The Canvas: A Self Management Tool

On Monday I was sad,

So I splattered blue ink onto the canvas with a watercolour brush while I cried.

When I felt okay again,

I painted the canvas white.

On Tuesday I was anxious,

So I drew random patterns on the canvas with a variety of pens.

When I felt okay again,

I painted the canvas white.

On Wednesday I was empty,

So I smudged different coloured chalk all over the canvas until it was no longer blank.

When I felt okay again,

I painted the canvas white.

On Thursday I was angry,

So I stabbed the canvas with a pallet knife covered in red paint.

When I felt okay again,

I repaired the canvas and painted it white.

On Friday I was lonely,

So I sketched portraits of the people I love onto the canvas with a 4B pencil.

When I felt okay again,

I painted the canvas white.

On Saturday I was insecure,

So I wrote a list of my positive qualities on the canvas with a thick black marker.

When I felt okay again,

I painted the canvas white.

On Sunday I was happy,

So I went out and enjoyed the day.

I already felt okay,

The canvas remained white.

When we experience unpleasant emotions, we fight to make them disappear. Sometimes they just need to be expressed and released in a healthy manner, and other times they need to be replaced with positive feelings by focusing our thoughts on things to feel good about. Having self-control over our emotions and behaviour is an important life skill. But for some of us, gaining and maintaining self-control can be rather challenging.

For those of us who are mentally unwell, certain emotions can be incredibly disabling, or consume us to the point where we express them in a destructive manner. Nevertheless, we can overcome this issue by learning to manage our emotions and behaviour. Creating or finding a source of security, such as an object or area, is one way we can help ourselves when we experience unpleasant emotions. The object or area can be used for comfort, and ultimately as something or somewhere to help us calm down.

I have a number of sources of security, one of which is the canvas I refered to in the poem. If I’m struggling with my emotions while I’m at home, I turn to the canvas and create a piece of “art” or write on it. Sometimes I use it to help me release my emotions, other times to fill an emotional void, and every so often to draw or write a reminder of something in my life to feel good about. Then when I feel content after using the canvas, I paint it white, ready for when I’ll need it again. By repainting it every time I’m done, I’m letting go of whatever caused me emotional distress or unease. The canvas probably has over 100 layers of paint on it now, but I’ll keep on using it until it falls apart. When that day comes, I’ll buy a new one. Or if I’m lucky, I won’t have to.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. She-Ra says:

    Great post! I agree wholeheartedly that we need to learn to express our emotions in a healthy, productive manner. It took me a long time to learn this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elliesofia says:

    I really love your poem – it’s so expressive and it’s great that you’ve found a positive ‘tool’ in the form of art to release some of what you are feeling x

    Liked by 1 person

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