STOP AVOIDING PEOPLE.

“I hope you remember this next time you want to end it all… It’s a small taste of what happens when you disappear. You need to stop doing this to people” – Eddy

There are some events that you know will change your life, but you never expect anything like that to happen on a regular day… which I suppose is part of the beauty of life. It’s so random and unexpected, and we grow slowly and steadily from nudges of daily occurrences.

I meant to write this entry yesterday, but I was processing so much and had work to get done so I missed the boat. But it’s something that I don’t want to forget.

I’m becoming aware that when I get depressed, I quickly go MIA because I can’t stand seeing people doing well when I get into such a low frequency. Yeah part of that is envy, I can’t help it, but the other part, the heavier part, is feeling like a burden. When people around me are doing well, I feel SO uncomfortable sharing about how down I am. I don’t even feel like I CAN, and then I start spiraling into “well this person doesn’t even need me in their life at all anymore because I can’t even get my shit together and look THEY’RE doing so well…”

My logical mind knows this is ridiculous, because it’s unfair to compare in this way and we’re always collectively suffering. Even when things are good, it’s not like we “shun” each other just because the other person isn’t doing so great. Humans (well at least some of them… the ones I surround myself with) love to help. It reminds me how at the Ayahuasca retreat, Drew “commanded” me to ask for help and I had to write it on my hand “DREW COMMANDED ME TO ASK FOR HELP” to remind myself to ask for help even if I don’t feel like it.

hand(From my Ayahuasca ceremony 2 video https://youtu.be/VZ_Jhowrywo)

Then in circle:

Stace: So why do you have such an issue asking for help?
Me: Because I don’t want to burden anyone. I feel like I’m such a downer and it’s such a waste of time and Drew already has so much else to do…
Stace: But Drew LOVES helping people, that’s why he’s here.
Drew: Yeah when I help people, it takes me out of my SELF. Forget my own problems. It makes me feel good. ASK FOR HELP.
Stace: So Elora what about you? When people ask you for help, how does it make YOU feel?
Elora: Well… I guess you’re right. It DOES make me feel good…
Stace: So why would you deny us helping if you know it makes us feel good?

That really put me in my place, but I forget it all the time… especially when I know what people have on their plates. And with this pandemic, I know that a LOT of people have a LOT on their plate. We went into lockdown RIGHT as we were supposed to do our March Kundalini Teacher Training, so we had a zoom check-in call and it made me feel TERRIBLE. Something about connecting on zoom still bothers me too… I have NOT gotten used to it. I think part of it is that I can see my own face talking which makes me feel like I can’t openly speak, or be myself. It makes me too self conscious. But anyway. When I saw everyone in the zoom call… I couldn’t help but feel ashamed because some of them were really feeling great. Like really awakening to their power during this time of crisis, and I was so depressed and chaotic, I couldn’t even explain how I felt. I just felt totally useless, when there were people stepping up, starting to lead meditations, get their community together, help out in any way they could…I was also SO impressed by Jen, the lady who owns the Yoga Studio I go to, the Yogi Tree. She had to scramble to get all the studio’s classes online while dealing with her husband and kids and being a dula and all this other shit… whereas I was just at home wallowing and freaking out over this trip I couldn’t control which wasn’t even a real problem.

ANYWAY.

I felt weird about it so the next day I vomited to Jen how I felt in a text message, and she gave me a call (3/22/20). I told her about how I felt so shitty about myself because people were really stepping up and becoming healers and awakening and here I was feeling like I’d be stuck in shaktipad for eternity, like I was completely useless and incapacitated and had nothing to offer and it was really bothering me cuz I knew I didn’t have any real problems.

And she was SO GREAT. She reminded me that everyone on this planet is a soul that has incarnated in this lifetime at this specific point in history because we all have a purpose, something unique to bring to this world. And that we’re all like seeds, sprouting at different times. And the fact that I’m still here means I haven’t sprouted yet, but I’m incubating… and maybe this time for ME needs to be used to heal and really find my gifts. That I need to be ok slowing down, and when emotions come up, when instances where I no longer want to exist come up, to remember to ask where that’s coming from, and track it as far back as possible. Then the puzzle pieces will start coming together.

