9/11 and Writer’s Block

The problem with writer’s block is that it always comes when I most need inspiration. The problem with inspiration is that it always comes when I don’t have time to write.

I have been experiencing inspiration in the middle of the day at work and late at night right before bed. These great ideas for blog posts hit me and they’re gone before I can write them down or even type out a note in my phone. This is the downfall of not being a full-time writer. Hell, I’m barely a part-time writer now, but I’m trying. What makes it so hard is that when I actually do have time to sit down at my computer and tap something out, I’m at a loss.

So that’s where I am right now. At my computer, with a blank screen in front of me and a blank mind to match it.

Instead, I just keep shopping and shopping online and never buying anything. I’ve spent hours and hours in just the last week planning my Halloween costume. I haven’t bought a single part of it yet. I’ve read articles about the most random things. I’ve sat and watched my floaters dance across a white sheet of paper in Microsoft Word. I’ve picked up my phone and put it down again. And picked it up again. I’ve gone to the bathroom and gotten a drink. I’ve taken out my contacts and put on my glasses. I’ve picked at my skin. I’ve done anything I can to avoid this blank screen, this empty page, just… mocking me. Laughing at my ineptitude.

It hurts my heart and soul that I want to be a writer and when I actually have time to write, I can’t come up with anything inspired. Hell, maybe someone will read this someday and feel less alone. But for now all I have is ramblings about my night.

 

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I thought about 9/11. I thought about all those people. All the stories of survival and death, of heroism and humanity. All those people. They haunted my sleep and I slept through my alarm this morning.

But when I really let myself think about it, I feel this immense pressure. I feel like I have to live my life to the absolute fullest potential and accomplish everything I can. I have to prove that I deserve to be alive when all those other people aren’t. People who had more to accomplish but never got to.

It hurts my heart to think about them and all the things they never got to do. All the lives affected by that awful day. And I feel the pressure not to squander my life.

Thanks a Lot, Indeed

I’ve been quiet.

It’s my indecision.

And the sheer fucking magnitude of time it takes to find a job.

See, job hunting is basically a full-time job. Which makes it really hard to do if you already have a job that takes up so much of your time. I only work part-time and I still have a hell of a time job hunting. It takes hours to find jobs worth applying for… reading descriptions, reading them again, trying to decide if they’re worth the time. If not, you’ve just wasted 10 minutes. If they are, it’s going to take another 60-90 minutes to apply. Because every job needs its own customized cover letter. And then you have to submit your resume. And then you have to fill out an online application that asks for *literally* all the same info that’s on your resume. Sometimes there are aptitude tests and writing samples and qualifying questions so that after you’ve done all that, there is a good chance you’ll be weeded out and no hiring manager will ever see all the work you did. Because if you don’t have the exact 5 years of experience in the specific thing that they require, forget it. May as well ignore all the experience and expertise and enthusiasm that you do have. Do you have the specific degree they are looking for? Is it from an impressive school? If not, you may as well turn around right now…

Can you tell I’m completely jaded on the whole process? And what kills me the most is that almost every job I want is something I know I would do amazing at. But I never hear back from 95% of employers… not even a form rejection letter. Nada.

So I spend another several hours combing through job postings, half of which are the same ones I’ve been skipping over for the last month. I’ll be damned if I busted my ass getting a degree so I can keep answering phones and scheduling appointments. The whole process is so utterly frustrating and infuriating that some days I just don’t think I can do it anymore…

And yet, I press on. Because the thought of another year at my mind-numbing day job is enough to make me Google “tallest building in Connecticut,” and use satellite imagery to scope out roof access.

I knew this would be tough, but this summer just keeps slipping by and I keep working long hours at the most mundane job ever and I feel my life just fading away. Then the weekend comes and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I can live again.

Then comes Monday and the process begins again. I’m not gonna lie, I’m completely burned out. I don’t know how to keep going, but I know that I must.

I’m being dramatic I know, but I’m a Leo and it’s Leo season and Mercury is in retrograde and I’m exhausted all the time.

So cross your fingers for me that something better is just over the horizon. I need it.

On Depression

I think it’s time that I come clean. This post was originally going to be something completely different, but I started writing it at work today and, well… I left it there. Since I can’t remember how I started the post earlier, I’ve started over. And seeing as I am currently struggling with depression yet again, I think it’s time to share my story.

First, I want to acknowledge that my current depression is unlike most of my depressive episodes in the past. On a scale of 1-10, one being “I’ve got the blues and life is a mess,” and ten being “I want to die right now,” I’d put the past few weeks at about a 5 or 6. I’m average depressed, which seems incredibly mundane except that this is the first time I have felt this way in at least 7 years.

Since I started working with the law of attraction, practicing self love and positive thoughts, working through my shadow self, exorcising my demons, and generally going through massive personal changes, I have not experienced depression. Every so often, I’ve felt it reaching for me, clawing at my soul, begging to pull me back to the dark side. But I’ve become exceptionally good at fighting it. I’ve felt like the victor, standing strong, refusing to give in to temptation.

Because you see, me and depression, we go way back. The first time I met depression, I was 12. I had just moved away from my childhood home and all my friends. I was living with strangers, I was overweight for the first time in my life, I had stage 3 acne, frizzy hair, no friends, and parents who routinely put me in the middle of their nasty custody battle. I came home from school and went to bed every day. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I idealized and fantasized about the sweet release that death would bring… but that’s a story for another time.

