Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he’s dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning.
Just watched Queen’s Gambit. I am in love and resonate with so much of it… even if it slightly brings me shame. But change is possible, and it’s left me empowered. Just read an article that pointed out how the show snuck in the work of female artists who tended to be overshadowed by men. This poem by Stevie Smith is one of them. Super relate.
For so much of my life I felt like I told the people around me that I was drowning, repeatedly, but everyone just said I was so happy and bubbly all the time. They wanted to see in me what they chose to see for themselves. What served them the best.
I am so grateful to have found a few wonderful people, including my husband, who were able to actually hear me. But others aren’t as lucky…
It’s important to listen.
It’s also important to express how you feel. Asking for help increases the chances of finding those who will listen.
As an old guy looking back, I can tell you we all have the same vivid sense of elation and depression haunting every day that we live. Have we done enough — Why can’t we do more? Relax. There’s lots of time to work it all out. Take it as it comes. Don’t worry so much about where you’re going. Enjoy where you are. “Go with the flow and ride with the tide.”
In the process of writing a long reflection on today being 5 years since my dad’s death, I decided to look up one of my old blog posts from 2013 entitled “Restless,” in which he wrote a comment I didn’t actually read until a year or so after he died. It wrecked me then, and it very appropriately wrecked me again today. For some context, this post was written when I had just started to pursue a career in animation but was feeling horrible because art already felt like a “job” to me, just from the minimal freelance I had done. I was feeling absolutely stuck, and I came to the stunning realization that I didn’t know how to balance my life and that something must be seriously wrong with me. HILARIOUS. I wish I could go back to 24 year old me and tell her “It’s ok, you’re just bipolar! Watch these videos! Read these things! Start working on it now!”
In that post, I mentioned this podcast about Andrew Forsthoefel, a 23 year old kid who walked across America, and how jealous I was that he had gone on a true adventure that changed him forever. I felt like I was missing out and wanted to see the world, meet new people and hear their stories. It’s not like I’ve walked across America, but I have gone on some serious life changing adventures since then. When writing that post, I never in a million years could’ve guessed that I’d get married in Hawaii, meet Mother Ayahuasca in Peru, or sail through Drake’s Passage and have a chance to cruise around Antarctica. I also really have met tons of interesting people all around the world with amazing stories who have shown me that living an alternative lifestyle is possible, and that there can be another way to live your life.
But even after all the life I’ve already lived… This wise message from the great beyond will always bring tears to my eyes. Because life IS overwhelming, and no matter how much cool shit I do, no matter how much inner peace I manage to attain at times, I feel like that pressure to do it all will never quite go away. That feeling of needing to rush things because I always feel behind. And it’s because we’re human. And we die. Everything we are inevitably turns to dust. His words are validating, inspiring, and enlightening all at once. Reading a message like this at exactly the right time is proof that my dad’s spirit will always be here to guide me, and a deep reminder of the importance of learning to let go and live in the moment. When you think about it, that’s really the best option we’ve got.
This is GREAT! I love your commentary and all the heartfelt responses you received. I heard the same “This American Life” episode, and I was also touched by his discoveries.
It reminded me of one night when I was sitting at a Winchell’s in Santa Ana in the early 80s, innocently drinking coffee and eating donuts. A guy in his mid-20s came in with a big grin wearing a cowboy hat, and he looked at me and said, “I just walked across the US, from the East Coast to California. Now, here I am!” I said, “Wow, your feet must be tired.”
He was a cool guy, and the crowd in the shop was happy to hear what he had to say. He represented all of us who listened to his stories. Everyone wished they could have done the same thing. Actually, many of us HAVE done similar things. Life is a fantastic adventure that never ceases to amaze us. We make plans, but more often LIFE leads us into directions we never expected. The best we can do is be ready for whatever happens. Always be prepared to “go with the flow and ride with the tide.”
You have a wonderful list of goals and I hope you can accomplish them all, plus many more you haven’t thought of yet. Remember, you are in this for the long-haul. You might feel desperate to prove yourself and experience the whole world immediately. I’ve felt the same way, and I’ve criss-crossed this country several times, and visited other countries as well. It’s a fantastic planet and you have plenty of time to explore it.
