“It’s important not to dwell on what could have been, but to figure out where this can take you.”

Dear self,

It was not an easy year. The legacy of 2016 had its hooks in deep and things spiraled to the point where you could barely function. But you had support, you had help and in the end, you were able to get out of that deep well of anxiety that you found yourself trapped in.

Despite it all, you plugged away at art every day like you promised, including the day of the most horrific stomach flu you had ever had, you still managed to draw a cartoon. You continued to work at things and it can be said have even impressed yourself with how far you’ve come, even in the past year, let alone the last few.

This new year takes you to the 5th anniversary of when you started drawing. There were a number of highs and lows in that year, but it set the stage for you to become who you are today. You can articulate your values more clearly, you are more understanding and compassionate of the struggles that others are facing, but even more important you have learned where your limits are and when you are stretched too thin. You know how to take better care of your mental health. As for your physical health, while that has improved, you do need to refocus and shed some of that weight you put on as a result of the bad times at the start of the year.

The (re)discovery of this piece of you has changed your entire perspective and given you a perspective on life almost alien to previous versions of you. It’s important not to dwell on what could have been, but to figure out where this can take you. You have a skill that is far more refined and can realize your own concepts in a way you couldn’t have even imagined a year ago. You are creating characters and are about to take steps towards becoming more of a writer than you ever have. And more importantly, those characters like Dee are connecting and resonating. They are pieces of you that you would normally hide and internalize. But now they are finding form, expression, and maybe providing comfort, inspiration, or even a smile to other people.

You are not useless. You are not a broken or dysfunction human being. You are not what those voices in your head said you were at the start of the year. You are not what the start of the year made you feel. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. There are many, many more challenges ahead. You have a stronger sense of who you are. You are rebuilding a stronger you that incorporates these new features, perspectives, and experiences and can hopefully continue to do this.

It does seem like the world is a little darker place than it was a year ago. It may, in fact, be true and that a lot of good things may come undone. Just keep going and work on channeling energy into your art. Attempting to create your own worlds and stories in a world of consumption without contribution, repetition without reflection and ignorance pretending it is the truth. You are burning brighter than ever. You are finding a truer you, a you that is more authentic, more honest with yourself and others and more aware of your strengths, and your limits. You can take better care of yourself, you have seen through the words and deeds of others who they truly are. You will figure out who will help you grow, who can teach you and who are the ones that are in it for themselves. Changes will be made, but it’s out of your control. And like so many other things, accepting that you aren’t really in control of a lot outside of your immediate personal space is a key realization.

You will continue to learn from your mistakes and your successes. You will continue to try to understand and question while others rush to judgment and solutions for problems that may not actually exist. Just do what you can with what you’ve got, and maybe, just maybe, those elements will combine into yet another new, and wonderful combination.


Dan v.20161230


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