Origami and Jazz

This post may not be a deep dive into the history of origami or discussing my favourite jazz albums, but it does document a revelation I’ve had about what I want to do in the next stages of my life.

Here we go…

Paper… a tool of gods and artists and toddlers.

But without a pencil or paint, one may say that paper is useless, a blank sheet, of just paper.

But there are times when simply folding this blank sheet can make it so much more…

Or even become art in itself.

My older sister subscribed me to a mental health package called PAUSE which comes monthly with mindfulness exercises to take a ‘pause’. She may have done this due to my issues with feeling present over the past few months, and my struggles with motivation which I was very vocal about.

Today, it’s a rainy Saturday in mid-august, and I’ve just made (folded if you will) my first ever origami butterfly, following the august PAUSE instructions, whilst listening to one of Spotify’s jazz playlists. This is a high point.

I am in self-isolation after coming back from a music festival and testing positive, and this hibernation state I’m in has has allowed me to assess and come to terms with feelings I’ve had with me for months.

My days have felt like a haze for so long, I was barely able to complete coursework for school in June before the summer, or motivate myself to work for prolonged periods without switching to a less taxing alternative. I had a creative block, not able to paint or draw without feeling I wasn’t good enough, or finish writing a blog post even though I started many.

Needing to communicate what i was feeling, i tried to explain it to my family, using the metaphor of sunglasses:

When wearing sunglasses I often feel claustrophobic because they block the sensations of my surroundings, and filter my sight, it’s an unnatural feeling.

Another metaphor is when you wear earphones without playing any music, and they act like earplugs, blocking what you hear and violating your natural processes.

PAUSE informed me that the word origami originates from two Japanese words,

“The word origami comes from the Japanese ‘ori’ meaning fold, and ‘kami’ meaning paper.”

There’s something beautifully simple about that word. To focus on one thing, folding paper, without any outside influence or blockage mimics the easy simplicity of its name, and is just the activity I needed to battle my haze and think.

To break a rut, you must find your motivation.

Briefly moving away from my amazing (gosh I’m so proud) origami butterflies, I want to discuss my problems with motivation.

As an IB student who therefore suffers a lot of pressure on any type of work and making decisions for my future, I lost my motivation because i had no concrete plan (as well as burnout after exams).

I went through all sorts of ideas for what to apply to do at university, economics and sociology, anthropology and visual art to art history. Accompanied by many breakdowns and a lot of confusion.

What I can say now is that confusion was rooted in my desire to follow a career in art, to follow my passion fully, and every time I would try and express that I’d end up in tears.

I finally came to address my parents head on about what I actually wanted to do, and we came to a conclusion that i’ll follow a path in art whilst still trying my best in school- which keeps my options open. This was a sound case, and with this decision I felt a twinge of that motivation I had been craving so desperately, I realised that one more year of pushing through with hard work will give me so much fulfilment in the end, and I knew I’d look back on it as something that was very much worth it.

Picturing myself achieving my goals by doing all I can is something that motivated me.

This is how I found my motivation and a plan for a life that i’m really excited to live.

I’m just gonna sketch a symbolic map illustration really quick, so i can get even more hyped to get it started.

  1. Leave rut windmill
  2. Climb IB mountain
  3. Fine art foundation (with highly romanticised part-time barista job)
  4. Crossroads: choice of either higher education in an academic subject or following art.

So, I found what i needed to motivate me, a map, a plan.

This is a method that has helped me during the last couple of years too, normally by writing down some crazy revelation down in my diary, always swearing to change by writing these words: “I’ve decided that…” or “from now on…”

Though people around me may joke about the sheer number of revelations I do have, I believe that you can never have too many, because as people we are always changing, growing into someone who lives a life we’ll enjoy living.

As a blogger, I’m going to start sharing my thoughts again, and here I say I’m sorry about my large pause in writing since earlier this year, and I hope on this run I’ll be able to continue having inspirational and creative highs where I feel able to make my stories and ideas heard and seen.

Finally, here are two tips to drag yourself out of a rut:

  • Talk to someone about what you want, and ask for help.

When I didn’t feel confident about creating or working and couldn’t pull myself out of that haze, talking to someone about how I was feeling and asking them for help eased my mind. In this way I also became clear about what I actually wanted.

Doing this regularly is a good idea, to remind yourself of your motivations.

  • Start with a small, quick task.

When I started my day with a small task I could tick off my list in a short amount of time, I started to feel more productive and believed that I could achieve more!

Thank you for reading, and for being an audience for my revelation, I think it’s important to share your stories, so if you have any of your own thoughts or motivation tips to share then please do in the comments!

I’m sorry again for my hiatus, it’s good to be back!

Best wishes,

Jenny

A mixed media blog through which I can express myself

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