Use Your Imagination

Imagine, if you will, a room full of nothing (can something be full of nothing?). Hold that image in your mind for a moment. Now, fill the walls of that room with color. Or wallpaper, if that’s your thing. Add a table somewhere in the room. And on that table, place some apples.

Okay, now that the details are filled in… Wait. Did you notice the details? Did your mind fill them in as we went? Let’s check.

How big was the room? Did it have windows?

What color were the walls? If you chose wallpaper, what kind of pattern did your walls have?

What type of table did you put in the room? Round? Square? Wooden? Metal? Small? Big? Where was the table located? By the wall? In the middle of the room?

And the apples on that table… How many were there? What color were they? Mine were green, but I’m partial to Granny Smith apples.

This little exercise was used to get your imagination muscles moving. How did you do? Did your imagination fill in the details as you pictured the described space? Or did you just read through it and not do the exercise? If you didn’t, I’d suggest starting back at the beginning, but now your imagination will be influenced by the questions that followed the exercise.

Imagination can be an amazing thing! It can also be a very unhelpful thing, like in this week’s comic. In my experience, when my imagination takes control and starts running wild, it often isn’t at helpful times. This feeds (or maybe stems from) my severe anxiety and can easily lead to depressive episodes, as well. 

Throughout my life, I’ve often been accused of overthinking, and this is probably true, but I have such a vivid imagination. If I can harness that and use it in my art or songwriting, it can help me create some beautiful things. If I don’t have as much control over my thoughts as I’d like, it can lead to some not-so-beautiful scenes. Like a shutdown in the car (I wasn’t driving) on the way home from a Walmart run that resulted in me not being able to speak or open my eyes and my family having to help me walk into the house and cover me with my weighted blanket with the lights off for a while. 

My imagination also seems to contribute to my executive dysfunction. Instead of thinking, “I’ll wash the dishes” (which I almost never think without outside encouragement), my lovely brain will process the pile of dishes and think:

“First, I have to clear out the sink. Next, I have to organize the dishes into proper piles so I can wash them in the correct order. Next, I have to put the already clean dishes away so I can put the newly clean dishes in the drying rack. Next, I have to fill up the sink with not-too-hot water and soap. Next, I have to take off my watch so I can start washing the dishes. Next, I have to wash the cups. Next, I have to wash the silverware….” And it just keeps going like that, quickly overwhelming me with too many steps. (See Blog #6 for more on executive dysfunction.)

Being able to picture things so clearly in my head can be rather distracting at times, too. A random thought will drop me into a daydream that seems so real that I lose track of time. While it can help me process through confrontations and conversations (past or future) that have been stuck in thought loops, it would still be nice to be able to decide when I do that processing.

Despite the plethora of unhelpful scenarios a vivid imagination can bring about, I still think it’s important not to view an imagination as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ but rather as ‘weak’ or ‘strong.’ Saying someone has a bad imagination suggests that it isn’t something they can change, but saying someone has a weak imagination could suggest it is something they can practice and, like a muscle, strengthen over time. I could be wrong. I’m wrong about a lot of things. Maybe your level of imagination is determined by genetics, but I don’t think it has to be. 

After all, imagination is an important part of problem solving, creativity, and empathy. So it’s something that should be encouraged, I think. And like many other things, if you find your imagination isn’t that strong, maybe it just needs some exercise.

If you’d like to support Nickole and Dymes Creations as it starts out, visit my Etsy shop from time to time to check out the newest digital (and eventually physical) products. If you’d like to be a patron of Nickole and Dymes, visit my Patreon account for details on how to get started! Even liking and sharing posts from my Instagram (nickole_and_dymes) and Facebook (Nickole.and.Dymes) accounts makes a huge difference.

If you enjoy the comic in this blog, be sure to follow Nicky & Bea Books on Facebook and Instagram (@NickyandBeaBooks) to stay up-to-date with the launch of the first book in the Nicky & Bea series, with author Rebecca (Becca) Amstutz and illustrator Nicole Dynes (that’s me!).

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