I remember when I first started my mental health journey, Mermay was an art challenge I found after spending a month or so on Instagram for the first time; this may or may not be about the culmination of my journey.
Back then, I thought I wanted to participate even if only a few pieces.
I wasn’t too good in anatomy, neither was I even remotely close to where I am today but it was fun. It’s always been fun.
And maybe it’s the lack of ‘seriousness’ or weight of the challenge. There was no need to ‘one-up’ myself from last year or be better than the rest of the Instagram-ers (not that it was ever a chance of that happening). I always feel a sense of freedom and lightness.
I didn’t know I felt that way until after Aurora Pink.
Don’t want to read this lengthy blog?
Watch the video. I pretty much read verbatim.
Resting and setting that far away from my mind and then picking it up whenever I chose to, gave me a sense of control and comfort. Those are things that I don’t think I was ever conscious about when it came to art. At least not that I could remember right now.
Looking back the way I am now, I can see how dark my perception of things were. I could see how when I was in high school, I saw how ‘trees danced in the wind‘ and in college, I saw ‘the gray clouds that loomed over, casting a shadow over my work area‘. There was such a big difference in me that I’ve never really considered it until now. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt embarrassed or ashamed of the past me but now I feel a bit indifferent, disconnected from that past as I am no longer that. I am not that child.
A part of me feels sad because things have certainly changed.
It means, a chapter of me has closed and I’m moving forward. And yet, that child in me, the child that I was remains there, in that moment of sadness.
I’m always feeling like hugging that younger me and telling young Roxanne, (that’s me if you forgot my name), ‘I know it’s tough right now. I know all you want to do is cry and quit and I can’t blame you. I know that you wish someone could be there for you and though I can’t, I want you to know… things will change… for the better.”
Hanging on is a feat.
It’s tough giving someone the advice of ‘hang in there’ because they have, we have. The culmination of sadness inside of us isn’t just because one day Sadness turned the orb.
It has always been there, a dichotomy in a person. It exists because that person exists and that person has had a portion of their lifetime already- usually. But it has always been there and it would always be a part of them.
So, hanging on is a task that has been scribbled on multiple times.
We don’t not fight. We’ve always fought. We have always struggled at some point before someone has heard a cry or plea. So, ‘hang in there’ may not be the right words to tell my younger self.
But things will get better because I’m on that path. Therefore, I also know, this moment has always been an option. The ‘me’ now knows that because I am here. But she is not so she has no idea and she has no reason to trust in what I have.
And she shouldn’t.
Sometimes I worry about the direction of my life and the culmination of it all.
I worry because I still feel as if I haven’t moved along far enough. Maybe I’m only really three steps from that younger me from five years ago. Maybe things haven’t really changed all that much. And I get scared that things have stagnated.
My life has stagnated.
That’s scary, right?
To think that life has remained the same, the opportunities have come and gone, the paths opened and closed yet here I am almost standing where I stood before. It scares because it means these 5 years have been a waste or at least looks like a waste. I feel this need to be able to show others somehow that things have changed but outsiders can only see. They cannot feel or understand the journey unless I say something and that they’re willing to listen.
But we are all like books like Georgiana says,
“When we browse a library or a bookstore, we’re attracted to the intricate bindings or the interesting titles. Some people will read the back or the flap inside [most times they were not even written by the author]. Others forgo it for the purpose of an exciting experience of not knowing before plunging into the book or that simply, the first impression was enough for them. But… even though we all go through different rituals picking a book, we’re never quite sure how we’ll feel by the end of it if we even get there. Just like life, with people, you’re never sure. And just how some books are worn out from being read too much, there are also books that have never been read.”
In the culmination of my journey, I wonder, am I worth knowing?
Do I deserve your attention to be heard and to be listened to?
In Listening to Georgiana, and the theme of my journey, that is the burning question, isn’t it? This nagging want and need to have someone else understand me.
But I know me.
I know who I was, who I wanted to be and who I’ve become. I know me.
When I look back on my old Mermay pieces, I can see my past. And I can see what I wished I had accomplished. Now, if I asked what those things are it would be this:
Five years ago, I wanted to create images that reflected the heart of me and I wished that other people could understand that part of me. Now, this time around, I create images that challenge me, images that inspire me and in turn I want to instill inspiration to the person on the other side of the screen. If there is one glaring difference in those versions of me it would be that last part.
I do not wish people to understand that part of me within subliminal messages that I hope they can decode.
I share them. I share my thoughts, my worries, and my anxieties. I share my victories, my joy and my success.
I share my vulnerabilities with my strengths.
And in return, I hope you do the same.