May is Mental Health Awareness Month


CW: mention of self harm and mental illness

I’ve lived with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for almost 2 decades. My 20s are mostly a blur of deep sadness and hopelessness, punctuated only by memories of things I failed at, leaving a promising job, dropping out of school, leaving my childhood religion, even failing at suicide added to my darkness. It took me nearly 10 years to finally reach out to a therapist, and several more to find one that helped me to see myself in a way that wasn’t covered in shame and worthlessness. I finally began to hope that I might have purpose in my life. I finally began to believe that I maybe deserved to feel whole. I started trying to find medications to help me. And, luckily for me, they did.

That’s why I loved this article on The Establishment, Treating Mental Illness Doesn’t Ruin Creativity, by Sarah Bronson. She talks to three artists about how their mental illness, and how treating it, affects their work. Treating my MDD and PTSD is what gave me the freedom to begin exploring my creativity, the freedom from self-fulfilling doubts that stopped me from ever trying to create, from that voice that whispered, “you’re not good enough to do that” and “you don’t have anything worth saying.”

I’ve learned that self-care is an essential part of maintaining my mental health, and these sketches of “boring self-care” by Hannah Daisy of @MakeDaisyChains spoke to my soul. Went outside has been my only win on many, many days. Click through to her Instagram account to see her fantastic illustrations on mental health.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 7.04.26 PM
From Hannah Daisy, @makedaisychains

To close out Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope you take time to reach out to your friends and family. Listen to their stories, sit with them, hold your embarrassment and their awkwardness in the space between you. There are so many things we can talk about for Mental Health – ending the stigma, the lack of resources and how that intersects with relying on police to provide intervention, the high rates of successful suicides for second attempts, the comorbidity with substance abuse, falsely correlating violence with mental illness, and so much more. All of these discussion are important and real. But for this May, hold your loved ones in your heart a little longer. Hear them. Believe them. The best thing any one has ever done for me, in the midst of a depressive episode both deep and long, was to hold on to me while I cried and simply say, “I know it hurts. I’m here.”

(I love you, C)




Unseen Darkness

Content Warning: violence against women, child abuse

artist: Thiviyaa Sehasothy

Unseen Darkness - Thiviyaa Sehasothy, 2017

Unseen Darkness

12 in. x 12 in.

acrylic on canvas



Unseen Darkness - Manivillie Poem
Poetry by Manivillie Kanagasabapathy
Dilani Bala - Portrait Reference
Photography by Dilani Bala


From the artist: This collaboration was the result of a complete domino effect that all started with an organization, ‘ANBU‘ (Abuse Never Becomes Us). ANBU does important work focused on childhood sexual abuse. They are abolishing the taboo and stigma associated with abuse and the effect of abuse growing rampant within the Tamil community, as it is in many others.

I am so excited to share this painting and collaboration between artist Thiviyaa Sehasothy, poet Manivillie Kanagasabapathy, and photographer Dilani Bala with you. Click through to read more about the process and cause on Thiviyaa’s website! Links to all three collaborators’ social media can be found below or on the contributor page. Please click through and follow their work. It is both beautiful and important.



Artist & painter, Thiviyaa Sehasothy is the hand behind ‘Art By Thiviyaa’ in Toronto. Her paintings have bold & heavy brushstrokes, bright colours and are greatly influenced by her experiences, travels and the world around her. She creates painting to not just capture a mere moment, but instead the experience of fluidity, emotions and movement through time. An evolving narrative. See her portfolio on her website, and on Instagram & Facebook.

A Toronto based poet, Manivillie Kanagasabapathy draws inspiration from everyday moments. Finding her way back to poetry, Manivillie completed a poem a day challenge in 2016, where she successfully wrote 366 poems. Check out her poems on her website, Instagram, or follow her on Facebook.

Dilani Bala is a Tamil-Canadian visual artist with a passion to study the human condition through portraiture. Check out her work on TumblrFacebook, and Instagram.

© Author/Artists retain all rights to reprint, publish, license and/or sell their Work.

With Sage and Cedar

by: Kimberly deLeon

Image description: a tree on fire is reflected in a small lake on a brown ground. There is a rock to the right, and an out of focus house in the foreground.

With Sage and Cedar

13 in. x 9 in.

digital photograph


From the artist: With Sage and Cedar explores fire as a purifying cleansing force. It’s peaceful in its power and beautiful in its destruction, because the destruction is an important part of growth and change. The red roof hut here is my home with my husband and children. It’s the sprouting me that has grown out of the purification of the old me(s). Or, more broadly, it’s the embrace of self, of woman, of becoming a truer self.

Kimberly deLeon started Lift Magazine in the spring of 2017 as a personal project to both create and seek out socially responsible art. She is a recovering scientist, a recovering Mormon, and a recovering know it all. Her creative endeavors include baking, photography, and creative writing, but she would rather spend all that time watching British TV. She and her husband live in Fort Worth, Texas with their two children and their Yorkie, BamBam.

© Author/Artist retains all rights to reprint, publish, license and/or sell their Work.



It’s Wednesday!

Let’s widen our online reading!

Please click through and read Vrai Kaiser’s essay, “Nobody to Wear” on Popularium. It’s a beautiful look at identity, seeing yourself, and that adolescent feeling of not believing your outside can ever match your inside.

And then click over to Feminist Current for the provocative, “You’ve Heard of Rape Culture, but Have You Heard of Pedophile Culture?” I don’t want us to ever get into the trap of shaming other women for the choices they make with their bodies, but this resonated strongly, every summer when I feel compelled to shave my body baby smooth, every time I see those flirty 50s dresses that keep coming back in style with their petticoats you’d put on a toddler as soon as a grown woman. We want to live in a society where women and men can make free choices about their personal expression, but we don’t live in that society. Not yet.

And finally, a great meme by Jerilyn Hassell Pool, found on facebook.


What have you been reading this week? What’s challenged you?

It’s Monday!

Time to check your privilege!

Check out Vellum and Vinyl’s post on facebook about male aggression (CW: click through for a series of 9 photos showing comments from men and women discussing their experiences with their bodily reactions to male anger and aggression).

Now, now, now, before we get all #notallmen, let’s remember what checking our privilege is all about. It’s about listening to the the experiences of others. It’s about sitting in the discomfort those experiences might bring us. It’s about asking ourselves, where have my behaviors contributed to these experiences. And it’s about committing to believing the truth’s of our neighbors and stopping our behaviors that add to their discomfort.

Here’s a preview, but click through to read the whole thing.



Women’s History Month

As Women’s History Month comes to a close this year, it’s difficult not to think about how the role of women continues to be viewed and limited, as evidenced by the election of The Orange Menace. If anything his victory taught me (like so many other privileged people that could choose to stay blind for so long) just how pervasive misogyny and racism continue to be in this country.

I want to close out this year’s Women’s History Month by highlighting women in history that have been hidden and marginalized. We have to see it to believe it. Continue reading “Women’s History Month”