maggie guo

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WHAT HAVE YOU STRUGGLED WITH DURING ISOLATION?

Being someone who really enjoys alone time, mandatory isolation isn't the worst thing, I've been able to fully focus on my art which has been amazing. When doing things though, I struggle with unrealistic expectations of my capabilities and create a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect instantly. This inner critic has caused me a lot of unnecessary stress, anxiety and doubt. Over the past couple of years, a lot of repressed and unaddressed issues were coming up and slapping me in the face so I had been dealing with depression and loneliness already. Over lockdown I began to  struggle with communication and reaching out for help/support, something I'm still really not comfortable with. 

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HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH THAT STRUGGLE?

I started to have beautiful conversations where pain, trauma and personal experiences were shared openly and objectively that started to show me I didn’t have to be a slave to my mind. It became so obvious that I have a choice in how I respond and that was fucking empowering. These sessions were the same, hearing mental health being discussed so honestly and that everyone was going through very similar things, helped me feel less alone and showed me a new way of interpreting my mental health. They inspired me to do things despite how anxious, scared, uncomfortable and uncertain I was and even attending the sessions during the peak of my anxiety, proved to me not giving in is a possibility.  Some other little things that have really helped as well are, journaling, expressing my feeling through art, reflecting on mental health through art, yoga, listening to podcasts and reading.

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WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND IN YOUR 5KMS?

I’ve lived in these same suburban streets for a very long time so I’m a little bit sick of it but every time I go for a walk, there would be so many dogs out, that makes me very happy. I also found this bridge that goes over the train tracks and one time I waved to a train as it was going under and the driver honked and waved back!! Definitely a highlight in my iso/life.

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This is the main piece that I've created in response to my mental health during isolation, through Shan/Flo Creative's Connect and Inspire Sessions.

These sessions were so fun, supportive and eye opening, all the artists involved are really incredible. It was so cool to see everyone's completely different ideas and approaches to creativity. I am extremely grateful to have been a part of it.

So taking inspiration from these sessions, I wanted to challenge myself to move away from what I'm comfortable with and push myself to try something new. That for me, was painting, creating with an overall concept and also working on a piece for a long period of time. 

This piece challenged me in all those ways and is a visual representation of my relationship with my mind. Through the long process, I learnt that self-doubt will always be present if I’m doing something worthwhile and that is I commit and persist through it the result will be much more rewarding than instant ego satisfaction. Most of all though I learnt to become comfortable in my discomfort :)

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