I’ve been dealing with depression off and on since the 8th grade. At least, that’s the first instance of it that I can remember. It’s the first time I recall feeling so sad that nothing could save me, but also feeling so many things that my skin couldn’t hold them in. The only thing that kept my head above water was music. That was the year I started listening to Janet and Velvet Rope was the first album that I felt touch my heart and calm it.
Over the years I’ve found various ways to deal when those feelings came up again. Music has always been a go to, with just the voices of certain artists being able to soothe the hurt like a balm. There was years of dance of course, which saved me over and over again. And then there were the countless times that I ignored it.
I would pretend I was fine or blame it on a circumstance, thinking that if only I could fix this one aspect of my life, I would feel okay again.
The latest was leaving Indiana. A large part of it was a life long dream, yes. But part of it was also to get away from the suffocating depression I was experiencing. Surely being in a new place, with new air, and new people, would make it easier, though I never expected it to go away altogether.
I guess I just also didn’t expect it to still be so present. I underestimated its ability to knock me on my ass no matter where I am geographically or not matter how well I’m progressing in my life.
It might sound stupidly obvious to some of you, but it took my being 1,000 miles away from home to realize that the depression is in me. It’s not something I can ever run away from. Running away isn’t going to be anything but a temporary solution and for some reason that gives me so much comfort.
Maybe it’s because now I know that I’m not doing anything wrong. That it isn’t the choices I’ve made in life or the abundance or lack of success in various parts of my life. It’s a chemical glitch that will always be there. And there’s a certain peace I’ve gained from realizing that and knowing that now, all I need to do is learn to live with it when it shows up, to never listen to its lies, and to let it rest when it’s gone.
Its not always going to be easy, I mean hell this week alone has been gut wrenching and painful in itself, but my heart is at peace because I know it will pass. And in the meantime, I’ll bury myself in stories and poems and music that keeps me above water.
Stumbling through the streets of Austin,
music drunk on the sounds of Halsey,
eyes bright but nobody’s watching, lost
but found on this strange road I’m walking
alone, a thousand miles behind
me, nothing to tie me down, hold me.
So, I run this short distance full speed
ahead, focused, and fighting for more
days like this, where my head is quiet
and my heart is filled with music and
floods of words, begging to be let out.
So, I’ve written little poems basically for as long as I’ve been writing, but I’ve never really thought much of it. Poetry was never a real career path to me, never had a future, and besides, maybe it’s terrible anyways. Even still, lately, since a certain concert last week, I’ve found myself scribbling those lines down again, jotting notes and counting syllables. I dunno, maybe it’s terrible and maybe there’s something to it. There are a few projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for quite a while now but haven’t been able to find a medium that feels right for them. But maybe…maybe I just did? Maybe I need to take the chance that it’s awful and just write it anyways and see where it takes me? Only one way to know.
I feel too much. I always have. It’s hard to describe it but it’s like this ball of emotion that sits in my chest, demanding my attention, demanding that I do something to sate it.
I’ve tried so many things to get rid of it; ignoring myself, self care techniques, even changing my life to counteract it. But it follows me everywhere. It followed me 1,000 miles to TX. There’s no escaping it.
And then, out of no where, it hit me. This is the same feeling I used to have as a kid and a teenager. But I didn’t remember it torturing me like it does now, and I realized that’s because I had an outlet for it. I poured that over abundance of feelings and passion into dance. It kept me going, it kept me alive.
Since I stopped dancing, a part of me has felt lost, ungrounded. Since I stopped dancing, I felt that ball of emotion in my chest trying to claw its way out, and I tried to make it go away. Whatever passion I had as a kid with dance, I thought was gone, forever. I thought I’d lost my motivation, my purpose for life.
Then it hit me tonight. This ball of feeling, this screaming vortex of emotion, IS my motivation. It IS that burning ball of passion that used to drive me as a kid. And I do have an outlet for it, I just haven’t been using it.
Because when I write, that knot disintegrates. It spills out of me onto the page, and I’m able to use it to write what I need to say and then leave it behind. Writing keeps me alive, and my feelings have been telling me this whole damn time when I need to do it, when I most need that outlet, and I haven’t been listening.
But here, alone, in TX, away from everything I know and love, I can hear it so clearly. And I can use it again to light a fire under what I love and reignite my life and mind.