I remember feeling so great after this call, like everything was starting to make sense, and “YEAH THIS IS MY TIME TO HEAL!” But then a couple days later, I was so depressed and wanting to kill myself again and saw a text in our What’s App group of someone just gushing about how great she was feeling and I couldn’t even finish reading it without feeling completely nauseated and I ended up deleting the entire App. I had already turned notifications off but I knew I couldn’t handle the temptation of looking at the group and just feeling so bad about myself, so I had to get away completely. So that was about a month ago.

In the beginning of the teacher training, back in September of 2019, I LOVED this What’s App group. I was so active on it, getting to know all the people, absolutely ADORING this yoga community. They truly did become like a family to me, and even the conversation with Jen, and a later facetime conversation with Mary (one of the other teachers) really made me feel like I had found something so beautiful and amazing that I had always been lacking in my life.

Yet I still deleted What’s App, because avoiding is what I do. Eddy called it a “cry for help” and I said that was bullshit lol… but I supposed that response is an indication of what I’m working through.

So yesterday I got some texts from Mary, who btw is also amazing. I told her that she was immediately what I thought of when Eddy asked me how to define “strength.” She’s been through a LOT… so much so that I’m not quite sure how she continues to function, because I wouldn’t be able to. And on our call she told me it’s just because she accepts that she is how she is, even if she does have major depressive episodes and has to sleep all the time. And she accepts that she needs people to help her… she says “it takes a village.” Which… I guess I haven’t been able to accept about myself yet. She also helped remind me that… in this modern world, some people just HAVE to take meds because most of us aren’t allowed the luxury of dedicating our whole life to healing — like homeopathy, constant yoga, constant meditation — our lives now just don’t lend themselves well to that, unless it’s our business (like Jen). Looking back, that conversation is actually partially why I was even okay getting back on my meds… So so thankful…

Don’t wanna forget this:
041420ConversationWithMary
Despite my light tone in these texts…I was freaking out in my head. I immediately re-downloaded What’s App, shaking from the shame and anxiety of having to open it up again after so long…and saw a ton of direct messages from people in the group… which I still haven’t checked. Then in our main group I saw a bunch of them talking about trying to reach out to me but not hearing back, and then Jen saying she was gonna try to track down my husband’s info to see if she could check with him…. I FELT TERRIBLEEEE.

I then went to post my comic on IG, which I had already done but was SO RELEVANT because it was about running away… This What’s App stuff had just happened so in my description I posted:

“Something just happened that reminded me of what a selfish piece of shit I am whenever I go MIA…especially from people who supposedly care about me…a community that, on good days, I’m so grateful to have in my life. I’m amazed at how hard it is to maintain any sort of attachment to anything or anyone when you’re a slave to your moods and feel like avoidance is the only way to make yourself feel better. How you can so easily trick yourself into thinking that no one cares, or everyone would be better off without the burden of having you in their life. Huge apologies to everyone I’ve ghosted over the years…I somehow clearly still haven’t gotten over myself to fix it. Really hoping I don’t run away from this project…There’s too much I wanna say.”

I saw my friend Edward reply to it, and then I texted him about what had just happened. We’ve gotten pretty close since Unikitty, because he’s also on this yoga training path and has a similar upbringing and anxieties to me. He’s a little older and not as old as my dad, but he gives me a really nurturing, masculine energy — plus he’s got 2 daughters so I feel like…he’s really nice to have in my life especially since my dad is gone.

Anyway, so I mentioned it to him and he said “Oh yeah… they reached out to me.” And I felt like I got punched in the stomach. He explained that Jen texted him, thinking that he was Eddy! They have the same name, but when I signed Eddy up for classes at the Yogi Tree, I used my info, but Edward signed up on his own so Jen had HIS info and thought they were the same person! She ended up calling HIM, realizing he wasn’t Eddy, but thankfully he knew what was going on with me so he told her that I was fine.

