Around a month or so ago, I found myself watching a documentary about Steven Spielberg on HBO Max. Being a fan of biographies, documentaries, discussions of the creative process, and his movies, this seemed like a perfect way to wind down at the end of one of my usual busy days. One thing that absolutely stuck out to me, was his realization that he had a tendency to re-visit the same subject repeatedly in his movies, albeit in different ways. He posited that perhaps that was his way of dealing with the issue subliminally. He sort of chuckled softly, then stated that "Art is therapy".
I haven't written much over the last three years. I admit it has become hard for me to concentrate. I have fallen into a pattern of barely getting out of bed in enough time to get to work, horrific eating habits, crawling home at the end of the day with only enough energy to eat, make sure my daughter is at least kinda, sorta okay, then engage in endless scrolling on social media to numb myself enough to kinda sorta sleep, so I can repeat the process the next day.
I participate in both individual and group therapy to deal with both current and lingering issues. One thing that I notice that comes up in both instances is the suggestion of journaling: writing down everything relevant to your journey in order to help you gain perspective and assist in your own healing.
I am almost 8 years into this exercise of writing and maintaining a blog. For the first five years, when I was writing regularly, I admit that I didn't really know what the blog was about. For me, it was a place to practice my gift, by jotting down whatever was going through my mind at any given time. Sometimes funny, sometimes angry, sometimes thoughtful, and occasionally mundane, it was just me, unfiltered and mostly off the cuff. Even through a few rough patches, sustaining the blog was the one thing I could regularly return to as an outlet for whatever was going on with, and around, me.
The last three years, especially this last year, has sorely tested everything that I thought I knew about myself and the world around me. The exhaustion, the mean spiritedness, the loneliness, the isolation, and not always being able to adequately express it all in conversation led to the aforementioned mindless distraction tactics.
Then a mindless distraction tactic yielded a truth bomb that hit me where I lived.
Art IS Therapy.
What I never realized was that this blog was just me journaling. I am happiest when I am writing, and when I began to doubt myself, and question whether or not I should write what I actually felt, the form of therapy that had served me well fell away from me almost as quickly as it came. It was never far away, as I made lengthy, thoughtful social media posts, but ultimately, the little angel on my right shoulder would whisper softly in my ear that I knew I missed writing, and that I should return to it.
What this blog is really about, then, is survival.
Through hills, valleys, depression, anxiety, triumphs, failures, exultant highs, and crushing lows. Keep going. Through people that spend as much time building you up as tearing you down, and they are often the same person. Keep going. Through that day job that you keep because jobs are scarce, rent doesn't pay itself and groceries are expensive, even though at times the job is absolutely soul-crushing. Keep going.
For me, that means keep writing. Writing is art is therapy is survival.
If I take anything from this year of absolute clarity (2020 gave us more clarity than any of us asked for or wanted), it is that I am ultimately the architect of my own survival, and perhaps going into this New Year, I can finally begin to move from mere survival into actually living. And continue writing, of course.
See you on the other side.