Getting Better

Okay, I am going to write about something that I have been scared to write about for a long time now. Maybe some of you have noticed tones of it in my other posts. Maybe not.

A little over a year ago I admitted, to myself and to my partner, that I have depression.

Admitting it to myself finally made my struggle real. For so long I have resonated with other people’s stories of depression. Whether it was their stories on facebook, or The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The thing is, I wasn’t suicidal. So in my mind I didn’t have depression. Because other people’s stories were always so much worse than mine. But comparing your hardships to others doesn’t make them any less painful. And just because I knew that outting myself wouldn’t solve anything and would only hurt those around me, didn’t mean there weren’t moments when I just wished I wasn’t alive.

Admitting to my partner was my first step to getting help. His reaction showed me that I had support, and I was amazed time and time again at the relief I felt as I told each of the closest people in my life. I was no longer alone, to carry this burden on my own.

In August of 2017 I started taking medication. And things got better, a lot better. Very very quickly. I couldn’t believe the difference. I couldn’t believe that I had suffered for so long when there was such an easy way out. I thought that if it kept getting better at that rate then I’d be off the meds and cured in no time.

But nothing is ever that easy.

Eventually it sort of plateaued. And then I had an episode. And another one. And another one. The third time I fell into despair, and worried that I would never get better and that this was my life and I was stuck with it.

I needed something to get me out of it. So I curled up in my dark room, under fuzzy blankets, surrounded by snotty kleenex and a few of my favourite comfort items, and I put on The Hilarious World of Depression Podcast. It put some good ideas into my head. One of the stories was from someone who had the exact same thought I did: “how can I live the rest of my life like this?” But then they took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, and realized that each episode had gotten better than the last. Maybe not the episode itself, but at least the way they managed it.

And for me, looking back, it has gotten significantly better. In the way I manage it and in the way it feels. Getting better is going to be a long and difficult road, with maybe a few detours, and construction zones along the way. So today, when I woke up, and that miserable thought started to creep into my mind, oozing darkness like a big disgusting demon, I looked at it and said F*** you! You don’t get to decide how my day is going to be.

So far, I think it worked.

black ooze by Der-Reiko

Image by Der-Reiko on DeviantArt

Advertisements

Restlessness

Today is a hiding day. The kind where I just want to stay inside and see no one but myself. This isn’t a bad feeling. It is actually quite a good feeling. My roommates have all left for the weekend and for once I have the house alone. This is my place now, my space.

As humans, we label everything. I guess someone would label me an introvert. It isn’t as though I want to be alone all the time, but when I am alone, or with myself as I think of it, it is a warm, welcoming feeling. The secret place inside myself that is just for me, that nobody will ever know. That, is what or who I truly am. I am a feeling that can only be felt in an empty room.

These are the thoughts I share when I know nobody will read them. This is a post I write with no intention of publishing. Because if I did?

Well in that lies a deep vulnerability. A fear of someone truly knowing me. I am the blue that you see at the bottom of the sea. Where the world above disappears and all that is around is unknown. I was born at a time when the stars aligned in such a way that humans labeled me pisces. That is simply a word. But the stars in that constellation, those great burning flames far far away from earth tugged gently at my molecules as I came into this world. And perhaps something about that made me who I am.

There is an energy inside me that seeks to be let out, through art or words or craft. Is it a part of me, or is it something greater expressing itself through me, and I am humbly the vessel through which it arrives at this world? For certain, some things seek to be known. Others seek to be hidden.

When I deny myself this expression I feel restless. There is too much of that energy in me and it needs to be let out. Even now… to stop typing.. would be…

But then, maybe I will save some for myself.

The feeling of uncertainty

It coils in your gut. Twists reason into fear, and makes everything inside you scream “RUN AWAY”. It makes you want to take the easier route, to follow the familiar.

But I have found that if we step outside that boundary, and embrace the unknown, that is where miracles are. In uncertainty lies change.

So when fear creeps in, welcome it to your body; enjoy it’s fleeting presence. Appreciate that it is not often we get to feel something out of the ordinary.

When this feeling writhes inside you, it means that something wonderful is about to happen.

Finding My Way

Okay, it’s been a year… And a month since my last post. And like the earth circling around the sun I feel like I’ve made a complete circle within myself. In the past year it feels like I’ve moved in waves through everything that isn’t me and come out on the other side completely and wholly who I am. The entire past year felt like I was in a place that just wasn’t quite right. Like I had the wrong piece to the puzzle, but it almost fit so I was trying to push it into place anyways. And if I pushed hard enough it would slide into the puzzle, and might be seemingly perfect, but if I really looked I’d see the picture didn’t match up, and there were little hollows between the pieces where it didn’t fit snug.

It may have taken a lot of experiences and a lot of mistakes and even a bit of loneliness to get here, but I feel that I’m finally comfortable with who I am. Or at least I know myself well enough now to know where I want to realistically change (in a healthy way).

I may not live up to some people’s expectations. I may not be cut out to be a fast-paced go-getter. I am dreamy and aloof and reclusive, but there’s a place in this world for that as well.

Everyone lives life at a different pace. Recently I’ve been reading the book #GIRLBOSS. It is a memoir by Sophia Amoruso, the creator of Nasty Gal and a CEO millionaire by the age of 25. And how did she get there? By defying the corporate world. And while I read Sophia’s story and I admire it, I know that will never be me because I simply don’t have the motivation to accomplish that much in that short amount of time.