But I just COULDN’T BELIEVE she went that far out of her way to check up on me… because I had been ignoring HER messages… even AFTER she was so gracious about calling me a month ago after that first zoom call… God even writing about it today is still making me tear up because I can’t help but feel bad about it… and also feel so terrified about how to resolve this situation and apologize… Haven’t built up the courage for that yet. I also felt so ASHAMED that Edward had to deal with this having no idea what it was about! D:

When Edward told me about it, he started pressing me about how it made me feel…and that’s when stuff started coming to light.

edwardconvo

This might not seem like a big deal… but to me it is. And that’s because… I’ve been doing this for YEARS. And it’s just gotten WORSE. It’s almost like… the more I care about something, the more I tend to push it away over time, until I push it completely out of my life through avoidance.

My ex  even told me that he had a conversation with one of our mutual friends and they agreed —

“The closer you get to Elora, the further you actually become.”

He told me that close to 10 years ago now, but I’ll never forget it because I felt so HORRIBLE about it, AND this particular boyfriend never really communicated much to me. He was the kinda guy who, when something bothered him, rather than talk about it (because it caused “drama” he said, and he hated drama), he’d lock himself in a room for days and not come out until he could face me and be “normal” again. Meaning we never actually talked about anything real. So… this one line really had an impact. Thinking back, it was like the first indication to me that there was something wrong with my behavior and how I treat people.

I feel like I’ve known a little bit of why I do it, but it’s so subconscious at this point that I’d rather just not feel the uncomfortable feelings associated with it, and go ahead with the avoiding to just get it out of my life completely. And I was trying to do this with this yoga group that, I SIGNED UP TO COMMIT TO for NINE MONTHS. And part of the reason I signed up was because I know I tend to run away, and I wanted to work on it and not do that anymore… yet I still did.

When Edward asked me how I felt about all of it… I froze. Because I noticed that I was constantly bringing it back to myself “IIII feel shitty because of it” which, I could see for like… the first time ever… was redirecting what I should see as kindness and compassion from the ladies over at Yogi Tree, to anger and hatred toward myself. Which is why I said I feel like there’s a wall around my heart

Something has been happening lately, where, when I have these moments of clarity of patterns and habits I’ve exhibited throughout my whole adult life, I’m just flooded with emotion and I have a total breakdown, but in a good way. Like I’m cleansing something that’s been blocked up for way too long. And what happened here, was that when I felt that wall around my heart, I could instantly feel all these moments from my past where I’ve done this to people, even at the beginning of dating Eddy. If we’d get into an argument or something and he’d try to communicate with me to see where I was at emotionally, I would freeze and try to avoid him. Since we worked together, this was really difficult, and I would resort to talking to coworkers and completely ignore him in order to distract myself from the problem. This was really the first time anyone even BROUGHT THIS TO MY ATTENTION, because Eddy sat across from me and would SEE ME DOING THIS and he said he couldn’t understand it at first, how I could be so cold when he was clearly suffering, and I did nothing to try and resolve the situation. He told me later that he was actually considering breaking up with me for THIS SPECIFIC REASON.

So after I got up from talking to Edward, I went to talk to Eddy about it. Eddy and I have been together 6 years now, so we’re at this point of brutal honesty which I love, and I told him about everything that happened. The way he reacted was so different from Edward:

Eddy: Wow. That horrible because after all they’ve done for you, you just delete What’s App and disappear and leave them with THAT impression?
Me: I know…
Eddy: You deleted it back when you were saying all this stuff about wanting to kill yourself and everything too… it was totally a cry for help.
Me: Well I guess it’s what people do when they feel it’s too much…
Eddy: I hope you remember this next time you want to end it all… It’s is a small taste of what happens when you disappear. You need to stop doing this to people.
Me: I know… but I don’t know how…
CUE SOBBING FOR HOURS. 

I see now that I have such a hard time receiving love, and I’m not quite sure what to do about it yet, except for maybe do some heart opening meditations, and I guess becoming more aware of when I’m doing it so I can try to achieve some kind of balance between solitude and still knowing how to reach out to people. It’s a strange feeling that I get in my heart, when stuff like this happens. Like… I get a blank look on my face and go into my head I think… and it’s how I dealt with trauma as a kid. My mom would always proudly tell our family “no matter what we have to do, Elora is by my side. She doesn’t even cry or anything, she just sits there!” Classic Enneagram Type 7. Distracting myself from the pain due to lack of nurturing.

