Bittersweet

Every time I look at a piece of art, I get overwhelmed by a feeling of longing. A sadness I cannot understand. My heart opens up and I feel inspired to be alive.

I see the light rays coming through the tree leaves in my mind’s eye. The greens and the yellows of the scene that is nature. I hear the water from rivers flowing against the rocks and roots of trees. A calmness that doesn’t exist within me anymore.

When I see art, my mentality changes. I am transported to the Victorian era, the huge dwellings of beautiful architecture, decorated by the best of interior designers and gardens so wonderful. I imagine myself wearing those beautiful corset dresses as I sit in the sun, on the lawn, reading a book of love and passion. I long for peace.

I am not a modern woman, but I need to be. I have two modern prints decorating my walls as if to say that I am evolving. Art is more than just lines or shades of colour on a piece of paper. Art is what the eye appreciates, it makes us feel alive, it’s creativity at it’s best. It’s the sunrise and the sunset, it’s the beauty of the aurora and the sleekness of a well designed car. Art is life.

Why do we have to grow up? The dullness of this world is killing me. All I long for is for my senses to feel used. What makes YOU come alive?

Engaging with life

The little things matter, and the big things are just acknowledgement of the small sacrifices. Life is beautiful sometimes, and it calls to our souls. Staying in the same place for too long can give you tunnel vision. I read this book that said by doing the same things everyday we do not receive new information so we end up living a mediocre life we are not happy with.

Travelling is great way of gaining a new perspective, whether it be to the forest or a different country. It gives hope and it opens up creativity. All of a sudden new ideas start to develop within us, we see that we are part of something great. Isn’t it weird how, right now, some lots of miles away someone is just going about their day. There was once a time when other continents were a figment of our imagination but now outer space is what we wonder about.

When birds sing outside, it’s a connection with the wild, with the masters of song and rhythm. It’s beautiful. Engaging in life brings the experience of being alive. No wonder some people become adrenaline junkies, we are addicted to feeling alive. Being around other people, driving that fast car, near death experiences, death itself makes us open our eyes to the life that we possess. It’s invigorating.

Some of us are plagued with fear and anxiety, but the truth is those are not life threatening at all even though they seem like it. Sweating, heart palpitations, it’s a sign of being alive and we need to just break free of that by engaging with those things that scare us the most. The reward is amazing, it’s that realisation that you are stronger than you thought. The impressions we make on each other no longer matter, but instead what matters is that feeling of being alive.

This morning, I just sat by the window and observed life. Cars passing by, who knows where they’re going, birds flying and singing even on the verge of winter, my cat just being my cat, and slowly sipping my herbal concoction in the calm of my living room. The little things definitely matter. Then something came into my mind, a post I saw on Instagram about how in this moment I have achieved some of the things I had once dreamt of, and right there, I felt it, HAPPINESS. Of course emotions are fleeting but I was so inspired I decided to share it with you.

I don’t know what goes on in everyone’s life but I know that moments like this are worth sharing. So don’t hesitate to share in the comments section. Anyway, being a part of life makes a huge difference. It’s scary, and sometimes difficult but usually our minds are the only limitation that we have. We are our minds and our bodies, we are not separate. I feel that realising this has brought so much to me, I realise how much there is to take in at any given moment whether good or bad and it’s about engaging with it. That’s what my life has become, maybe this idea will change but I will enjoy it as much as I can until a new way of thinking comes along. Engage in life and set yourself free.

Innocence

I remember when I was young, sitting on a bench with six other kids, colouring a template of a coat, Joseph’s colourful coat, I believed in miracles. I believed that in life, good things happened to good people. I believed that the bad people always got punished for their wrong doing.

I remember, sitting next to a boy. He couldn’t sit still because he loved to dance so much, and he actually liked me, it was so innocent. I enjoyed going to Science class because I couldn’t wait to sit next to him and just enjoy his presence, I felt like I could be myself around him and that he actually liked me for who I was. He got me. But time took him away from me before I could tell him I felt the same way.

I remember, when I had a person by my side. She believed in me and stood up for me, she wiped away my tears and promised to help me become a star. She was the warmth in my heart, the freedom she gave me was forever unmatched. But life is harsh and nothing lasts forever.

