Monday, October 29, 2012

Of Strength, Luck and Crashing Down

I'll add illustrations to this and some passages to thin it out and make it... not as heavy.  For now, it's two AM and I just wanted to get this out there.
EDIT: Hey look!  Illustrations. 

While reading this, you will see that some things are in italics.  These were added later.  It may make for a discussion with myself, or even an argument.  You may actually read my sanity arguing with what I've become.

An appropriate quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is, "Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next."

I am not as strong as people think.

I don't really know what gave anyone this impression.

The fact is that when a person gets a lot of shit handed to him or her, everyone naturally assumes that person must be very brave.

This doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The bravest person in the world could die from a bee sting or complications after a fever.  It doesn't make him or her less brave just because that person didn't survive…

So the fact that I just… kept going… shouldn't really indicate any bravery.

I didn't fight, I didn't argue, I didn't really do much except panic, hide, cry a lot, not understand and be frustrated when no one could understand me, feel alone, and pretty much hate everything, yet never ask for help above a whisper…

To never ask for help and then complain when no one assists is just plain rude.  It is no one's fault but my own.  
Yes, I did ask a few times, at random, to the wrong people.  I blindly trusted the wrong people as well, and blamed only my own judgement later on, rather than blaming the fact that I didn't try again with someone else.  I should have kept going... And now as an adult, when I ask for help, I do feel guilty.  I feel like I'm wasting everyone's time or that they must think me very stupid.  I understand in a logical sense that none of this is so terrible.  

In fact, it's not even as bad as I've already been through...  But it's affecting me and hurting me.  I'm hurting myself, and I want someone to stop me.  That isn't fair.  It's no one's job to stop me from hurting myself but my own.  
And you know what?  I am strong enough to do that.  I'm just afraid and I hate myself for being afraid of nothing.  Why would I help someone I hate?  Someone who does such stupid things...  
I'm embarrassed, and that embarrassment is crippling.  

And then I would forget and be really happy for a while. 

I wasn't brave.

I was just in denial and didn't always have much else to compare it to.

Stunned maybe.  

I survived.

This doesn't mean that I had an undying will to survive or that I pushed myself beyond the odds…

Perhaps I didn't need such a will to survive.  I didn't need to push and push and push.  Maybe a lot of people would have needed that, and I just happened to survive without it.  

It means that in all the bad luck, there were moments of good luck or at least moments of calm that were long enough to pull me through.

It means that I plain forgot to care when I reached a point where nothing mattered anymore. This isn't bravery, so much as it's a kind of depression.

And sometimes... Not always, but sometimes...  Things were not so terrible.  Sometimes things were actually quite wonderful and helped the bad not matter so very much.  Still, always the neurotic child destined to be the neurotic and shaky adult, I always had a nagging fear in the back of my mind.  

The trick was acknowledging it and then letting it sit there without it taking over everything else.  
That was the trick only because I had no idea how to let it go. 

I gave up, and then life let up a little.

I called uncle, so my situation laughed and let me go.

"Just kidding Rowyn!  Go on, off with you.  Go try to be normal now that you're shaking.  Hope no one notices."

That isn't bravery.  It isn't being strong.

My father, and many others vehemently disagree.  They say strength is just the opposite of what I feel it is.  It's having the ability to just take it all and survive.  Still, the idea that I never fought back is troubling.  The idea that I am still not fighting back, and I'm allowing myself to disintegrate into a puddle of mush resembling something I do not want is even more troubling still.

Damn it, I'm better than this!   

That being said, I was never so completely hopeless.  I just didn't have the space to think about hope one way or another.  I just dragged myself along, scraping the bottom with my toes but not quite touching my feet down to the darkest depths.   I wouldn't let myself.

I don't call this a strong will so much as being stubborn.

Which in my life, may have actually been the same thing. 

I skirted along until I washed up on shore.  I didn't search for it or find it… I accidentally tripped onto land.

And why can't I be thankful for such luck?  Do I not feel I deserve it?  

And once I was there, I had no fucking clue what to do with myself.

I had wadded for so long that my legs had atrophied, but in an attempt not to bother the people around me, I just kind of held it in.

I bottled it up and pretended I was strong and had let things go.

Again, this may be it's own kind of strength, but in the end it isn't healthy.  If I could bottle it for a while and then empty it out, sure... but I don't.  I keep it.  I keep bottles and bottles of all this terror and I keep them safe and sound in some hateful wine cellar.  I'm afraid of what I am if any bottle is emptied.  I'm afraid of what my friends would say if they saw the contents without my explanations. 

So I collect the bottles as though they are important.  I make myself believe that I need them and that they make up who I am. 

Well, they fucking do now.  But I know I'm more than this.  

