A New Year of Creative Self-Expression / 1,000 Beautiful Things

Lately I have been craving sharing my thoughts, feelings, and creations somewhere that feels more permanent than Instagram or Facebook. When I was a kid, I journaled every day. I would write out all of my messy feelings and thoughts, usually about how much I hated my body and how much I loved boys. It was a private space where I could just dump out everything in my head and my heart and feel a little better before I fell asleep. As I got older, I would write sporatically but it stopped being a daily habit and started to feel stressful, trying to put my messy, intense feelings into words as my experiences got more complex and I lacked the vocabulary to express the depth of my internal world. So, I started to express what I was feeling through visual outlets, mostly photography throughout my 20’s and early 30’s. I remember when I was 24ish and was in the middle of a very toxic relationship that I couldn’t make sense of and nobody in my life could help me make sense of. I felt that strange, intense spark to create something and picked up my camera, walked into the woods in my parents’ yard and made some self-portraits. At the time I thought I was inspired by an artist I had recently learned about and was trying to emulate her self-portraits as a creative experiment. I wasn’t connecting it to my inner emotional turmoil and distress but afterwards when I looked at the photos on my computer, I realized that I was, without consciously realizing it, expressing exactly what I was feeling at the time which was an inner tornado of feelings, pain, isolation, and confusion.

Photo by me, Emma Freeman.

Photo by me, Emma Freeman.


It amazed me that I created that without realizing it, that something in me-my creative spirit, my soul, I don’t know-needed to get those feelings outside of my body and the way they emerged was through art. That’s fucking amazing to me and makes me tear up as I write this. The desire to feel understood and to feel inner understanding and peace has driven me for my whole life, I think it drives many of us. I’ve always had what feels like a restless soul, searching for meaning, pondering, wondering, feeling intense waves of emotions that are hard for me to express fully and understand. There is something about authentic self-expression that is essential to our wellness but I have a hard time reconciling why it’s so difficult and layered for so many of us. It takes a lot of work to peel back the layers of the onion, as my therapist says, to truly understand ourselves and our lives and move forward with all of that deep understanding which is what leads to authentic self-expression. But authentic self-expression also happens through the mess, through the murky parts of figuring it all out. The self is always adapting and evolving, bubbling out truths and realizations as it inches it’s way forward through time. What I said when I was 10 years old was true for me then but probably isn’t true for me now if I said it. That’s interesting to me. How we stay the same in many ways but also can change and shift so drastically that it can feel like we’re different people internally. Strange.

I always feel compelled to share what I notice, what I feel, what I’m working through, and what I create and will be doing that here on this blog and see how it feels. The title, “1,000 Beautiful Things” comes from an old book that I found at a thrift store recently. The title struck me and was just so lovely. It feels like the right title for this collection of my visual and verbal thoughts and feelings.