life mental health

Creativity: a coping skill

Just like that shelf helped distract my mind for an hour or two from my thoughts, writing this story helped distract my mind for an hour or two. When we take on acts of creativity that challenge ourselves, we help ourselves.

My room is white. The candles are white, my bedding is white, my blankets and pillows are white.

The curtain that hangs above my narrow, but tall window is white. My dresser which houses too many shirts I don’t wear is white. And the shelf I built beside my bed to keep my mind busy is white. I could have gone on Amazon and bought a modest white wooden shelf for ten bucks, but I decided I’d go to the hardware store around the corner and see what I could build.

When I was little I asked for a toolkit for Christmas. Why I wanted this, I’m not entirely sure. But I remember this toolbox so vividly. It was translucent blue and clear, stocked with hammers, nails, and a screwdriver. I immediately took my new toolkit down to the basement and began hammering and nailing pieces of wood together. Now that I think about it, I think I had a little saw too that I used to create my masterpieces.

Okay, so back to me building a shelf in my tiny Upper East Side apartment– 

After turning the corner, I walk into the hardware store and tinker around for a few minutes looking at gray towels and bath mats I most definitely do not need. Alright enough of this let’s find the wood I think to myself as I meander through the narrow aisles of Rainbow. I find one piece of white wood that will work if I get it cut (Its New York City, there’s only so much space).

Next up: wall mounts. Right next to the wood. Piece of cake. I act like I wrote “Hardware Stores for Dummies” and carry on to the next line of business: screws. It takes me a few minutes to survey the array of screws. Would 4 inches work? Is oval tip or round better? Better question- which is cheaper?? After I pro/con each individual screw, I decide on a pack of 4 that look like they will do the trick. I grab a pack of anchors, too.

The last step before checking out is getting the slender piece of white wood cut. I eyeball it and the man cuts it with a HAND SAW! I shake my head internally, but smile and say “yep that’s fine”.

I walk up to the counter where the cashier lady is standing in a red apron that has “Rainbow” printed across the front. “$21″, she says. I wish I could say I was surprised, but everything is overpriced here. The nice lady bags my miscellaneous parts and I head back home to build my little white bedside shelf.

This bedside shelf took me about an hour to complete.

From measuring where the mounts would go to drilling holes into the wood and the wall. I was dripping in sweat as my little white fan just wasn’t enough on this hot humid day in New York City.  With a few tightenings from my yellow screwdriver, the masterpiece was complete. I knew exactly what it needed:

  1. A small green plant
  2. Daily Devotional
  3. Grief book
  4. Mini journal of “one good thing that happened today”
  5. A framed picture of me and two of my girlfriends

All done.

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to build a shelf to keep my mind active and busy. Just like that shelf helped distract my mind for an hour or two from my thoughts, writing this story helped distract my mind for an hour or two. When we take on acts of creativity that challenge ourselves, we help ourselves.

Healthy challenges are healthy coping skills.

I haven’t been able to articulate my feelings in the form of writing since I lost my 16-year-old beautiful brother. I lit two candles, made tea, turned on my fan, but I still wasn’t feeling up to writing. So, I glanced left and right, across my room that I designed, and my surroundings gave me the strength to express myself through something I love: writing.

My worry and grief subsided for an hour. This is how we cope.

Linked is an article about how creativity improves mental health and wellness.

Please reach out with any questions or thoughts. I’m always here to listen and talk. 

You are beautiful because you let yourself feel, and that is a brave thing indeed

Shinji Moon

10 comments on “Creativity: a coping skill

  1. Don Amorosi

    I have the tool box right next to mine in the garage! You helped me build a couple of Chinese changing walls…..then got bored with hammers and nails and went back more social stuff I guess. While you could have bought a functional shelf on amazon for $10, I think the $21 was well spent. Things are always more meaningful if you or someone you love had a hand in creating it – thats why all those birthday cards made with construction paper and crayons are so valuable. I couldn’t agree more about staying busing in order to cope. Going from dawn to dusk is one of my only defense from all this. Talking ain’t bad either. – Dad


  2. Stephanie Malangone

    I love this. You’re an amazing writer adds.


  3. Carolyn Thomas

    Your wisdom is inspirational! There are no words to express our sorrow over the loss of your beautiful brother, but creating beauty, infusing your life with love, peace and a heart open to hearing the pain in others and offering solace, are meaningful ways to heal. Your writing is exquisite. Hope that you will one day be a famous author.

    You are loved, precious Addison.


  4. This was such a nice piece Adds, keep it up 🙂


  5. This is such a helpful post, Thanks


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