For as long as I can remember, I have had this underlying feeling of curiosity in my bones, an itching to create—in whatever form it may take—and a large part of that feeling came from school. I read any book in sight and tried to pick up on storytelling. I would peer at the dance of light on a fruit bowl and transfer that to still lifes for middle school art class. I analyzed iambic pentameter in English class and composed my own poems with their own heartbeat of a rhythm. Constructed stories out of Spotify music playlists, tried my hand at photography—quite literally anything. However, as I grew older, my class schedules left less room for the arts in exchange for a looming tower of labs and lectures. Yes, I will admit, the standard essay for English 110 and colloquium or lab reports may do the trick sometimes, yet other times I can’t help but feel creatively stifled, and over time this feeling can build quite dangerously.
There’s a certain restlessness with being idle for too long, now more than ever in this quarantine; it’s a very acute feeling, as if your fingertips tremble with the ghost of a twitch. By the same token, there are times where you can’t help but feel the weight of this quarantine as loneliness. As someone who has danced along the precipice of burnout more frequently than preferred in my very young life thus far, the desire to be productive being blocked by such a weight can be very debilitating. Yet with the two together, restlessness and curiosity, one can begin to reframe that loneliness as quiet solitude. To me, there’s a drastic difference between the two. From my perspective, loneliness has always been something that grew from insecurities and relentlessly ate at my mental health, draining color from life, whereas solitude is isolation willingly taken up, a time for self-reflection and expression when you have the time to notice the different shades of green in the garden, the rhythm of your breathing, or the way branches dance in the wind—life’s colors become brighter. The difference between the two is awareness—awareness of the life around you—and with restlessness and curiosity, it stimulates a desire to create something that can imitate and immortalize that life in whatever form necessary. Continue reading