Yogi Tree is like a family… and I realize now I haven’t been able to handle having a family. The responsibilities, the obligations, the EFFORT… it’s all what I’ve been so afraid of because I was never able to connect with my own family on that level. They weren’t a great example. There wasn’t much EFFORT. Only isolation. It’s all I know… and after being alone for so long it’s sometimes all I think I want. And it becomes overwhelming to even just “check in” with these people, so much so that I would just rather leave and just start up surface relationships with new people. But I see how… that’s a pretty sad way to live. It’s why I feel like I didn’t have any real, deep connections until I met Eddy and LEARNED how to develop the types of connections I had subconsciously been craving.

But now that I’m on that path, I’m seeing the reality of it, and it’s that my concept of love is still so warped. Eddy tried to get further to the bottom of it, asking why it was so painful for me to face things like this. He said something like “you’re so popular and you’re so loved” and I rolled my eyes and started feeling nauseous, and he asked why it bothered me so much to hear that. And after really thinking about it, I can see now how… like Edward said… I hate that kind of attention. I hate being complimented. I hate being “seen.” Because to me… it makes me feel a weird sort of pressure to perform. To “be there” for other people to maintain that “title”, that “compliment” which… basically negates the compliment lol! I suppose thinking about it now… I’m really tripped up by labels in that way, because it gets me in my head, and thinking, we’ve discovered, is really just not great for me to do most of the time.

I’ve gotten really into the Hunger Games lately, and I tell Eddy it’s like in Mockingjay where they try to make Katniss be a voice of the people, but if she’s given a script or has to do an interview or something, she gets way too in her head about it. She rather needs to be seen in the field, doing what she does NATURALLY. And I think… if I’m able to get out of my head and just act NATURALLY, that’s when people seem to love me. But then if I suddenly step back and SEE that people love me… I get all weirded out by it and feel like I have to somehow “keep it up.”

Ultimately we concluded that it comes down to me needing to learn how to forgive myself, but the idea of forgiving myself for all this self hatred I’ve developed over the years is SO PAINFUL… it feels like it’s GOING AGAINST MY ULTIMATE BEING, so instead of forgiving myself, I’d continue PUNISHING myself, and HATING myself for constantly ghosting people. It’s all so disgusting and backward I can’t even stand myself, but I suppose that’s the goal of this darkness inside me, the subconscious patterning that wants to keep living. That forgiveness and acceptance SHOULDN’T be the most painful thing for me, and yet it is, and I feel so trapped by it… how many more breakdowns will I have to go through, how many more people will I have to inconvenience and possibly hurt for me to just GET OVER MY DAMN SELF?

Instead I should focus on being GRATEFUL for all these people who CARE… I feel like a runaway child… Maybe I’m doing all the rebelling now that I wish I could’ve done when I was trapped and sheltered with my mom. That’s a thought.

It’s A Choice

Eddy: Why do you have to be so sad?

Me: I DON’T KNOW.

Eddy: You don’t have to be.

TRUTH. Honestly, I know it’s a CHOICE. I always know it’s a choice… yet I keep choosing wrong! Or is it even wrong? Shouldn’t it be right to allow myself to feel these emotions so I can let them pass? It’s getting tiring though. I know it’s all a cycle, but the cycle is so painful… What am I even looking for? I know the good mood never lasts… so I can’t help but keep feeling like maintenance on this human form is just so tiresome… AND IT KEEPS GOING. There’s no way out.

But technically there is… that choice. The patterns of the mind are so damn strong. Stop choosing to be miserable.

Sometimes…

I wonder how I’ll make it through life without actually killing myself. I’ve learned so much from about how to move through pain and still the pain of living through this bullshit is just too great…I am so tired of shaking and crying and screaming until my throat is raw and it fucking sucks so much fucking ass that I have to go to work today, try to put a smile on, kick assignments out, then do more work when I get home for 2 other projects and it’s all fucking art but my heart is fucking breaking how am I supposed to pull any good shit out of my soul to get any of this shit done this week I’m so fucking sick of being me and acting like balance is really a fucking option with a mind like this I’m so. Fucking. Over it.

