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  • Writer's pictureTyler Welton-Stewart

Notes on Solitudes (2021)

As my Solitudes collection is nearing its close, I wanted to take a moment to talk about my intentions for this set. My brief description goes as follows "A collection of contemplative pieces to provide a gentle foundation to embrace stillness, to embrace solitude, and to take time to deeply acknowledge emotions." Let me explain....

From a young age I have always found solace in solitude. Being quite introverted I have enjoyed my quiet moments whether it be hiding away reading, or listening to music with earphones and a dark room. I have also always been a gentle, sensitive soul, which was fine, until it wasn't. Human emotions are natural, and acknowledging these emotions, processing these emotions is vital to being a well-rounded, healthy individual. However, more so in recent years, we are told time and time again to hide these feelings. Get over them, supress them. In the last couple of years we have heard the term "toxic masculinity" thrown around quite frequently and I believe this is real, and is a dangerous threat. This is not a political term, this is what we have been teaching men for decades, and it is harmful. Feelings and emotions are a natural part of us that need to be expressed, and keeping things bottled up is unhealthy at best, and dangerous at worst. Women are belittled for embracing emotions, men are feminised for it. Emotions are not a gender issue, they are a human issue, an issue of sentience.

As mentioned, I have always been sensitive, to a dangerous degree sometimes. When I was sixteen years old I was diagnosed with depression as a result of homophobic bullying and self harm. I was letting my emotions consume me until there came a day I would wake up and feel nothing but emptiness. It was a scary moment in my life but I grew, I learned, and became a stronger person. To this day I still believe very strongly in taking time to re-focus, see where I'm at mentally, and really go into how I'm feeling. There is a balance to be found indeed - a question of what is healthy, and what's destructive. Having always been a bit of an overthinker, this has definitely been a challenge I've had to wrestle with. When all is said and done, however, I'd still prefer to feel, and perhaps feel a bit too much, than go back to the days where I felt nothing but dark.

Emotions need to be acknowledged for us to grow and learn, to become better people. Stop letting society tell you to push them down, sweep them away. Take time to be alone, take time to unpack. Clear your head and allow yourself to have some tough conversations with yourself. Take solitude as an opportunity to unburden yourself.

I embrace stillness, and welcome the opportunity to truly reflect and acknowledge thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a deeper level. Looking beyond "happiness", "sadness", and instead thinking beyond: "comfort", "nostalgia", "grief", "pain".

These three Solitudes are the first in hopefully a greater collection to hopefully provide a gentle musical foundation, a safe soundscape to find a moment of stillness and to give the listener a chance to examine emotions on a more intimate, intense level.

I look so forward to writing the third piece in this collection, and hope to write further volumes. These solitudes are your safe place. A place of repose. Think back to Neanderthals living in caves, those caves were their safe place. Do not let anyone belittle you, or trivialise your emotions. Do not allow anyone to make fun of your need of a safe space to reflect, and decompress. After all, we have needed these places for thousands of years already.

- Tyler

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