SO, WHAT NOW? - Casey-Lee

On the 28th of May 2020, my father's 59th birthday, I escaped day 61 of lockdown to spend, his new painting hung in the entrance of my childhood home; it's an abstract piece, three tree-like figures textured over milky purple and reds, it's the first time he’s painted anything in over a year. Much like most of us the hunger to create can be easily suppressed by the siren of the 9 to 5 lifestyle. As much as I wouldn't like to admit it, I myself have fallen into the same spell. I’ve been a singer.songwriter for over 8 years now, a passion I used to think had just  fallen into my lap but after retracing my steps I found that this was no coincidence. I started keeping journals at 10 years old, wrote my first christmas jingle at 12, in grade 8 my english teacher accused me of forging a story I had written for a project because she couldn’t believe that a 13 year old had written it. Words have followed me my whole life.

After university the pace of life picked up at a speed I was not yet accustomed to. Earning a salary took the place of creating and life and so the rat race began. I jumped from one minimum wage job to the next, anything that would put petrol in my car or pay for a beer on a friday night. Years went by as I began ticking off the tropes of adulthood and slowly but surely my passion and hunger for writing took a back seat. 

As 2020 ushered in a new world order the norms of everyday life was flushed out with very little warning and much like the rest of the world, I lost my job. I am not going to tell how a global pandemic went from the main event to merely a backdrop for the upheaval of society but as we all know now, nothing will ever be the same again. 

And so we were all faced with the same question, what now? Who do we become when our everyday distractions are taken away and we have nowhere else to turn but to ourselves. In the swirl of 2020, how do you show up for yourself? How do you pick up a paintbrush when you’re being sent messages every morning reminding you of the number of deaths that happened just outside your door? How do we scoop the spill of frustration, empathy, malice, gratitude and hopelessness and more importantly, where do we put it? 

In the mainstream, like most things, art is only valued when created and consumed within the context of capitalism. It exists as a boarding pass through the class system but when no one's buying and you’re creating for the sake of creating, that's when the true quest for authenticity begins. 

Personally, 2020 was not just the closing of a chapter but rather an entire book. Authenticity is my new currency and anything outside of its realms is simply not worth pursuing. This is way easier said than done but the only way out is through. I’ve never written more than I have during the last 8 months, like my father I painted for the first time in years, I started journaling again and found my way back to the core of who I am,  a writer. 

So as we approach the tail end of one of the most trying years most of us have ever experienced I urge you to knock on the door of who you were before the ready set go of the rat race began and try to uncover the parts of yourself that spent years hidden by distraction. Are you secretly a carpenter? Have you always wondered what it would be like to catch a fish or do you ever feel the subtle tap on your shoulder to take a dance class? I say answer the call to passion and creation and see where it takes you because once you make the decision to live in your personal authenticity, the magic will follow. 

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