This isn’t fucking worth it.

Why I Went To Peru To Drink Ayahuasca

About a month ago my friend Amy and I returned from Dreamglade, an Ayahuasca retreat in the Peruvian Amazon. This is actually the post I wanted to start this blog with, but since we’ve come back, life jumped full force into the holidays, into my birthday, then back to work, so it’s been pretty rough to get my bearings. Not sure if I’d recommend planning an ayahuasca integration for such a busy time but…I honestly didn’t realize how difficult it would be to come back to “reality.”

Still, I wouldn’t trade the experience for any amount of money in the world. It was way more valuable than I could have ever imagined…

I first heard about ayahuasca about two years ago at a lunch with coworkers. We were all sharing our experiences with Psychadelics when one of the girls said something like “Have you guys heard about ayahuasca? A friend of a friend just did it and I heard it completely changed her personality. She quit her job and claims that she’s a healer now. Her husband doesn’t know what to do with her. It’s some crazy shit.”

I was immediately intrigued but she didn’t know much more than that, so I got back to my desk and launched into a full force investigation about ayahuasca, watching every documentary and testimonial I could find. A sacred jungle plant medicine that has the ability to rewire your brain, cure anxiety, depression, and addictive behavior? YEAH SIGN ME UP!

I’m not going to go too much into the details of what exactly ayahuasca is, aside from that the brew is a mix of the ayahuasca vine (“Vine of the Soul” or “Vine of the Dead”) and this plant called “chacruna” which, when combined, activates DMT and allows you to go on a spirit quest with this “entity” or “goddess”… Mother Ayahuasca (Mother Nature). She gives you some pretty tough love, making you physically purge what is no longer serving you to make room for something better. Your “inner darkness” if you will… repressed memories, shit you hate about yourself… that kinda thing. Only then will you be rewarded with something good. At least in my experience 🙂

Here’s one of my favorite videos about Ayahuasca from Your Mate Tom, which happens to also be shot at Dreamglade. It’s where I first heard of it actually, so thanks Tom! He gives a really good intro into what Ayahuasca is, and his experience is really interesting.

And here’s a documentary that I highly recommended about the scientific benefits of ayahuasca and how it actually affects your brain. Basically what western medicine doesn’t want you to know 😉

Anyway, the reason I was so attracted to ayahuasca is because I had been depressed for my entire adult life and wasn’t really sure why. When I started dating Eddy (now my husband) about 5 years ago, he basically taught me how to communicate and a lot of repressed emotions came to the surface. Prior to that, I never really knew how to express what I was feeling or look deep within myself to question my actions, or values even. I was going through life blindly and felt broken without knowing why, and when Eddy made me start talking about my past it was like opening a Pandora’s Box of pain. For the sake of this post not turning into a novel, I’m going to let most of this unfold in my ceremony explanations and instead offer up an easy bulleted list of reasons why I decided to book that ticket to Iquitos.

  • My dad died 3 years ago and I felt like I was still holding onto grief that was preventing me from moving on in my life, so I wanted to somehow reconcile with that. I actually specifically booked the retreat so my final ceremony was on his death anniversary, December 14
  • I was diagnosed as bipolar in April of this year, tried going on meds and hated it, so I was looking for a way to naturally learn to balance my extreme highs and lows
  • During a manic period in my early 20s when I was trying hard to “make it” in the animation industry in Los Angeles, I barely got any sleep, partied all the time and made a lot of “surface friends,” but the lack of meaningful relationships and the exhaustion of being out all the time led to the worst crash of my life, where I isolated myself from the world and was never able to recover. Depression hit me like a brick in the face and got worse and worse to the point of completely forgetting myself and what it even meant to feel joy. I would jump from empty high to empty high to feel “happiness” but nothing ever felt real, which left me constantly wanting to kill myself
  • Anxiety that got so bad I couldn’t leave my desk at work and led to a phobia of people that I had no reason to be afraid of
  • I got married in August and my poor husband Eddy has been so patient with me this entire time but started to express that he didn’t know how much more of my behavior he could take. I finally saw how my mania, depression and anxiety had affected HIM for years and I was so self involved I didn’t even realize it, and it disgusted me. I knew that if we ever wanted to have kids (which we do), I had to do something serious about myself, especially because I was so often suicidal and had a huge fear of doing it someday soon.
  • I just turned 30 on January 6 and was just SO SICK of being ME I knew I had to resort to something drastic to finally start moving forward in my life. It was the best birthday present I could’ve ever gifted to myself 🙂 Perfect timing!
  • The idea of traveling to the Amazon to participate in a shamanic ceremony where you drink an ancient jungle brew that allows you to walk with gods is just too much for my adventurous spirit…something I never could have anticipated checking off a bucket list 🙂