I remember, sitting in the veranda, excited about my next model. It was a cartoon, it was handsome and I was ready for a new challenge. The sun was bright and the heat was just right. I had my pencil and drawing paper on my lap. I got lost in the art, line after line until I completed it. It was a wholesome feeling. But now I just see anxiety presented to me on a blank paper.

Is adulthood a time of sorrow, do we ever find our childish happiness again? The pain, the loss, the reality, why does that innocence have to leave us? I long for the day I can feel that innocence again, maybe life will be more meaningful then.

Just be YOU!

What is the most unique thing about you? What makes you who you are? When you look in the mirror, are you who you really are or are you a creation of society?

Why should we be anything but our authentic selves? These days everyone wants to look like someone else. We spend our days being told what to do, from what to wear, how to do our makeup and even how to be human. Last time I checked there wasn’t a manual to this whole life, these rules have just been passed down from generation to help us live peacefully. These rules are not facts of life.

I received a weird compliment, actually I’d received it before but this time it baffled me. A woman from the same race told me how good my natural hair looked on me and continued to say that it wouldn’t look good on her. I was very confused, I still am. I had been told my natural hair looked good on me before, by a woman from a different race, but I had just brushed it off. It’s a silly thing for someone to say, honestly! It’s natural, it’s supposed to look good on me. I hadn’t even styled it, it was just a normal afro. It’s disturbing to think that people find it difficult to accept themselves to that extent. What have we become.

I don’t mean to say that I am 100% authentic but I am striving to be because by not being myself, I am robbing the world of my uniqueness. We all share similarities, that’s a fact, but going out of our way to mask our true selves is not useful. It keeps us from growing, we don’t learn to be better, we just fit into a system that might not be for us. Is the external validation really that important? I don’t know much about Socrates, but admire his life. He died for what he believed in, how many of us would do that for ourselves? I’m not trying to be radical, nor am I advocating for unnecessary rebellion, instead I question what really is important to the individual.

What is important to you? I realised something this weekend, people really don’t care. For the first time, I felt free. I didn’t have to live a certain way or fear anything because only unhealthy individuals have others dominating their thoughts all the time. I stopped listening to those negative voices which came from the external and I just dived into the deep end because I know I am equipped with the skills to survive. I didn’t die from this realisation, it made me stronger. What is the worst that can happen? The truth is people can sense when you’re not being your true self, I think I’ve had a lot of appreciation from my friends since I just let go of all those shoulds and shouldn’ts. That self love that I’ve been seeking is finally coming easy to me. I mean I know there will be challenges, some people don’t actually like it when a person changes and stops being easy to manipulate. When you know yourself, there is little doubt and no matter what it’s easier to protect yourself compared to when you’re already just a tumble weed.

I really hope that this post is helpful to anyone. Self discovery is a journey of it’s own but it’s very rewarding especially if you struggle with identity problems. The minute you realise how free you are, you’ll be able to choose you over mediocrity. Let’s choose ourselves and build a society that appreciates the unique in us too because that drives love and acceptance, and we all need that freedom. Freedom allows us to flourish and be happy through our goals and dreams. How can we be happy or content when we’re busy chasing after a life that might not even be ours?

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.

Dr. W. Dyer

Unbecoming

Once upon a time, a girl was born. She was full of joy and love, complete and molded by life to be something great. Mother gently cradled her in the warmth of her arms, singing a lovely song about peace and acceptance. Father sat by mother, sending protective vibes to them both, encouraging a secure existence.

The world was loud and treacherous. The earth trembled as the bombs hit the ground. The toxic chemicals breeding pain and injustice. The blood spilled and the flowers were coloured in crimson. The air suffocated the weak and left a taste of horror in the strong.

She grew up believing that nature brought forth life. She was a gardener, nurturing the little bright coloured flowers that put a smile on anyone’s face. She arranged them accordingly, making a statement without realising it. She watered them with her tears for the pain was real. White was her favourite, peace was on her mind.

Healing was needed, soldiers were wounded, defeated. They longed to lay on their loved one’s laps, they were alone. They moved in the night, seeking darkness and they were well rewarded. The cold of the world coursed through their veins, turning their hearts into stone. What tragedy had befallen them.

She stared up at the gods, asking and pleading. Life is more than sorrow. Her wailing could be heard from faraway, the thunder sending her words to all. She was broken, her heart torn into sharp edged pieces.

