Reflection: Freeing Your Heart
Often times, when we read articles in Cosmo or Vogue, there’s always a spread in the back that discusses relationships and friendships and how to continue networking yourself. I’m not going to flat out say that isolation is the key to happiness - because it isn’t - but I will say that exploring the world alone definitely has its benefits. I, for one, have always been a homebody, and have used my fair share of excuses to avoid acting on plans with friends. It’s led me to losing some close connections with others, but I have also grown a stronger understanding and love for myself through it.
It is not a shameful practice to dedicate a day to yourself. It is not a warning sign of harm to award yourself with a week of independence. At the end of the day, we are our only reliable cheerleaders, and we must make sure that we are rooting ourselves in the right ways. I have discovered some of my favorite ways to dig deep into myself through the past few years, and figured I would share them for any of my fellow self supporters, or for those of you who are lost in your own heart.
Drive around mindlessly
Okay, so I’ve only had my license for a year, so this might just come out as a stereotypical ‘I’m a teenager and I want freedom now!!!!’ declaration. Growing up in a household where there was constantly something being dealt with, I began to feel sheltered within the four walls of my room, trying to escape from what was going on elsewhere. With the liberty of driving now, I am able to go down to the shore with my windows rolled down and belt to my favorite 80’s music and breathe. I have too many driving playlists on my Spotify, purposely in order to always be able to match the mood that I’m taking an adventure for. Late night therapy sessions sitting in my car outside of the local ice cream parlor with my friends also happens often. The sanctuary of my car has truly become a haven for me to breathe a little easier time and again.
This is vague, genuinely because there is not any single form of writing that does not call for your heart to bring its A game. A few years ago, I fell in love with writing poetry. I filled journals with sonnets and haikus and free prose, anything that my pen was putting to paper felt right for me. The wonderful thing about poetry is that although the elementary principles are taught of a rhyme scheme and pattern, there is no true real or standardization of how poetry can and cannot be written. As long as a feeling is described within the piece, the work has been done. Written rants are also a favorite of mine, as I tend to bottle up everything until I slowly, then all at once, explode. I can write pages and pages within minutes when I’m truly letting myself be vulnerable, and once I have closed the journal, I feel the pressure built up in my chest begin to release itself.
Take up painting, drawing - any kind of tangible art
Contrary to every belief ever, you don’t have to be an actual artist in order to make art. Some of the most well known pieces of art are not complex nor intricate, but they evoke and embody immense feeling. If you let the paint brush hit the canvas as it is guided by your heart’s directions, your final masterpiece will be one for the books. It does not have to have perfectly straight lines nor does it need to look three dimensional. I have found a strong appreciation and love for watercolor painting after being introduced to it in my fine arts class a few years ago, and have continued working with it at home. My paintings are not as advanced as my instructor’s, but they all are driven with passion and meaning to me personally, which makes them that much better. There are so many realms of art, from sculpture to sketching, so go out and try one, and try another, and another, until you find your niche.
Go to every concert
I mean economically, not the best idea, but for personal growth, this is one of the few times in life when I am able to eliminate and ignore the whirlwinds that are going on at home and in school and work, and just enjoy myself. Growing up with my father and cousin being in their own bands, I constantly find myself either swaying to ballads from the 70’s or jumping in moshpits (yes, I was that 8 year old who joined the mosh pit with the high schoolers). Live music has a completely different power than the speakers in your car. Not only can you feel and see the emotion that the song brings out in the performer, but also in the thousands of people within the crowd. Every song has a different meaning for every person, and that fact will forever fascinate me. I don’t have a preference of general admission or seated concerts, because I think both have two completely different yet compelling atmospheres. Whether you’re at the top row of a stadium or against the barricade in an open floor theater, let the music take over your heart.
We don’t realize how powerful we are in our own happiness until we take the time to truly work on it. Go out with your friends, and have last minute movie dates. Eat that last mozzarella stick, and reach out to that coworker who you’ve been wanting to talk to for months. In the midst of improving the big picture, though, don’t forget that this is your life. Take control, and bring your life up from the back burner.