In my opinion, the more you can mentally prepare for this the better. I had done so much work trying to figure out what was wrong with me I just could NOT move forward, no matter how hard I tried. This was literally a “last resort” type deal, which is really sad considering I have a loving husband, dog, and awesome community of friends. I was just mentally in such a dark place for so long that I knew everything I SHOULD be doing to function in life, but couldn’t make myself do it, or feel it, and that numbness is a dangerous place to be. At one point I came across something that said if you make the decision to do ayahuasca, you have to be ready to die, and I couldn’t agree more.

Day 10: The Past is Always Bittersweet

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” -Joseph Campbell

It’s been pretty good lately! Also busy. I feel like I’m always in some sort of transition period but… when I think about it, aren’t we all? Like, ALL the TIME? It’s pretty easy to get our ass handed to us by life, and I guess it’s not typical to just be super content and satisfied. As far as I can tell, everyone always is dealing with some kinda shit. I really do feel though that transitioning HAS been my main focus lately. Maybe it always was?

Anywho. Yesterday Eddy started work so we have to SERIOUSLY learn to stagger our schedules so that Han isn’t alone for too long. That means that if I have anything planned after work, I have to leave super early to get there on time. It’s amazing how little time there is after work, especially if you’re someone who gets up really early, like I’m trying to be. Sorry it’s just NOT THAT EASY TO GET TO BED BY 9PM.

Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist who I ended up lying to that I’m still on meds 😐 At least I have a new prescription in case something WERE to happen and I really needed them. I explained to her that I hated being on the meds because I never felt the same joy like I used to, and needed to constantly be high in order to feel anything really. I didn’t like that she told me to stop smoking weed, but when you think about it, psychiatrist and doctors, anyone who prescribes pharmaceutical meds really, of COURSE wouldn’t like weed cuz it’d be taking away their business! But in any case, as long as I’m not on my meds I feel fine and don’t need to be high all the time to get through my day.

Something she DID say though that was useful, is that rather than use weed to make me feel joy, I should try to do things that are fun and not “SECRET CHORES.” No one has ever told me that before… SECRET CHORES. I told her “oh yeah I’m getting back into meditation and yoga and that’s been fun” and she’s like “well those are still self care things to do… find something that’s not a secret chore.”

Dude she is SO RIGHT! Gonna make more time to have actual fun in the near future. It kinda sucks because I’m trying to do so much now… Oh gosh should I try to list what I’m attempting right now?  Maybe that would be healthy, who knows.

  1. Transitioning off my meds and learning to control the depression and mania on my own.
  2. Transitioning into dealing with my bipolar diagnosis in general.
  3. Waking up at 5am to walk Han, leave for work by 7, and leave work to come back home by 4pm.
  4. Eating a healthier mostly plant based diet.
  5. Getting in a consistent workout schedule, running MWF, weight training TTH, yoga daily.
  6. Working with April to create wooden signs for my wedding.
  7. Centerpiece art for wedding, trying to get them printed in time so I can ask for help to get them painted around Friday. Need to test how different paints will work on the transparencies before then.
  8. Video for the wedding
  9. Attempting to do personal doodles to at least work out these thoughts I’ve been having lately
  10. Trying to find someone for Han to stay when we get married, which involves multiple meet and greets
  11. Communicating with a hula instructor
  12. Trying to get to sleep by 9pm

It’s actually not as bad as I thought, because in my head I recognized that there are actually more things to DO, but I didn’t list them because they’re not my current priority and I need to finish these things before I even START thinking about those things. That’s progress, right?

