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.
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.