It has been one year since I started Reeling In The Fears. Set up as a platform for sharing scribbles, poetry and mixed mediums of artistry in relation to my mental health and management of depression in recent times, the blog has proved a founding venture to a means in writing.
Such is my nature, the cynic within rifled doubts about raising matters most heartfelt and intimate to be placed into the sphere of others trust. But to quote the great Stephen King who said about writing: ‘The scariest moment is always just before you start’. Inwardly comfortable in life, the skied degree of creative liberation moulded my desire to begin writing once again.
The initial curiosity of debate and recognition on mutual actualities amongst strangers was an interesting promise. The subsequent connections made online and the understanding and realisation that so many have struggled, so many have fought and so many have made it through and are still fighting has placed value in the works I thought I may regret sharing.
I’ve sought harmony between emotion and rational in these works; wholeheartedly engaging in exclusive chronicles endeavoured to sample moments of pang which I experienced, sometimes alleviating the misery sometimes not. Mounting the complexity of self-loathing and doubt with a mixture of poetic monologue and cryptic description, this is a chosen style. A purposeful paving geared towards the readers own interpretation of struggle and manifesting the confounding complication of self-depreciation and loss; a relative sensation personal to my own torment when once at my lowest waning.
In penning these delicate truisms, the finest air of self-espial attention has come in the growing awareness of integrity in writing and discovery in childhood teachings that helped shape principle.
Nurtured in my youth with a crazed eye upon literature, my grandmother subjected me to many a book come bedtime. Night after night, she insisted on my privilege to a reading from a chosen classic. Charles Dickens was a regular headliner and my favourite selection being a colourful copy of Great Expectations, torn and beautifully decrepit. Airless in stench and gritty to touch, the old book had wonderful illustrations made perfect for promoting the story in my tiny mind.
Scattering inquisitiveness often distracted from the plot as I was constantly amazed by the volume of words and story:
‘Did Charles Dickens write this himself?’
‘He did’ said my Nana ‘and he meant every word of it’.
Teenage avidity to be writer blossomed as any opportunity to release the wave of imagination inside was taken. The family took pride in what they deemed as a valued vocation, despite the awkward coyness in my stance and misunderstood worth in talent. I figured that people were to be good at something and that fanfare and celebration of a youth with a pen seemed illogical.
Growing up I had watched relatives share their innovative fortes, accepting forever that people were just talented and individual ability was a known thing to everyone else. My grandfather (on my Dads side) was an exceptional artist; a regular sat relaxed outside St Stephens Green at weekends with framed oils hanging lateral over the railings. He was a painter; this was his “good thing” according to my 13 year old self.
The first realisation into practice and nurture was lessoned when this wonderful painter collapsed, suffering a stroke and losing the use of the entire right side of his body. ‘How will he paint?’ I thought. The idea of self-fulfilment, dedication in artistry, mindfulness in discovery and application to the things we do curdled inside for the very first time. These things we’re good at aren’t always forever.
My grandfather’s emergency gave the first responsive perspective on why we do things. Beforehand the best in my youthful bloom limited innovative application to the reason of ‘do it because you’re good’ and ‘because others know you’re good’. But to better this bloom, I learned the truth in embracing the fulfilment in talent and ability. Not for reward, but for the worth in wholehearted engagement and loving what you do.
Such was his attachment to what he did (also his magnificent stubbornness) my grandad taught himself to paint once again using his left hand. The results were unsurprisingly spectacular as he put everything into his craft until he was physically unable.
My favourite poem is ‘Alone’ by Edgar Allan Poe which contains the tragically gorgeous line:
‘All that I loved – I loved alone’
There’s context in varied aspects of life in which this can be applied; loneliness and contentedness; desire and loss; want and need. But in relation to learnings in art, it captures perfectly the hold we can have on our hobbies and interests. There’s an acceptable selfishness in truly cradling sincerity in what we do and knowing that no one can force the connection upon us.
Writing is wonderful; the creation; the exploration in language; the stories; the truth. Everything is alive in its fabric, a fertile chasm most prolific in colour, endless and most intimate. I learned not to let others adore it for me, but rather be dignified in mindful execution when ideas flow. The integrity in delivery will give others something more than knowing you might just be good at something, it will give them deliberation and consideration on their own thought and values.
I write myself and I mean every word.