this is probably a bad thing

so is it bad that as i’m sitting here planning another trip, i just can’t get excited about seeing people i should be excited about seeing, so to motivate myself i had this thought: just imagine you’re going to die and this is the last time you’re going to see them

the good news is i have found my spirit song. I will blog more about this late, here or somewhere.

Advertisements

who can say what are the things that matter?

it’s funny that there are stories you can tell about yourself in a completely detached and unemotional way that really don’t feel like a big deal

yet

you find yourself telling those same stories to anyone and everyone who will listen.

i have often wondered what that means.

economy of fucks

so I’m sitting here knowing i have a lot of shit i have to do, watching the hours count down until the deadline.

it’s not unlike the way i spend the hours of my life until that final deadline

morbid thoughts are with me forever, guys. i can’t help it

so it occurs to me just now, though, that in order to get over the hump (the hump that is: a beginning), i actually just need to write down some of these thoughts that are chasing each other through my brain. in random order, then:

i wanted to make an instagram post with a cool photo (a fitting photo, one that is appropriately metaphorical but not too on-the-nose) and a caption something like: “over and over the battle repeats, between what is perfect and what is real.” something along those lines. but i have no such photo.

i have been listening to so. much. Roxy Music. lately. on the one hand, it’s because i’ve been reading a LOT of fic (escapism) and i find Roxy Music to be a fitting fic-reading soundtrack (well, a curated Roxy Music list drawn mostly from Avalon, Flesh and Blood, and Manifesto). but it’s deeper than that: i love Roxy Music. i was consciously, intensely listening to some of my favorite Roxy Music songs the other day (mostly from Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure, and Country Life) and i realized that Roxy Music, er, music, is me. and by that i mean it’s fucking dark, lustfully angsty. not sure if Roxy Music made me me or if i have reconstructed Roxy Music in my image (probably the truth is somewhere in the middle) but all i hear in their music is the dark longing for a fairy tale combined with a realization that the fairy tale is fiction culminating in an exultant acceptance of the real pleasures that life does have to offer: the fleeting comforts that we can take in other people. that we can give. then there’s there’s the meta similarity. basically i have been mildly concerned that my Spotify 2018 year-in-review is basically going to be 100% Roxy Music,  which, when i thought of it, made me feel somewhat embarrassed (i should mention that Roxy already featured heavily on my 2017 list..and probably would have done so on all the previous years, too, if there had been a list for those years). and i recognized that this embarrassment springs not from the actual music, which (again) i honestly believe is genius, magnificent, honest, amazing, but from the fact that Roxy Music isn’t typically well-regarded (typically appreciated superficially and painted as silly or taking itself too seriously or too romantic or amateurish) or even well-known in the US outside of rock historians and people like me. and in that, it is also like me. because i actually think i’m fucking awesome, somewhere. like, the real me. the one that isn’t hampered completely by psychosis. i believe that everyone, not exempting myself, is fucking beautiful and amazing if they just fucking accept themselves. and i have, basically. i mean, i would, if i weren’t trapped by misery and circumstances. i want to be that fucking awesome me. i’m in there. but like Roxy Music, i am not appreciated for who i really am because who i really am is basically unknown. so basically i am a guilty pleasure that you’re not really guilty about because the only difference between earnest love for something and shameful love for something is in how other people view that thing.

Fucking Roxy Music, man

so i was upstairs just a few minutes ago trying to psyche myself up for the work i have to do, and i realized that my life currency is fucks. like, we all know the concept of “giving fucks,” and just like everyone else, i’ve used it for years. but then i realized that it’s actually the key to everything.

last week i was trying all week to push my fucking newsletter, and honestly it could have been so much easier, but the fact that i JUST. DID. NOT. CARE. was making everything exponentially harder. that wasn’t necessarily surprising…what was more striking was the vehemence with which i didn’t care. i got well beyond the point of not caring that i didn’t care. and i know that “having no interest” in the world, in hobbies and interests and the things you usually care about, is typical of depression: i have been here before, many times. as well, i know that it’s a vicious cycle, as not caring leads to bad consequences which leads to more depression which leads to more not caring, etc.

so i was upstairs, finding myself, again, just watching the time slip by, knowing that the situation is dire, knowing that if i don’t get this shit done i will fucking regret it. not caring. and it hit me, truly hit me in the really reals, that fucks are the one thing that keep me – or anyone – going from day to day. to get out of bed, you need to spend some fucks. to get ready to face other people. to do anything harder than simply breathing, requires fucks. and i think for normal people, fucks are a renewable resource. the act of living expends fucks, but it also replenishes them. but for me, and people like me, that last bit is just broken. everything costs fucks, but nothing renews them.

and so we get into the coping. the dependency. the addiction. the borrowing of fucks.

i borrow my fucks in a variety of ways. the most basic: i eat. chocolate, candy, ice cream, or whatever i’m craving. immediate, physical, pleasant feedback. something to feel. something good.

i escape into stories: either books, fic, or TV. for me specifically, fandom supplies me the doses of what i need. i borrow these fucks vicariously. i get the rush of caring, of worrying, of loving. it’s the opposite of actual life. where real life requires that you spend fucks in order to receive fucks, in stories i receive the fucks without having to spend any.

and then an odd one. or maybe not so odd. just odd that i’m seeing it in this framework, odd that i never have before: fantasy. i have always, always, always been a daydreamer. i have always known this about myself, and the guilt and shame crept up slowly over the years. not because there’s anything intrinsically wrong with daydreaming, but that i do it near constantly. i think the realization that i spend so much of my time wishing i were doing something else, wishing that i were someone else, hurts more than i would like to admit because the obvious conclusion to be drawn from that fact is that my actual life sucks balls. and the thing is i thought i had addressed this. like, at some point in my 20s i pulled up my metaphorical pants and gave myself The Talk: “this is your life. you’re not waiting for it to start; you’re in the middle of it. so fucking start acting as if you’re alive.”  and i kinda thought it worked. and i dunno, maybe it did work for a time. but somewhere along the line i found myself back here. drawing my motivation out of thin air. borrowing my fucks from fantasy. gaining the will to keep living from the possibility of a different life. keep living, keep working, don’t give up, don’t give in, because….someday.

but goddammit lately everything is taking even more fucks. i’m operating in a fucks-inflated economy, and even my borrowed fucks aren’t enough to pay the bills.

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.

 

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.