Today I was talking to Bre about art… and art has been a sore subject for me for a while. I’ve been depressed about it for probably like 10 years now, but I finally feel like I’m making some mental progress in the art field. Today though talking to Bre a little bit of the bad feelings slipped through again and I think I need to talk about it.

Almost 3 years ago I made the conscious decision to fully disappear from all Social Media. I had tried multiple times before but kept going back, but it was my dad’s death that made me stay off facebook because man… I had a lot to work on. Looking back, the person I was before my dad’s death seems sorta… unrecognizable to me. In a good way though. I’m learning to look back and not hate the me I used to be, but rather try and focus on the progress I’ve made along the way. And also be really happy that I’m not like that anymore.

Bre’s been sending me those talks between Dave Rapoza and Dan Warren, which are FANTASTIC. It’s really nice that they talk about real shit on there… it’s super relatable and man… totally sounds like what I’ve been going through for years. Bre told me that she wants to start trying to incorporate story into her art, and how she really wants to learn to gain more happiness from her art and share it with more people. She’s already such a fantastic artist, and I guess I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy when she said that. Then I was like… wtf why do I feel JEALOUS. i should be happy for Bre because she’s really starting to come into her own and get into a rhythm blahdeeblahblah. And I AM happy for her, because I know she struggles with a lot of the same shit that I do… and maybe for that reason I can’t help but feel a bit bitter.

Months ago these feelings would have been WAY WORSE mind you. Something I just realized. What I just felt while writing the word “bitter” is only a sliver of how upset and jealous I used to get… which is a really good thing. I’m so happy to have recognized that progress 😀 And I think the reason why is because I know that EVENTUALLY I’ll get to that point where I can vomit out art and actually express how I feel, but for some reason something is still holding me back. And THAT’S where the bitterness comes from. I know that Bre spends a lot of time painting, and I think the jealousy also comes from knowing that she has time to do it. I mean… no one’s really got time, you have to make time, but I can’t help feeling a little bit stuck because of the wedding (again, ANOTHER feeling that ruled my life a couple months ago).

I’m feeling really RESTLESS, and I’m trying to tell myself “just a little more just a little more you’re almost done with the wedding” but at the same time I’m like “pssshhh whatever you can MAKE time even WITH the wedding” and then ALSO at the same time “BUT IF YOU DO THAT YOU’RE GONNA BE OVERLOADING YOURSELF AND SPIRAL INTO DARKNESS AGAIN NO DON’T DO IT”

Today I was telling Bre that I used to get on my ass so much about having wasted time, or regretting my past. But now I can tell I’m in a better place because I can see that as much as I feel that way, what I did in the past shaped who I am now. Listening to Dave talk about his past is also validation in a way. Today he was talking about working professionally and how over time you get used to it, care less and get more comfortable, which is totally the stage I’m in now. They were talking about how of course it would be impossible to balance your time when you’re still in that stage of getting used to working in the industry, and people should know to be a little easy on themselves during their early 20s/while they’re in that phase, because it’s almost EXPECTED of you to be shitty then. Because I’m now starting to feel that separation between personal/work life (partially due to the forceful influence of the wedding but also because I’m getting used to being at WB) I can relate to what he’s saying, but I’m still not at the point where I can feel ok about my art.