As an old guy looking back, I can tell you we all have the same vivid sense of elation and depression haunting every day that we live. Have we done enough — Why can’t we do more? Relax. There’s lots of time to work it all out. Take it as it comes.
On my blog about my life 40 years ago, my younger self is always fretting about how nothing happens fast enough. Of all the entries so far, maybe this would be of interest to you:
Don’t worry so much about where you’re going. Enjoy where you are.“
My dad had a blog he called True Time Travel Tales where he archived this journal my aunt returned to him from a trip around the country that he went on when he was 18 years old. I always meant to read it but never got around to it because I always found myself “busy” with something else. Then, after he died, I felt so guilty that I hadn’t been able to talk to him about it when he was alive I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. But then at one point shortly after his death I noticed there were a ton of broken images and contacted the hosting site to make sure they got it back up. Now, years later, I still haven’t read the blog, and again there are tons of broken images. Upon clicking that link, I had a straight up panic attack. I started shaking and couldn’t breathe, and completely lost it when I found out that the hosting site he had used no longer existed. The first time I had got the site back up, I vowed to myself I would save all the photos before this happened… but again… never got around to it… and now they’re gone forever.
My mom has a serious hoarding problem that was awful to grow up with, even getting to the point where me and my dad wanted to see if we could get her on the Hoarders show. When I was a kid I didn’t really understand it… I just thought we lived in a messy house. But as I got older and started seeing the hoarding tendencies within myself, it became clear to me that hoarding physical items represents underlying emotional issues of not being able to let go and move forward. Fears of the temporary nature of life and the inevitability that you and everyone you love are someday going to die. I’m not as bad as my mom, but I do take thousands and thousands of photos because my memory is so terrible and I find myself desperately clinging to certain moments of my life and not wanting them to disappear. I often have nightmares about losing all these photos somehow — in a fire, in a flood, in a zombie apocalypse, accidentally spilling water on my hard drives… I know this actually does happen to some people, which Eddy would constantly remind me of and make me more upset. Until today.
Clicking on that link in my dad’s comment was beyond upsetting. I cried and cried and cried. In a way it felt like losing him all over again… losing these parts of him that I really truly wanted to discover, but again, being so caught up in myself that I never found the time. Familiar guilt and shame crept back in, and I felt myself grieving like I had in the beginning. I thought I had come so far and healed so much, yet the wound felt as raw as ever.
But then Eddy reminded me that this is basically like my worst nightmare… and now that it’s happened in this capacity, I should see that it’s ultimately fine. I’m still alive, I still have the memories of my dad, and life will go on. He also reminded me that my dad was never the type to cling to photos or physical objects. He was throwing things out all the time! In fact, the whole reason he made the site was because he had thrown out this journal years ago, and somehow a man found it and tracked down my aunt who had returned to him. Considering he was already sick and died 2 years after he made this blog, he was no doubt already feeling the need to reflect on his life somehow. He was never the type to hoard, and he was especially put off by my mom and would always try to throw out her garbage because he knew she never would.
When my dad died, I looked frantically for this journal because I wanted it so badly, but me and my mom discovered that he had already thrown out most of his things. It became clear that he had planned his death, and in the beginning I was super angry at him for not leaving behind any of this stuff for me, or even a note explaining himself. I suppose he thought I wouldn’t care… and it’s taken me a while to get over the idea that I should’ve just asked him… that I should’ve shown some interest while he was still around. All these familiar feelings of self hatred and regret came back today when I found out his hosting went down, until Eddy talked some sense into me and reminded me what kind of person my dad was. How he was never the type to hold onto things and wouldn’t expect me to either. He would want me to just keep moving forward and enjoying life…
So when I came back to my senses and actually read the post he had linked to me, I couldn’t help but laugh. Even though the image was broken, it was literally just a blank page. Just like life. Just like this moment. He said that he wanted to preserve the beauty of the page before adding his thoughts onto it. It’s just like him to make this sort of point… and I started to see that this is an incredibly important lesson for me to learn. Even though he’s no longer around, he will always be here guiding me, helping me break through these walls that are such a natural part of the human condition.
