I’m still having difficulty writing. However, although I’ve been struggling with my writing, I’ve still been using other creative outlets to cope with the frustrations of my illness. I’m making index card art with more frequency. Instead of using my sketchbook, it’s easier to carry a small stack of white 6 inch x 4 inch cards (15.24 cm x 10.16 cm) and a few pens around with me to draw something, while attending my pain management programs and other medical appointments.
Line drawing and basic doodling have become easy ways to distract myself from thinking about my pain. I guess that makes writing the harder way I’ve chosen to cope with my pain, since the greater my pain the less able I am to focus and concentrate on putting words together on a page. I’m anxiously anticipating a break in the block because writing has always been part of my self-care.
In the meantime, I can I only hope my pain management program instructors understand that I can draw lines on index cards and still pay attention to the information they share…
Writer’s block is a terrible affliction. I have so much happening in my life that I want and need to write about but my brain seems to be locked in a struggle with itself about which story to tell first and how to tell them. I started my blog as one way to cope with my illness so I wasn’t trapped inside my own thoughts, especially the negative ones. However, lately, even with so much happening to and around me, I can’t let much of it out. I must have at least half a dozen posts started but they are each a long way from finished.
Luckily, I’ve been able to maintain my connection to the creative practice that I also started as another method of coping, so the art is still being created. I’ve been posting what I’ve been creating on my Instagram page, which I suppose is a small release because I do write captions for the things I share. Still, I need to figure out a way to clear the cobwebs or lift the brain fog – whichever idiom is more suitable – so I can get back to documenting and sharing my experiences with the unending hope that what I write helps someone have a better day, as much as it usually helps me.
Today marks 150 years in the millennia that the land we call Canada has existed. It is the 150th year; I am told is most significant, because this is the anniversary of when this land became a sovereign nation under the rule of a government formed to manage, then control, the land and all the people and resources that inhabited it since time immemorial. It is the anniversary of the sliver of time marked first by exploration and curiosity of what lay beyond horizons; then scarred by the efforts of all that has been done to erase the pre-historic presence that welcomed the adventurous spirit of strangers to share in all that could be seen before them.
Today is the day that marks the efforts of erasure, which continue even in the choosing of an arbitrary number representing a blink of an eye in the vast time that this land and its people have stood strong. I have benefitted from all the efforts of erasure to live in a country where I have freedoms, privileges, and opportunities not always available to the people indigenous to this land. People whose history cannot be contained by the 150 years of celebrated oppression, violence, and ignorance of what existed before and continues to thrive even under endless attempts to snuff it out. I benefit from the stereotypes that paint the Indigenous Peoples of this land as undeserving and incapable children requiring constant surveillance and micromanagement as the boundless wisdom they hold is ignored and this land faces the same plight to which we have sentenced them.
While I and others are free to live life, wherever and however we choose within this young nation, the Indigenous Peoples of this land to whom the number 150 marks only a brief moment in their history, remain relegated to pockets of land reserved for their kind. Where their status as non-relevant bodies in the vast time and geography of this land is perpetuated by restrictive rule of laws. When that status was deemed insufficient to contain the internal savages of nations within this celebrated nation, it was paired with re-education to break the spirits we now know are strong and eternally bonded to the land.
How can I celebrate today? How can I celebrate only this selected 150 years of the history of this land? How can I celebrate a country that describes itself as multicultural and calls itself a mosaic, when its Indigenous Peoples and many of the peoples that came after them are not treated as equal or worthy as those who have arbitrarily plucked this number from the timeline?
Canadian Native Flag designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Curtis Wilson