Another Absence, Another Excuse

Tonight is the first free evening I’ve had in a while – my play’s run having finished on Sunday.  I’m surprised it took this long to get to a free day, in which I had few obligations to keep me away.  In fact, I had to ignore a prior commitment to make this appointment with myself.

I hadn’t intended to write anything tonight; there was no real reason for that, it just wasn’t in my mind.  But I’ve missed it.  Whenever I pick up acting or singing or dance or writing, and one of those as a result, I miss it.  I’m not sure how to fit them all into my life at the same time, I’m just not, but it’s clear that I need all four to feel completely happy.  What a strange thought.

There were a number of other things I had planned to do with my first free evening in over two months, but the depression hit about the moment I entered my room.  After setting my backpack down on my bed, I found I could not get up again – could not force myself to do anything productive or leave.  I had a birthday party invite from one of my castmates from the play, and I simply could not make myself go.  Granted, I had asked her for details and she hadn’t gotten back to me yet, but still I could have gone and I didn’t.  I told myself I didn’t have the money – but I could have.  I told myself I didn’t get her a gift and I didn’t – but I could’ve brought a card or bought her a drink or something.  I gave myself all these excuses, but I realize now that it was the depression talking.

Show runs end – another audition lies around the corner – school goes on – work never ends – and the damn sun keeps on rising and setting on the same bloody schedule every day of the year.  Here I sit, wishing that once – just once – it would stay down and let me sleep for a while.

I got quite a lot of good news this week relating to my voice training and performance, but post-show depression has managed to trump even that.  Finals are in 8 weeks, I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of auditions coming up – I do not have time to be depressed.  On the other hand, I need to deal with this so that the stress of it doesn’t eat at my body and cause me to get sick again.


There are so many paths my life could have taken – I can see so many different endings from moments now long behind me.  I could be a mother now, married to my first serious boyfriend out of high school.  He was going to propose to me, which I only found out after I broke up with him.  I wasn’t happy and I had no idea why, but my friends and family convinced me that he was the reason.  To be fair to them he was a rather large part of it, but not the only reason.

Later, I fell for line of the wrong men – each in a horrible time in their lives, each broken in his own way, and each made me more and more unhappy.  I could have shut my mouth and landed with any one of them, but I kept fluttering away (sometimes chased and sometimes during pursuit).  I even fell for the wrong woman – who turned out to be crazier than any guy I’d dated previously.

The wrong woman led me away from my first main cage and into one of her own making.  It’s funny how much someone can love you when you’re free to fly away, how much they loath you once they’ve locked you up behind their bars, and how much they shame you for trying to or even succeeding in breaking free.  Once I was thinking for myself, I realized how crazy and controlling she was and saw how I’d placed myself into that situation, questioning nothing and letting myself feel as though I deserved it and couldn’t do better – yet more reasons for my unhappiness.  I left.

I can see, however, a life that could have led from that.  A marriage.  An adoption.  The gods forbid, a pregnancy (not hers because she was hell-bent against that, but my body wasn’t hers so it mattered far less that I was hell-bent against doing that to myself).  A house.  A lot of unhappy years at a job I didn’t like to support her and the kids – well, him now.  I can picture it so clearly now.

All of these possibilities lurk in my peripheral vision, endless futures that will never be.  I don’t want them and I don’t wish I could go back and make any one of them a reality.  The only thing I wish is that I could go back and tell this amateur figure skater that no adult knew fully what they were talking about.  That a young woman who started skating at 15 could go on to make a future for herself by following her dreams – it might be unrealistic but realism is overrated anyway.  I wish I could tell her that she was beautiful and bright and talented, and that she should ignore anyone who told her otherwise.  I wish that I could tell her that she could do anything she wanted to do as long as she worked her ass off, and stubbornly pushed against every block others placed in her way.  I wish that anyone would have told me these things – just once.

The thing is – I’ve finally realized these things about myself, and it only took a lot of years of good friends and even some random acquaintances telling me these things over and over again before I could allow myself to hear them.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way or discovering these things later in life.  Hell, I think it’s so common that anyone who manages to read this far can post this on their own blog as though it were their own with few to no edits.  Yea, I’m that confident.  That does not, however, mean it’s a useless thing to state or write here.

Because I can see it now – a bright future doing exactly what I want to do with my life and, yes, making a living that way.  I can see it.  It only took me ****** some-odd years, and a lot of what I used to think were empty compliments – words that people just threw at one another – until I really started to hear what was being said to me.


Writing – I’m going to do my best not to abandon it in my pursuit of other passions.  I need this, too – this release.  It keeps me sane, clears my head of all of the echoes and needless chatter or screaming.  And silence is the best state in which a mind to finally get some sleep.

