A friend recently told me that we must celebrate ourselves. Sometimes celebrating oneself means indulging into an abyss of unadulterated joy. Simply put, doing something that makes you giddy…makes you laugh…makes you feel warm inside. Think about it. After you’ve worked your fingers to the bone all week, supported family and friends through some act of giving, and/or volunteered your services to the community, you just might want to ask yourself, “How can I give to myself to rejuvenate?” Some people call it self-care. I call it art-care because as an artist, I like to feed the artistic soul by many means necessary – not “any means” but “many means.”
So I decided this past August/early September to indulge in Flint’s greatness – The Flint Farmers’ Market, located at 300 E. First Street. Flint, Michigan – the place to which I have returned after gallivanting across seas to hang out in the Tuscan hills and then hit four different hearths along the east coast (New York, Delaware, North Carolina, and Florida) because that’s where family resides. You know the phrase: home is where the heart is? Well, I have returned to my home to continue the work I have been called to do, and it was amazing to experience a newness in this town. I saw local grocers, communities-within-the-community, people hugging, lunching, and scurrying back to work after listening to live music at the market that reopened in the new downtown location this past summer. I was amazed by the colors that surrounded me. No, I am not talking about race. I am talking about how colorful, tangible and rich the environment was – filled with Flint folk/Flintstones/Flint community. FLINT!
I have been working in Flint for roughly 10 years (not counting the overseas disappearing act I pulled this past year). I lived in the suburbs when I first moved to Michigan and specifically decided to work in Flint. As time progressed I found myself moving closer and closer to the city that many have fled, according to various articles and statistics. Funny enough, there is a haven in this urban space. I call it a spirit that layers the surface of these infamous Saginaw Street bricks. Each day there is a sort of artistic hopefulness that keeps me thriving and seeking, and (Aha!) self-indulging in ways that I probably would not have considered a few years ago. So in fact, this article is about finding out how you can self-indulge in your environment – big or small. Even when people say, “There is nothing to do here.” Au contraire!
I offer 5 tips on self- indulging in your environment, no matter how quaint or desolate the place in which you live.
- Research what’s unique in your hometown and explore. It’s your adventure, so find something that speaks to your heart. It might even spark a little hometown pride. You might want to be a part of a committee that is putting on a parade, festival or community event. If that’s too much, simply go and be a spectator.
- Do something you’ve never done but have always wanted to do like volunteering, zip-lining, dancing, drawing, gardening. The list is endless. It can’t hurt, right? Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary but once you’ve done it there is a sort of self-indulging/self-confidence boost that rears its head.
- Self-indulging does not have to mean ‘leave your place of residence.’ It may simply be staying indoors and resting the mind by taking a nice long nap; reading a book strictly for pleasure; watching Netflix with a big bowl of popcorn you popped in the old-school popcorn popper – yes, some of us don’t use the microwave for everything.
- How about a personal project you’ve been wanting or needing to finish? Maybe you want to continue your musical lessons or learn a 2nd language or learn to knit a scarf. If you don’t want to leave your home and you have Internet, a smartphone or computer, you can search for a tutorial on Youtube. It’s FREE!
- Do something in a group or with another person. It doesn’t have to be grand; an example is culinary arts. OK, you might not have a passion for cooking, but if you have a passion for eating, then this might urge you to create something befitting to you and your group’s taste buds. Make it a project. You can have lots of fun when grocery shopping with the right group and then creating a meal with people you absolutely enjoy.
I only offered a few tips, but in fact there are a number of things you can do for self-indulgence! For me, I grabbed my camera many-a-days this past August and headed to the Flint Farmers’ Market to be among color (photos above) instead of staying in my very earth tone home that could use a splash or two of RGB (red green blue – chemistry 101). My final point is sometimes we complain about our environments, and we do not take those extra measures to find the treasure that lies beneath our feet. But indeed the treasure is there waiting for us to expose its beauty.
About the Contributing Writer:
Traci Currie is The Phoenix Rising Collective’s Art + Creativity contributor. She is a Communication and Visual Arts lecturer at University of Michigan-Flint, as well as a knit-crochet artist, writer, and spoken word performer. She has been a part of the art world for over 15 years as an art gallery board member; spoken word series organizer; performer, nationally and internationally; and published poet. She believes The PRC will help young women reach their highest potential. “This organization is about empowering women to take ownership of their lives, claim their identities and be the positive change they wish to see in the world they live.” Read her latest posts.