today is one of those days where i can’t seem to start a thing. following several days where i couldn’t start a thing.

what happened was this: i was in california for my 20 year high school reunion, and honestly i didn’t feel like going, despite the fact that i was on the planning committee. because i’m in a weird, weird place and the public face of that place is…blank. i am thinking and feeling so many things and i don’t know which are real and permanent, which are ephemeral, and i don’t want to speak any of the things lest they leave an indelible mark on my future.

but at the last minute (really – i bought my tickets barely over a week before the flight and my husband bought his less than a week before the flight), i made the determination to go and i’m really glad i did. the reunion was fun, seeing my family was fun…and in a way it gave me some needed perspective. i don’t know if it was seeing my family and old home and thinking about the past all while i’m in this particular headspace, or if it was simply the fact of being away from my routine (a routine which drives me to blank numbness and escapism, divorcing me from hope or future or change or reality), but i definitely began to feel some clarity. so much clarity that, upon returning home, i had a lot of  motivation and i felt pretty darn committed to some of the ideas that came to me while i was away.

(the conceit that kept running through my head was of waking up: that i’m living my life in that space between waking and dreaming, when you still believe the dream might be real, where if you close your eyes and try real hard, you can drift in that space indefinitely. but what i felt was that i had awoken and seen the dream for the fantasy that it is, and felt a will to wake up and truly live.)

that was about 6 days ago now, and that motivation and hope and clarity is mostly all gone. i watched it drain away like water running out of my bare hands, knowing that if i didn’t act it would be gone and i’d return to my perpetual numbness…and i have.

the first thing i did when i still felt alive was make a list of all the things: and when i made that list, it was a list of all the things i could do, not a list of things i must do, which is what it has now become.

yesterday i looked at my car, the one i haven’t driven in almost a year, sitting in my driveway covered in old pollen, collecting dirt and guilt and all the easy things i should just do because i’m adult and it shouldn’t be this hard and i don’t know if i’ve wanted to disappear this badly in a long time.

i found a frog drowned in my horse’s water trough and later when driving i decided that if i ever kill myself, i will simply drive off a cliff because that would be just like me: hovering on the edge of indecision for 20 years until a tiny shift in the balance makes the decision for me.

 

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create

humanism – social media, personal essays, research/history articles

music – dreampop, shoegaze, random old stuff, playlists, maybe combined with visuals – photos or video

tv analysis

videos – fandom and/or music

 

mental and emotional autopsy 2018 – wow this got long – actually it’s like my life story wtf

So yesterday I had a moment of self-enlightenment, sort of. Except also then I seemed to remember that I’ve had this thought before.

Anyway, it’s one of those “duh” things, except the enlightenment part is realizing that I think it’s the central thing that’s missing from my life, that I think it’s the thing I need more than any other thing in order for me to be happy. (Yes, bold statements.)

It’s that I realized I’m the type of person who needs to behold my own life as a story, with me as a central, meaningful player (the protagonist or hero). I know that saying it like that sounds somehow both juvenile and grandiose, but I also think it’s something that, articulated or not, many of us are seeking  – and that basically all social media is attempting to simulate.

Take, for example, Instagram, which is the social medium that I recently adopted as a way to help me figure out this elusive identity that I’m chasing. It appealed to me because I can project a beautiful version of my life sans the messy commentary and qualifying details that are part of drab “reality,” the kinds of details that don’t feature in stories, novels, movies, and tv. With Instagram, all that people see are the interesting bits, in romanticized and filtered photo form, causing the viewer to fill in the missing pieces with similarly romanticized ideas of your life. Obviously this is the point.

But the reason that it’s not truly fulfilling, even for (I assume) the moderately-successful Instagrammer, is that regardless of what we project, we know the truth about the in-between times: we know the boredom, the stress, the work, and all the regular moods that we don’t project in our dreamy, lovely photos. And if we’re the depressed type, like me, we also know the pervasive feelings of futility, anxiety, meaninglessness, worthlessness, and purposelessness that is often our permanent state of existence. What we need is to feel that our reality has meaning.

And for people like me, we have to gain that sense of meaning by elevating our own day-to-day perception of our lives.

Continue reading “mental and emotional autopsy 2018 – wow this got long – actually it’s like my life story wtf”

on unlocking my authentic, creative self

I’m so so so so so tired of politics.

