This week on Small Talk, we sat down with Conscious Creative, Sister Cody, to chat about difficult times that make us stronger, embracing each step on our journeys to healing, and being the fullest and truest expressions of ourselves.
“It’s like I’m tapping into something that’s so much greater than me.”
Sister Cody is well-known and a much appreciated creative, spreading light, love, positivity, and healing messages through his social platforms (@sistercody). With nearly 200K followers admiring, sharing, and relating to his work, some of which being top models and celebrities, we wanted to know at what point this conscious creative merged his artistic passion with compassion.
“It’s crazy; I have a very different story. I didn’t get into art until later in my life, and I won’t get into my entire story, but I was in a really dark place. I was faced with depression, anxiety, paranoia, and schizophrenia for almost six years straight, every single day.”
Not having the knowledge towards which tools would free himself from his state of mind, Cody found himself in a deep and dark mentality, spending day after day living in a self-imposed prison.
“I didn’t have a single utensil to make art; I didn’t even know how to make art. It wasn’t anything that I cared to even think about. I just wanted to be free from the suffering.”
Spending six painful years searching for a sense of freedom, Cody turned to books, meditation, and truly anything that would give himself and his overactive mind some space and clarity.
“I put in a lot of work, day in and day out, really anything that would provide me a sense of freedom. As a result of freeing my spirit and getting in touch with my soul, this art just kind of came naturally. It’s funny; it seems like at times I shouldn’t even take credit for it because I’ll just be sitting there meditating, taking care of myself, and the whole picture or poem will show up in my mind’s eye, and all I have to do is grab it.”
Our healing journeys can take many different shapes and forms. For some, it may look like writing, putting pen to paper as a tool to clear our minds. For others, it may look like physical activity, pushing our bodies and minds beyond their previous limits. For Cody, his healing journey took the form of artwork, colorful doodles, and drawings that embody self-love and going within.
“My healing journey is really just expressed through my art.”
Sister Cody has chosen to walk down a path of self-expression, fearlessly being himself. In today’s world, it seems that so many people are afraid to express their authenticity, and because of this, they choose to bottle themselves up.
We all have beautiful gifts to share, and the sooner we step away from fear and into fearlessness, the sooner we can share our gifts with the world.
“Ever since I was a kid, I don’t know why, but I always just knew the world was backwards. I’d be talking to people, and I couldn’t understand who they were pretending to be. I couldn’t get any sense of self, and I just felt like I didn’t want to go down that road.”
From a young age, all Cody wanted to be was himself. With a supportive and loving mother encouraging him to be himself and nothing else, Cody was raised with the limitless belief that he could do and be anything he wanted.
“Luckily, my mom has been my best friend and my biggest fan, and she just always thought I was the coolest. She was always in my corner, telling me to keep doing my thing and that I could change the world. And when you’re brought up like that, really nothing can make you believe otherwise.”
With a support team like his, all Cody ever aspired to truly be was himself.
Speaking with Cody, it was immediately evident that his personal inner light and outer glow radiantly shone for all to see. In carrying such a big, beautiful smile on his face, one couldn’t help but smile right back.
One of the more prominent messages that Cody’s artwork embodies is being at home within ourselves, knowing that everything we need is already ours.
Yet, so many people seem to spend the majority of their lives searching for something that’s been within themselves all along.
“I think that it comes down to the society that we’re raised in. Even unconsciously, if you look at marketing and really everything we see daily, it's kind of painting this picture of what success or happiness should look like.”
Success and happiness are often projected into society as a more or less falsely romanticized finish line. With cool cars, lots of money, and perfect bodies being society's staple of ‘making it,’ we’re left to question what really matters.
“I think that a lot of people have to go on that journey, accomplishing many of the things that they believed would fulfill them, just to realize that that’s not it.”
We are made to believe that riches and power will fulfill us, yet only after the attainment do we realize that the material world will never truly grant us the wholeness we’ve been searching for.
“It is scary to break out of that. It’s scary not to want to go along with what everyone else is doing, people will look at you weirdly, and it can be lonely at times. It takes faith and courage, but it’s the coolest thing in the world.”
Cody wishes one thing, and it’s that everyone could have the freedom to experience what being themselves truly looks and feels like.
“It would be the coolest thing if everyone could experience the freedom in being themselves. It's as simple as that.”
Strength in Stumbling
In times such as these, many people may feel as if they’re stumbling through these next steps in their lives. With chaos and turmoil happening globally, what we once knew to be certainties, we now acknowledge as luxuries and, in many cases, uncertainties. But, it is within the struggles that we become strengthened.
“The struggles that I faced with depression and not wanting to live, definitely made me who I am today. Experiencing that darkness for so long, and to then find peace within it is why my light’s so bright and my smile is so big today.”
Battling with depression for nearly six years not only allowed Cody to appreciate the light at the end of the tunnel but is what made him flourish into all that he is today.
