I made no secret of the fact that I have struggled a lot this year. Seemingly on paper everything was wonderful and full of roses. But, I felt like I had my head under water for a lot of it. I've been having the biggest lapse in self confidence that I can remember and my anxiety has not helped. I don't remember ever having felt so low so often as I have this year. I never wanted to moan about it as there was never any particular cause and so many people have a real reason to be sad. I think sometimes life just feels a bit 'uphill' and that's OK.
I was afraid people would think I was ungrateful so I isolated myself a bit. Tucked myself away and curled into a hedgehog-like ball to protect myself. Just to carry on. Finding contentment in small everyday things was my saving grace.
I've never felt so uncreative. It was like all of my passion had drained from me. I started felling worthless.
Eventually, I picked up the courage to mention that things weren't great to a few close friends. I had the love of those closest to me, but I was worried to tell friends. They all have their own troubles, and I didn't want to burden anyone. So when I did talk to them I didn't get into too much detail but a kind message was lovely to have in return. One of my closest friends could tell that something wasn't right, she was there for me. She planned something for me to look forward to. I wasn't sure I could manage it. It would take me away from a situation. It would bring me some much needed soul-food. So I didn't let myself retreat. I didn't let my anxiety win and I spread my wings. It worked, for a while I started to feel like me again.
I'd just got back and started to feel that there was light in the end of the tunnel. I carefully pruned my fresh new wings and looked to the future with warmth.
Then, another hollow moment of self doubt and worthlessness settled in for the night. My wings seemed to wither and I felt small again. And I'm making a book about friendship and I'm not sure I should be, because I don't feel good enough.
But then today, I squared with myself. I told myself to do it anyway. Keep working. Keep moving forward. Keep loving and caring. Keep painting. Being emotional isn't necessarily a weakness when it comes to art. And maybe if I keep going something even brighter will be born from the darkness.
I don't want to post this, but I think I should. Because I don't think i'm the only one that feels this way and looks down at her paintbrush and it feels like it's a mountain to climb.
I have a small ember of hope inside, it's brighter now than before and it will ignite in me again. I will spread my wings again, but one step at a time.
Things will get brighter, things will get better and there are people who care. When you've walked through the darkest nights you'll be who you're supposed to be. Even two steps forward and one step back means you're moving forward.
Keep safe - and remember to turn the light on when it gets dark.