Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Last year was the first year making a 'yearly theme', after for years learning how to make one. My choice for the year was a year of 'Redirection'.
When I woke up today, I had slept 19 hours, fell asleep yesterday at around 5pm by accident and woke up at midnight, wrote a poem before preparing to actually go to bed. Been exhausted after 2019, after this year of redirection.
I've failed in plans to re-learn Spanish which is a goal that shall be taken into 2020. The same can be said with my academic research despite someone from the UN I spoke to giving me ideas for applications for my research when more substantial, think tanks and gave a few to look into which aligned with my motivations of my research being something to point out, point to, and to at least garner greater awareness or change for those most vulnerable in society. So despite not doing much academic research I've been given direction for it, which the lack of, was a contributing factor for the research itself.
As for my poetry, I've gotten back into after a long hiatus, have changed it quite a bit, have gone from publishing it anonymously due to being embarrassed or ashamed of it, wanting to hide it to publishing it alongside my photography, my philosophy. I have gotten into reading a lot more poetry, which as long as the 5 years I've been writing I've wanted to, but never found poets who were a similar enough style to mine, what I wanted to write, only the old poets who you read about in school whom I share very little poetic similarity towards. I Now have my very own collection of poetry books, and what makes it better, is that these poets write work that I find similar to my own throughout the last 5 years. Even better is that all these poets made their start on Instagram, writing on the platform, which I have just gotten into, and then gotten into self-publishing which I am in the middle of writing a poetry book I've been working on for 3 years but finally got somewhere where I'm close to being able to self-publish. Even reading the old poems in this book so far, many I remember writing, what seems like a life-time ago. So different I am now from when I wrote them, but they still have their place in history, my history, my story.
As for my photography, I've gotten so far, learned so much, and it's taught me so much and helped to develop me so much. I am pleased with the art I create, some more than others, wanting to share more of my art, my story and the philosophy of empathy, care, creativity and collective struggle to find your own voice. I have made good headway on my Project Empathy, despite not as many works focussing on this as I would like due to the project being difficult to create for. But I've managed thus far. I've opened the door to using photoshop and have learned the software to a good level despite it being difficult and despite actually never intending or wanting to because I didn't see the value in 'highly edited photos', I now see a place for them for the creation of something you cannot in a single capture but to provide an important message.
I've opened the door to digital art, something that my lack of ability to draw thus propelled me into photography. And it's developed on my lacking skill sets and brought me to a point where I'm able to develop a skillset I never could through another I didn't possess.
I have met an amazing photographer via Instagram, check her out @istelk.e who does phenomenal photography around mental health and we plan on doing a collaboration and promoting photography with an emphasis to help our and your own mental health through all art forms. I've got an image in the works that some of my friends already know of.
I am attempting a local project around the arts and mental health and have emailed an idol of mine Daniel Regan for advice on this, where he runs the ArtHealthHub, some, he inspired me by how photography helped his mental health and he helps others, but later when looking at his work on Instagram he mentioned the Art Health Hub which provided further inspiration for something I've wanted to make around Brighton, basically a group for creative people or people wanting to get into a creative art of any form, for their own mental health or to raise awareness of mental health, a group for artistic expression, collaboration, support and maybe even charitable fundraising, exhibitions, peer-to-peer mentorship among much more. I've never been creative, and I would agree with this, but I've found a creative field. I believe anyone has one, art, coding, mathematics or anything else can constitute of as art and be developmental for them and others. Hence I'm also looking forwards to my MA with Brighton Uni, with peer-to-peer artistic tuition which I'm giving a workshop on art, creativity and mental health and probably will plug the group I'm trying to make.
I aim to try to finish this poetry book that's been in the works for years and self publish it. Finish these other projects I've mentioned and continue posting poetry and photography everyday, writing, going to different creative groups I've joined.