I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out, but I’m really fucking glad I did. THIS is what I came here for, to figure out what I wasn’t seeing about myself when I was comfortable and in a familiar place.
I’ve had a lot of things going on in my head lately, a lot of feelings that I haven’t really had anyone to share with. I know when it starts to become too much because it’s like I can feel my body and mind start to fill up and threaten to overflow. Sometimes I think I feel too much, but that doesn’t really help because either way, I need an outlet.
Being in TX, and now being mostly alone in TX, has been hard. Like, really hard. But I’m trying to think of it as a retreat of some sort, a period of time I can use to grow and challenge myself and learn things about myself that wouldn’t have otherwise surfaced.
One of things that has become my greatest life raft are stories. I find myself intentionally drowning in them, consuming them, and creating them, at a rate I haven’t experienced since I was a child. When things are too much, when I don’t have anything else to do, I read or write. I lose myself in another world or I challenge myself to take out the pen and build a new around me. It’s beautiful and it gives me hope. It keeps me alive, and I couldn’t be more grateful. If I go back home with only this love rekindled, reinforced, then I will consider this experiment a success.
But that is still months away, and even then not set in stone. So I’ll keep waking up every day and trying to get everything out of it that I can. I’ll keep working at the bookstore that I love, enjoying to time I have with the couple of friends I do know here, and challenging myself to take advantage of every new opportunity that comes my way.
This week it has come to my attention that I’m bad at making decisions. Like, I’m terrible at it. Not the tiny, stupid decisions, like where to eat or what to do that day, I’m a pro at those. Plus it annoys me to no end when people can’t figure out a place to eat. It really shouldn’t be that hard for at least one person to suggest something or for both people to just say what they really want!
But I digress. It turns out that I don’t trust my own thoughts or decision making process anymore. Maybe I made too many mistakes in the past or did too many things I regretted or didn’t do enough things and missed out on something, I’m not sure. What I do know is that now I’m constantly scared of making a mistake.
What if my mind changes?
What if I hurt someone?
What if this wasn’t a good idea?
What if I think it’s a bad idea now and it turns out to be a good one and I messed it up by going backwards and blahhhhhhh….
If there are multiple paths to happiness, if you can make yourself a good, happy life, that you enjoy in so many different places and times, how do you ever choose which one is right? How can fate even exist if there are so many choices and directions that nothing makes sense?
What if I become so paralyzed by this fear that I stop living and stop taking risks altogether?
I guess that last question is the most important. There might be a hundred different directions I could go, and I might be scared by the idea of messing up and taking a wrong step, but as long as I don’t become so afraid that I stop living and growing, maybe I’m doing it right after all.
So there are a couple of things I’ve learned this week or am in the process of learning…
1. Drivers in Austin are dicks. Seriously, the worst.
2. It is the weirdest feeling to me to live in a place where people voluntarily go to visit. Like on vacation and stuff. They come here. On purpose. I run into tourists constantly, especially while driving for Lyft and it still boggles my mind. No one goes to Indiana for vacation. They go to visit family or for a job or some other random reason. Other than that, no one is planning their dream vacation and saving their money to go to Indiana. So that’s definitely an adjustment.
3. Now that filming has finished up, I’m back to a “normal” type of schedule. Except I’m in a new city and have yet to actually establish a standard for normal. So that’s the biggest thing I’ve been learning, how to meet new people, deciding where I want to work and what schedule would be best, which meet ups I’d like to join, etc. I’m basically figuring out how to build a life from scratch, which is both intimidating and really exciting. I have the freedom right now to form a life that I actually enjoy and it’s an opportunity a lot of people don’t get in their lives. So, I’m trying to take advantage of it and make myself proud.
Well, I’m here. In Texas. Have been for about a month now, and it’s been a roller coaster of emotions for sure, but so far, no regrets. Still, it’s a little too close for me to have fully processed and be able to write about in depth yet.
So…in the meantime, I’ve decided on a new kind of layout for this blog. I think instead of just random shit, I’m going to be posting more frequently with “What I’ve Learned” stuff, either with whatever random shit came up that day or that week. Sounds kinda cheesy off hand, but I think I can make it work for me.
