-by Andy Dudas
We can all feel down at times. When the mile posts of life go whizzing by at a rate too fast to see much less comprehend. Days that feel a little bluer than we can handle. Days when the world is the winner and you are the loser. Days that after just a few waking moments all you want to do is crawl back into bed and try it again tomorrow…maybe.
Hopefully we all have something on which we can always rely. Something that no matter what, will never fail us when we need picked up. Our dearest love. Cookies rarely let you down. Pizza is a stalwart citadel of infallibility. A warm blanket. Prayers. Or even Hawkeye Pierce.
Certainly Dr. Pierce was not without fault and cookies and pizza can be burnt or undercooked, but reaching out during those dark and moody times to those things and people that generate happy if not at least happier feelings in us can start us on the road back to feeling better about ourselves. But Pierce gets me to my point…Art. He’s a fictional character who was named for a fictional character who was based on a real person.
Art either directly or indirectly has an effect on us. Being moved to tears by an emotion wrenching motion picture or to convulsive jolts of laughter in response to a standup comic, Art effects us. These thoughts came to mind recently while a newish(but certainly no less important or special) friend of mine was having one of these blue days. My mind understood their plight. My heart feeling, if even only in spirit, the same despair. I was instantly able to identify with their “I need to be alone today” shout to the world.
My wife will occasionally take a ‘mental health day.’ Those days when you simply just can’t. When everything is bearing down on you at once. When you know you are on the verge of a bit of a breakdown if even a small one. When you just can’t adult(verb). When all you want to do is build a fort out of the couch cushions or hide under the covers or eat an entire container of ice cream or stand under the shower until all the hot water is gone or watch Rocky IV for the thousandth time or cuddle up as close as possible to that whom you love the most, be it a friend, a spouse or a pet…that thing you do when you are down.
When I need a pick-me-up, my favorite movies never let me down. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, That Thing You Do, Spartacus…films that for whatever reason have imprinted on me in specific and personal ways. Star Trek was something I shared with and got from my Dad and oldest brother. Star Wars because I grew up with it. That Thing You Do because it’s awesome. Spartacus…I’m not sure I can explain why specifically with this one, but it sweeps across so many emotions and boundaries…do I like movies about gladiators? Yes. Yes, I do. And it could possibly be the most wonderful telling of a true love ever filmed.
Rereading a favorite novel by Clive Cussler always does the trick. Watching a Jim Gaffigan special brightens me right up. Listening to some Billy Joel.
Consuming Art is just one way it can help. Creating Art can be just as beneficial. Applying paint to a canvas. Pointing a camera at a subject. Dancing to your favorite song. Strumming notes on a guitar.
Whatever your medium, Art can cure your ills. You may very well stay in bed all day. Watching The Dark Knight again doesn’t guarantee you will hop right up out of bed. But it may take some of the sting out of staying in bed all day with the curtains drawn.
While I am certainly not advocating looking at a Rembrandt over a trip to your family doctor, or replacing a trip to the therapist in favor of watching Roadhouse, but on those days when it’s just too much and you need some time to just…be, keep some Art close by. You might be surprised how quickly the road to recovery is found.
Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making. Pretty much anything that has a creative element. Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks. Always seeking his next inspiration.