…I'm not a good liar.  I never have been.

I don't let anything go.


Everything just builds and attaches itself to other things and becomes this giant conglomerate of hate and pain and sorrow magnified a thousand times until it overshadows all that blissful denial filled joy I had once enjoyed before.

I know that the joy is there somewhere. 

Enveloped in my own stupidity and stubborn nature.

Even now in the swing of this strange semi-functional depression, I am still capable of being happy.  Every now and then, by body gets confused and fuzzes the difference between elation and terror, which is unfortunate.  Still, once I get it straightened out again, I'm very content at times.  The trick seems to then be not letting myself sink back into "This will all come crashing down again" and instead hold onto the idea that I can, in fact, be happy once in a while.  

To be content should not immediately turn to assuming I now have something great to lose, and more than that, it should not MEAN that I WILL absolutely lose that wonderful new happiness.   Provided I don't suddenly chuck the damn thing out a window for no reason, there is nothing saying that chance and fate and all that won't finally let me hold onto it.  

...So why do I throw it out, assuming I'll just lose it all anyway?  It's that stupid logic that I've argued against in relationships, so why not my own life on a day to day basis?

I am not strong.  I am a stubborn ass.

And eventually, that stubborn nature will absolutely kill me if I don't make a change soon. 

I don't have the will to fight my fears every single day.  No one does.  No one should have to.  I barely have it on good days, but I still HAVE those good days, and that means something. 

I cannot do this alone, and I know I don't have to.

I have many friends who have not only put up with my shit, but have seemed happy to do so.

Many of them have even gone through similar times.  They understand and accept me.  

So why do I feel lonely?

I'll tell you why.

Because I'm a stubborn ass.

I've decided that my life is over and that there is nothing I can do and no one can assist me.  I've decided that because I feel guilty when someone does want to help me.  I feel like I'm wasting everyone's time and that I'm not worth saving.

Stubborn and stupid, but I know better. 

And then when I DO feel better, that brings it's own guilt.  "How miserable will I make my friends and family, who are currently so happy with me, when I have a bad day again?"

Has this become a fear of success on some level?  How very sad.  I would love to be successful in many ways.  It would be a shame to sabotage myself to prove a non-existent point to no one but my own negative voice in my head.  

That being said, obviously, I'm still standing.  I haven't done anything, nor will I.  At least, I assume I won't, since I haven't yet.

I've already been through enough that could have led to such an end.

It didn't.

Out of another fear, or for someone else...?  Either way, in this case it is a good thing.

There are plenty of people who have been through more on a daily basis than I have ever gone through.

What we live through specifically doesn't matter so much as how we respond to whatever it is we have been through. 

I have not responded terribly well, and no, this is not a new thing.  I'm just not the kind of person who handles stress well... but I handle it very inwardly.

On the other hand, I went a good 26 or so years without a complete meltdown.  That's a pretty good record.  It's not like I had one big trauma that stuck out and shook me.  I've had many things happen over the years.  Each one on it's own was both terrible and something others could have just forgotten.  It depends on the person, I suppose.  

I never had time to get over each one before something else would happen.  I never let myself just sit and work through what I needed to.  Just letting go won't work.  I've tried it.  It just makes me feel like nothing mattered and nothing meant anything... When clearly it did.  

I know now that it all mattered.  Even if no one else knew that.  It still mattered.  

It's all smooshed together and therefore harder to look at clearly.  Perhaps picking each piece apart and going through them one by one would help?  

I tuck it away.

I have my moments to be sure, but how easily I give up even the things that matter most to me should matter in the "I'm not a strong person" argument here. 

I come to a wall, and I don't climb it. 

I just walk away.

I don't walk around it…

I walk away from it and continue to look back as though I couldn't have taken another route.

I'm stubborn and I'm kind of an idiot.

While I've done this in many respects, the one that really gets me still is what happened at my first college.  I never moved on.  
Art school represented my entire life to me.  I went to live my dream and be away from what was hurting me emotionally.  I had real hope.  
I got one opinion on my arm and forced myself to prove the doctor wrong.  That doctor didn't even keep me in his record.  I hurt myself for nothing, and then got kicked out.  I could have fought it.  I could have easily stayed and gotten help.  Instead, I finished my degree in a school that was not an art school and never forgave myself.  

What do I need in order to feel accomplished in this area?  What would validate my time spent there and the fact that I AM an artist, regardless of what I tell myself when I am depressed?    

I don't feel like I really exist anymore.  I'm aware that when I'm not around, there are people who miss me, so I don't mean in that sense.

Thank God.

I mean that my past is so muddled and forgotten by everyone around me…
You know...  I forget things that don't matter to me, so it makes me question how much it really mattered if everyone but me forgot.