Dithering

I have been quite bad at keeping up with this blog lately, and I know it.  Life has felt so like a whirlwind this year that it’s difficult to find time to update, particularly when things don’t feel as though they’re going so well.  For those who have continued to follow me despite my absence, I thank you.


 

Dithering

This semester is already moving at the speed of light.  My world is spinning, reshaping itself, and moulding me into someone new.  I am still me – same experiences, same inner universe, and same face – but I am also becoming someone new.

I read somewhere – or perhaps it was an old friend who told me – that human beings change or are ready to change drastically every 5 to 7 years.  Perhaps that is true and perhaps it’s not.  I, however, feel as though I’ve changed drastically once every year since moving to California five years ago.  My mind, my perspective, my path, and even my body seem to have a new shape at the beginning and the end of every semester.  I don’t know who I’ll be in four month’s time or what I’ll believe and think after the next nine.  I don’t know what I’ll look like or who will be welcome in my life.

Perhaps it was the death of my grandmother last spring that so dramatically shifted my inner self.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been working hard to understand and overcome my depression.  Possibly it’s the fact that I took an Applied Psychology course last term with a professor who made it my personal four month task to use meditation, dream analysis, and past experiences to better understand the way I interact with the world around me.  Likely, it’s a combination of all of these things and so much more.

Whatever the reason, I’ve realised that I’ve been dithering.  Dancing from foot to foot in worry, impatience, and fear over my own future.  I quit work in an office to return to school because I was so unhappy with my life that I was beginning to seriously consider suicide as the only option left to me.  I don’t want to go back to that.  So I struggled through 2 years of school, chose a major and a minor in subject areas I enjoy, and then spent the last year and a half having people who failed in these fields tell me how unlikely and unwise my choices were… I let other people make me second-guess my path.  I faltered… I fell… I dithered.

It is as a result of this that I’m still struggling to get back on my feet and find that solid path once again, and I know that I only have myself to blame.  There will always be someone out there who, out of fear or jealousy or whatever else, is ready to tell me I cannot reach my dreams.  I have so much personal experience with this sort of thing, and still I let it happen.

There’s just something about this semester, though, that gives me some hope for the future.  It’s a tentative and anxious hope – but it’s already far better than the fear and failure and despair I have been dealing with for the past year.  The people around me have noticed the changes in me, even if I hadn’t realised it was happening.

I am drawing people to me in every avenue of my life – sports, performing, school, and work.  These people have been helping me, taking care of me, boosting my ego, and encouraging me on my steep and unlikely path.  They have no incentive to do any one of these things for me, and yet here they are – doing them.

I cannot understand quite what they see… I’m afraid that it’ll all disappear, melt away, and I’ll be left alone once again.  I don’t trust it to last.  Yet, I feel as though I should dive forward in every avenue of my life and exhaust this gift while it lasts – soak it up and use it.

Still, at the corners of my mind lurks that fear and despair and hopelessness.  It waits for my body to burn off what little food I can currently afford to purchase, it waits for the adrenaline, blood sugar, dopamine, endorphins, energy, and serotonin to run low, then it hits me full force, sending me to my knees with the pain of it.  The pain of wasted time and lost moments and loneliness, and I despise my parents for my own past and my family for their ignorance and my life for its pains and struggles – I hate myself in those moments.  I see nothing – useless and pathetic.  It’s the way I see myself, I don’t know why… and I’m trying to change it.

My own monsters lie in wait around every corner, waiting to take full advantage of every stumble, trip, or fall.  I need to fight them, but these great, cresting highs are only followed by despairing, crashing lows.  I know that this has always been the way I have interacted with the world, and perhaps this is why I take long breaks from friends, lovers, and life.  Yet, feeling the straight line that borders emptiness and depression is no way of living – it’s barely an existence.  It’s intangible and grey.  I want the intensity of these experiences – but I’m afraid of the valleys, holding such doubt and pain and self-loathing, that lie in wait beneath every single cresting wave.  To say that falling hurts is an incredible understatement, but that is the reality of it all.

Sometimes, I just wish I didn’t feel things with such intensity.  Sometimes, I wish I could trade lives with someone less artistically inclined, and see if they live life through the same scope of starry highs and abyss-like lows.  Does it all swallow them, this way?  Do experiences make them feel anxious and excited, both at once?  Do they dread the end or the beginnings of great new relationships?  Am I normal?  Am I special?  Am I wrong?

I don’t know… but I do know that I am an artist, and I am done dithering.

