With my best friend, who has enabled me to realise a whole series of dreams over the last 20 years, I recently launched Pen48, a supportive space where amateur writers can share their creativity and where readers can discover new talent.
The idea for Pen48 came from a realisation that a lot of us hide our creativity in the shadows. And that, I think, is a shame. Creativity, and its sidekick curiosity, are perhaps our most important tools when it comes to discovery, learning and personal development.
Creativity, however you express it, can also be hugely beneficial to mental health. I know, from personal experience, that story writing gives me an escape from the stress of everyday life. It provides a space where I am both truly present and yet absent at the same time; a space where I am so focused on what I’m doing that my mind stops buzzing and quietens. And that for me is incredibly valuable.
Creative writing can do something else too; it can connect us to people we might never meet. And it can inspire.
As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I’d devote the rest of this week’s insight to a poem that was added to Pen48 recently by one of our pioneer members. I chose this one because I think it conveys a sense of hope in a week when we might be focusing on the negative impacts of poor mental health; and because it might just give hope to people who feel their situation is hopeless.
And, of course, I chose it because it’s simply very good writing that illustrates the incredible undiscovered talent amongst us.
Getting There It’s pretty amazing to do what I've done. I feel ‘at last, I've finally won’. I can see the light, and its heading my way, And I know how to keep the darkness at bay. I feel strong and complete and finally well, The poison no longer casts me her spell. I can finally smile, and it’s not just a mask, And when I need help, I just need to ask. I have learned we are all fragile beasts, And that my resilience has increased. It’s not a failure to ask for support, The sign of weakness that I once thought. I now know we all need help sometimes, And as long as I ask, I’ll get through those times. I’ve learned about being kind to myself, And not worrying too much about everyone else. I am the best mother I can possibly be, And the day will come when my children will see, I was there for them both with every breath, And continue to be till I meet my death. But I no longer wish this to be sooner than norm, I'm no longer amidst a thunderous storm. I’m calm and content and enjoying my days, No more walking that tiresome maze. I enter this new phase of my life, Still as a mother, no longer a wife, and I know one day again I will love, But for now, I am head and shoulders above.
Reproduced from Pen48 with the kind permission of Tracy, who said, “I have wanted to share my poems for years, and Pen48 has given me the opportunity to do that.”
Stay strong everyone in what may, for many, be difficult times. Seek help when you need it and remember, nothing is forever.