Prompt #3 - Make a Mess
And enjoy doing it
Every day, we face a mountain of things to take care of. Bills, dishes, work, phone calls. Some, of course, are more fun than others. And some might also make us a little nervous, because we’re worried about messing it up. So we tell ourselves, no problem, I can do it later.
Fear feeds procrastination. And procrastination makes life harder.
The best way to get over this habit of procrastinating on important tasks, it to get used to taking care of things right away,
even if especially if it makes us anxious. We need to let go of the FOFU - the Fear of Fu**ing Up (you read it here first!).
Some of my favourite mantras to get into this mind space are:
done is better than perfect
what do you have to lose
it’s not going to get better / easier
F*** it, let’s go [a personal favourite]
Even better than reciting mantras is to actively practice to work through and let go of the fear. Practice doing something without trying to do it perfectly, without worrying about the result.
So this week we’re here to get messy. On purpose!
The Activity: Make Messy Art
It is not important which medium you use for this. Do whatever calls to you.
Step 1: Choose your playground
Find a big piece of paper, cardboard, canvas, fabric, wood, or whatever else you’re happy to get messy on. This should be at least A3 in size, in order to give yourself some space to properly express yourself.
Step 2: Choose your weapon
Now choose which medium you want to work with. Paints, markers, coloured pencil, mashed up fruit, coffee grounds? Mixed media? Anything is allowed, as long as the medium works on the material you’ve chosen to art on. Yes, that’s a verb.
Step 3: Go nuts
Draw, paint, glue, smear, splash. Don’t think about it, just follow your feelings. Want to colour that corner red? Do it! Want to tear a hole in the middle? Great idea! Want to smash some blueberries on it? F*** it, let’s go!
Like most things in life, this is best done with some loud music in your ears.
Continue until you’re done. Enjoy yourself. You’re done whenever you feel like you’ve let it all out.
Step 4: Reflect
How was this experience for you? Did you feel a bit of resistance at first? Were you hesitant about putting paint to paper, because of FOFU? Were you able to let go of it and lean into the process of mess-making? Did you enjoy yourself?
And did anything horrible happen because you didn’t aim for a perfect result? Probably not.
The next time you are anxious about making that phone call to the bank, and your mind wants to tell you that “it’s ok, you can do it later…” , then you just yell back “f*** it”, and smear some blueberries on that stuff, and make that call!
As my playground, I chose a book of wallpaper samples I have been sitting on, not sure about what to do with it. I always knew it was burdened with glorious purpose, though, and its time has come.
I chose a dark pattern to paint on - you can see still peeking through at the top of the page - because I figured that it might work nicely with some bright primary colours on top.
I also have a tendency to want things to look “right” (whatever that means), so I chose to use my daughter’s finger paints. I thought it might just be a little bit harder to aim for perfection when you’re leaning hard into your gross motor skills using toddler art supplies.
And holy crap you guys, I enjoyed the crap out of this. First of all: FINGER PAINTS! I smeared, and I mixed, and I stuck three fingers at a time in those pots and slapped the paint on the paper, and oh my god it was glorious. And the wallpaper! That stuff is sturdy and it was great starting off on not-a-blank-white-page. It was an absolute joy.
I went through many phases of wondering whether it looked good, or not, whether I had overdone it, or whether I should stop. But I was having so much fun, I just kept going. And while I’m actually quite excited about it now, while I was painting, the result eventually just stopped mattering. I think this will be my new favourite way to relax in the evenings. Fortunately, I still have 3 more books of wallpaper samples to fill!
And sorry about the finger paints, kiddo. I’ll get you new ones.
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