What A Month

So, for those of you wondering about my dog, Echo, he’s doing well.  As a result of his illness, he’s been sleeping a lot more, gets tired more easily, which causes us to go on shorter and shorter walks, and he’s very itchy all over his underside.  Aside from these side-effects, however, he’s doing well, and the doctor who will be doing Echo’s surgery comes back into the country today.  We’re still trying to fund-raise, of course.  We’ve reached 10% of our goal so if you can donate any amount at all or spread the word on your social networks about our predicament, I would really appreciate it.  

Echo and I went for a short trip out of town this weekend.  My dad and youngest brother were in town, and they picked us up on Friday afternoon after I got out of school and took us to Sacto where my Grandparents, Aunt, and a few cousins live.  My grandmother’s health has been questionable lately, but last week she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  The doctors have given her months to live.  My dad already lost his father about 15 years ago so I know this is hard for him and his brothers and sisters.  We spent the weekend sharing stories, hugging, drinking, and taking care of Grandma.

Even though Echo is ill, himself, whenever Grandma was hurting, he would run immediately to her side and place his paws on her knees, his tail wagging, and lick her hand.  He’s always been a sweet dog, and he never does seem to like anyone around him to be unhappy.

My father, youngest brother, Echo, and I left last night, having to head back to work and school and life earlier than we would really like, hugging my grandmother goodbye and damn-near praying it won’t be for the last time.

The Looming Pit of Despair

I’ve been trying really hard during this crisis to be proactive and take this thing head-on.  I’ve remained determinedly optimistic, which is very unlike me, and pressed onward because Echo needs me, right now.  I’ve taken action, I’ve begun practicing the art of asking, and I’ve even applied for grants and financial aid of every kind to get my dog closer to the surgery he needs.

Now that I’ve reached the limit of what I can do alone, however, I can feel that looming pit of despair creeping up on me.  I can feel the panic and the desperation wearing on me and the optimism is eating up all of my energy.  I don’t know what else to do and everything’s moving so slowly that I already feel as though the fundraising movement has failed – or will fail.  I’m tired all the damn time and watching my dog’s discomfort just makes the whole situation about a hundred times worse.

Since I’ve done all that I can do – applied for all of the online grants I could find for which I qualified, printed 100 fliers at work (because I don’t even have enough money to print them myself) with all of his fundraiser information on them, hung up all 100 fliers around the busiest ares I know of, emailed everyone I know to donate to or share the fundraiser, spammed Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook with the link and our story, pulled everything from my closet and room that’s in good shape to sell on eBay, and even started making scarves to sell on Etsy (though I’ve given up on that as it takes too long and they’re looking like shit)… I literally don’t know what else to do.

I’ve hit the depression wall that’s been looming in front of me ever since I found out he’d need surgery that would cost this much money… I mean, I make barely enough to pay for our food every month. Often times, I have to choose between feeding me for the week or feeding my dog (obviously the dog wins… he doesn’t understand budget concerns).  How the fuck am I supposed to pay for a surgical procedure?

Honestly, it’s the reason I considered giving him up when I first returned to school… I didn’t know if I could afford to take care of him.  Now, I just wonder what the fuck?  It’s fucking ridiculous that I should even have to consider something like this when my vet specifically told me that the reason he even has stones in his bladder is because of the way that dog food is fucking made.  After this, I literally have to make his food every day to prevent it from happening again because the dog-food industry produces food with obscure things like ASH in the food and doesn’t give a fuck who it hurts in the process.  Why exactly aren’t they held liable for this shit?  And why exactly, when these kinds of short-cut practices around this country are cutting jobs, short-changing workers, and raising the prices of their goods all at the same time, why aren’t these bastards covering my dog’s procedure instead?  If there was any fucking justice in the world, Purina would be paying for this… rather than leaving me sitting here to panic about how to raise enough money for his surgery before his condition puts him in so much pain that it would be more humane to just kill him.

And that injustice – that pit of despair – there it is.  I can see it now.

Permanence & Change

I feel a little bit like I’ve been avoiding this place, lately.  Not necessarily on purpose – just, I don’t think I’ve wanted to delve into my subconscious during the past couple of months.  Things in there are – dark and kind of bad, right now.  Something’s struggling to come to the surface with which I’m not entirely sure I’m prepared to deal.  I’m lonely and tired and depressed and constantly second-guessing myself.  This doesn’t seem unusual, really.  It’s just more intense than it has been in a while.  I keep wondering why I’m even trying.

This is, of course, the kind of attitude I’ve spent the past few years trying to fight off.  I know those doubts are in there; I even have a decent idea who put them in there – and parents, especially mothers, should fucking know better.  I’m tired of fighting, of people taking advantage and calling it caring, and I’m absolutely sick of – just – life, at the moment.

I’m fighting it.  I’m weary.  I can’t see anything good, right now.  I think what I need is a little break… unfortunately, only the privileged class get those.  I don’t know what to do.