I like to think of myself closer to the George R.R. Martin side of the scale. Near the age of thirty Martin wasn’t even making enough money to stay alive. In 1996 the first book of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, ‘A Game of Thrones’, was published. He was 48 years old. The series did not become famous until the release of the television series in 2011, followed by the release of the fifth novel, ‘A Dance With Dragons’, in 2012. He was 63 years old. He began his work as a writer at age 21, but it wasn’t until 40 years later that he had obtained the same degree of success that Sophia did in about 5 years.

Some people in this world are Sophias, and that’s great! But I’m a Martin through and through and though I may not have much to show for my efforts so far, I know that I’ll get there eventually.

I guess the point of all this is that maybe I wanted to be a Sophia, and it was getting me down that I hadn’t accomplished anything. And it took me a long time to be okay with that, and to fully realise who I am to the whole extent of myself. I can feel it now though. I may only be a pile of smouldering kindling right now, but I’ll be red-hot glowing coals someday.

Alive with the Scent of Spring

I love the distinct smell of every season. Sometimes I step out onto the patio just to smell the morning. Today the crisp smell of spring is in the air: melting snow, wet pavement, old soggy vegetation and a hint of the new growth beneath it. The morning air is still cold, for now. As the days get longer these smells will give way to that of morning dew and hot grass baking in the summer sun.

For now these smells fill me with excitement. Spring holds potential, and like the early morning of a new day, I am alive with thoughts of what the future may bring.

What does spring mean to you?

 

Why You Should Copy Other Artists

Okay it’s been a while! Well only 10 days actually, but that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without writing a post! In the last 10 days I have been totally engrossed with learning a new skill: drawing mandalas. It is addicting. So I’m gonna let you all in on the secret piece of advice that helped me acquire this skill in merely three days.

DSC_0538
The second and third mandalas I ever drew. (1.5 hours each)

While these designs may look quite complex, they are actually really simple to draw, and the way I taught myself can be applied to any type of art really. The first thing I did was copy another artist’s work. GASP! Right? I don’t know why there is such a stigma attached to this. There is nothing wrong with copying someone else’s work, as long as you are not trying to pass it off as your own. In fact, it is impossible to learn something without copying somebody else.

Think about anything, music for example. When you learn to play guitar you don’t try to start writing your own songs before you even learn how to play a song that already exists. You learn how to play songs other artists have made and then, if you get good enough, you try to come up with your own songs. The same applies to art. Trying to draw a mandala without ever having learned how to by copying existing mandalas is like trying to write a song on the guitar when you don’t even know how to play a song.

In the picture above, the mandala on the left is a design by @flickpalmateer. I modified it a little bit because why not? But basically by copying her design, and a couple of images off google, I was able to eventually come up with my own designs. The one on the right was the first one I designed myself, and the one below was one that followed. Both of these are 100% original, but I wouldn’t have been able to produce these original pieces without first copying others.

DSC_0539

Now I feel like drawing mandalas is my calling. It’s like I’ve acquired a new lens through which I can view the world. I see potential patterns in everything. I’ve been thinking of ways to put my designs on pottery, and much more. So stay tuned to see where this takes me! I may be opening my own etsy shop in the future!

As a parting note I’d like to encourage you to go out there and copy things you see! There is no better way to learn. For writing, you could try writing a short story in another writer’s style. Whatever it is I am sure it will help you build the foundation you need to create your own original work. I’d love to see what you come up with! Feel free to even copy my designs!

I look forward to seeing what you come up with, best of luck!

Downsizing Chronicles 2

The question I keep asking myself as I sort through my mountain of possessions is: Why did I ever buy all this stuff in the first place? Only when we go through everything we own all at once do we realize how many things we buy that we don’t really need, even if it seemed like we needed them at the time.

Impulse Buys

I’ve noticed somewhat of a trend. A lot of the things I have that we rarely used, or rather useless, were impulse buys. I’m sure everyone has caved to impulse buys. You see a cute little figurine, or a beautiful soap holder which also happens to be inexpensive. Impulse buys can also pertain to a certain hobby, such as reading. I’m sure we’ve all walked into a bookstore and bought a book that seemed really cool at the time, only to have it collect dust on a shelf. We never really stop to ask: If I really want to read this book, couldn’t I get it from the library? Or: Do I even need a soap holder? Doesn’t my sink have a built-in dip where the soap goes anyways? The point is, impulse buys often lead up to a collection of unnecessary items. So how can we avoid them? I think it’s pretty simple. If you see something you like wait until the next day. If you still really want it enough to make the effort of going back to the store to get it then it is probably something you could actually use.

Buying Office Supplies At Thrift Stores

I have a ridiculous amount of office supplies left over from when I was in school, more than I could ever use. As I back them into boxes to be donated, I am kicking myself for never thinking of going to a thrift store to shop for school supplies. Each binder I bought was at least $5… and now I’m giving them away to be resold for probably $1 if not less. I could have saved so much money, so now I’m passing on the thought in the hopes that somebody else who still needs school/office supplies will think to look for them at a thrift store.

Reduce

There is a reason  reduce comes first in “reduce, reuse, recycle”, yet I feel like when we learned about it in school they mostly focused on recycle. As I head to donations with 5 whole boxes filled with things, and many more to come, I am planning to lead a less wasteful life in the future.