Budding Out, Growing

Spring hastens forth, and I’m viscerally, pathetically grateful for it. I’m late to formally welcoming the Vernal Equinox in this space, but it comes and nods and passes, all the same. My feet long for the touch of cool – not cold – earth, I want to caress young pea plants in the garden and crawl nearly every inch of my yard in search of dandelion plants. (We have an agreement, they and I.)

"Just One Sunbeam from a Rainbow Ending,"Dakota Midnyght ArtIf I was going to chose any month of the year to just skip, sleep through, travel during its duration… February would be it. Deep winter months are gray here. So, so gray. This year, while watching the field torn to pieces, rebalancing myself to grow my writing and art practice, dealing with some personal troubles that have come up… depression turned its ugly head, grinned malevolently, and laid me raw. I usually manage some light level of grayness. I fight it by building a habit of noticing small, wondrous things and breathing and walking and creating and maintaining connections… but this last time…

Oh.

I was challenged to grow in these last six weeks. Truthfully, I sought it out and then retreated, but a challenge you invite in doesn’t give up peacefully. I’d realized I was reacting to outside stimuli instead of intentionally choosing what I wanted to do. It left me feeling at the mercy of the fickle winds instead of bravely charting my own course through art, writing, and entrepreneurship. It’s hibernation, in a way, cuddled up tight in a secure little bud, not yet ready to break free and bloom. The process of imagining yourself into the person you want to be requires energy, and I was already so very, very tired.

Sleep helps me, paradoxically. Drawing inward. This time some friends reached in and pulled me out of the sludge by the nape of my neck, demanding that I walk with them, eat, drink lots of water. I talked. I reflected. And at last, I surfaced.

It’s not usually that bad. Truly. Honestly. Normally things really suck for a day or two or rarely three once or maybe twice a year, depending on the season and what happens in my personal life. A weeks-long stint has never happened before and so now, with the sun breaking through (both literally and metaphorically) I reflect on where my self-care practices went awry.

I chose not to medicate. This isn’t a judgement of anyone else’s choice. It’s just that when I have – in the past – I feel outside of life. That’s not how I want to live. Depression didn’t come calling until my twenties and I refuse – absolutely – to accept that this is a permanent piece of myself instead of an unwelcome caller. For me, personally, I believe it’s symptomatic, not inherent.

I’ve wandered away from what I thought I was going to write about but perhaps that was needed. I’m gathering my threads in again, picking them up gently, adding them in – one by one – to the braid of everyday life. A beautifully multicolored plait to adorn my hours.

And so.

Some small(ish) website changes are going live soon. I’m getting set to release some new art prints upon the unsuspecting world (look out world!). And I’m excited to be celebrating National Poetry Month (April already!) with another of Jena Schwartz’s lush and evocative classes – Dive Into Poetry.

Budding. Rebirth. New Growth. Spring Hastens. I’m ready.

(This post partially inspired by The Inky Path’s Wednesday Prompt, “Budding Branches or Budding Out.”)

8 thoughts on “Budding Out, Growing

  1. Hugs! It’s so easy to become lost. May this spring bring you a gust of fresh air in your life! I look forward to seeing your new prints :).

  2. Oh! I am grateful, thankful for the friends who could reach out and pull you out, sweet friend! I know exactly how , ” I chose not to medicate.” Because you put that and the lines that follow in words , I have to tell you that I felt healed too.
    I am hoping the sun shines bright , the buds bloom and you feel the essence of it all in your dear heart.
    I darn clothes, the old fashioned way or hem a kitchen towel when I am depressed. I tend to get angry at my work , at my art too because I suppose my art is me too. So,I pick some other threads and knots to hang on.How you brought up the threads analogy is absolutely striking!
    And how wonderful that sweet small changes are waiting to happen!

    1. Swati, thank you so much for your sweet comment. The sun has been out and I have been outside too and that just helps so much! I hope you’re finding sunshine too. <3

  3. Dakota,
    This took my breath away. I, too, loathe February and yearn for not-cold ground beneath my feet. I’m desperate to be in my yard, hands deep in the soil, the sun warm on my back.
    Depression is such a beast, such a sneaky, enervating foe. I’m sorry this last bout has been (was?) such a rough ride. I am thankful for your friends and thankful that spring is making its way to you.
    I’m so happy to know you.
    Em

    1. Emily, thank you so, so much. Yes, what is it about February?! I’m climbing out – or – as I described it recently – it’s like a visitor saying an Irish goodbye. I think I’ve got it out the door and then it turns around with “one last thing.” Overall though, better, yes. I am so happy to have connected with you, too. <3

What are your thoughts?