Right before I began my artist residency in Brazil, in an online article from the gallery I have some work in at the moment, I got called an activist and it really freaked me out I wrote a poem describing my feelings around the Black Lives Matter campaign blowing up in 2020 after George Floyd’s death in the states. It was a big deal for me first trying to reconcile my discomfort and confusion about who I was and where I stood and then sharing it with the world. I anticipated change, it seemed like an important step for both my artistic career and my personal growth but I’d be lying if I said I knew how to deal with the consequences of laying everything out there so vulnerably.


A lot of positive things were happening as a result of this work and it boosted my confidence. Strangers told me they were moved by my words, a friend wanted to work with me and use my story as a subject for their film school project. I got contacted by a local teacher who wishes to share the work and my creative process with her students as part of their poetry elective. I met other artists who inspired me to keep going. I felt like I was finally giving myself permission to take up space, finally moving past this imposter syndrome that bullied me into thinking my feelings were invalid. But ironically, as soon as I got referred to as an activist, all of the internal barriers I thought I had moved past, seemed to be blocking my vision again. I didn’t know how much space to be taking up. I wasn’t sure I had anything substantial to contribute to the fight, aside from one measly poem. I wasn’t sure I would be able to deliver that much rawness and that much heart in everything I did going forward and felt like I had prematurely set myself to make changes I wasn’t sure I could deliver. I accessed a deep level of inner strength through opening up about my “trauma” but now it felt like the can of worms I opened contained so much more than I imagined and as soon they were released they began wriggling into every crevice and it was starting to feel out of control.

But a part of me did know, I guess, that it would all become too much and that I would need to retreat and the timing of the trip to Brazil to participate in an artistic residency couldn’t have lined up any better. I needed to pause, think and reset and I think I caught myself just on time. I am still processing and writing about this experience because there is just so much to unpack but I can tell you this much, I came back lighter. 

I feel like I have just recently woken up from a long life long sleepy period of thinking I had no power and while now the leadership skills are in development, the activist in me is a fledgling. I don’t feel like I have learned enough or am doing enough to be called an activist, that word feels too heavy for me to carry right now and I think that's okay. I don’t need to put pressure on myself to live up to other people's expectations or assessments. While typing words on a screen helps organise my thoughts, in day to day life I still struggle with intimidation and overwhelm. Everytime this happens I get scared but I’m working on moving past this fear by remembering my intentions in everything I do. 

I read and soak up all the knowledge I can. I write to organise my thoughts and when I share maybe someone will read. I create and honour the need to express myself. I practice gratitude and notice the beauty of life. I value my time and spend it with people who understand the importance of growth and encourage liberation. I try to remember that I have the power to free myself by living a life that is authentic and rich. And when I don’t feel so powerful, I meet myself with compassion and kindness and love. I remind myself that I am active, I am living, I am love, I am enough. 

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