A Date with Dragons

After living in Texas since June 1, 2017, I’ve decided to go back to Indiana. It hasn’t been an easy choice at all. I love Austin a lot. I feel like I can breathe here and I’ve been really happy here and am proud of myself for making a life here. I’ve also had the chance to learn a lot about myself since I moved, and one thing that I learned is that my family and friends mean more to me than I realized.

I love it here, but I feel like I’m missing a limb, like a huge chunk of myself is just absent. It took me a little while to come to the realization that I can live with an Austin-shaped hole in my life (as long as I still get to visit!), but I can’t live with a family/friend-shaped hole.

It turns out though, that even while I feel like this is right decision in my gut, I’m still apprehensive. I left Indiana at a time when I was suffocating and could barely hold myself up. The few months I spent before I left at my brother’s house helped for sure, but the time before that, in the apartment by myself, I was followed constantly by a storm cloud that I thought would eventually drown me.
So, now I find myself going back and a small, irrational part of me is scared. I’m worried that the anxiety and crippling depression I left behind is waiting for me, a 70-foot dragon waiting at the state line just daring me to cross.

harrypotterdragon

It scares me. I’m worried I won’t be able to breathe there. I’m worried the depression will come back when I cross back into Indy’s borders, like shrugging on an old heavy coat. I’m afraid everything will be the same.

But I also know that this is something I need to do. That while I’m safe here in Austin, I need to face the demons and dragons I left behind to show that I really have grown. Because the fact is, things won’t be the same in Indy when I get back, simply because I’M not the same.

So, March 2018, I face the dragon.
(and who knows, maybe it’ll end up looking like this guy)
toothless

Accepting Depression

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. 

“I’m a Little Bit On Fire Inside..”

My old pointe shoes

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. 

Trying to edit a book with a cat on my lap

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. 

Shit now I actually have to figure out my life. 

Pic found at We Heart It ( I do not own this image)

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.

Switching it up

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.

fhj0G2h
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! ❤

Stream of consciousness

Excerpt from my journal: 

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. 

Just Updates

Well, I’m officially out of my apartment and in my brother’s house with him and his roommate for the next couple of months. I’m not gonna lie, it feels pretty amazing to be out of that place. I’m grateful for that experience and the sense of accomplishment that came along with it, but towards the end it became a symbol of my own loneliness and I started to feel suffocated.

Things aren’t perfect now that I’m away from it of course, but being around other people most of the time helps. Even when no one is at the house, just knowing that later on they’ll be home or sitting down and watching a movie together when everyone is there, has done wonders. I don’t feel so alone. Most of the time.

For the other times, and to help give myself as much of a chance at success in TX as possible, I decided to go back to counseling. It’s only been one session so far and we don’t have a lot of time, being that I’m leaving towards the end of April, but already it is helping to challenge the thoughts ruminating in my mind. I’m hoping to get out from under this black cloud following me and I know so much of it has to do with the way I think and live day to day. So, here’s to hoping it helps and I’ll be able to move with my head just a little bit clearer.

So that’s that as far as updates, there isn’t much else going on right now.
Oh! Except that I saw Get Out the movie yesterday and it was fucking awesome. It was really smart and scary and also hilarious and everyone should go see it immediately. <3!

 

Choices

I had three choices when I woke up this morning. I could not write at all. I could write something fluffy and pretend to feel better than I do today. Or..I could tell the truth. 
In most cases in my life, I prefer the truth above all else, no matter how awful. But that doesn’t mean that anyone else cares about MY truth, especially when it’s steeped in depression. My first instinct this morning was to keep it to myself. Except, that’s what I’ve been doing, for years, and it isn’t working. So maybe being open about it will help, at the very least, be different than keeping it in. 

The truth is, today is hard. Despite some crazy, but interesting and almost fun, dreams, I woke up in a dark place. Anxiety about moving ruminated in my mind and a depression settled over me so heavily, I didn’t want to move. 

My first thought was, i don’t want to move to TX. Not because I don’t want to live there, I do, but because I’m going to have to have roommates, which will require me to interact with people and be around them a million times more than I do now. While I know in my head that this is actually a good thing, something I need, I wasn’t feeling it this morning. 

Now some people might be concerned at those thoughts. “Are you having second thoughts on moving?” “Are you going to stay?” “Are you afraid it’s not really want you want?” No. To all 3, no. And here’s why….

I know myself well enough by now to, usually, know when it’s the depression talking. And that was confirmed when I realized that my thought process this morning wasn’t just “I don’t want to move apts,” it was also “I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere or live anywhere or talk to anyone.” So yeah, bit of a red flag. 

For awhile I was starting to feel better and a lot of the time I still do, but every once in awhile the lingering black cloud will make an appearance and I’ll find myself going through the motions of a normal human. 

So, I dunno what I hope to accomplish with this, other than to pull back the veil a little and be more open about what’s really going on, be it for myself or for others who might feel similarly. I’m not going to give up, no matter how awful it feels today, but instead will try to counteract the sad by listening to comedy or getting lost in a book. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. 

Guess who’s back…

Shady’s back, back again…
Okay now I have that song stuck in my head.

Anyways, I’m sure my 2.5 followers have missed my posts dearly, so I wanted to assure you all that I’m back now that the holidays are over. I’m also changing my posting schedule to Mon, Wed, Fri, so you all know when to anxiously await my posts. Just kidding, I know I’m probably talking to myself here, but I’ve made my peace with that.

So, I’m happy to note that already, even after just a week, 2017 already feels different to me. Maybe because it’s finally the year I make a huge change and move to Austin, TX in April. Maybe it’s because I’m finally getting out of my solitary apartment which has been a symbol of loneliness and depression over the past year. Maybe it’s because I stopped eating sugar and added sugar! Who knows.

What matters is that I feel better, and I’m grateful for it. The occasional depression relapse hits me still but it hasn’t been as frequent or as intense. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy trying to get everything in order and working to save money for TX that I’m keeping the dark thoughts at bay by sheer will.  Whatever it is, whatever the change, I’m not going to question it. I’m going to enjoy the little bit of light that has found its way into my mind with the turning of the calendar and ride it for as long as I can.

Happy New Year everyone!