A new lens

Photography is something I have always wanted to get into. This year has been one for knocking things off my bucket list–more on that later probably–so on Black Friday I braved Best Buy to bring home my Canon Rebel. It was the best I could afford and a good start for someone who is photography-clueless like me.

I have always been interested and enthralled with all forms of art, but often timid to try out my own abilities because they are inevitably not “good” enough. I didn’t go to art school, never took a lesson past elementary school in fact–but lately I have found myself dabbling more and more for my own relaxation and enjoyment. I have realized that the not “good” enough part is all in my head if I feel good enough for myself. I’m 25. I have no plans of pursuing art professionally at this point, but it is certainly an outlet for me and a way to connect with others.

We have one life to live right? Why not dabble in it ALL while and feel free to express ourselves FOR ourselves when creativity strikes?

These past couple of months have been personally difficult for me as I have struggled with returning anxiety and panic attacks. With anxiety, it is hard to live in the moment as bigger, vague terrors press into my mind and then extend their tendrils down into my body. The other day I ventured to the Portland Japanese Garden and found myself in a state of meditation as I peered at the world through the camera lens. The camera was able to slow my thoughts down by centering my view (literally) on the smaller beauty of the world around me. I am particularly drawn to the small things–clinging fungi, fisted buds, strands of moss–because they are evidence of these endless beautiful processes of nature that occur under our noses every day.

Despite my newbie-ness to photography, I want to share my photos as a way of sharing my experience and wonder. I hope you enjoy and feel encouraged to try something new as well! As always, submit any of your creative work to darby@paradingaround.com to be posted!




hello koi



Art as healing

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Sometimes I just have to stop and doodle to process a dark mood or get control of my stress. I never considered myself good at drawing until a friend gave me Wreck This Journal, which provided a much-needed outlet of creativity. Now, art is something I turn to. The physical act turns off the buzzing, harmful thoughts and lets me focus my energies on the single task of expression. I often find inspiration in words, like those featured in this sketch. Sorry for the poor quality, I hope to buy a good scanner soon.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

-Maya Angelou

I think this is a hopeful message to those of us who have suffered from mental illnesses. Sometimes our situation seems to consume all the light we have. It is important to remember that there are always paths back to control, back to light.

Do you use art to express yourself or heal? How does it help you?