At the beginning of 2017, I promised to get off the conveyor belt of negativity. I promised that I would devote myself to positive stories, images, projects, people, and most of all my art, and that I wouldn't encourage meanness, cruelty or anything dark or terrible on my personal feeds (both real and online). I promised to love everyone, and for the most part, I did okay in that regard.
I think I was very tired, at the start of 2017. So tired and heart sick at the way humans treat each other. I couldn't bear the thought of having to deal with it, so I essentially took a year long hiatus, choosing not to engage as much as possible. Even my art and writing tapered off after a few months, as I went into coasting mode. I wrote no blogs, I didn't draw as much as I thought I would, I didn't make or sell as much soap as I could have.
Maybe I needed that rest. Maybe it was just my brain telling me subconsciously that I had to step back and detach and reevaluate myself in the face of what was going on. Maybe I really needed a whole year to just... not.
In Nov 2017, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, as I do pretty much every year now. I got a good lump of writing in, and even reached that 50K goal, but it was all somewhat spoiled by my witnessing fellow writers turn on another young writer and bully her right out of the chat room. I was so angered and upset by this that I actually started a new blog to address issues around bullying, sexism, racism and humanity's ills in general. (Check it out: it's called The Soul Of Being Human.)
In Dec 2017 I helped to organize a canned food drive for the local homeless shelter. It was only a small event, done through the Launceston Ladies Social Club, but it got some tinned food together for the charity, and it allowed for some local women to make new friends and visit socially. It helped me meet new people and make some new friends, and in the process of this all happening it rekindled something in my being that I think had been reduced to a smolder for some months.
I realized that I cared, very deeply, about what humanity really is- and what it could be, and what it can do. Most of all, I started asking myself what I could do to help. How can I make a difference? How can I, a lowly, single human in a big world filled with 7 billion others, make any waves in this very large sea? I believe in community and in people being there for each other, physically, emotionally, mentally- but the largest problems were simply too great for me to overcome alone, and I allowed myself, with much self-loathing, to step back and do nothing, and say nothing, because I was too tired to keep up the flow of words that needed to be said.
2018 dawned quietly, accompanied by bird song and a curious bewilderment regarding myself and where I stand in this world.
I actually started writing this post on Jan 1st, but it has taken me days to figure out what to write in the body of the post. It's taken days to find the fire in my heart that I needed to form these words, and fire it definitely is. It's all the passion, anger and frustration that has built up over the last year, that has taken me from a flickering ember to a roaring blaze in just a couple of weeks. It's not an out of control wildfire though- I am learning that this energy can be shaped and directed... and I think I get it now, what I should be doing.
Hello 2018. I am here now.
Help me to tame the flames in my soul, and use them to educate, assist and make a difference to my community. It is only a small world that I live in, so I hope the people I touch with my actions and compassion turn and pass it on to the people in their small world, and so on and so on, until maybe one day the whole planet has been touched and changed for the better.
May my single small stone, cast into the ocean, cause a ripple that touches every shore.
Welcome, 2018. May we all endeavor to live, learn and love... together.