Hello again, friends! It has been a little while, hasn't it? I suppose it has. Funny enough, I usually have a firm stance on blogging and explanations - mostly that there is no need to apologize or explain absences and that we should just continue to produce quality product, explanations aside. Three months though, that is a sabbatical. I've have half-written posts, fully-fleshed out excuses and a back-log of photos that will take me days to cull through. Truth? I fell. I fell off schedule, I stumbled through a bout of depression, I waded through getting back on track and I am trying, as always, and again, to walk tall on the path that brings me happiness and completion.
This is a cycle many of us face, I think, both small and large. From the pile of laundry that builds while you are busy with work or recovering from a cold (a hem, like me, right now) to the larger, more weighing struggles - we stumble a little, we fall, we give up, give in, then slowly pick ourselves up again. There is nothing to be ashamed of in the normal struggle that is being human, the oppositional, defiant pulling we do against everything that hangs on us, pulls or pushes us down. We all have our triggers, our weak points, and our emotional Achilles heels. I do love though, the way my friend Tara looks at things as freeing, especially depression (seasonal or otherwise).
Tara is one of those people who is wildly talented with words, incredibly thoughtful, and shirks social media (that alone makes me envy her fortitude) – a combination which could make you fiercely jealous if it weren’t for feeling so lucky that you were on the receiving end of her emails or phone call. She also happens to be very strong in her faith, which is neither here nor there but peppers her speech, so you know…
“…Lately I'm seeing depression as less of a curse and more of a natural season for becoming a free-er more honest entity.
As terrifying as that one monster depression patch was for me (can't believe how long ago it was now-praise God) I simply cannot ignore how much it has enriched my life. Depression...leads us to places of such desolation that we are forced, as we reemerge, to upgrade to new operating systems. We reached that dead end because, let's face it, something just wasn't working for us. Whether it was a body's chemical response to outside stimuli, a false belief about self and/or our creator, or the result of a long-term dose of self-inflicted stress and negativity. One way or the other we come back around from depression with the working knowledge that at least a few things that drove us into that pit just haven't been worth the agony. And (my favorite part) once the paralysis of depression wears off we are free at that time to drop them like it's hot (for lack of a better term).”
While it has taken a little while, I think I have identified what my cues were and what I needed to get rid of, change, take charge of, etc. Long story short, a whole lot of taking from me, too much giving, and one more person nagging/making demands was just too much. So be it. I have learned, and re-learned, the same truths I have known about myself for a long time, this time perhaps with more clarity, and in turning I have come back to the same place I know offers fulfillment as well.
There are some sad and inevitable truths and frustrations with being public about your life, this “business of blogging” – sometimes it can feel one sided, like you are constantly giving, and when people take, or rather, when people steal your work, your images, your words, your “product” it is maddening and defeating. The fulfillment of so many wonderful friends and readers can be so easily distracted by the disrespectful when really it should be the other way around - the light drowning out the darkness.
In the end, like all creative ventures, the fulfillment is in the process, the joy in the journey, the satisfaction in the small victories. I will probably never feel satisfied with my work, I’ll always be a little embarrassed that I could do better somehow. I will continue to have a list a mile long of things I want to write about but won't because I'm self-dismissive and fear being trite. I will always second guess how much to reveal and how much to keep close to my heart; the fine thread that embroiders the intersections of authenticity, honesty, creativity, and opinion will always be transparent and slip from my fingers just when I think I’ve grasped it – and I am learning, a little more with each test and every new day, to be ok with that, to embrace the balance of chaos and control but not let it take me to the brink.
Creative impulse is a gift and a curse; it is a burden to have a deep need to cobble together new projects and an unsettling emptiness when you are not creating, but it is fulfilling, wildly distracting, and satisfying in a way that can’t be explained as well. Many writers talk about this need, this yearning, this compulsion to write, it is the same for artists as well, for those who have a creative spark in their soul, you can leave it behind, you can try to tuck it away or hide from it, you can let your life get in the way, but in the end you always come home to the place of yearning, and in the end you have to feed that yearning in order to feel whole.
For now I'm taking my own advice, getting out of my way, and not apologizing for being. Sometimes we must simply be - in whatever way that is or needs to be, in silence, in laughter, in action or inaction, and most especially in our creativity. I’m glad to be back in a place that feels like home and I hope you’ll still come visit often.