“Just to give you an idea of how bad it was for a while, I was living with my grandma who was dying of cancer. She was like a mom to me. At the same time, I was working in a hospital for suicidal and homicidal kids. I was really seeing the worst things that kids would ever have to go through, and it just killed me. It wrecked me. It was like the perfect tornado.”
Unable to understand how and why these children were going through such pain and anguish, while Cody could happily live his life, didn’t make sense to him, and he ended up tormented beyond belief.
“I just didn’t feel that it was fair for me to be happy and live this beautiful life, while all of these kids that I was working with were so terrorized and traumatized. It just didn’t feel right. So, I kind of lost my mind.”
With the overwhelming sense of loss that Cody experienced in his home environment, mixed with the insurmountable sense of confusion and despair in his work environment, Cody began asking himself the dangerous question of, ‘what’s the point?’
“I really held onto all of those negative thoughts, and it spiraled out of control. I remember the day it all happened, I fell in the shower, and I just didn’t know what anything was any more or who I was. I was just so disoriented, and I thought I was dying.”
Having never experienced anxiety or depression as a kid, Cody hadn’t a clue what was going on inside his mind. Cody visited numerous doctors in search of what could be causing this chaos within. But he never would’ve imagined that he was experiencing extreme anxiety and depression, the same thing the dozens of kids he worked with faced with every day.
“All of a sudden it hit me, and I thought, ‘no way, this could be the anxiety and depression that the kids I work with deal with.’ It seemed so extreme; I couldn’t believe it. It spiraled so bad, and it lasted about 5 or 6 years. Every single day, I didn’t feel like I got a single fresh breath of air.”
Cody lived with an overwhelming sense of fear towards himself and his mind for many years.
“I couldn’t control my mind, and I was terrified that one day I was going to snap and do something terrible. I never had a history of that, but I was so scared because I saw these young kids that I was working with, these beautiful souls, that were in there for something like murdering someone. Something so extreme, but I was sitting there talking to them, and it was another soul, and we were the same, even though they had done this horrible thing. I thought, ‘well, if it could happen to their mind, why couldn’t it happen to mine?”
It is important to remember that even in our worst states of mind, when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are loved, worthy, and human. Reaching out to loved ones or professionals in times of need is crucial when overcoming seemingly life-threatening obstacles.
There is always someone who cares, there is always someone who will listen, and you are never alone.
“One day, I felt like I could breathe again. I began doodling and drawing what I was feeling, and within the doodles and drawings, was my freedom.”
Cody creates artwork that is not only appealing to the eyes but speaks to the soul. We wanted to know the creative process that gets this artist into his flow of self-expression.
“It’s crazy because all of the poems and pictures that you see come from self-love and self-care. Obviously, you can see my experiences and struggles within the pieces, but it comes from a place of self-love.”
When we create and express from the truest and most vulnerable parts of ourselves, we come to find that our authenticity and truth births wondrous masterpieces that can be understood and connected to both far and wide.
“Every morning when I wake up, I do my breathing, and I meditate. I do my yoga and stretching, moving my body, and getting some sun on my skin. And by that time, I’m feeling so good. Once I get into my soul and out of my mind, after doing those four things that I just listed, there’s always a poem waiting for me at the end.”
Over the past two years, Cody has dedicated his mornings to self-love and self-care, giving back to his body, mind, and spirit. In turn, he’s received the inspiration towards what his next piece of art will be, claiming that over the past two years, there hasn’t been a day when there wasn’t a poem or picture waiting for him in his mind's eye.
“It’s crazy, there’s just always something waiting for me to write it down, and it's effortless.”
“One Gandhi quote always comes back to me, and it’s, ‘My life is my mission.’ It’s always stuck with me because it’s more than the artwork you see. It’s more than these pictures, and it's more than this poem; it’s the way I treat everybody. It’s the way I treat the world; it’s the way I take each step. It’s the way I make food; my whole life reflects who I am.”
One Final Message
If Sister Cody could put one message into the world, it would be,
‘I love you.'
“If I were to die today, it's what I hope everyone would know, that I love them, I love the chance to be here and to exist. And I love you.”
We asked Sister Cody what he knows 100% to be true, his answer.
“I know one hundred percent that love really can heal. I know that there’s a lot of stuff going on, and you can look at it from every direction and become so bummed out and depressed and make that your whole life. But, if you find that love within yourself and you really cultivate that place, it's really not so hard to see it everywhere else. I just hope everyone knows that the love they’re looking for is already inside of themselves, and that’s why they feel love because it’s within them.”
At TrooMe, we believe that the struggles and strains, the hurt and the pain, all add up to make us into who we are meant to be. It may seem hard at times, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel, there is always someone who cares, and we always have the love within us that we’ve been searching for.
May we follow in Sister Cody’s footsteps, planting flowers with every step, giving love first to ourselves and then to the world, and always remembering that we are the love we’ve been looking for all along.