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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Stockton

One Year Later...

You know, it’s interesting to me. I haven’t touched this blog in a year now. A FULL YEAR. A year where I probably should have written the most. Been creative the most. Painted and explored and spilled myself out the most.

But instead. I went inward.

I created. I wrote…some, okay very little. My relationship with writing has been complicated to say the least. With words getting conflated with outside voices and my whole life turned upside down in what was probably the hardest year of my life. It feels like I keep saying that. But it’s not untrue. And by hard, I mean incredibly transformative. And growth and transformation is painful. To, again, say the least.

It’s been a year, folks. And when I look back on that last blog post, from one year ago, that girl that I was…It’s so hard to see her and relate to her anymore. She feels like a stranger that wore my face and had my voice. My words, that the me in 2021 couldn’t find. The words I had lived in and loved by and found purpose in, were missing from me. Not that I’ve stopped loving or living. Maybe some things and some degree of hermit mode took over my life. But what I probably resent her for the most was taking away my words. That girl, that version of me that I was a year ago, she’s gone. Not completely. Not to say I am no longer that person at all. But I am not the same.

And the biggest thing is…I’ve spent so much energy this year just trying to figure out who the fuck I am and what I want and what the hell have I been doing these last two years, that I disconnected from her completely. I cut myself off from myself. In some pithy attempt to cut myself off from the pain I was enduring. I looked at that old version of myself and I hated her. As much as I wanted to protect all the old versions of me that were always waiting for someone to stand up for them, that particular version…I wanted to erase. And what a conflicting emotion when it was her that started this whole transformation in the first place. The one that stepped forward and took the risks. The one that said she was done. The one that took a chance on herself and love and life. I have her to thank for where I am now, and the things I have learned. But I also resent her for the choices she made, the things she decided to believe in, or at the least, she worked very hard to convince herself that she did. When, at the time, those things were actually a life vest pulling her from the rising waters in the well that she’d been trapped in. She was a necessary, painful lesson. But that cycle has closed. She is gone.

2021. Acrylic paint on canvas. Bloom and burn and renew.
"I am Not What I Was" 2021

“I am Not What I Was”

I painted this piece with all the chaotic emotional energy that I was bottling up. For those closest to me, it might not seem like I bottled anything up. Or maybe that’s another lie I tell myself. A pink skull and a black butterfly, symbols of death and change and life, placed in some kind of cosmic chaos of blooming and burning that they are not separate from but they are not intertwined with either.

I guess that was my problem. Trying to reach inside myself while also disassociating from myself. It’s a true wonder why I couldn’t connect enough to write.

But. Recently, I think I’ve found that audacity point. Where words are…coming. Albeit, slowly. And projects are building. With two anthologies on my docket, my novel Starlight and Ashes finally in beta, and a plethora of visual art pieces being made (and then sold merely hours after listing), and a few book covers for other authors ready for reveal, I feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m finding myself. Truly. It’s just me and my passion. My whole-hearted desire, craving—NEED—to create my life around what makes me happy. About being true to myself and honoring my intuition. Learning to trust that voice in me that screams when something isn’t right. That screams when I’m feeling locked up inside myself. “This way, little one, you know what to do. You always have. That doubt and those intrusive thoughts were planted by people who could never see the way you do.”

And I build. And I grow. And I heal. And I learn. And I paint. And now…again…I write. As beta praise comes in for my novel. As I untangle the mass of everything inside of me that kept me distracted and made writing feel like running through blackberry bushes. I am here. I am finding my way back to something new and undiscovered. Back to the journey of me.

I’m fighting for my life and my heart in ways I never could have anticipated.

So that’s what I’m doing. Still. Hi. Let me re-introduce myself. My name is Amanda: writer, artist, flawed human. Trying to create myself and a life.

And this shit takes a lot of time and effort and energy.

Oh. And resolve.

And my community of people. You reading this. You make this possible. It’s a weird feeling when people actually truly believe in you. When they mean what they say. It’s easy to get caught up in the ugliness of life. To get ensnared in the nets of lies and self-sabotage. The depression.

The fear.

Holy fuck. The fear. They say if you’re not scared, then you’re not dreaming big enough. Well. With the level of holy-fucking-shit-im-terrified-ness that I feel on a constant basis…maybe I am heading in the right direction. It only took 34 years to heed the internal compass.

And I have no regrets.

Because even in those “what was I thinking?” Moments, there were lessons learned and pieces of myself shed and gained, that allowed me to see and think and feel the way I do now.

So, let’s go into 2022 with a fresh slate of hope. A year full of forward momentum. A year of art and words and lots of adventurous goodness.

I’ll be publishing my book this year (more than one, actually ;) heh) and I will happily be here, back to the blog, to share that whole new experience and journey. I’ll also be applying to plenty of markets and conventions to sell my wares (like a good Khajiit).

I have started a tarot art series. Starting with the Ten of Swords and the Strength cards. I have no plans or designated order for them. They just come to me as they come. Which, is kind of the point.

I’m healing and growing and exploring this indie creative life. I hope y’all will join me as I continue forward with trial and error and carve my path through the woods. I’ll come here to write more about the art I make and what it means to me. The processes and the ilk. I’ll talk about writing and publishing and taking on all of this in the shifting world we are all experiencing.

Thanks for sticking with me during this year of change and growth and discovery. Not everyone did. And that’s okay. I have made peace with it all.

And for those that have joined me in 2021, I hope you stick around to see what happens next. I know I am curious.

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Noel Cumberland
Noel Cumberland
Dec 20, 2021

Some of the most beautiful things in all the world are the ones inside of ourselves that we so energetically avoid. We deny our pain, push forward to "fight the good fight" and we incrementally lessen ourselves as a result.

But then, miraculously, we catch a glimpse of our true selves out of the corner of our eyes and, if we have courage, we pursue that person. That's kinda what you have done this year.

And it doesn't matter if you're 34 or 64 or 104, when you make the choice to follow that true-you, the world is given back some of its inherent beauty.

Thanks for following the hard path, Amanda. I really look forward to what's next.

Amanda Stockton
Amanda Stockton
Dec 20, 2021
Replying to

It was something like that. Yes. Thank you.

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