Who Am I?

Standing on a balcony at a mountaintop retreat in Vermont, loving the wind and the surrounding mountains.

Standing on a balcony at a mountaintop retreat in Vermont, loving the wind and the surrounding mountains. Link below.

Good Question

I am in the process of figuring that out. It’s a lifelong venture, fitting all the pieces of your life together, right?

And it’s not just a matter of finding those pieces, even though as a survivor of incest that’s a pretty big deal.

It’s also about arranging and rearranging them in the ebb and flow of our living, because unlike physical puzzles, the pieces of our lives are as fluid as the meanings we give them.

I can say with certainty that I’m an artist, writing is my medium, and words — written, spoken and sung — are the primary colors on my palette.

Creative expression is as much a part of me as breathing. It’s an integral part of my healing, the venue through which I connect with my spirituality and the way in which I use my voice.

Keeping the Dream is the Art of Creating

Keeping the Dream, as a blog, is an emphatic YES to the art of playing and creating. It’s an invitation to experiment and explore, to dabble in the arts for fun and to trust its purpose.

It’s the adobe bus stop on the other side of a highway in New Mexico, that I ventured across by myself, when I was five, just for the pleasure of hearing my voice bounce off in song against the walls.

It’s the living room where I used to twirl round and round in a flowing dress to Swan Lake, when I was seven, and the steel Royal typewriter on which I hammered out my first “novel”, when I was nine.

Thinking of this blog as a marketing tool or an author’s platform has all but stopped me from creating here. So I’m divesting myself of those expectations.

I deactivated my SEO software that was telling me to edit my words before they barely had a chance to find themselves on the page.

I’m saying no to focusing on writing content that’s geared for social media or prioritizing my efforts to achieve a higher ranking on Google.

I just want to create. I want to play. I see value in marketing, and will approach it again sometime, but with new relationship.

Right now, I need to go where I will actually show up.

Keeping the Dream is a Remembering

Keeping the Dream is the spark in you that doesn’t go out, even when it seems it has. Even if you come to a place where you stop believing in dreams in general, never mind yours.

My story has its hard scenes and dark chapters —  sex abuse and emotional abuse in my childhood, mental illness in my family, racism and sexism that reinforced the sense of being inherently flawed.

Perhaps the most egregious abuse is that my survival depended on denying reality right before my eyes, within my own body and experience. And a father who insisted on it. I became so good at compartmentalizing that it became my template for living, a template of denial and trauma-bonding that played out in every relationship I had, including the one with myself.

But that’s not the whole story. From earliest childhood on, there’s an unfaltering theme that weaves itself throughout my life — my creativity, dance, poetry, drawing, stories, music, all of which gave me a sense of wholeness. All of which kept the spark, the truth of who I was, safe.

I had books that became my refuge, words written by people who dared to. Stories of animals and people overcoming great odds that inspired me and took me away, even momentarily, into another world.

Those moments saved me, gave me something to hold on to and hope for.

There was the refuge of Nature. The crook of a tree was my safety, and the low hanging sun behind blades of grass, my sacred. My sweet, sweet dogs taught me unconditional love. And a lone bird singing before the dawn showed me how to create through the darkest times.

I wrapped these experiences in my art.

I couldn’t speak the reality of my life for the longest time, but I was always able to express the truth of my being through my creativity. It’s how I processed my reality. It’s how I made sense of the world.

It still is.

Who I Am

So that is who I am. I’m an artist, a dreamer and a fierce believer that we are more than we think we are; more than how we are treating each other and our planet.

And that we’re worth fighting for, humanity and earth.

I have a long history of activism, which I will share in my posts, but this I think is a good introduction of who I am as a person, and I wrote it without an SEO plugin telling me to fix it.

If you read nothing else, you’ll get a sense of who I am.

But I hope you will read more. Because I would like to continue my path with you, your company and your thoughts. Because one thing I learned this year is that writing is not a solitary venture. No creative act is.

We need each other, even in what appears to be a solitary endeavor like writing.

And after having a taste of this kind of connection, I want to expand my community of creatives, which is to say, any person who wants more out of life than what someone else has said is all they merit.

So welcome. Fellow artists, creatives, dreamers and every heart that hopes or longs to again.

See you around.

Demian Yumei,
~ Keeping the Dream

[Thank you to Marianne and Bob at Above the Clouds Retreat in Vermont for gifting me with this writing retreat and nourishing of the soul. ]

View from my writing table on a rainy day at Above the Clouds Retreat in Vermont