None of us are strangers to dark days. They come in all forms, and in all areas of our lives. And they are relative: one person’s molehill is another’s mountain, shaking to pieces and crushing them beneath the rubble. We all struggle, and overcome.
When my biggest storm hit, it was all I could do to stay upright during the fiercest onslaught. The bitterest parts of our struggles are intensely personal, and faced alone. But I was able to withstand in part due to the knowledge that there were people around me, holding me up as much as they could, from their standpoint of caring observer, feeling and helping where they could.
Once the initial storm-front passed, I was left with an ongoing presence of clouds and occasional storms. Forgive the weather metaphors, they’re just so appropriate, especially today when it hasn’t stopped raining outside or in. My particular storms have revealed the quality of my loved ones, developed resilience, and supply all the motivation I need to pursue my creative visions. And as I’ve begun to venture out of my isolating focus to find an audience for the results of my creative work, I’m finding something else out there: community.
In addition to the usual and unusual traumas of life, I’m no stranger to the particular obstacles creatives face. I’ve been a creative all my life, alternately loving and fighting the process. From my new engagement with others on social media, I am increasingly in awe of my peers. From time to time they share glimpses into the clouds they are managing, while staying fiercely or exhaustedly committed to their creative visions. Creativity can be a lonely field. I am betting that for many of them, like me, creative vision is what helps them through, along with the presence of others, whether on social media or at the end of a phone.
People need people, and I’m finding that although we all must shoulder our own burdens, there is a sense of real community in the forums we creatives are using to find audience. We are finding friendship, support, inspiration, encouragement and opportunity. If you are feeling alone or beaten down today and are on any social media platform, share a little of where you’re at, maybe even with hundreds if not thousands of others. You will find that there is someone out there, a real person, maybe on the other side of the world, who will recognise and acknowledge what you are feeling. Knowing you are part of a caring tribe, even if it’s made up of people you will never meet, can lend a little light beneath those clouds and help you hang in there long enough to see clear sky.