These conversations between Dave and Dan are great, but I can’t help thinking like… they’re already great artists though. They’re just looking back on their journey but… they’ve been able to achieve way more than I have artwise, and developed skills that I can’t really hope to develop now especially because I want kids. Yeah I related to what they were saying, but I guess maybe I’m not ready to listen to artists yet. To venture into that art world just yet. That part of me still exists where I can’t help but compare myself to their achievements, and although I told Bre that I can look back and not feel like I wasted time… I still feel BAD about it. Looking back, my early 20s seems like some VOID OF TIME that I can’t even REMEMBER. Like WTF WAS I DOING THAT WHOLE TIME!? I guess it was a whole lot of partying, going to gallery shows, meeting people, drinking, taking classes, and going to the Magic Castle. But I really hate that… I dunno I guess I can’t even remember gleaning much wisdom or knowledge from that time. When i get home from work, Han is spastic… just rushing at me with all this energy. Looking back I feel like I was more like that… just kinda LIVING and not really… soaking anything important in. :\ I am so glad I met Eddy and started on this path because… as jealous as I am of dogs just living, I see now (that I just wrote this) that eventually that type of “only living in the moment” lifestyle can only lead to depression. Come to think of it, I think I was probably manic for most of that… how else would I be able to do so much, drive from orange county to LA all the time, and still work, do homework and hang out with my bf? Ugh geez… no wonder I crashed into such a hard and long depression. Seriously until I started taking the Latuda and stopped feeling the symptoms of depression, I don’t think I even understood how BAD the depression was. I had already accepted it as a state of living, and couldn’t remember functioning any other way. Probably lasted around 7-8 years of being full on in it.

I’m so grateful for where I’m at right now.

That being said, back to art. Especially after realizing that about depression… I guess I should be easy on myself (like Dave said) because I had this mental illness the whole time that I didn’t realize that I had, and RECOGNIZE that I couldn’t have possibly achieved balance with art because I was unconsciously dealing with that. I’m still jealous though that some people are able to work THROUGH their depression and create something great. I never learned how to express myself through art, because I was so focused on getting a job in animation that I just tried (and failed) to make things pretty or fit in to the animation standard. I guess it worked ok since I’m now actually working at a union studio thank god, but I really do feel like most people I know have drawn so much more than I ever have in my entire life. I was just so goddamn distracted all the time, first by people, then by my depression, that I wasn’t ever really able to attain a strong skillset like basically EVERYONE I know. And now that I’m already at this stage in life where I’m getting married and planning to have kids, it makes me sad knowing that I (see I wanna use the word WASTED here) use up all my best years of exploration and experimentation on shallow pursuits that ultimately mean NOTHING now.

But UGH ELORA. REMEMBER THAT ALL OF THAT WAS LEADING YOU HERE. I guess that’s not so bad. Through that butterly effect/6 degrees of separation thing I suppose everyone in my life now who I love is a result of all that past I’ve lived, and I need to just learn to own it and get over it.

UGH WITH ART THOUGH!!! I can’t GET OVER that I wasn’t able to express going through my darkest times with ART. I LOVE how you can see artists progress over time, change styles, deal with various issues… like someone’s story is shown THROUGH THEIR ART. There’s such a huge chunk of STORY in my life that I WISH i could show through art… but backtracking now just wouldn’t be the same. I feel like this will always be one of my regrets… but I need to learn to get over it someday. I don’t WANT it to be a regret.

Maybe I need to stop wanting to ARCHIVE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME while I’m at not making that a regret. I fucking HATE that human need to archive everything because we’re fucking MORTALS. I take a gazillionbillion photos and never even DO ANYTHING WITH THEM and all it does is create some dumb pressure that I need to do something with them eventually but it all just ends up piling up and up and up and…. that’s what I’m doing with my art too. I keep writing down little notes everywhere, on post its, etc… but gosh when I look back on them to finally do something with it, I feel like that moment has passed and the magic is gone.

Just like this page of shit I wrote when I was driving super high to Karen’s house and attempting to scribble down my thoughts… I remember feeling SOOOO great like “I JUST WANNA DRAW RIGHT NOW I WISH I WASN’T DRIVING. AWWWW IT’S OK ILL JUST DO IT LATER” but then I NEVER FUCKING DID IT and now… geez just LOOK at this page. SO UNINTELLIGIBLE I CAN BARELY EVEN MAKE OUT WHAT I WROTE! Such a bummer man.

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HOW DOES ANYONE DEAL WITH ALL THESE THOUGHTS?!?!! Mortality is so goddamn fleeting I wish we were just given a fucking manual sometimes and been told what to look out for and when so we don’t feel like such failures or always wanna kill ourselves >:0

It’s ok. I’m learning how to be positive. I swear. 😐