We live in a society where temper tantrums are normal for children younger than 5.
If you’re at the grocery store and there’s a child on the ground, screaming with a beet-red face, we don’t think anything of it. Now, imagine if the child’s parent/guardian was the one on the ground, screaming with a beet-red face.
Young children have no other outlet for their emotions; it’s part of their development to figure out all that. As adults, we should be equipped with the emotional intelligence and regulation to avoid temper tantrums. But, as adults, we still get angry or upset. Maybe not over trivial things, like not being able to take off our shirt in public or get our favorite treat in line at the grocery store; but anger is such a normal human emotion that we all deal with.
There are an infinite amount of ways to work through our more passionate emotions. Some people exercise, others cook or bake, and others still drown themselves in their work. Personally, I have always been interested in the arts. Whether it’s singing, writing, drawing, or even acting, I can work through my emotions in a healthy and supportive way.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing stories and drawing people. During the early days of my art career, it was mostly stories of the fantastical nature. Fairies and princesses, that sort of thing. I didn’t realize the benefit of my talents, that they could help me, until I was faced with my own trauma later in life. After our traumatic familial event, I was suddenly looking at my work through a very different lens.
What if I used my writing like this?: I wrote several letters to my brother. Many of them I never sent to him, but it was a healthy way for me to figure out my feelings about him, about what happened. Without hurting anyone, I was able to work through my emotions. And boy, did I feel AMAZING afterwards. I still use my writing as a place for self-soothing and exploration. Maybe, one day, I’ll use it to finish one of my many novels gathering digital dust on my laptop.
What if I used my art like this?: I went through a “dark phase” in my art not long after. I drew a lot of sad people, sometimes in my likeness and other times not. Lots of sadness, screaming. It was always a blessing to take my pencil to the page and just scribble. I’ve learned a lot through that difficult process, especially in regards to human anatomy and expressions. After all, the human face has countless muscles that give us innumerable facial expressions. One day, I hope to draw them all.
What if I used my singing like this?: Musical theater has always been a staple in my family. A number of us have performed on the stage in different productions (although my only performance was in fourth grade during La Salle-Peru High School’s production of Evita), and most, if not ALL, songs are emotionally charged. It’s so easy to get swept up in a song, to sing along with the actor as they wail about their grief or pain. “Memory” from Cats, “On My Own” from Les Miserables, “One Song Glory” from RENT, and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from The Phantom of the Opera are just a few of my personal favorite show tunes to bellow out when I’m in distress.
Whatever you discover as your outlet, cherish it. Nurture it. It’ll forever be a benefit to your mental health and overall quality of life. Ask any artist why they do what they do, and chances are, they’ll tell you because it makes them happy.