As seasonal depression has slowly but surely sucked all of the life and motivation out of me in the last few months, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to write. An overwhelming sense of shame and mediocrity grip me as I attempt to do my daily poetry. I’m so distracted by the idea that I am not good enough, that my words are ignorant and hollow, that I can’t concentrate for long enough to create anything. Then this only reaffirms my crippling self-doubt, making it harder to come back to my laptop the next day.
Yesterday after finishing a poem that I wasn’t particularly proud of, I decided to read some of the older ones I had compiled for publishing this coming year. Even though I’ve done this in the past, I was still surprised at just how wonderful I felt these older poems were. I know I was partly moved because they reminded me of the times when I had written them, but I can’t deny that they are also excellent poems in their own right. I think anyone could enjoy them just as much as I have. The more I read, the more thick the wall of tears became against my eyelids, inevitably overflowing into hot streams down my cheeks. I wrote these. I had to keep reminding myself.
Today despite still not feeling particularly creative or inspired, the sense that I’m a failure and I’ve never written anything good nor will I ever write anything good is absent. I know that inspiration will find me again. I believe in and am proud of the things I have already created. I feel at peace inside this artistic dry spell.
Looking back at my old work was exactly what I needed. I’ve done this in the past not only with my poetry, but with my art as well. One day I was nearly in tears, wondering how I had ever believed I could draw or use my drawing tablet at all. Then I decided to pull up some of my old drawings. I was so happy looking at them. These are really good! I was delighted and surprised that I was so easily able to forget my own talent.
Sometimes the combination of mental illness, writer’s block, and exposure to so many other people’s amazing work online can leave us feeling inadequate. In these moments I try to remind myself of Lizzo’s wise words: “I am my inspiration.” We don’t need to be at the same level or have the same style of writing or drawing as other people. It can be hard to be an impartial judge of our own talent. That’s why it’s important to go back over our older work. So many times I’ve found that something I once hated or didn’t think much of has turned out to be one of my best creations when I look back. The poems I wrote as a teenager that I was embarrassed by seem simply beautiful to me now. I’ve even decided to publish them, and they’re available on Amazon if you’re interested.
I guess my point is, don’t trust your opinion of yourself or your ability when you are feeling low. The mind has a way of convincing us of things that aren’t true, especially when it comes to our perceptions of ourself. Just be patient and remind yourself through hard evidence. If your brain is telling you that you can’t write, go back and read what you’ve already written to prove it wrong. If it says you can’t draw, take the time to enjoy a personal art show of past works to silence that critical voice. Hell, sometimes this even works if I’m having a particularly bad body image day. I’ll look at somewhat recent photos I’ve taken of myself to remember that I can feel beautiful.
The only person you need to compare yourself to is your past self. Be your own inspiration. And most importantly, I want you to remember that every single thing you have created or will create is incredible and worthwhile, because it is a piece of your mind made manifest. When I look at something someone I love has drawn or written however silly it may seem to them, I love it. I love it because it came from them, and that’s all that matters. That’s what makes everything any one of us creates special and perfect. And lastly, let yourself rest sometimes. I promise your inspiration will come back soon enough.
6 thoughts on “Be Your Own Inspiration”
Lovely, inspiring post. This is so relatable to so many, myself included. You are beautiful and good enough by the way.
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Thank you so much. (‘: I’m so happy you took the time to read my post. ❤
I’m so fucking happy for you! I’ve been thinking about, and waiting patiently on some of your poetry to be published. I can relate to this post so much it’s insane! Lately, I’ve been struggling really hard with writing too. I’m only now beginning to climb back out of the “not feeling worthy enough rut.” It’s so tough as you know. And If I recall correctly, I think I’ve experienced the same type of experience when looking back at some my past writings before. This is such a wise technique to adopt to get through this. I’ll use it and carry this with me on my journey whenever this happens to me again.
I really appreciated the line, “The only person you need to compare yourself to is your past self.” This is such a perfect solution to keep yourself from comparing yourself to others. I’ve been trying to find something to adopt in my life for years to keep myself away from comparing myself to others. I never thought about it like that before. That is brilliant!
I hope that you’re feeling well and that you have such an abundant Merry Christmas that’s so full of love and beauty this year! ❤️🌹
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I’m so glad you were able to get something out of this post. (: It means so much that you take the time to read my stuff. Thank you! I hope your Christmas was beautiful and filled with love. ❤
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Nice post. Another way of looking at it is to be the person you need in your life. That’s helped me shape the way I act. If I need something, I just act like the person that I need in my life to make those things happen. Anyway, thanks for this post!
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That’s a great way to think too! I’ll have to start doing that myself, asking what I need and then just giving it to myself. (: Thanks!