The Beginning XO

This year has been a bit of a shit show for everyone, but there is one thing that 2020 has made abundantly clear… we need a new beginning in 2021.

There is no doubt that we individually faced multiple challenges at once. Although at times it was heart-breaking, we were still able to get an insight into what is happening both around us and within us. I’m sure many of you were able to learn more about yourselves during quarantine, questioning what it is you were brought here to do.

So for 2021, let’s look forward to a new beginning… One that can bring back some playfulness into our lives. One that brings about growth from what we have learned about ourselves and our cities. One where no duck is running a country… thank fuck.

the hoodie design

The artwork features two jellyfish at ‘play’, flowing in a circular motion. But why jellyfish? Well, jellyfish can sense changes in the water in order to move along and/or against the tide which shows off their ability to change direction despite the force of nature. It comes to no surprise that they are quite a resilient species.

The design holds quite a lot of meaning… so what else do YOU see?

Paint Me

I’m like a piece of paper, just like you.

I’ve been brought into this world, not by choice but by someone else.

I am living a life with scars from my past.

Scars that do not change my potential to become anything; an illustration, a crane, a plane or anything else that is no less than extraordinary.

Scars that show that I have lived a life that is different from the one that you have lived.

Yet you do nothing but paint me into the vision of your prejudice.

Fuck you.

How I Draw Things (Time-Lapse): Hey, Doll.

More and more young women are scrutinising themselves because of all the ‘likes’ of certain other girls and ladies on these social media accounts. They start studying what parts of the female body are ‘desirable’. Couple that with all these famous people promoting plastic surgery, like Kylie Jenner, who has the most likes/followers in the world. Subconsciously this creates an idea of ‘the most desired’ person due to being the most popular on social media. These young women/followers then start to change themselves to become more like Kylie (in this example). Sometimes physically changing themselves as well. Just to be ‘desired’, to please and get approval from strangers who scrutinise them on social media.

There is another side to the coin, where these women feel empowered and confident by changing certain traits that they do not like… is this a debate that will carry weight in the future?

R U OK?

R U OK?

Today is to recognise that mental health affects everyone and it doesn’t discriminate. Remember that it’s a serious issue that can lead to drastic measures, but by asking someone a simple question like “are you okay?” you can help someone in need.

My life as a young adult was in a constant battle with the many burdens of my mind. It was a constant spiral of sorrow, remorse, ecstasy and an unremarkable amount of self-loathing. The only thing that got me away was a bottle and more. Having succumbed to depression, I consistently turned to substances that got me shit faced four days of the week and hated myself for the other three.

I started a blog, The Mind & The Milky Way, which became a series of poems & stories that reflected the monotony of modern life. It was to express the juxtaposition of it all; the promised life of a man (and woman) and the reality of. Each written piece was like a band-aid that made things feel a little better… but after publishing each post a ball of anxiety would flurry over me. I tried my best to move along, giving myself a break between each post to manage the anxiety. It seemed that I found a place where I can be true to myself. Everyone thought of me as the happiest man they’d ever meet. But beneath all the intoxicated surface, was a man who was intoxicating himself because he couldn’t give two shits anymore.

During 2016’s New Year’s Eve, anxiety got the best of me. So, I sat home with a bottle of wine, numbing my thoughts in peace. I only went outside to watch the fireworks and came back home to stare at a blank sheet of paper. I touched my pen to the paper and started drawing. This was the new beginning.

I drew something every day, and not long after, I did the same with the guitar. My heart started to feel warmer, and soon I was smiling. It was unforced and pure. The overall effect it had on me and my mentality was rejuvenating. There are relapses, sure. I self-criticised myself to oblivion, telling myself that I was an incompetent prick like; “Why is your art so shit. Look at this art piece on Instagram. Why can’t you be like that? You are so shit.”

As the days went by, I continued to spiral from feeling self-accomplished to self-doubt. But as my skills developed so did my perception of the things around me, like art. At some point it just hit me, and I realised I was thinking different. My thoughts were no longer questions but aspirations; “This art piece… is amazing… I’m going to make something this good one day”.

