You're Not Crazy, You're Just Passionate

a gloomy trip in Chicago

I'm one of those people who have gone through many years of my short life always knowing I wanted to do something great, but could never figure out what I was driven by. I'm also one of those people who have been "good" at a lot of things, but was never truly passionate about whatever I was doing. Sports, poetry, singing, modeling, and the list goes on. I've picked up projects (like knitting, which was short-lived. Shit, I haven't even managed to finish the scarf I was making for my boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend) as an attempt to find a creative outlet, but everything just fell short.

When I went to college, I knew that should be a place where I found my interests and grow develop, evolve, and expand them from there. My friends had hobbies that turned into hustles – photography, video work, ceramics – and here I was stuck, trying to make myself into something I just wasn't. What happens when you feel useless? Well for me, I became depressed. I was leaning on my friends, boyfriends, and peers in my social scene to validate me and build me up. As "cool" as others may have thought I was, I was the ultimate loser in my head. I can blame that on my Pisces attitude. I've always been my own worst critic and in the past have driven myself into depths of pain and sadness that felt impossible to rise out of at certain points. I'm also so goddamn emotional, so the feeling of not being able to pour that energy into something I was passionate about drove me deeper into my illness.

After months of self-deprecation, therapy (on-meds and off-meds) and consistent yoga practive, I cleaned up my act, broke ties with my boyfriend of almost 3 years, moved out of our (his) apartment that held nothing but dark memories of me stuck in the bed for hours at a time, crying to my mom about how worthless I felt, I found a job in New York by luck and coincidence and moved to Brooklyn a month later.

I'll say that while New York will not be my final destination, it's a place where I finally feel like I have found myself. I've been writing a lot more, and of course linked with my close friend Vanessa to really motivate my passions. If she hadn't tapped me to work with her on her debut art exhibition and create my own work of art, that we all now know to be Times To Move On, I feel like I would still be curled up in a ball in the middle of city that will swallow you whole if you're not mentally equipped.

I'm still a work in progress and I have plenty of days where I get down on myself for not being as motivated and kick-ass as the next person. But that doesn't mean I'm sitting in those negative feelings and not doing shit about it. When I find myself feeling gross about everything, I really REALLY take all of that energy in and focus on self-care. The next step is realizing how taking care of yourself allows you to pour positivity externally. When you feel poppin', you look poppin', you act poppin', you walk poppin', you talk poppin', you live poppin'... and ALLLLL of that is what moves you toward something real.

I encourage everyone to really dig deep into their beings, even if that means you have to reach a low point before getting back to the essence of you. You'll be surprised at how many doors open in your favor and what kind of facts you'll unravel about yourself. Oh, and if you have a sick crew to support you, elevate together! Utilizing your solid support system is crucial, so please please please lean on them for support. Be transparent about what you're dealing with. But don't rely on them to be the savior to pull you out. You've got this. Maybe I'm just talking to myself here, but you've got this.

Love,

Amber Elise Jones, @reggaedude_fan