I say this as a person whose life is mostly dedicated to politics in one way or another:

  • work: communications strategy for 3 political campaigns
  • volunteering includes:
    • communications chair of political organization – includes producing a monthly newsletter and ongoing web and social media content production, as well as plentiful other communication-related tasks such as press releases, interviewing and articles, etc.
    • served on 6 different political committees (at district, county, and state level) so far this year, including chairing 2 of them
    • officer on the e-board of political organization – involves meeting attendance, event organization and attendance, proactive efforts at organizational improvement including convening and chairing new committees, drafting and proposing updated rules, drafting resolutions etc., and various random other tasks
  • friends:
    • I suffer from a lack of local friends since moving to this state (more than 5 years now), to be honest, but the ones I do have all intersect with my political involvement – either I met them through politics, or since meeting them they have joined in on my political efforts
    • my distant friends (of which there are simultaneously too many and not enough) are all also very politically engaged. Which is truly a good thing, as I couldn’t maintain a friendship with anyone who doesn’t have the same core values as me. But the problem is that “having the same core values” at this point in history means that we are all alarmed and appalled 100% of the time – we can’t not be. And this is exhausting for us all.
  • Online, social media, and general atmosphere: completely taken over by politics. Again, I technically wouldn’t want it any other way, since I can’t, in good conscience, live in a bubble, but the problem is there’s just. so. much. of. it.

My current method of dealing with all this is truly not productive, either. I escape into X (currently Arrow and Arrow fandom). I’m definitely not alone here – nor is this a new thing for me. I’ve always been an escapist, running (usually) to books, movies, tv shows, fandom, etc. But that never truly helps, because it just forces me to neglect my responsibilities, leaving me guilty at best, and utterly/hopelessly behind at worst. And (for me, at least), it is never a real antidote because it is a consumption activity, and not a creative/productive activity. Consumption activities are never fulfilling; they always leave me wanting more (which is dangerous when it’s my primary escape).

So I’ve realized what it is I want, and need.

Well, obviously first I want the country to fucking fix itself, so I don’t have to worry 24/7/365 about whether or not I’m doing everything I can to fix it. That would be fucking nice.

Then I want to be truly creative. I’m so fucking done with not having creative, artistic friends, who help me be the weird (so fucking weird) creative person I am.

The problem is that I’ve never found the creative outlet that I need. All the conventional things don’t really work for me.

Visual art: I have whimsical visions and concepts all the day long, but I lack the skills to bring them to life. I can’t paint, draw, computer graph..ic, vid, pastiche, sculpt, ms paint, or photograph. I mean, maybe I should still try more. Maybe my medium hasn’t been invented yet. Maybe I have to invent it. But so far there’s just fancy after fancy, prancing through my brain, dancing away to nothing.

Music: I can sing. I am a trained singer. But I have no songs of my own. I have no lyrics. I have never been able to meaningfully connect all these things toward any type of authentic expression. I sing (and compose) like a technician. Meanwhile I can and do enjoy the shit out of music. I feel it so hard. I invent new feelings on the regular. I am transported. And I have thoughts. Again, I have considered writing these thoughts and feelings down, maybe even making videos about music – but this is once again a manifestation of the analytical side of me. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t connect with my creative self.

Storytelling: This is honestly the one that bugs me the most. I have facility with words. I can research, analyze, group, abstract and generalize, organize, argue, hypothesize, claim and support. I can present and persuade. And I can understand completely how stories work best. I completely understand characterization, motive, relationships, complex human emotions, growth. But I can’t invent. I can’t connect, emotionally, creatively, to stories of my own making. Even my successful stories (fanfic) work because I expertly mine the source material and manifest the source subtext in my writing. I produce works that are consistently called “emotionally dense” and praised for characterization and themes – and I’m proud of that, because my aim is always to make people feel more of what the source material makes them feel – but this type of storytelling doesn’t fulfill my creative impulses.

The problem is that I don’t understand my own creativity. I am, in so many ways, an analytical person – so much so that I have frequently doubted whether or not I’m really “creative” at all. Yet every day, in my head, in my fancies, in the weird ways I express myself, in my failure to find anyone who truly appreciates my level of abstraction and whimsy – in the fact that I basically have to tone myself down and interpret myself to every single person and every single interaction I have with others – I am reminded that I am creative. I just don’t have a name or an outlet for it. And I don’t have anyone willing to appreciate or even really tolerate it. (The only person who is aware of and tolerates it is my husband, but, as far as that goes, he basically regards me as some kind of unicorn). What I really need, but don’t have, is anyone who can help me understand and grow it.

