By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)
Changes....Changes....Changes...I’ve been contemplating making some changes in my life. There are some things I am finding that I have to really sit down and think about, and then there are other things that are changing in my life that I am making happen by moving along slowly so that I don’t get anxious and scare myself.
When it comes to change, it is always good to be careful and to not make rash decisions about the changes you want to make, especially if you struggle with issues surrounding anxiety or depression. For me to implement change, I find that I am the type of person who has to be really methodical about it. I can’t just say, “Oh I’m going to do this,” and then go do it right away. I find that if I have ideas for change, I have to run it by trusted friends, or write about it so that I can think about the pros and cons of what I want to change. After doing this, and thinking about it, I then make a decision about what I am going to do, and either act on it or shelve the idea until a later time in which I can handle it.
For example, one of the changes I’ve been wanting to make in my life is to find better living arrangements- a bigger apartment, with windows, a fully functioning kitchen (instead of just a hotplate) and a place that speaks to where I am in my life now. At first when I thought about this, I was extremely anxious and didn't really have my heart into it. I enlisted a good friend to help me find a place, and we found a place, but on the other side of the city than what I have been accustomed to.
I remember when I saw the place that I will be taking, that at first I was scared to move from the east side of Toronto to the west side. But moving to my new place has slowly grown on me and now I am excited to make the change, and I’m in the process of packing and getting ready to move. Here’s to a bigger place, and windows!!
Another change that I have been contemplating is whether or not I should continue my column “Life’s Journey.” I started my column “Life’s Journey” in 2006 when the then editor of the Native Canadian newsletter Monica Bodirsky asked me to write on a regular basis for the Friendship Centre. I have seen “Life’s Journey” through many ups and downs and I have noticed as of recently, or in the last year that I have been struggling to come up with topics to write about. Sometimes I feel like I write about the same things over and over again, and then I think about how the Native Canadian newsletter gave me the start in having a regular column when I was just starting out with my writing career, and I feel scared to end something that I know helps others in their own journeys.
The feedback I have received over the almost seven years that I have been writing “Life’s Journey” has been very positive, and that has helped me immensely in my growth as a writer, but now I wonder where else I can take my column. I ask myself and I am asking readers, where would you like to see “Life’s Journey” go?
Another dream of mine is to get a book out, and over the past year – especially this summer I’ve been working very diligently on my manuscript and I’m nearing completion of it and then will be heading into first edits with it. The concept that in the near future I will have a book out has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m finally doing it, and that makes me incredibly happy! Chi miigwetch to my writing mentors Lee Maracle and Cherie Dimaline who have always encouraged me. There are many others in my life who have encouraged me with my writing, but I cannot possibly name them all here!
There are so many dreams and/or changes that I want to continue making in my life. Two more would be to head back to school and get my Masters in creative writing, and to start my own Indigenous newsletter. Usually when I have a dream of changing something or implementing something new, I work like crazy to make it happen.
I make my living as a freelance writer, and I write for numerous places. I find that life as a freelance writer can be hectic but I'm doing something that I love. Sometimes with all the writing that I do, people ask me
“Where the heck do you get your drive?”
My response to that is usually to shrug my shoulders and say “Oh I don’t know,” but deep down I know where my drive comes from. As a child, I was always told, “you will never do this or you will never amount to anything,” and my response to that was at first to listen to those words and continue on a destructive path. But now in my healing, I am doing the complete opposite because I no longer want to be held as a victim to what hurtful people said to me in the past.
Implementing change in your life or making your dreams come true is the best thing you can do for yourself, when you come from a background that tried its hardest to hold you back and make you want to give up. You have to find the courage within yourself to want change, to get help with making change and keeping at making the change happen. Believe me I know, because I am doing it! It was slow at first, but I have slowly been working away at things and I’m in a better place because of it.