So, on that note, here is today’s…
Yesterday I went back to my job delivery pizza after working for a full week on a friend’s movie. I’ve been pretty over this particular pizza job for awhile now but I was NOT prepared for what I felt when I walked through the door yesterday evening. It’s a particularly evil kind of soul crushing atmosphere, the kind where a malicious elephant waits at the door of the establishment to jump up and down on your soul until it is crushed into oblivion and you start to forget your name and shit. It’s awful. Add to that the fact that, despite my having earned a college degree, everyone is treated there and talked to as if they are dumber than a Spongebob character. Despite the fact that I’ve worked there for almost 3 years and therefore, have a reasonable handle on how to do the easiest job in the world, I was bombarded yesterday with waves of condescension. All the joy I’d felt for the past week at doing something new and challenging evaporated when I had to go back to my “real life.”
And that’s when I realized that I put myself there, and that I could get myself out. I can’t control other people and the way they act or treat others, but I can control the environment in which I put myself in. I didn’t move 1,000 miles from home just to do the same fucking job and feel the same fucking way. I moved to grow and challenge myself, and the next step in doing that is getting the fuck out of this job.
So I quit. I walked away, and already I feel a thousand times lighter, as if that soul crushing elephant is nothing more than a pesky fly.
I’m fortunate enough to have a backup means of income, so I plan on doing that while I focus on my writing (including this blog), finding a job I don’t hate, and meeting new people.
Wish me luck! ❤
Only 8 days left until I leave and the closer it gets the more I feel like I’m on the right path. Like I’m finally, finally moving in the right direction again. I want to take advantage of this new city, dance in the lights and explore the hills and meet strangers. And write. I want to write like I’ve never committed to writing before. I want to let myself burst out of my box and actually work for the life that I want. I crawled, on hands and knees to this decision, to make this move happen. With my last breath I reached for the edge, to the surface, and the fresh air is so close I can almost taste it. And I want it. No, I need it. This doesn’t even feel like a choice anymore. It feels like the next step in my evolution, a compulsion. It’s a survival instinct built in to ensure that I don’t stop growing, that I don’t keep myself locked in this tiny box of a life that will inevitably suffocate me and snuff out any light I had inside. I have a chance to make the first of many dreams come true and for the first time in so so long, they seem within reach again. So much is waiting for me. And I met someone, maybe someone great, but right now she lives in my phone. A phantom I can’t see or touch, just out of reach, until I make this jump. This jump across the border that I’m literally aching for. The more it sinks in that I’m leaving soon, the more I’m brought to tears of relief and excitement, and joy. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me.
All right people, it’s taken 10 years of intensive research and study, but I believe I have discovered the secrets to successfully sharing a bed with a cat (this could also probably apply to dogs, but I have more experience with cats so this is what the focus is).
Claim blankets early.
It is important to secure the amount of bed coverings you will need to get through the night early on. This can be done by laying down, pulling up the covers as high as you want, and then getting comfortable. This way, even if you plan to stay up and read, the covers you need will be bunched up around you to be used later, while your pet picks a spot on the blanket that you won’t need to get through the night.
Claim leg space early.
This sometimes means sacrificing immediate comfort. I like to read before I go to sleep and usually do so with my legs curled under me. However, when I sleep, I stretch out, or try to. Usually by that point my cat has made himself comfortable in a place that prevents me from moving at all. So, I recommend watching tv or reading with your legs out in a position that mimics your preferred sleeping pose. This way, when you do decide to relax, you will not have to move or disturb your adorable sleeping butthead/angel.
A lot of people have this imagine in mind that their pet is going to sleep cozily at the end of their bed, for the whole night, and everyone will be comfortable. In my experience, this is completely unrealistic. My cat has to be touching me at all times, so I have to be extra careful when I move during the night or wake up screaming from a weird Freddy Kruger dream, not to startle him or accidentally kick him.
Screw those people that say you post two many pictures of your pets. THEY’RE ADORABLE, especially when they’re sleeping. So click away and don’t forget to share.
What if your cat gets their first?
Many of you might be wondering what to do if your pet reaches the bed before you, making themselves comfortable before you can claim leg and blanket space. The answer is nothing. Give up and learn to sleep in a weird, twisted S shape. Or you can do what no one really wants to do and wake up your nugget and make them move out of their super comfy spot and end up feeling like a jackass. Up to you!