contributed by Triber Amy Lundquist ( @amy.lundquist.poetry)
When the new year arrives, we surround ourselves in the opportunities of a new beginning. We set intentions, goals, and resolutions. We try to start a new year with the right foot forward, a new diet, new way of thinking, chance to be a better “us”. For most of our society, that’s the way we picture it but often times, the new year brings thoughts of missed opportunities, lost love, not knowing if you can last one more year.
For me, the first of the year was brutal. I found myself being swallowed up by negative thoughts. I didn’t accomplish enough. I spent too much time watching TV. I didn’t make any new friends. I didn’t spend enough time writing. I felt abandoned by those closest to me.
I can’t remember the exact time, moment, or event in which my heart was saturated by depression but I do remember the crying. I remember listening to certain songs to find solitude and answers. I remember being raped and falling deeper into that hole. I remember thinking that this is how certain people are; that some of us feel deeper, harder, more aggressively than others, that some of us can carry more emotional weight. I remember my mental breakdown. I remember surviving suicidal thoughts. I remember several years later my husband holding my hand helping me find a therapist.
Often times I find solitude in listening to certain songs or reading certain passages from my favorite novels. When my thoughts grew deeper toward the dark corners of my mind, I pulled out my favorite poetry book from 2017: Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim. I flipped through the pages to look for my favorite passages (I like to underline anything significant while I’m reading) and I stumbled upon two areas of the book that made me breathe positivity. The first one is this:
I forgive myself even if I am the last person I want to forgive
whatever i have come from / wherever i am going
I will remember the present as the place to start
today is a good day / to wake up / & be great
& have gratitude / for the relentless
pump of this heart / the way it does not know how
to hold back
I exhale / & I begin
I began to meditate on that passage for a few minutes. I clung to the forgiveness that Benaim wrote. I filled my mind with the things I had accomplished in 2017: I stepped down from a fifty hour a week management position, I had one poem published by Her Heart Poetry, I finally made the choice to focus my life on writing, and I moved back to my home state of Minnesota. These were all huge, life changing, positive moments that I needed to reflect on. As I began to chew through those events, I found another poem from Benaim that I clung to called, "Seven Small Ways In Which I Love Myself This Week”:
while picking up fruit
at the market,
bought myself flowers.
i practiced saying i love you
in the mirror.
not i love you because,
i love you despite,
i love you.
i went for a walk &
did not bring
& while my wet hair
reached for the ground
i kept my chin up,
i kept my eyes open.
i indulged in a donut
& did not step on a scale
i held hands
with my sadness,
sang it songs in the shower,
fed it lunch,
got it drunk
& put it to bed early.
i did not think of him.
not even once.
This poem was very powerful to me. It reminded me that every day of every month in every year is an opportunity for us to reset our thinking. Why wait for the new year to change your life? It’s important to remember the small moments of self care in each day and if you come to a point in your day in which you haven’t done something for yourself - do it! Even if it’s just small like getting your favorite coffee or taking ten minutes away from your desk to breathe fresh air outside. Remember that the current moment is all that is given to us.
In a world in which our society is aggressive, harsh, and competitive, we must choose to love ourselves for the simple reason that there is no other like you.
- Amy Lundquist, 2018
if you interested in reading Depression & Other Magic Tricks, click the button below to purchase on Amazon!
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a special thank you to Amy for being so brave to share with us her battles with depression and sharing with us a book that helped her reflect and push through those trying times. So many within our community battle so many of the same demons so it's great to share with each other the things that have helped us cope. If you have read any books that helped you or you think those within the Tribe would benefit from reading, click the button below to send me a message! I would love to share it!
love & light,