I’ve been increasingly gaining awareness of this situation – of this lack and this need – over the past several months. I think this is why I started my Instagram, for example, and why I came back to this blog with the intention of using it to just express myself, whenever and however and fuck continuity and comprehensiveness and audience expectations. I just need to find my outlet. And I need to find people who help me live my authentic, creative self. People who can help me unlock and harness my creativity. Whatever it is.

 

 

only the fun stuff

This is not a to-do list, thought it might seem like one. It’s actually (mostly) an “I am excited about all these things!” list. Also an “I don’t want to forget any of these things” list:

In the category of work and volunteer projects:

  • work on Immaculate stuff
  • draft generic interview questions for her contacts
  • devise a general communications strategy to share with both
  • reply to Victoria
  • finish application for Kiva volunteer position
  • planning commission tomorrow night – read packet
  • planning commission tomorrow night – go to meeting at 6 PM
  • high school reunion social media posts: yearbook photos, pic with Melissa and maybe Crystal (#tbt stuff), music…what else?
  • ….newsletter…

In the category of fun projects:

  • look into making an internet radio station
  • make a music review blog
  • write for music review blog
  • make a youtube music review channel to accompany the blog
  • make youtube videos to accompany blog posts
  • continue Arrow rewatch
  • finish the Arrow fic I have in the works
  • continue to write fic for the hiatus ficathon
  • also go say hi at the mfmm slack
  • and write at least one mfmm fic before the con!!!!! >_>

on anxiety

Honestly though, I am grateful every single time that I’m able to think about my responsibilities, projects, and hopes without experiencing an overwhelming surge of anxiety. Those times are rare, but they do happen and god what a feeling. Does it feel that way for other people all the time?

I hate the phrase “bucket list” so that is not the name of this post

But it just occurred to me that I would really really like to see the Aurora Borealis someday. Like, of all the things I really need to experience, that’s high on the list. I wonder what else is on my list…:

  • one of the best memories of my “childhood” was when I was a teenager, camping with a bunch of families (which we did relatively often) and once we were at Joshua Tree National Park, and one night, those of us who were teens climbed some rocks at night and took sleeping bags and blankets with us, and we lay down on some rocks and gazed at the stars (and I have never seen a comparable starry night in my life) and talked for hours. That was a good moment. I’d like to do something like that again. It could even be at Joshua Tree again. But I’d need to find the right friends to experience it with.
  • something I’ve had my heart set on for much of my life is doing a dude ranch vacation. I’d actually really like to have a “City Slickers” (the movie) experience, where we drive cattle. But I’d settle for a few overnights. Camping with horses is my absolute favorite thing. I’ve only done it once in my life, when my horse was 3 or 4 and a group of us camped with our horses at Montana de Oro State Park in California, and that is consistently the thing that I tell people was the best experience in my life. So yeah, I guess I’d like to be in a situation again where I can regularly go camping with people and our horses, and that would be the best thing ever. But I also just want to try a dude ranch vacation.
  • another trip I really want to take is a river cruise up the Mississippi. For a bunch of reasons, I will never ever go on an ocean cruise, but a river cruise I can do. I love the historical aspect of the Mississippi river, and I would love to stop in a bunch of little towns that border it. I have never experienced anything like that. Also, if not for doing a Mississippi river cruise, I’m fairly certain I never would travel to any of those places.
  • I really want to go hiking/trekking through Wales. And Cornwall. We just did a trip to England a few months ago, and London was awesome, I loved York, and obviously there’s much more I’d love to see. But more than anything I want to experience walking the countryside, and small fishing towns, and the rough landscape and craggy mountains and grassy hills of Wales and Cornwall.
  • I want to experience Germany and Austria (especially the countryside of those places) and the Maldives and Australia and New Zealand (the last two are planned for 2019, so that will be awesome).
  • I want to travel alone for an extended length of time. Every time I’ve traveled alone in my life, it’s been a transformative experience, and yet it’s only ever occurred in very brief stretches. But in the past I was more afraid, less confident in myself, and I think I’m really ready for more.
  • I want to be independent to the point that I can have a group of travel friends where we just go off and experience and explore. A real life Adventuress’s Club. And I want the members to be open, loving, accepting, drama-free people. People who won’t try to pigeon-hole each other. People who truly support and celebrate each other.
  • There’s more.