quite lost in my sadness over the situation, I had the sudden inclination to make something.
What was I going to make? I didn't know. But the thought was a lovely distraction and I still remember how it glowed in my mind like a tiny light, drawing me toward it.
I decided to unpack my paints, which had lain untouched during the tumultuous year of my mom's illness. It was both intimidating and exciting to start drawing again, so strangely mesmerizing to mix the beautiful colors and watch them seep into the paper. I was immediately aware of the zen quality of this experience--how it was able to take me away, or perhaps bring me into the moment without distraction. Whatever it was, it felt wonderful.
This story keeps going, but the point I wanted to make is how vital creativity is to one's happiness and ability to cope well through life's ups and downs. It even seems there is something about sadness, as long as it isn't too severe, which oddly suits the inspiration to create. I believe everyone is inherently creative, that the umbrella of creativity covers a wide spectrum, and that this world would be a healthier place if people took more time to develop this aspect of their being.
With that said, I am extending an invitation to join me and others who have expressed an interest in the Tollipop Hundred Dresses project. What one hundred somethings could you make? It doesn't need to be elaborate or worthy of virtuosic skills. Trust me. It doesn't even need to be one hundred, for that matter. But you might enjoy the challenge, the outlet, the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from making something exist that wasn't there before.
Just think about it. Your one hundred somethings. One hundred somethings that didn't exist until you created them. The thought alone brings good energy, a light in your mind. You may as well get busy and follow it--there's just no telling where you might go!
p.s. I should note this is hardly groundbreaking news, the notion of creativity as therapy, and I've always been aware of how good it feels to make things. It's just I don't think I quite realized, until this past year, how much power lies within a single french dot to take one's mind off the troubles at hand. How it can, without changing anything about the situation, make one feel better in the moment and how that feeling lingers even after the embroidery has been set aside.