Reinventing the Hurricane Through Creativity
I liked to read and write as a kid. I journaled often and wrote as if no one would ever read my thoughts. Sometimes they did, but that never stopped me from speaking my truth.
I was boldly honest about what I felt or thought. I debated whether I should write my dark thoughts down, but I eventually decided to document them. When challenges came later in life, I went back and reviewed my journals. I read about difficult things I thought I wouldn’t survive and think, “Wow, I got through it.” Looking back, it always seemed so trivial.
I’m glad that I was honest in the past. I’m struggling with dark thoughts and feelings of uselessness because of lupus, and my honesty has helped me get through hard times.
I’ve been sharing my journey with depression in this column. I’ve never experienced depression before, so I can’t look to my past for guidance. However, I’ve learned to own my good, my bad, my bold, my ugly, and my nonsense through journaling. I can see where I need to improve and do my best to become my best. My therapist says that I am very self-aware, which is rare. I think that’s one of the reasons she likes me: I am so proactive in wanting a good life for myself that when I see myself spiraling, I find ways to lift myself up.
I had a very dark moment recently. The darkness was so foreign to me that I scared myself, so I visited my daughter. I was struggling to love myself and wanted to be with someone who loves me. I also visited my son. My kids doted on me, and the visits pulled me out of a dark place. Over the years, I’ve made a habit of meditating, so when I visited my kids, I meditated during quiet moments. Every time I returned home, I had new things I wanted to try, new ways to cope with dark moments.
I’ve realized that who and what I am starts with me. I looked at who I was before lupus, who I am now, and extracted a little bit of the old me to embrace the new. For example, I was an active fashion blogger when I was well. I often dressed in 6-inch heels, and my makeup was always done well. I loved being cute.
That aspect of my past has helped me look to the future. I’m teaching myself face paint — it’s different than normal makeup — and how to sew. I’m learning to be more creative with my photos, embracing Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.
The changes I’ve made don’t require as much energy and are helping me feel more connected to who I once was. I’m smiling more, so I’ll count it as a win.
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