I started admiring the process. I saw things in a positive light to aspire rather than compare. I started feeling okay. I am what I am, and that is okay. I can only make something out of what I have currently, and that is okay. If I want to achieve something greater, I have to work for it. If today I’m shit, tomorrow I could be better. If someone exceeds me, remember that they might have worked three times longer and harder than I have currently. But always remember that progress is still something to look forward to. So smile.

It’s cliche and is as obvious as Trump is an idiot, but experiencing this ‘revelation’ first hand is what gets me up every day. I get up and look forward to be creative. For some strange reason, art had triggered a more positive mentality. A better state of mind.

This year, 2020, has been a piece of shit for everyone. But it did give more time to reflect. To be honest, the COVID-19 pandemic has given me so much inspiration; it has been a cruel reminder that no individual has control over what happens in this universe. It’s both depressing and refreshing. Juxtaposed in nature, this crisis is a destructive virus yet also a medicinal healer for the world. We are merely humans, animals and living organisms in a single fucking Milky Way. We control only one individual in a whole eco-system. No single person can cause a change, but as a community, great waves are formed.

Mental health has deteriorated exponentially during the pandemic, and so I am motivated to help those in a way that holds true to me, through art. I know that everyone is different, but I have experienced the positive effect of practising art first-hand and want to provide the opportunity for others to do so.

If you managed to read through this whole passage, I would like to thank you for staying with me. Having gone through, and dealing with, depression and various mental issues, I am passionate about helping others with their mental health. I hope this can shine a light as to why I’m doing what I’m doing and how we can work together as individuals, artists and art enthusiasts to form a community to promote and support better mental health.

Please visit @mindthemilkyway and our website: www.mindthemilkyway.com

Sign up for a free membership and get discounts on your Milky Way Products – we are currently working with Black Dog Institute to raise funds [read more].

Much love,

@jatney

Igniting Delirium

A puff to blow the worries away. A sip of giggles to help waste the night away. Have another puff, then repeat. The night started early; so we roll another, pop-off some caps and repeat. As the air filled with smoke, I notice my body and my mind finally feel at ease after the day’s toil. Oh, how I longed for this moment, every day.

Porter is sitting on the edge of the couch, twiddling his fingers, legs shaking and eyes swaying from side to side.

“Yo Porter. You alright?”

“I… um.. I think… I… I will… walk… I will walk home now.”

He jumps and walks straight out of the door.

“What was that about?”

I look at Dennis, puzzled. I guess that’s that. What else is there to say? The guy wasn’t enjoying our company, huh. The man went straight on home. It’s pretty early though, the night had only just begun. Porter woudl usually be up for a big one.

*black out*

Waking up, I am to exist once again… nursing a drought in my head. I get out of my cradle, and roll one. Inhale… exhale… much better, and just in time for sundown. I always hate myself for doing this every weekend. But I just have to accept it, this is me. My weekend-being. Inhale… Exhale… A sack of shit who never sees the damn daylight. I stare out into the horizon as dusk slowly blanketed the city. You piece of shi-

~BRANGGGG BRANNNGGGG~

Fucksakes. Who is it? I just wanted to enjoy this before I do anything. Inhale… Exhale… Sigh…

Me: “Hello-“

Tash:”Can you come over?! RIGHT NOW! I NEED HELP! It’s Porter!”

Damn it! That sounded urgent. Shit. I sprint to my room and grab any clothing that isn’t my robe. Straight down to Porter’s place. He’s not too far away.

As I get there, I jump the fence and notice the glass sliding door was slightly open. I let myself in only to find a horror scene. The white walls are covered in holes, a knife in one.

Me: “He-Hello? Porter?! Tash?!”

No response. What the fuck is happening?! I scramble around the house, trying to find any other clues. The place is a mess. The positive? No sign of blood. Thank God. 

I walk out to the street, trying to get a hold of Tash. I roll one. Inhale… Exhale… I look down the street, phone cusping my ear, and I see Tash walking towards me. As she got closer, I see her wearing a face of despair, and yet she seems oddly calm. The fuck?

Me: “Tash! What’s happening? Where’s Porter?”

