Rachel Kelly Davis describes herself as "a digital marketer, a mother, a friend, a frustrated musician, and a terrible photographer". But, at the core of it all, she says, "I am a writer". Rachel and I met at an art gallery when I stopped her in her tracks to tell me who she was and why I felt like I knew her. It turns out we had never been introduced, but there began an unlikely friendship that has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. The two things we had in common? Healing and words.
Rachel has lent her words to Healing Minds PH before, but I wanted to interview her to find out more about her craft and her own method for self-healing. At the young age of 15, Rachel wrote a Youngblood column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, sharing her thoughts and opinions with many. "I've always loved writing", she said, but lately she has had many call her just to listen to their concerns. It's no surprise though, because the gift of holding space is something Rachel does quite well. But as a writer? There is a rhythm to her method which she shares below:
G: I notice that you have a way with words, and that is probably why I am so drawn to your friendship - because we can discuss things and be creative about them. What is your relationship to words? Language? Expression?
R: I love words. I love expressing myself through words. There is something about a beautiful word and/or a beautifully expressed thought that really just hits the centre of me. I think [this passion for it came from] my parents. They really encouraged me to read--and read everything I could--growing up so the love for the written word definitely came from them.
Why is this important to you?
Writing is important to me because it helps me express myself and it is a good release. It's a good way to sort through emotions and thoughts as well.
It really helps me reflect.
Your posts tell a story, no matter how short they seem, there is always depth to the reasons why they were written that way and how they were written. Where do you think that comes from? And why?
That, honestly--and it sounds cheesy, always comes from the heart. I write what I need to release from within. A lot of what I write doesn't make it onto my blog or my index cards. What you see has already gone through the great filter of anxiety! Haha!
The filter of anxiety! And yet after all the filtering, the essence of that truth still manages to come right through. Could you tell me a little bit more about what authenticity means to you and how you align yourself with it?
Authenticity is aligned with honesty. It is easy to be honest with other people about facts--we are taught this from a young age, to tell the truth. It is harder to be honest with them about feelings and thoughts we are "ashamed" to say. That difficulty becomes even harder when it has to be pointed inward. So I think authenticity means being willing to be honest with yourself and forgive yourself for the ugliness of some of those truths.
You align yourself with your authenticity by listening to yourself and forgiveness.
In what ways do you find that authenticity rewards you?
It helps me be a better writer. If I can look at an ugly thought, accept that I have had this thought, know where it comes from, work through that issue, and forgive myself for it then I stand a better chance of writing something good, writing something that resonates with people a bit more.
In order to be authentic we need to first acknowledge that there are parts of us that are “missing” or “false” in some way. What was it about yourself that made you realize it was time to re-calibrate?
I really lost myself for a little while the past seven years or so. I was sacrificing who I was in order to please others. That changed a few months after I gave birth to my child. I wanted to be real for her. And I wanted the world I was going to bring her up in to be as authentic as possible.
What helped you through the discovery process?
Writing is something I have always been passionate about, but it did take the back burner for a while. I met several people who were actively pursuing their passion, against all odds, and that really woke me up and inspired me. It forced me to think about what I was doing and why, and whether or not I was happy with what I was doing and where I was in my life at the time.
It sounds like you’ve been through quite a lot and yet all of this has enriched your journey. May I know what modalities called out to you to help you through this healing journey?
I really just reached out to my friend, Isabel Robles, who is a healer. For some reason, instinctively, I knew she would not only understand how I was feeling, but also how to guide me through that very rough period. Her healing modalities are reiki and tarot. Isabel also recommended me to Tin Jacinto, who practices spiritual dowsing.
How do you think these have helped your own wounds and issues?
I have heard people refer to healing modalities as "pop psychology." I honestly see why they would describe it as that. These different techniques help people open up and release, and that is very healing.
Why not see a “professional”? Did you?
I did also see a professional or "traditional" psychologist that I still sometimes see. She also helps in phenomenal ways. Because she is more traditional, she is "stricter" with me. She sets goals and she anchors everything in science, which I also like.
As someone who uses words to express what is in her heart and soul, what role do you think creative writing takes on the healing journey?
A HUGE role. Being able to express what is in your heart is so liberating and healing. It's a leap of faith in both yourself and in others to just put your work out there, and whether people hate it or love it, the very act of having created and shared is healing. It has made me braver, and it has also helped me accept myself more.
What is one way that we can use creative writing to start healing the wounds of our psyches?
Just addressing or writing down all the things we are afraid to say. That's already healing. It doesn't even have to "make sense," a simple free-writing exercise where you go through your anxieties, fears, frustrations, etc. can really help you jumpstart the healing process.
Can you suggest an activity that we can start with to help us dig deeper and connect with our creative spirit?
Free writing! Let that stream of consciousness just flow. You will find gems in the rambling. I promise!
What advice can you give someone who is struggling to find their creativity?
Meditate. If you can clear your mind, find your centre, you will find that root of your artistry.
Can creativity be found in everybody?
YES. We are all artists, right? We just unlearn it? One way we can revive that creativity is to sit down together. I'm sure that if I sit down with someone and ask them what about what they do, we will find a creative outlet to consider.
Where can we find more of your work?
You can follow me on Instagram at @arkaydee. I put my index cards on there before leaving them in random corners of the world (really! all over the world!) OR you can check out my site http://arkaydee.com for more written work, quotable quotes, and videos (coming soon!)
Watch out for more of Rachel on Healing Minds PH as she tells us more about her healing journey and other ways to explore the rubble inside. Rachel will be co-authoring the blog in 2018 and I couldn't be more excited! Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your truths with us in this interview.