Since then, depression and I have engaged in an unpredictable and somewhat disturbing dance more times than I can count. 7 years is the longest I have gone since the first time we danced. Depression is like a frenemy of mine… the worst thing ever, but also someone with whom I’ve become extremely comfortable. I spent upwards of 15 years immersed in my shadow side. Giving into every sad little twinge, keeping people at arm’s length, snapping at those who came near me, and wearing lots and lots of black. I was emo before it was cool and for long after.

But it wasn’t a style, it was me. It was who I am. And even as I experienced happy times – great times at concerts with friends, falling in love, finishing school and having jobs I loved – depression was always there, at the back of my mind, waiting for my to come back. Everything was tinged with the feeling that my life would never be quite good enough and at any moment, I could slide back into the dark hole that awaited me.

Until I started doing my soul work. I focused constantly on changing my thoughts, changing the way I interacted with people, the way I interacted with myself. I became a person I barely recognized and while it was thrilling, it was also terrifying. Who was I, if not the girl with the face-melting stare and the constant sarcasm? Happy??

Still, I eventually gave into that as well. I loved the idea of being a bright light, an optimist. I really thought I had depression beat. I felt like an addict, feeling that seductive pull again and again, but knowing how to distract myself, I beat it back each time. But the dichotomy of my character is that I’ve wanted so badly to give in. The times I’ve thought about giving in and reverting back to my old self is probably equal with the times I’ve told myself that depression is a part of my past and it’s not who I am anymore.

Yet still, the struggle continues. And while much of my time spent dancing with depression has been somewhere between a 7-10, this time I’ve topped out at a 6.

This time, I know that life moves on, I know that it will get better. I know that I will accomplish amazing things and have so much freedom and beauty ahead of me. It’s just really, really hard to be patient and push through the muck that is my life right now.

My day job is absolutely soul-crushing and I’m constantly tired and on the verge of tears. I hardly have the energy at the end of the day to do more than come home and drink until it’s time to go to sleep. I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating becoming an alcoholic. (No, not really. But also… a little.) I don’t think I could ever be suicidal again, but I think I could be a good alcoholic. It would be an alternative to ending my life – just throwing it away instead.

But I digress…

The point is that last night, my fiance and I got into it about depression and suicide and his opinion that it’s the “coward’s way out.” I told him only someone who has never experienced it would say that. While I know firsthand that it takes a ton of bravery to go on and see what life has in store when it seems like the only way forward is to press the emergency escape button, it also takes a lot of bravery to face what’s on – or not on – the other side. And when you can barely wake up to face another day, whatever freedom or afterlife or oblivion awaits you after death is preferable. It will always be better than what’s in this life.

I get that because I’ve been there. HOWEVER.

I also know that life can get infinitely better. If I had ended my life at 12, I never would have met almost all of my friends. I never would have met my soul mate. I never would have gotten to meet my all beautiful nieces and nephews. I never would have graduated college or had my own apartment or been to Jamaica and I never would have realized how amazing life can be.

I couldn’t see it back then. I couldn’t see a way forward. I want everyone struggling with depression to know that there IS a way forward and it’s LIFE.

You may dance with depression again – hell, you may spend half your life spinning in circles – but there will be days that will make sticking around SO WORTH IT. You have no idea what lies ahead of you.

As for me, I’m in a sort of slow waltz with my beast right now. I cry more than I laugh, but I still have great moments. I had some amazing moments just a couple of days ago with my adorable 8-month-old niece who so easily lights up the room. (I don’t even usually like kids.) I couldn’t imagine having missed her bright, toothless smile or her infectious little giggle that springs forth the moment you tickle her.

I couldn’t have imagined, but now I can and I know that I would never want to miss it if I can help it. No matter how many more dances depression and I have in the future, I know that it will never take me down again. Life is too precious.

Anyways, that’s all I’m willing to share for now. Maybe someday I’ll tell the rest…

xo

First Ramblings

There’s something simultaneously terrifying and thrilling about a blank page before you.

I’ve always loved it; as a small child with a box of crayons, as a preteen at my grandmother’s typewriter, as a young artist with some cheap watercolors, and even now, as a grown woman with a voice and something to say.

The problem is, I never quite know what I want to say. Sometimes I’m filled with the overwhelming urge to tell my story… I’ve even written it already. Other times I’m pulled towards creating a new story, something that’s never been told before. And then there are times that I want to tell other peoples’ stories. Tell me what to say and I’ll make it sound as eloquent and engaging as I can. 

I’ve done all of these things, most of them within the span of one week. I figure that writing for others will make me money that will allow me time to write about myself so that someday I can write about the fictional people that live in my head. I’ve always wondered if anyone would care what I have to say and now that I’m finally putting words on paper, I’m torn.

On the one hand, I want so badly for people to care. And on the other… what does it matter? So I’ve always dreamed of making a living as a writer. But if I never make a dime off of it (perish the thought), will that stop me from writing? Never.

I’ve gone long stretches of time without putting pen to page or font to word document for any creative reason (hello, school), but I am always writing in my head. I’m always planning a new story or a new angle or something… anything… that will allow me to exorcise all the things inside me that I so desperately want and need to get out.

Now I’m being melodramatic. But as a Leo sun and the youngest of 3, what else could you expect? As an outgoing introvert, I’ve spent my life vascillating between extremes: Look at me! Look at me! And: Please don’t look at me, nobody look at me.

I’m a dichotomy. But I digress…

After months of sitting on this blog and telling myself to STOP PROCRASTINATING, I’ve finally decided to say, Fuck It. I’m just going to write what I want to write. I expect sometimes I will write chapters of a book I’ve been working on for 3 years and sometimes I’ll tell my story and other times I’ll beg more important people than I to hire me to write for them.

I know I have a voice. And I know I have a story to tell. Whether or not anyone is listening, well… that’s up to you.

xo