I have found myself returning to old practices, rekindling ideas of who I wanted to be as a child. Creative practices such as life drawing, painting, writing and photography were severed after continuous doubting questions of others “so what will you do with that?” ‘That’s a great hobby, but you live in the real world”.
Yet returning to these things has felt like I have come home to myself. For so long I have been caught up in the idea that I will passionately better the lives of the less fortunate.
Why? Because I, a benefactor of all privileges afforded to me as a white, Australian female, have been told I should use my empathetic nature, guilt and desire to help to better others [note to self: beware of anything followed by should].
This blog, and delving deeper into my journaling practice, I am living out my dream to inspire people with the written word. My ability to write persuasively, fluidly and academically rewarded me well in 2015, and has remained one of my greatest strengths. But lacking in this process has been a sense of play, creativity, and story. My story.
I sincerely enjoyed my time at university, and it has carved my into the person I am today. It has shaped my critical mind and my sociological approach to the world as well as my ability to understand human motivations and desires.
So when exactly did I navigate away from my dreams to be a writer and an artist, and towards something else? Something useful?
I have always been interested in people. Somewhere along the road, however, I got carried away with trying to be an advocate for people. I, being an educated, white female felt compelled to give those without, a voice, a better life, a listening ear. And while I am [now] critical of advocacy and speaking on behalf of others, my compulsive empathy and desire to see a just world makes this quite conflicting.
It is important to advocate for others without a voice (for example, animal and environmental welfare), providing a space for myself to authentically express who I am becoming, is something I continue to resist. Last week, I was witnessed moving with terrifyingly raw vulnerability at the EROS Dance Taster Night in Perth. As I write this, tears of joy are streaming down my face: I am coming home to myself.
For so long I was the visions and dreams of those around me, who were looking out for my security and safety, as well as perhaps their own status and gratification. I was so lost in the voices, visions and dreams of other people that I hid who I was.
Through creating, writing, loving, caring, opening and connecting with myself, this continues to reveal to me as my purpose in life. We all need a space for exploring who we are, and who we have yet to become. So acknowledge the voices that tell me you should do this because you can or you ought to, but I urge you to instead:
follow those curious meanderings
cultivate of your beautiful mind
nourish your body
Create space with mindful moments
and believe in your heart-felt dreams and desires.
The voice I am listening to now is telling me to s l o w d o w n.
She is telling me to write, create, and live the life I have now, instead of waiting to live the life I think you want. I was waiting for that dream 9-5 job, to be debt free, for that house to call my home, or that spiritually-awakening three-month holiday.
As I sit here, having achieved nothing of these milestones, I am content. Because I just think: All the living I have left to do!
Follow those curiosities – and return to some of the things you liked to do before you became who you are today.