COVID has impacted us all. The boundaries of normal life have constantly changed since 2019, bringing with it new challenges and emotions.
Many have lost loved ones, treasured time with family, milestones with grand-children, jobs, and the list goes on. The uncertainty of these times reminded me of the most painful year of my life.
Time has helped heal the wounds from 2016, but her scars still run deep. To help me process that painful year, I blogged.
I reflect on that time, in the hope it might help you when times get tough. Take care. x
How do you stay positive, when the world around you sucks?
Every year the world loses a multitude of talented people. 2016 was no different. However, for me, so many of those we lost that year had touched my life or simply put, were my life.
I was mesmerised by Muhammad Ali both in and out of the ring. Not only was, and will forever be my favourite sportsperson, but also someone I admired enormously for his courage and for his passion in his beliefs.
That year continued to grow darker with the passing of many of my childhood favourites – Mr Willy ‘Gene Wilder’ Wonka, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Jon English, Alan Rickman, Ronnie Corbett, Garry Marshall, Ross Higgins, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and then what would have to be the most crushing celebrity loss for me, George Michael. I can’t even begin to put into words how his music carried and embraced me throughout various times of my life. Five years after his passing, and the with climate we now live in, I need his music more than ever.
Hearing a simple line or musical riff evoke warm memories from my youth, taking me to a simpler, happier time.
But my most devastating loss that year, was the loss of my mother; after enduring a long illness with Lewy Body Dementia and in her final years, cancer. It still hurts that she is no longer here, but I am thankful that she did not have to endure COVID and the limitations it has put on us all.
The impact of these loses, made me think. Society allows us to express grief when losing someone that is dear to us, so why not when it is someone who we have grown up watching on TV, the movies or listening to their music. For whatever reason, we relate to them, by the character they play or story they share through their music.
For those who are left behind, how do we do it? How do you stay positive when the world around you sucks?
Writing is hard enough with everyday distractions, let alone when you are grieving or living through a global pandemic. Yes, writing can be cathartic but what about if you write for children. After all, there is time for children to learn about life and all it brings with it. 2019 gave birth to a world only found in movies and sci-fi stories. Kids are living in a pandemic and don’t want to read about it in books. There will be a time and a place, but not now.
For everyone, it is different. There is not only grief for lives lost but other factors that can impact our creativity such as poverty, war, the destruction of the environment, natural disasters, and of course political changes.
I am by no means an expert in the field of grief, but I found writing through the storm that was 2016 tapped into voices I didn’t know were there. Pushing myself through that pain helped me to heal.
If you find that the world around you has left you creatively challenged, I adopted the following. It might just help you too.
Reading – A good way of easing back into things is by reading. As my interest is in writing for children, I found surrounding myself with picture books past and present helped me connect with other writers and with finding my writer’s voice.
Write – At first, it’s not going to be anything you might want to share. There will probably be a lot of anger in it, and it may not even make sense. Start off small; a few lines a day and then as you feel ready, a paragraph or two, then a page and so on. The point is to get the writing muscles flexed. Write through the pain, write through the tears. In time you will find a strength and joy in your words again.
Many use their newfound emotions to capture a voice they can use in their writing. It can be extremely emotional to tap into those wounds, but you might be surprised what will come through in your writing.
Social media – Try to avoid the call of social media. Yes, it has become almost a daily ritual to jump on and see what the world is up to, but let’s face it a lot of people take to social media to complain, and you really don’t need that while you are trying to heal.
Take stock – Losing someone close is one way of catapulting us to that all-important realisation of our own mortality. We are reminded that time is precious and now is as good a time as any to start putting ourselves first and grabbing onto our dreams with both hands. I am thankful for the support of my family, friends and fellow writers but it is time to stop mucking around with my writing, stop getting side-tracked and just get the job done! I owe that to myself.
Time for you – Most importantly is always, always take care of yourself. No-one can fully understand how you feel; everyone is different and processes situations in different ways. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel.
Be good to yourself
‘Cause nobody else
Has the power to make you happy – George Michael