If everyone can forget, and this means my shitty little life hasn't really been that bad… I'm just reacting incredibly poorly.

And without a past, how do I know who I am today?  What have I learned?  What HAVE I overcome?  I'm a "strong person" who has no past anyone will talk about.

But it wasn't their past.  It was mine.  It was mine to remember, respond to, interpret and grow from.  Even if it's wrong or right, it doesn't matter in that literal of a sense.  What matters is what I'm doing now with all of it and all of the meaning behind it.  

By this logic, my PTSD, my anxiety, my current health, my nightmares?  All just me responding in a stupid way and I'm not strong enough to stop it through will alone, nor am I smart enough to figure out this puzzle, nor am I brave enough to just medicate myself until I feel nothing at all anymore.

Bullshit.  Yes I am.  I'm just afraid to acknowledge that, lest I try and fail.   Failure is much easier.  I'm lazy.

I, myself, often confuse that last bit with bravery.

Ah, but if I don't want medication, even if it might help in theory, I'll just find a way to use the fact that I'm on something against myself.  I'll teeter back and forth between feeling brave for it and feeling weak.  So, lets stop that line of thinking now. 

It's just stubbornness at it's purest. 

I'm determined to get through this on my own,
to get back to how I was…
Which wasn't really all that different and may be a complete muddle of facts anyway.

It was just quieter and less in anyone else's face.  I bothered less people with it.

This is good to remember.  Once I'm back to how I was, as miserable as that often was, THEN I'll be able to move forward in a different way.  I'll conquer new fears.  I'll move forward and be stronger than ever.  But, I need to understand what it is I'm really going back to first.  That way, I won't be so disappointed in myself and get too hung up on it all.  

I'm determined to get through this on my own…
but I can't.

Some days, I really want to. 
I want a normal life.  I want the life I've never relaxed long enough to have…

And some days, it just isn't worth the struggle to me.  I get mad at myself because it shouldn't NEED to be a struggle.  It's easy for other people.  I get frustrated and then stop moving forward all together, when I should be using those moments to propel myself forward.


What happened to the determination I ever had?  I had it for stupid things, like winning boyfriends, but it was there.  Stalker level... but determination none the less that could be utilized now if I had any idea how to conjure and harvest it.

Exactly.  So how?  Just remembering won't work if I don't trust my own memory.  How do I picture the real Rowyn Golde?  Who is she?  Maybe I can pretend to be her until it sticks.  If I'm so easily led, perhaps I can trick myself into a better life.  

I want to blame someone other than myself.

I want to think I had no choice so that I can move on without just hating myself for doing this to me.  Punch out whoever did this to me and walk away. 

I want to put my goals and my emotional stability on someone else.  I want to get better FOR someone else, because I don't think I'm worthwhile enough to bother doing so just for myself.  Myself and I have an awful, rocky, love/hate thing going on.  Real soap opera crap.  I'm just not supportive enough of me to be my own therapist, let alone friend or goal.

Imaginary friends are probably unhealthy too, as is projecting and effectively using a friend as a therapy tool. 

My denial is broken.  It doesn't work anymore.  The reality is so strange and twisted and ugly to me that I just don't want to look.  It's not that I can't.  It's that I don't want to.  I want to wake up and just not care…  But I want to care.  I want to care and love everything.  …But I don't want to push myself.

I need to remember the cup.  There is a large blue cup in my parent's house that warped in the dishwasher.  When turned a certain way, it looks like it's smiling.  
It's ugly, for a cup, but cute for an art piece showing a facsimile of a human facial expression.  

The cup is deformed, but still functions.  I have an odd love for this cup because I look at it as though it is a mirror.  It doesn't match the other ones and other people would throw it out, but it still holds liquid.  It still does the job... and when looked upon from the right angle, it doesn't look deformed at all.    
It's still good enough, and I still like it.  
Even if I feel ugly, maybe I'm just different. 

My main issue as of late: I don't want to choke or have an allergic reaction to nothing at all.


Well, it's strange science.  No one really knows anything.  Anyone can suddenly develop an allergy at any given moment to any damn thing.  That's the problem…

I have no control over my own body and I therefore have no control over whether I live or die.

Technically, no one does, but I'm having trouble finding comfort in that. 

It used to be that taking a chance wasn't a huge deal, because anyone can die any day from pretty much anything.  ...And sometimes, I was afraid, but I sat still and dealt with it with a smile on my face for the sake of those I cared about.

I have a hard time doing anything for myself when it isn't secretly for someone else.

This could be good in a sense.  If I smarten up and prove to myself that I can be okay for a few hours when with someone, even if it is FOR that someone, I can then remember that I had gotten that far and repeat accordingly.  