We as humans can’t help but be so deeply affected by mortality. I felt so terrible losing these photos that I know he had thrown out. There was a time years ago that I started to try and save all the photos on each of his entries, but it took so long I couldn’t see myself doing it for the whole year. I also see that a bunch of videos he had posted have already been taken down… which really hurt in the beginning, but thinking about it logically… that’s just the nature of the internet. All this important stuff is just located on the cloud, and once it’s gone… it’s gone. This was a way for him to reflect on his life when he knew he didn’t have much longer in this world, and I have to just be grateful that he at least created this website and I have his words to reflect back on. And stop thinking that losing all of this was my fault…
In the end, all we are is dust in the wind. Just because these images are gone doesn’t mean he didn’t live a rich life, and it doesn’t mean he’s no longer my dad. Life is just a series of moments and experiences, and the best we can do is live in the present and enjoy where we are. And if something is important to you… don’t WAIT like I did, or it may be too late. I am so sick of waiting, of avoiding, of thinking “I’ll do that thing tomorrow” and never getting around to it, the weight getting heavier and heavier… JUST DO IT ALREADY.
A fantastic reminder for a 5 year death anniversary. Thanks, dad. Maybe now I can truly listen to your advice. Everything does indeed happen for a reason… lesson learned. All of this will be over before we know it. Perspective is such a trip.
I close my eyes Only for a moment, and the moment’s gone All my dreams Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind All they are is dust in the wind
Same old song Just a drop of water in an endless sea All we do Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind All we are is dust in the wind
Now, don’t hang on Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away And all your money won’t another minute buy
On Monday I had a long talk with Jen because I was a crying mess in the 40 Days To Optimal Health group and Red Tent last Friday, plus I missed my appointment with her in the morning because I was so out of it. I’ve been having difficulty planning and teaching my yoga classes while in a depressive low…something I was worried about but didn’t think I’d have to deal with until now because I’m actually in it.
I also had a long talk with her after my ER incident and we talked about meds, and the potentiality of me getting off my meds, but she said she hadn’t actually expected me to. After I was prescribed Lamictal though, I was pretty worried about getting that fatal rash it’s known for because I had already experienced some rare side effect and was afraid that…maybe I’m just unlucky. I don’t want that rash. I also found out that one of my bipolar friends was hospitalized on Lamictal for it making her too manic, and I don’t want that either. Honestly I’m starting to feel in my gut that part of my purpose is to learn how to fight this thing WITHOUT medication. So this was a serious talk on Monday about what she thinks I should do to stabilize myself without it. Thankfully she’s helped a lot of people get off their meds, so she knows what she’s talking about.
She said she wants me in CONSTANT DISCOVERY, and I think it just really hit me what that means. We only grow up once, which is why whatever comes our way we’re doing the best with what we got, cuz no one really knows what they’re doing. It’s all about building experience, and we build experience by going through things, making memories, and storing those memories within our hearts. Whenever we react to something, it’s like an opportunity to really DISCOVER what our past self is trying to tell us about the patterns we have built. Every time we react to something…it’s a chance to get to see ourselves, MEET ourselves, and the person we are becoming. This is what “constant discovery” now means to me, and I’m truly excited to go on this journey. Because it really takes the pressure off.
I see now that before my diagnosis, I was always expecting myself to do something. Be something. Build certain skills. Get certain jobs. Get a certain amount of followers. But these unrealistic expectations kept building and building the pressure until I was crippled and incapacitated beneath it all. I was trying to do too much while trying to “figure out what was wrong with me.” When I was diagnosed, I feel like puzzle pieces started clicking into place, but that was 2 years ago and I feel like I’m still discovering what that diagnosis even means. And I see now that what it really is is an opportunity…this opportunity for discovery, now knowing that I share symptoms with this bipolar population. It’s given me a chance to heal, now knowing roughly what to expect. This hit me today too…this kinda letting go of the pressure I was feeling before…knowing I’m committing to this constant discovery of myself.