Tash: “Ah… yeah… you know… Porter just had a bit of an episode, so I just got out of there to get away for a bit. He does this. If he’s not home, then he’s probably out somewhere. Sorry I called, it just gets a bit scary when he’s like this… I know you guys hang out a lot.”

A bit of an episode? He does this? So this has happened before? Or rather it happens more often than you’d like. Despite her calm demeanor, I can’t help but think of horrific scenarios in my head. Inhale… exhale… I take my phone out to call Porter. He sounds drunk.

Porter: “Hey dood~ What’s up?”

Me: “Hey, where are you?”

Porter: “Whaat? I ca-“

Me: “Where… ARRR–“

Porter: “I can’t hear you! I’m out right n-“

Me: “I’ll just text you.”

I send him a message and he invites me out to get drunk. I accept his offer, BUT… not to get drunk, only to clear things up and make sure he is okay. He wants me to go to a bar, so I went. I get there and its packed as usual. I see him in the crowd standing alone with a beer in each hand and just observing. I take two steps and I already start feeling a little queasy… I’ve never felt so uncomfortable approaching him. So I nod at him, he nods back. I go to the bar… one drink, two drinks, three, four… I lose count…

What is happening? Where am I? 

I suddenly feel a numbness in my nose and a lump in my throat. I start to feel brand new. Wow! What a great night this is panning out to be! Damn, this is exactly why Porter is such a wildcard.

I didn’t notice before but the sun is coming up. Holy shit. Where did the night go? Seriously, I swear I was just there for a couple of hours. So here we are, Porter and I walking back home… we didn’t say a single word.

We get back to his house and Porter sits on his chair on the front porch. I roll one; inhale… exhale… pass it on, repeat. I look up… knife. Ah, shit. I forgot about that…

Porter: “… Yeah… I can get REALLY nasty when my medication don’t arrive…”

I guess he noticed me staring at it. He continued his story. How his parents turned to feeding him medication at a young kid as a means of not having to deal with him. For as long as he remembers, he’s been given all sorts of medication for his ‘disabilities’. This explains why he has such a high tolerance. Disability though? He seems… dare I say, normal? But then again, when he doesn’t get his medication he gets fueled with rage. It’s strange… ever since I’ve known him, I felt like he was a very decent person and completely competent. People did describe him as a bit of an oddball, I never thought of him in that way at all. But then again, I think every single person I meet is weird, never in a bad way, but that’s what makes everyone ‘normal’. People are just weird.

Porter passes me the last toke, “hey… I’m sorry I left so suddenly the other night. I just… Sometimes… I get a weird feeling and I can’t focus… I get these images in my head… It’s… it’s hard to describe.”

I told him, “It’s okay man. You don’t need to apologise for leaving early at all, if you have to go you have to go.” 

A family walks pass the front porch.

“Ah fuck…“, I sighed.

Inhale… exhale….

“…that’s my cue to go home.”

That night has continued to mark a stain on my mind. I don’t even want to imagine what he’s going through. All I can say is that this experience was the door to a world that I knew existed, but never truely understood. The days go by, and weeks past. I’d roll one, sometimes two after each day to relax and feel at ease. I started to notice my habits and addictions. Were any of them ever necessary? What would happen if I were to take one of them away? Thinking back, I was an alcoholic. Giving excuses like “I just party a lot”, while I numb myself down with almost anything and everything. Completely dependent. I had to start confronting that person, that coward that I see every morning pissing in the toilet bowl. It’s time to stop, feel everything, embrace what the world has to offer. Cold turkey.

I remember that final weekend. The weekend of a new beginning. I was going to get everything out of my system. So, I rolled one; inhale… exhale… take a swig… inhale exhale… repeat. Once everything is blurry, I numbed my face until I felt like a king. Then, lights out. I passed out.

I woke up again, with a drought in my head. Nothingness. That was what filled my head. I got up and rolled one. Hold on. I wasn’t supposed to do this. So I placed it back on the table and just sat on the balcony. I watched people below me. My vision blurred. My legs started to shake uncontrollably. My fingers twiddled around in circular motions as my jaw tightened. My eyes started… rolling… rolling… rolling…