Mother could only watch, waiting for the pain to pass. Father had done all he could. It was up to the gods to restore the love. Mother and Father reached to the heavens and harnessed the strength of the sun. Fire obliterated the evil and love was restored.

She became what she was meant to be. The soldiers came home and indulged in the caresses they had longed for, they rested and found joy in family. Mother and Father rejoiced for the tears she cried. Tears of white, bright peaceful existence. She had been the answer all along.

The struggle is real – rest is important! Rant

“How long will this last?” is the question I ask myself everyday.

Do you ever have the motivation to do something, but then realise you can only concentrate for a short period of time because of your depression? Do you ever sit down to study only to not get anything from it? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by new information even as little as a few sentences? Do you ever cry because you want to finish that book but pushing yourself just gives you a headache? Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough because you’re constantly comparing your productivity levels with healthy people’s productivity? Do you ever feel bad for not completing something as fast as you used to complete it before you were hit by depression?

I apologise for the negative sentences but these are real questions. Almost everyday I face these questions because I have spent too long on a project or task. Personally I find this quite frustrating, the youth in me is being robbed by an illness I don’t understand. I eat well, exercise when I can, watch positive stuff, take medication but here I am. It might seem like I am playing victim, maybe I am, but the whole process is tiring. It’s as tiring as doing manual work. I feel like people don’t understand that the brain gets tired mentally as well, it’s not just the physical body that needs rest.

Do you know that every time you use your brain you burn calories? I would like to appreciate the high-functioning people because on top of mental tiredness, they push themselves physically as well. But these people too are under too much pressure and eventually they burnout. Burnout is just a fancy term for you’ve over-exerted yourself. When someone experiences burnout, it’s okay for them to take a holiday and just do nothing because it’s mental mixed with physical, the stigma is still there. Mentally unwell people need that same support, that it’s okay to just do nothing and relax the brain for a period of time. The last thing I need when I am tired is someone telling me that I am lazy and not pushing myself hard enough. To those people I say, SCREW YOU!

It’s okay to use the weekend for rest when you have spent the whole week working on being better. Rest is part of taking care of ourselves. Rest helps us set boundaries that help us stay on course. Rest motivates us to go further the next week or the next day. Sometimes we just need to be kind and compassionate because being mentally unwell is exhausting. Learning new ways to be can be exhausting and rest helps us keep that consistency. The reason why so many people are struggling mentally is that we are workaholics and not giving enough time to rest. We force each other to achieve the impossible but we never appreciate that we need rest after that has been achieved, instead we are forced to push even harder.

Depression is an illness like any other, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed of giving ourselves that rest we need. Self care is important. Let’s stop feeling guilty for resting, it’s important for our productivity. We are all important and we deserve those days where we just relax and appreciate that we all need to reenergise ourselves so we can perform better. Depression is hard to experience but taking baby steps will find us having defeated the unknown of this illness.

I have done a bit of rambling but I needed this. I needed to remind myself that I am on a journey, and there are rest stops I need to make if I am to complete this. I believe that one of these days I will be able to finish my projects and you will be able to enjoy your life again. It’s that resilience that comes from taking time out, we come back stronger. Let’s not forget that this is a journey, and all will be well again in the near future. Thank you for reading.

Let’s make life better for everyone!!

Being vulnerable in any way is a curse on this planet. People see you as an easy target for all sorts of things. They say they’ve built institutions to help these vulnerable people, they say the law is on our side but the truth is, when push comes to shove, the vulnerable are the first to be shoved off. It’s a sad thing to experience first hand and it hurts. Yes, there’s good people out there but not enough. Life is short, I shouldn’t have to spend it miserable because of other people. No one should experience trauma or hurt because of someone else, we need to fix that. The fight is not over.

Perfection

I recently experienced a lesson on perfectionism. I had decided to draw a portrait of my favourite character and I was just struggling. I spent about four months avoiding it because I knew I didn’t have the skills for it. My therapist and uncle were very helpful in my growth. They told me that perfection was just a fad and at the end of the day, it’s the experience that counts. It’s what we learn that counts. So I just did what I could and posted the damn drawing, and to my surprise people liked it. I mean I don’t like the way it looks but I didn’t die from completing it. I actually saw my problem areas and my good areas in drawing portraits. The process also taught me so much that I wouldn’t have noticed if I had continued in my perfectionist mind.