As I was walking Han this morning I got choked up walking past Amy’s old apartment and remembering her coming out of her parking lot to pick me up. And I thought about Bre’s text to me yesterday saying she felt “haunted” and she proceeded to tell me her memories of when we saw this amazing meteor shower a couple years ago. When I was hit with these memories this morning I realized that this is how it is…we collect memories and they come up and affect us when we least expect it. Not even bad memories…but good ones. They remind us of what we perceive as “better times” even though we’re always struggling…there’s a melancholy to them…this simultaneous joy that it happened, but sadness that it’s over, and that’s just the existence we face. It made me even sadder this morning thinking of that…missing the past…and realizing that everyone feels this way. But that’s when this constant discovery really hit home for me…this “only growing up once.” When I was really manic in my early 20s life was a blur…my whole 5 year college relationship I can barely even remember. It’s now that I’m really choosing to commit to this form of self treatment, self discovery, that I’m allowing to slow down to see how these memories actually affected me. Changed me. And created patterns within me that affect how I live today.
Jen also mentioned pattern disruption, which is basically just rewiring your brain. Choosing to do something different when you can catch that you’re doing the same thing you normally do. So she told me when I start to isolate myself that I really need to reach out to my community…say that I’m starting to enter a low or high and get support for it. Enter a conversation about what it actually means, where it’s actually coming from…like detective work to really get to know myself, rather than falling completely in the hole and starting to wallow.
This is gonna be really difficult, cuz it’s going against my natural instincts. But if it means really getting to know myself and I can frame it in that way…it actually sounds pretty cool and interesting. It’s like getting to know a new friend 🙂 It’s a constant unfolding, and the more I embrace this, the more my brain patterns will shift…the key is patience, consistency and commitment. In this same vein I’m choosing to commit to more consistent journaling and I’m gonna try and rewire my art habits…get used to expressing myself and my emotions…using it as an outlet. It actually makes me nauseous just thinking about how tough that’s gonna be but that’s why I gotta do it. Sigh 😦 It’s what I’ve been avoiding for years…but that means it’ll be worth it. There are probably a lot of answers waiting for me in my art.
So far, being off meds for me is about trust. You have to recognize that you’re in a depressive low, accept that this is just part of you, and learn how to be ok with it. Don’t allow the negative thoughts to take over, like “I’m never gonna finish that thing I’m working on!” Because even though it seems so simple…that’s referencing the FUTURE. And the future is ALWAYS unknown. We think by worrying, we’re predicting some terrible outcome to prevent that outcome actually happening. Isn’t that psychotic?
Rather than do that, we gotta just live in the present. And listening to your intuition is SO important because THAT’S what you have to trust. First of all, if you know that worrying so much about a thing will help you get it done, then you WILL get it done. So why not just take out the worrying and live in the present, enjoying life instead?! Just TRUST that everything will be ok. Because it will be. It’s ridiculous.
I feel like I’ve somehow known all of this for a while but am also just learning it now.
Today I was relaxing in the park looking around at people also relaxing at the park…just literally sitting there and doing nothing…and I’m like “why did I always think every single person around me was doing such amazing things everyday?” My jealousy and FOMO used to be the WORST! It really is only now because of the quarantine that I’m realizing that I actually CAN be satisfied with my life.
I was telling Eddy that being home so much reminds me of being a kid before I knew how to drive. I used to be frustrated at how distracted I was by the world and people around me saying “I wish I could go to back to before I had any friends!” Simply meaning…to a simpler time when I felt less obligations to the people around me. THIS IS IT. And it really isn’t bad. I’m learning so much about myself and realizing…all of this is an EXPERIENCE!! So why not savor that experience? That’s what I’m trying to do now, and my old self is slightly resisting but not by much…
Here’s a picture of the hole Eddy punched in the door today. The dryer in our apartment complex is broken again and when he told me I was dismissive about it and he said “Easy to say for someone who never does the laundry.” I want this to serve as a reminder to me that this is the day I told myself I would make a lasting change.
It’s true. I never do the laundry. I never do much of anything for that matter, because I’m an entitled piece of shit who was stunted in growth because my mom always did everything for me and told me everything I did was wrong. Now I’m trapped in this fucking body with a fucking mind that I fucking hate and I sometimes think I’m making progress but then as soon as I have to do something like COOK or CLEAN I get so bogged down by the FUCKING MAINTENANCE IT TAKES TO KEEP THIS LIFE GOING. And THAT’S from my mom too cuz she was always SO FUCKING OVERWHELMED BY EVERYTHING.