I knew in my heart that this (severe allergies) was common enough, and certainly nothing compared to EVERYTHING else in my life.  ...Everything else being other situations where I felt I had no control over my body, felt I couldn't cry out for help, felt no one would try to hear me anyway...
Much like suffocating inside yourself due to eating a macadamia nut.

It's a different kind of trauma, but for me it's just yet another trauma.  Nothing more and nothing less.  The difference really is that you can SEE if someone is going to hit you.  You can HEAR a car smash into another car.

You can't actually have any idea if someone freaking touched a nut and then touched something you are about to eat.

Tiny particles of instant death are scary, and even though I have lived just fine thus far, (lived JUST FINE thus far!!) they have become the end all be all of scary shit I can't really control.  The fact that I've HAD these reactions is the problem.

I've had these reactions, this is a real thing... and then I had throat damage that caused an amazing amount of pain from... something.  Environmental allergies?  Smoke damage?  Who knows??  Could have been anything. 

I had no control.  It just happened without my knowledge.

There is something kind of... rape-like about it all.  Beyond that, I've developed a desperate need for a plan, but I haven't yet developed the "umph" needed to demand a plan.  This is silly because a lot of my friends wouldn't mind one from time to time.  I still fear being an overbearing burden.  Crap.  

...So I don't eat or only eat in very specific circumstances in order have a sense of control. 

This is inherently wrong.

Especially considering that I want to eat.  I WANT to eat.  I've been avoiding even my favorite foods from my favorite places, just in case of... something?  Something like what??  Tree nuts and chickpeas on everything!! 

I'm going to die, but I'll die by my own rules?  …But I don't want to ever commit suicide.


…Poses a bit of a problem, doesn't it?

Circular, illogical logic that I've been grabbing onto just so I can hold onto SOMETHING that I feel won't leave me of it's own accord.

Huh.  Abandonment issues to an odd extreme, yet I avoid social gatherings with my best friends.  Kay.

How very sad.

And how very silly.

...And I know that.

I'm not the only person in the world to have a crippling bout of depression, nor am I the only one to flip shit and turn into something I don't like.  The art of other people has helped me a lot in feeling less alone.
Penanggalan's Depression on deviantart and  Adventures in Depression on Hyperbole and a Half are great examples. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Binders Full of Women and My History With Squirrels

Just to get this image out of the way here...

Believe me, I could make a giant book of the problems women face today and how frustrating it is that so few people really understand A. the impact these things have on women and B. how little this shit should even still be coming up in 2012.  Holy crap people.  Women can do more than pop out babies and make you a sandwich.  Jesus tits.

But, I won't.  Not yet.  Instead, I'll leave you with that illustration.

Okay, so, onto the real post.

I talk a lot about art school and the impact that had on me, but I was only there for a year.  Sure, I've got some unfinished business and I have been (as always) in need of some closure, but really it just represents a life I could still have... if I wasn't a stubborn ass.  I could reconnect with the people I knew so briefly instead of assuming they've forgotten about me, and I could get something published.  These would fix most of the problems.

Instead, I'll tell you a little tale of the school from which I actually graduated.  I did get a BA in Art, as well as one in Psychology.  Oh, poor me.  Woe is me.  I wound up with two freaking degrees, and one might actually be useful.  Oh no.  Whatever shall I do?  I'm absolutely aware that I am, in fact, an asshat.

Anyway, the squirrels.

As anyone who has lived on campus in an area with squirrels will tell you, after a while, these buggers get fearless.  Also, they get huge.

Free food and drunken kids who like fuzzy creatures makes for a very cushy, and somewhat privileged life.  The squirrels get ballsy.  Like... full of balls.  No, I won't draw that.

I'm walking to the dining hall this one fine afternoon, and I happen upon a squirrel.

Adorable as he is, I think nothing of it and continue walking forward, assuming the little guy will move.
...He didn't.

Instead, little bitch just stared me down.

 I found this a bit unnerving, but I continued forward.  I realized that he was big enough to block my way.  I questioned if he had rabies or something.  He didn't move.

In fact, he stood his goddamn ground.

Kaaaaay...  Well, fuck.  I'm not going to take shit from a rodent, right?  I'm hungry, and he's in my way.  I'm at least twice this randomly ridiculously large creature's size.  I could totally take him.

Or not.

Eventually, after what seemed like far too long of a stand off, I faltered.  

It felt like I got mugged by this squirrel.  In my head, this was how it went down:

And so I was spared: 
In reality, I'm such a pansy (and had no food on me, since I was going TO the cafeteria, not from it...) I just very quietly and slowly walked around to the other side of the building.  Like a wuss.  Like a giant, pansy wuss who can't take on a freaking squirrel.  

Completely unrelated because I don't know how to make this into it's whole own post: