by Aaron Dowen -TheRebelDrop-

The tumbleweed is an invasive, destructive, and dead plant that blows its way through 48 of the contiguous states in the U.S. They displace native species, pile up against buildings, and even bury cars. What does this have to do with creators’ mental health? Keep reading.

How often do we each sit down and ponder on the things that we would like to be better at doing? There is nothing quite like the feeling of advancement. In video games, just as in real life, leveling up helps adjust your mindset. However, recognizing the next step is often the more difficult task that has to be faced. It is too simple to lie to ourselves and say that the next thing is obvious, even if we are struggling with identifying it internally. Herein lies the first tumble.

An important realization is to letting go of the things that we can not control. The selfishness of trying to control, and force balance on, things that other people are involved with only brings worry and pain. Taking a step back to consider how someone else views their own future is vital to your own personal growth, as well as the growth in your relationships. It can be messy, muddled, and often… full of weeds.

Once we acknowledge that there are things we can not control, we can begin to challenge ourselves to discover what that inner voice is actually telling us. Recognizing the importance of that inner voice is crucial to our creative survival. Let me make this a bit more personal. Have you examined where your inner voice comes from?

Personally, my parents taught me from a young age never to lean too far into my own understanding. There is always more to learn and explore. In effect, my inner voice sounds most like my parents’. There are moments of acute awareness and self-actualization, followed by intense obstinance. While my inner voice is typically calming in nature, it also seems to never shut up. Also, it seems to find no issue in attaching itself to worry, even if that worry sometimes (and often) spurs me to take action. 

My inner voice is shaped by the constant experience of life. Early on, it grew and thrived on my insecurities, and those seem to have attached themselves rather well. For too long, it served as a defense mechanism, often supplying harsh reality checks to those around me. That still creeps up, even if it is not as often. 

The loss of my best friend to suicide brought an empathetic echo to my inner voice. That has become an element of the voice that I swear to never lose. Still, the temperament of my earlier years is there, and I am constantly trying to remind it that thoughts are not always reality and that manipulation is evil in

You see, the tumbleweed is not a native plant to the United States and is actually called the Russian thistle. When you see it before it is dried up and dead, you would barely recognize it as the same plant. It is thorny, with purple and green notes that leave you wondering how the heck it ends up getting blown all over the nation. 

Even still, it has its season of growth, prosperity, beauty, and firm foundation. Like us, it has its rough edges, and sometimes the passion and life fade from its branches. So, if you catch yourself just blowing through towns and being destructive, or feeling dried up and lifeless; I urge you to remember that we are not actually tumbleweeds, and we have the ability to find that beauty in life once again.

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