Well I know we all struggle with a bit of perfectionism, especially in this age of social media. Everyone seems to have perfect lives, we have become super fake. We pretend that we’re perfect only to suffer in silence behind closed doors. We think that as long as no one sees our imperfections we’ll be fine. We become impatient with other people’s mistakes and imperfections, yet we know that we’re not perfect ourselves. I realised recently that I was carrying a racist belief but now I know my mistake and I am learning and embracing the facts that Caucasians do listen to African American music too and well other music produced by other races. It’s awful realising an imperfection but we’re human and the important thing is that we learn and change.

Perfectionism is hurtful when it comes to building relationships. We put each other on such high pedestals that we don’t give each other time to learn and get to know each other. We expect that people will read our minds, we want them to live up to that ideal so much we forget that they are separate people with their own experiences. We dismiss someone based on opinions instead of taking the time to swallow our pride and talk. We want instant results and anything short of that is a disease. Some people even exploit our perfectionistic disposition so that we don’t even know how to fail. We find ourselves fearing success, experience, uniqueness because we’re too blind to understand the world as it is. Not long ago someone committed suicide because they weren’t perfect enough to deal with the rise of a pandemic, even now our Prime Minister is blamed for not acting fast enough, as if he is God? Everyone is on the same boat at the end of the day.

It’s not a bad thing to want to be better or do something the best way it can be done. I think it becomes a problem when we find ourselves living double lives and being unable to experience life to the fullest. Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves and on each other. Let’s embrace each other’s uniqueness. Can we just take each other as work in progress? Can we accept that we are all separate beings just trying to live this confusing life? Mistakes and failure don’t mean we’re forever broken, they just mean there’s room for improvement and there’s lots of knowledge and professionals ready to help be it in a Math class or in therapy. There’s always help given to those who seek it in the right places. 🙂

Mental illness, something personal.

Sometimes I find it hilarious that people don’t realise how mentally ill I am. They see me picking myself up and trying my best to lead a normal life, they don’t realise that I have so many things in place to help me cope with every single day I continue living on this earth.

Dying is something only a few can control, especially your own death. People are living longer and don’t realise the repercussions of this. For them it’s fun having a life, it’s a journey they want to keep extending. I, on the other hand, don’t have the same drive. When I think about living until I’m 90, I just feel a huge sadness creeping in. I don’t like thinking about the future, I just want to work with what’s in the moment. I appreciate it when people come to me for support because they believe I have beat mental illness but they don’t realise it’s a constant struggle. I work hard to not be depressed, I work hard to be mentally stable, I work hard to be a good person.

After fighting the battle of depression for so long and then being thwarted when I show great progress is very defeating. It makes it hard to just think about going through the excruciating experience again, and why would you even want that? You don’t get a reward for beating depression, all you get is more and more criticism from what you can’t achieve. I just want to achieve a stable life, especially after all the crazy experiences that I’ve been through.

I dislike it when people just judge you based on your past versions. I hate how people don’t take the time to understand what stuff you’ve been through. The causes of mental illness are important. I may have been able to secure a job but that’s just half of the story. I may have been able to hold a job for some months but that’s half of the story. I had to resign my job because of stigma but that’s only half of the story. Yes, I did try to commit suicide and yes I used to self harm, but look at how far I’ve come. When will it be enough?

Sometimes I actually think that maybe they actually don’t want to see me get better. I say this because I am reminded of my incomplete self at every turn. Labels follow me around even when I don’t want them in my life. They ask you why you’re depressed but are never there to support your recovery. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light when there is a crowd in front of you.

There are lots of us who struggle with mental illness, and it’s all on a spectrum. Some can’t even get out of bed, some can’t even get out of the house, some can get jobs, some can have family and friends. My story is this that I’ve shared, and that’s just the half of it. I don’t want to be defined by things I cannot control or by my failures. Failures are important to help us grow. I am not afraid to be myself because I deserve that freedom too. Everyone with a mental illness needs that support to help them realise that it’s okay, it’s the little things that count. The little things that make life a bit more bearable. Society is full of good and bad people, but education about these things can help reduce the stigma that holds a lot of people back.

Congratulations for coming this far in life, you deserve to be appreciated for the effort you put in everyday even if it doesn’t seem that much to you.