On Friday March 24th Amy Bleuel, founder of the Semi-colon Project died by suicide, the next week on Friday March 31st Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow flag died in his sleep at his Harlem apartment.
It did'nt hit me until today how these two individuals changed the two most important times of my life, they have forever left a mark on me.
When I was 16 years old I came out of the closet, the gay flag for me represented a freedom to be me, no matter what street I was walking down in The Village or Chelsea in New York I would see a sea of these flags. I knew I was safe and surrounded by my fellow LGBTQ community, see they fought for that freedom before the gay flag was created in 1978. Gilbert an artist and lifelong activist created the rainbow flag for the 1978 Gay Freedom Day celebration in San Francisco which is now an internationally recognized symbol of LGBTQ pride. How incredible is it to want to share something good that helps others feel accepted and loved, to feel that there is hope for change.
Just like Amy Bleuel who created the Semi-Colon Project, does she know how she changed my life, how this simple symbol attached to her struggle and courage to talk about mental illness and depression out in the open saved me. I would never be the same again, a permanent tattoo marks my wrist on the same arm that I allowed to do harm to me. I was now reminded everyday that my struggle will pass, just like millions of others whose lives she touched , saved and forever changed.
I don't know if I will ever create something so large that affects millions of people but I do know that if it helps just one then that in itself is a miracle. There are so many of you that share things with me and don't even know that it has left a mark and made a difference.
I can tell you that I didn't know about Gilbert before his death and at the time I decided to get the semi-colon tattoo all I knew about Amy is she struggled like me with depression, and she told me on my online search that I'm not alone and my story doesn't have to be over.
I have been in Ubud, Bali for the last 2 days and this has been a time to allow myself to receive and not give. Keeping my intentions on healing myself and staying open to receive any mental, physical and spiritual help. I have been flooded with what I needed, a chance to recharge my battery and to accept the things that have brought me here as a blessing. My life is and will forever be a learning experience.
Today's lesson was in accepting my humanness, accepting responsibility, looking at where I had been wrong. I am not expected to be perfect and I should'nt expect that of myself, I put myself back where I needed to be, surrounding myself with a support system.
After an afternoon of walking around I went to my first Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing Meditation, We laid down on mats with our heads facing the center as our teacher explained that our thoughts would wander, our goal was to focus on the sound until the sound enveloped our body. After 30 mins of battling my thoughts I had a 3-5 sec complete vibration and meditative state, my left arm levitated about 1" off the mat and a tear fell from my left eye.
BAM!!! forever changed, reminded again that I can truly be in the present and heal if I am open to it. At the end of the class I sat and stared at the trees behind the teacher who was packing up his stuff, all of sudden I just start repeating in my head "Thank you, Thank you for saving me, Thank you for showing me a different way, Thank you for giving me hope, Thank you for giving me another day, Thank you for allowing me to be open and having willingness...Thank you" Before I started saying this the trees were calm, not moving, when I said the final Thank you, I stared and the trees leaves started to shake, vibrated and made a sound so loud I could hear it through the glass, then it instantly stopped. It sounded like it said "Your'e Welcome". Then I cried.
So here's the point to this weeks blog. Amy and Gilbert had something to share and if they listened to the people that said leave the past in the past, or don't share that stuff about your depression, or a flag is stupid then millions of people wouldn't have received such a gift.
So if you stop yourself from doing something because someone else may think its dumb, then you don't get to help that one person that needed to hear it. So if your'e like me say loud and proud that you think the rustling tree leaves spoke to you, share your story, be open and unafraid, surround yourself with people that can guide you.
And most importantly say Thank You even if its just in your head, say it even when its hard.
So Thank You, To my Higher Power, to everyone that has supported me, thank you Amy Bleuel and Gilbert Baker. Thank you
Love and Serenity, Jamie