A Mighty Gesture

Before the weekend began, one of the coordinators for The Mighty reached out to me with a unique invitation.

I’ve mentioned The Mighty a few times, and although I’ve been critical as to how I allow the site to impact my mental health, I never sat back and considered how far my words could really reach. I never considered that people who had conditions so different from mine would also want to hear from me, or that I could serve as any sort of inspiration for them.

But, I had a prompt.

Write an introduction to an email that would be sent out with one of the daily #CheckInWithMe emails. This campaign started on The Mighty a few months back and was introduced shortly after thoughts and questions were added to the platform. Contributors were invited to post thoughts and questions prompting new users who hadn’t necessarily submitted an article to interact and start using the website as more of a social platform.

The goal of each email is to find a way to be uplifting, to invite people to interact and connect with us and encourage sharing.

As someone who doesn’t really use the Thoughts and Questions portion of the site, this would give me an opportunity to expand how I used the site socially by sharing my own #CheckInWithMe.

I wanted to find a way to pull in the creative aspect of my life that has really helped me fill my time and find new ways to still feel productive.

Below is the email intro:

Hey fellow warriors!

You know that feeling when a quote or song lyric stands out and really resonates with you? There’s a reason for that. There’s a reason the stories I write are often inspired by my favorite musicians and authors. The creativity in their words reminds me that I also have this incredible creative potential. Creating — whether it be making music, painting, writing, drawing or sitting outside with the kids playing with sidewalk chalk — can be both expressive and therapeutic.

It took years for me to come to terms with how severe my migraines were. But once I discovered how powerful writing could be, I suddenly had an outlet to share how I was feeling in any given moment. As I continue to write, I also look for other ways to express myself.

I recently took up painting with watercolors, and now that I’m disabled and home all the time, painting allows me to sit on my couch, work at my own pace and feel as if I’m really doing something with my time.

So #CheckInWithMe below and share the various creative outlets that help get you through the good and the not-so-good days. Because through writing, painting and sharing with friends, family and other creatives, I’ve connected with so many wonderful people and built a community around myself that sees me for more than my disability and my condition.

Stay Mighty,
Alex Tomlinson

Click on this photo to be directed to the post, to answer and see responses from our Mighty community.

So, my question to you is How has creativity helped you?

I had such a wonderful outpouring of responses since the email went out Tuesday night. I knew I was dipping my feet into a larger pool of mighty warriors but I never imagined how much everyone else would connect with this question.

For me, creativity shines through in my work, it’s inspired by other people. I’ll be driving home and a certain song on the radio will inspire me to write a story. A movie quote will help me connect my experience to those around me. Ernest Hemingway is my favorite source of inspiration, his words flow effortlessly and he seems to have known a whole lot about life.

But, as I discovered with playing with watercolors, so many other people have found some form of creating – whether it be crocheting, working with clay, knitting, quilting, gardening, coloring, or journaling – to be truly therapeutic.

My favorite thing about this endeavor, is being able to see that it doesn’t matter what condition, disability, or mental struggles we face, we all are looking for something to distract us, temporarily transport us to a new world, and simply give us something mindless to focus on.

You hear so often people responding negatively to “just relax” or “just stop thinking about it” and it makes a lot of sense. So many of us truly spend our days confined to the couch or bed. Our “outings” revolve around doctors appointments. So to most people, we lead lives of pure relaxation and freedom, and unless they’ve been in our boat it’s hard to show them that it’s not some picture perfect day off where we’re cuddling with our pets binge watching Netflix. We don’t need to “relax” we NEED something to focus on.

Creating. It gives us an outlet. It gives us something we can make for our friends and our families. It gives us an opportunity to give back to communities – like those who quilt or knit to provide comfort items to people in hospitals. It allows us to express ourselves. It allows us to feel that we matter and that someone out there may see what we’ve created and smile for even the briefest moment.

I look forward to working on this email campaign in the future and working to sustain the connections this has already afforded me.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” ~ Pablo Picasso


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