It’s a new year everyone. Time to shake off the dust from the keyboard and wipe away the accumulated dry tears from the eyes. It’s time for a revival of sorts, an awakening of the creative spirit. Being an artist, even a part-time artist, can be overwhelming with a surge of mixed emotions. Ups and downs. Ins and outs. Lots of self-doubt, self-sabotage, fear, and depression. And I am no stranger to this at all.
This year, I hope it will be different. There’s hope on the horizon as it opens to sheer will and a silver lining will appear. At times, I have to dig deep and pull myself up from the smoldering embers like the legendary phoenix. With the welcoming of a new year so comes the promise that things will change.
When I start this process, I have to remind myself to be grateful for all the opportunities given to me. In 2015, I’ve had the honour to read my poetry at the AB Series, and Tree Reading Series. It was a pleasure to be asked to write a poem for my friends Christopher and Renuka’s wedding in August. I was also thrilled to have my first poetry commission for Desire Lines for Nuit Blanche in September, which turned into having a poem on a tote bag (there are still some left and you can order yours today). I also had the privilege to do a writer’s talk in a graduate class at Carleton University. What a great year for exposure. Each event was quite the feat as I stamped out the darkness for brief moments.
During the past year, I struggled with my shadow self that was always lurking about and coaxing me into the darkness. It’s a day-to-day fight. I want to call it a war because this depression is relentless with its ability to tear me down and keep on kicking me. As I write this, I am unsure if I should publish this and let it be known. Although, I feel alone in this battle, I know there are more artists out there who suffer just like me.
There’s this part of me that doesn’t want sympathy because it always sounds fake. Although I recognize this as part of ego that doesn’t want to appear vulnerable. Previous experience has shown me that loved ones can do more harm than good when they learn of a weakness. When I reflect on this I cringe at the times where my weaknesses were saved as a tool to use against me many times before. Our homes, families, and communities are not always healthy and can be another obstacle to overcome to reach some form of sanity. One of things that I explore in my writing, and in myself, is the impact of generational trauma from residential schools and colonization. It’s not a pretty story but what’s a miracle of all of this is the resiliency of the intergenerational survivors of these violent impacts. It’s inspiring to see older generations who suffered the most telling stories, joking, and leading by example. So maybe one day I will be okay to accept sympathy and consoling from others. And one day I will be okay to be vulnerable and just be. I also know that I can’t be held captive from past experiences, I need to let that shit go.
I’ve been doing some research. The internet is filled with resources for self-help methods. There’s a fine line though, which needs to be addressed. It’s okay to seek out professional help. Sometimes we can’t do it by ourselves. Please google therapists and counsellors in your area to get a list who can help get through the stickiest parts.
There’s also some things we can do for ourselves every day. These are some of the practices that I’ve learned along the way, which I adapt into a daily routine:
- honour yourself
- be kind to yourself
- accept yourself wherever you’re at
- the sun will always rise and offer new beginnings
- get into a daily routine that involves physical activity
- drink lots of water
- get a good night sleep
- be mindful of eating healthy
- try meditation, yoga, mindfulness, sing, and dance
- laugh, laugh, laugh
- learn what gratitude means
- unplug from all the technology and connect to the natural world
There’s lots of other things we can do to help us feel better and it should be up to each of us to figure out what works best. What I’ve learned is that there are many pathways to acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, love, and spirituality. There is no one way. When you open up your favourite search engine you’ll see there’s lots of help out there for you to choose from. And don’t be hard on yourself. We’re not perfect humans. We will make mistakes. What’s important is that we learn and integrate these new teachings into our lives so that we don’t keep on repeating the same patterns. We need to evolve into better humans. That’s my ultimate hope.
It’s a good day and a good time to start fresh. I’m learning to accept where I am at today and to celebrate who I am. Poetry and creativity has been a gift that I honour everyday. It helps me connect with being human and fully aware of this human experience.
My wishes for all my fellow bloggers and fellow human beings are to experience a life full of compassion, peace, laughter, creativity, love, and acceptance. Happy New Year and I wish you all the best to reach your full potential.