As for my mental health it's been the most difficult of journey of all. I've lost my closest of friends, lost a lot of what I've known, but also lost a lot of fears, lost a lot of walls that I restrained my own mental health and I've broken things down like my need to isolate or hide myself away, opening up my art, poetry and greater projects. I am still exhausted after 2019, the pains and scars from it still linger, are still very raw. But I've learned a lot. I still can't believe all of what has happened. I have been left, lonelier than I've ever been (and I was usually always alone at break times during primary school, a lot of the time during secondary most of the time during GCSEs and at university all of the time while studying save a few occasions. But out of all the times, after being quite frankly been broken so many times this year to complete exhaustion, I've never been okay about this, perhaps I've taken on the lesson from CBT that all humans inevitably disappoint, but I prefer not to view it this way. I guess, like I've always tried to my whole life, if you focus on trying to help and be a good person that you want to be, then it matters not who you lose as they weren't worth anything in the first place. A lesson I've never wanted to learn, trying, hoping, desperately seeking the idea that... I don't know perhaps. So far all I've written I've done so with ease, this part, I've written 4 times over, perhaps more. The lesson or thing I've learnt, as I write I look at it and do not wish to see. Mostly, about how I've been hurt by those closest, delving into my art has helped. I think then in solitude I've found greater solace. But then I think that's a deeply lonely existence, and as I ponder on before, was it really any less lonely than being surrounded by the company of people who make fun of you, ignore you, leave you. I am then left without an answer. I still do not know an answer. I guess the thought makes me uncomfortable. I've not had a meltdown in maybe a month or more, haven't even felt deeply sad in quite a while, ups and downs, normal, but not complete loss (But at the same time, I do because I've lost many of my closest friends. I cannot help but think of the choice, to be in company and great pain, or alone without pain. Is that a choice I cannot escape and even if you any of you the choice seems obvious, for me, I do not know if it is so). But at the same time, I cannot even think to the last time I hung out with a friend for a pint, or a coffee or anything. Despite all the successes and hopes from the rest of this post, this is the bit that resonates with me most, the lessons I've learnt. Like with the recent mugging, the 'normal' reaction is anger, resentment and other things like that, but I've always tried to counter that. To find another way.
Despite all the lesson in life I've learnt and been fighting, that people so often hurt you, from 2019 that even those closest to you (even my best friend, my family, who I would without a thought sell my soul to the devil to help her out of any situation left me, not that I blame them). So where am I left? I guess, (for it truly is a guess, or probably more accurate, a hope) that my aims to do more on art, creativity, mental health, and setting up a group for such, is my own way, I guess my own denial of a lesson I've been so stubborn to learn throughout my life, despite everything.
I guess to end this on a positive, there is one thing I can takeaway, from 2019, heck, even from the last decade, I'm stubborn, and persistent. I completed my GCSEs, the International Baccalaureate (something that made my undergrad or even masters seem simple), moved country, grew to be familiar with Brighton completed both my Undergrad and masters 1% away from the grade I was aiming for, met people whom I otherwise I would never without coming to Sussex continued through my undergraduate when I was in financial difficulty even resorting at one point to starving myself which developed into something greater and far worse. Managed to make it into my second and third year despite the financial difficulties from the prior year. Even managed to have saved up enough money throughout my undergrad to afford to pay for my masters myself as I wasn't entitled to any loans because I come from Jersey and got no financial aid despite prior believing I would have because I would have been in England long enough to get the loan, gotten through my masters and am not living in Brighton, even with its extortionate rents and living costs. All of this, while living depressed throughout it all, with ups and downs, but mostly the latter, still fighting for the small moments when I could forget my sadness. Still all these past battles seem nothing in proportion to what is current, but that is natural. But what I can say for sure. I'm stubborn. And persistent. Maybe my aims for a mental health support group through the arts, and all the other struggles and reluctance to accept lessons I've been taught are all one way to just walk down a path of denial until I see evidence I'm right and the lessons wrong. Or it's a hope. Or a futile effort. Either way.
So for my next year, my yearly theme will be one of Reformation, a reforming or repair much like the Japanese art of Kintsugi. For this, I would like to thank the new friends, who've been there when I was left in the dark and alone, for the occasional message, for the odd chat here or there. Thank you, I'm always a message away and here's to a better 2020 and a better decade.