I am Gentle

Photo taken while I was out riding somewhere I ought not have been.

Impact Hub, a coworking space that has a branch in Baltimore, has been flooding their Facebook page with new events. Most of them are educational of some sort, and wanting to get more involved, I signed up for a bunch of them that looked interesting.

The first on my calendar was an event titled “Writing for My Sanity, A Therapeutic Writing Workshop” hosted by Melony Hill. I thought it might be a seminar on writing, or maybe a writers workshop where we’d compare our work. But instead, it was a series of short writing exercises with a focus on mental health. I was surprised, but it was really nice.

The first exercise Melony gave us, was passing out a set of cards, and each of them had some kind of affirmation on them. The first exercise was to write on whether or not we thought the affirmation on the card was true or not. Mine read:

I am gentle, kind, and comforting to my inner child as we uncover and release the old, negative messages from family and society.

Initially, I only read the first portion: “I am gentle, kind, and comforting”. I immediately said this was true. I am gentle. I am kind. I am a comfort. I am constantly described that way by people who are close to me, and so I felt really good about my card.

But then I read further; “comforting my inner child”, and it threw me for a loop. I don’t think that I take care of my inner child very well. I am gentle with and comfort everyone else, but I am hardest on myself.

And then I read some more. “as we uncover…”. We. As we uncover. I don’t think I’d even considered working with my inner child for a long time. And for a moment, I felt him reach out to me. And in that moment, I hugged him.

Family & Distance

When Melony shared about family, the first thing I thought about was “distance”. Everything about the way I think about family now is connected to distance. My parents and my little brother live in an entirely different countr, my sister lives many hours away and travels for her livelihood.

The distance with my family is heightened because of how young I was when I left them for college. Last year, I crested the marker that denotes that I have now spent more time away from my family than I had with them. And it feels lonely. I miss them.

My siblings have become entire adults without me around, and I have grown and hurt and given and moved in ways they are completely unaware. Connections online feel hollow and echoing, but show no signs of becoming anything different. It feels like neither I nor they have the words to bridge the gap. The time we spend together slowly heals this, but it feels like there is so much to do.

Even what I would call my adopted family, the Naskapi people I grew up with, are even more distant my blood family. The distance from them feels even greater not just because of how physically far away they are, but also because of how many of the people I grew up with and loved are now gone. And with every passing of an elder, every suicide or murder or accidental death of an old peer, feels like a piece of me is crumbling away to dust.

But then I remember the family I have built. While I am no longer with my partner, my children are with me. I am building new bonds and growing with them. They are growing with me. We are strong.

I remember the adopted family I have built. The connections with those who love me and who I am friends with now.


The next exercise was a question on a couple of cards, which we had to answer. My question read as so:

What is this feeling that won’t leave me alone; what would I do if I had enough time?

Time is one thing I feel like I have a constant burning desire not to waste. It feels like the most valuable thing I have, so I try to burn it as much as I can. I am constantly shovelling time into the furnace that fuels my creativity; drawing, designing, writing, creating.