HOW DO I STOP BEING OVERWHELMED BY THINGS?! I THOUGHT I WAS DOING GOOD, BUT I’M ONLY DOING “GOOD” WHEN IM DOING MY “OWN THING.”
Everything always “gets in my way.” Work, naturally, but how much longer am I going to complain about simply HAVING TO WORK? I logically know my job is pretty awesome yet I STILL JUST HATE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF IT. And POOR EDDY ALWAYS FEELS LIKE HE’S IN MY WAY!!! AND I DON’T WANT THAT. I DON’T WANT HIM TO FEEL THAT. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO BE THERE FOR HIM, TO SUPPORT HIM, YET I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO “GET SOMEWHERE” WITH MYSELF FIRST.
But WHERE?! This “place” is NEVER GONNA COME. And I ALREADY KNOW THAT. Did my mom pass on NARCISSISM to me too!? WHY THE FUCK AM I SO SELF CENTERED!?!?
I thought I did a good thing by taking this punch in the door seriously. I ended my teacher training early and took the wet clothes to the laundromat and did 2 other loads also. I felt great at the time. Very meditative. Then I went grocery shopping and decided to cook a healthy dinner, but as soon as it got even a bit hard, as soon as the dishes started to pile up, I fucking LOSE IT. And all this TALK starts happening “I FUCKING HATE COOKING WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS I SUCK AT IT ANYWAY AND NOW I HAVE TO WASH ALL THESE DISHES?! WHAT A FUCKING JOKE” and then SUDDENLY I’M TAKING IT OUT ON EDDY.
HONESTLY HOW DOES ANYONE DO IT?! Like HAVE A FUCKING LIFE where you DO things you wanna do AND WORK to make a living AND cook AND keep your environment clean AND have a relationship with your husband. AND SOME PEOPLE HAVE KIDS!? My god.
I KNOW I NEED TO FUCKING CHANGE. I’m honestly surprised it took Eddy 6 years to punch a hole somewhere in our apartment. Sat Kriya yesterday really did a number on me… I really FELT at a DEEP LEVEL that I have to become a different person. Not different… new and improved I guess. Because all these patterns I’ve got… NOT working for me. I’ve lived this way for TOO FUCKING LONG and even the way I’m talking to myself in this post is FUCKING DISGUSTING. RIGHT AFTER TEACHER TRAINING TOO YOU ASSHOLE ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!
I DID try to shift my inner talk to “kindness” while I was cooking… it worked a little bit. I even turned my reiki on to try and infuse the food with love. BUT I COULDN’T HELP SHIFTING TO HATE. WTF IS WRONG WITH ME.
I JUST WANT A NEW BRAIN. WHY WOULD I RATHER KILL MYSELF THAN BOTHER TO MAINTAIN THIS LIFE?!
I told that to Eddy and he said “That just shows you have such little gratitude…” It may SEEM like that to him but honestly… I’M GRATEFUL FOR SO MUCH, ESPECIALLY EDDY. BUT WHY CAN’T I SHOW IT!? WHY DO I JUST HAVE TO SLAM THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE AND YELL AND SCREAM AND THROW A FUCKING TANTRUM WHEN I’M 31 YEARS OLD!? I think I KNOW why… but it’s just FUCKED UP that I still have SO MUCH OBVIOUS RESISTANCE TO ACTUALLY MAKE A LASTING CHANGE. WHY!? SO I CAN KEEP BEING MISERABLE?! It’s not like killing myself would do EDDY any favors either, that would fuck him up for the rest of his life! SO I’M KINDA STUCK HERE UGH.
I AM FUCKING SICK. OF. IT. I’M DONE. THIS ENDS NOW.
Eddy likes to communicate with me through music. He plays THIS ONE a lot. Thought it was appropriate.
Note to self… I got pretty angry today… and I’m recently back on meds. The other time in recent history that I’ve gotten this angry I was also on meds… could this rage possibly be a side effect of the latuda? Or is it a side effect to the 62 min Sat Kriya? Ugh Jen just texted me actually and it made me cry… because I truly TRULY AM GRATEFUL FOR THE PEOPLE I HAVE IN MY LIFE. WHY DO I KEEP FUCKING IT UP!?