Each Tuesday I share a new snippet of inspiration with you, and – even though this is often the highlight of my week – I sometimes worry that I sound like a broken record. For this reason, I began writing a very personal post a while back that attempts to explain why all these minutely different pieces of inspiration are so important to me, but every Tuesday I run into a minor snag (a.k.a., my fingers refuse to hit that pesky little “publish” button). Sharing painful, embarrassing, and deeply personal things with the entire interwebosphere is scary after all, and this is my admission to you that I get very scared at times. Despite the fact that my personal (and likely overwrought) post will remain unpublished on my desktop until the day when I muster up enough courage to share it, I simply can’t let another week go by without talking to you about how much the pursuit of beauty and inspiration really does matter in my life.
The truth is, I was not always someone who saw a whole lot to be inspired by in life. In pop-psychology terms, you could say – as lots of doctors did – that I was someone who struggled with chronic depression. This depression consumed my teen years and early twenties in both the clinical sense and shitstorm sense; in other words, no matter how much medication I took to battle my melancholy moods, a series of heart-wrenching events – from deaths to physically abusive relationships – kept raining down on me and sucking the hope out of my life. I eventually found myself at a point where I simply could not see any tangible proof that things were going to get better, and this kind of sadness is something I would never wish upon anyone. Far too many people face this all-consuming loneliness and hopelessness every day, however, and it took hitting a very painful rock bottom for me to realize that sometimes the only way to find hope is to actively look for it and create it ourselves. I was very alone and afraid, but there came a moment when I admitted that no matter how unfair life was, this was my one and only shot at it and no one was going to make my life better for me. The road to this realization was quite complicated, but the simple end result was this: I started looking for the littlest of happy things in all the veritable sidewalk cracks of life, and I began cataloging every trace of beauty and hope I found there – no matter how small.
The habit of seeking out signs of goodness in even the tiniest things (along with years of hard work) eventually helped me become hopeful about my life again, and – although I finally left my depression behind me – this habit of hopefulness has become such a key part of my life and identity as a writer. This is because the things that genuinely inspire me to create are almost always examples of beauty in chaos, or of hope amidst despair. In fact, this love of the unlikely has led me to my personal philosophy that any artist’s job is to create hope and beauty where there seemingly is none to be found. The struggle to find hope and a reason to live against all odds is a story worth sharing a thousand times over after all, and I look forward to sharing some variation of this story with you every Tuesday as well as on a thousand other days through a thousand other art forms/sidewalk cracks that are yet to be discovered.
Psst: Does anything in my story ring true to you? What pieces of beauty, hope, and inspiration have you found today? Leave a comment.