when i was in school to be an art therapist, we would do these painting rituals once a year. a group of 10 or so individuals would gather in a room and paint, silently for hours. we would create these big pieces of art that looked so individual and interesting - and yet, they were completely influenced by the energy present in the room. while we wouldn’t speak to one another for the full duration of our time together, we still would look at one another, silently interact, and provide feedback to one another as we saw fit. mostly, we focused upon our own work, while also knowing that we had that vibrational support behind us.
i was always blown away by how different everyones pieces were, and how incredible and provocative they were on their own. the fact that we were able to stay in our own vision, while being present in someone else’s was not lost on me. i took away one quote from my professor in which she said “paper is patient, paint is always on your side” and she was right. many of the more complicated things i’ve had to endure throughout my life have been processed through paint and paper - be it writing, drawing, doodling or otherwise.
however as i found myself growing through time - more of the paper-based processing methods like reading, writing and art-making became distant. as a shy kid, paper was my method for proving my worth - through poetry or drawings, i was able to assert a glimpse of the vision of who i was, or who i wanted to be.
much older, as i went through my therapy degree/my masters - the written word, something i held so close as a superpower for so long - began to leave me. as i came more and more into my own voice, i found movement and verbal language that similarly supported my vision, and i found it harder and harder to write and compose even a journal - and it was frustrating as all heck.
i’m painfully aware of how sporadic my blog is. i spend days and hours writing, thinking and processing my experience - but when i sit down to make a post about it, it feels stuck and distant. all i want is to be able to capture the richness of my experience, as we all weave such gorgeous and learnings-filled tapestries that we can all stand to benefit from. sharing is almost (no definitely) a responsibility that we should be inclined to put forth for the greater good of all - and i am currently challenged (six years and counting) to capture this experience and translate it into a form that makes sense for myself and others.
it’s a lot of work, but it’s a unique opportunity to build energy around growth and learning and progress. through a blog, or journal, or instagram account - or in everyday life in the way we show up.
it would be really easy for me to look back on all the failed attempts i’ve had to make this blog great and feel lame about the fact that i’ve never really made a go of it. it would be easy to equate this one failure with all failures, and get down on myself for being a terrible person who fucks all the things up.
but that would be easy. and i’m guessing by the fact that you’re reading this that you’re not interested in the easy route. i could guess why you’re here is because you’ve come to learn and grow alongside me, as i fumble my way through and try to get better each time.
this is life. challenging and from afar - its mostly awkward and un-special and ordinary. life is an open canvas, which can be exciting and terrifying - and what you make of it is completely up to you. you can shift, transform and change - you can go back and edit, reflect and re-frame your experience so that you can appreciate all the wins you did have (which i can only assume to be many).
we tend to live in an all-or-nothing culture, much to our detriment. we think a blemish is a bad day and a bad day is an apocalypse - but it’s simply not true. more often times than not, our own limitations define what we are capable of. i have friends who have escaped genocides, overcome violence and disasters - and until you hear their stories, you would never have expected them to have come from such wild beginnings. their outlooks on life do not reflect these challenging experiences, but rather the drive they have to make things better, and to put their rich learnings to good use.
i’m not saying whatever terrible thing or event has happened in your life should be pumped up and cured with positivity and good vibes - however, it all takes time, and it is all a process. it might take me six painful years to get through what i’ve been getting through to find out that now i am able to maintain a blog. maybe i’m going at it wrong and i need to try a podcast or a vlog - that’s for me to find out as i go.
however if i was to stand here and discount what i have accomplished - multiple degrees, credentials, work and life experience including surviving my mental illness - i would be doing the greatest disservice to myself in the history of it all.
so do me a favour. write down or tell yourself/someone else about all the good things you have going on in your life. about how last year you couldn’t run without puking or that this time three years ago you wanted to not be depressed anymore. talk about the hurdles you have overcome - and give yourself the credit you deserve, because all of this takes time.
“getting there” takes time.
one day you may look back and be blown away by who you are and all that you have achieved.
maybe even today.