Saturday, 30 April 2016

Dealing With The Doubters

It doesn't matter what you decide to do with your life, there will always be people who doubt what you're doing. You've probably already come across people like that. They'll tell you that what you're doing isn't worthy, is unnecessary, or that no one will even look at it.

This is something that happens a lot in the arts world. Whether you're a photographer, writer, graphic designer, musician, actor, film-maker, artist, there will be someone, somewhere who has uttered those immortal words, “What you're doing is complete crap. Why don't you get a proper job?”. Art, to many people, isn't a “proper job”. Yet those who find the time to put you down are sometimes the ones that will see highly paid sports, film, or music stars as being immortal. Everyone else who is working in that industry is, to many people, not worthy of the same kind of adoration.

So how do you deal with it?

Ignore It

That can be a hard one, especially if the words are coming from a friend or family member. Words have power and the negative ones are the ones that live with us the longest. They're the hardest to forget and the most painful ones to remember. Don't give in to what they're saying. Often the person will want you to react and start an argument. Just smile and walk away.

Don't React

The best thing you can do is not to react. People are allowed an opinion but then so are you. You're doing what you're doing for a reason. You may not know that reason yet but there's a feeling inside of you that you have to keep going, that there's some end goal that you'll eventually reach. You don't know what that end goal is (a lot of us don't even if we have an idea of where we'd like to end up). Tell them that they're allowed their opinion and, again, smile and walk away.

Don't Go Looking For It

You might already know which places or people are going to tell you that your life's work is useless and the best thing you can do is not go there. Whether this is a bar, club, website or online group, the best thing might be for you to step out of it. If you feel the need to go back, give it a few weeks or months before you do. If you have work out in the world, don't go looking for reviews. I made that mistake when I was first publishing books and I now only go to Amazon or Goodreads to buy or rate books. I don't go looking for the reviews or ratings that others have left on my own.

Surround Yourself With Good People

Have you found some really awesome people who are supportive of what you do? Awesome! Hang on to them. They're precious people and, while they may not like everything you do, you know that you can trust them to be truthful. Rather than just dismissing what you're doing, they'll be able to point what needs fixing and pick you up when the going gets tough. Look after them like you would your own family because these people are hard to come by but will stay with you forever.

What you are doing has a deep meaning to you. Follow what your heart is telling you and keep putting your beautiful work out there.  

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Remember Who You Are

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Do you remember what it was like to play and dream and talk of the future? Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were eight years old?

As we go through life we lose track of those memories. We forget that child who dreamed of being a vet, or an astronaut, or a storyteller. We forget about the wonder of looking at a clear night sky or taking a walk through the woods. We become worn and beaten down and stop looking at the world through innocent eyes. We forget that, at eight years old, we believed we could do, or be, anything.

Society tells us that, once you reach a certain age, there is no time for imagination or play. Adults must no longer allow their minds to wander to the impossible words of “What if?”.

But what would happen if you allowed your mind to wander? Where would it go? What would you see? Who would you meet? The mind is an amazing place, filled with all manner of incredible stories. It's the place where dreams live, where ideas are born, and where the first tentative steps of travel are taken. There's truth in the saying “You can do anything you put your mind to”. It will take hard work and perseverance but it can be done.

Release yourself and let your imagination soar. Allow it to go to the places that it stopped exploring when you reached adulthood. Go back and remember who you were. Remember that innocence and freedom and embrace. Let your fears go. And when you dare to dream have the courage to follow through with them because none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

Friday, 1 April 2016

One Year On...

This past weekend marks a year since I took the last dose of Seroquel. Over the course of twelve months, I was weaned down from 200 milligrams a day to nothing. On March 28th 2015, I took the final dose.

As I've written before, it wasn't an easy journey. There were the usual withdrawals that you'd associate with any kind of drug. Then there was the case of adjusting back to real life, something which I'm still going through.

This whole process has not been without its problems but it has been fun and interesting. Along the way, I've had to choose what I want to do. Do I give in to the darkness that my mental health can bring? Or do I look to the sun and live in the light? Taking this final step has also taught me that, in life, it takes strength to do anything.

It takes strength to quit an argument.

It takes strength to follow your heart.

It takes strength to be the person you want to be.

It takes strength to make changes.

It takes strength to grow and heal.

It takes strength to live.

Life would be boring if it was easy. We're given challenges to teach us how to face ourselves and our future. What we experience can make us. It's up to you to decide what to do with whatever comes along. Some experiences will make you want to give up. Others will leave you speechless with pride and happiness.

Life is about moving forwards. Even if your movements are slow, you're still going somewhere. The final destination is yours to choose.

This isn't the end. In fact, it's the beginning of a whole new journey. The journey may not be quick but it is about moving forward, even if it's just one step at a time.

Welcome to a whole new chapter. May your life be filled with beauty and love.