How Do You Reconcile The Duality of the Soul?

“We are each of us a wise guru in charge of a mental patient” – Jamie Catto

I’m not sure what to do right now… I feel very sick. It reminds me of being in the maloka listening to people retch and purge around me, except now I’m just so crushingly alone. On Christmas Fucking Eve.

And is being alone really so bad? (Also I know I’m not actually alone…just being a drama queen)

I mean I just snapped at Eddy when he asked me what I wanted to do for Christmas. “I WANNA BE FUCKING ALONE.” But do I? He looked so hurt when I said that and it made me feel awful. I’m such a walking contradiction that can never figure anything out… WHY DO I HAVE TO FEEL THIS DUALITY OF EXISTENCE SO. FUCKING. HARD??? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT I FUCKING WANT??!?!

I want to be alone, but at the same time I NEED people. NEED people to the point of fucking EMBARRASSMENT. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO DEPENDENT ON PEOPLE ELORA. DON’T YOU WANT TO BE ALONE?! DON’T YOU WANT TO JUST GO LIVE OUT IN THE JUNGLE SOMEWHERE AND LEARN TO FEND FOR YOURSELF?!?! No you don’t because you’re so fucking dependent on people for your happiness and you NEED someone to talk to, don’t you?

HOLIDAYS ARE SO MUCH PRESSURE!!!! I FEEL SO MUCH PRESSURE TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO PEOPLE AND GO SEE PEOPLE LIKE… WTF WHY CAN’T I JUST BE ALONE AND NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANY OF THIS??!?! WHY DO I HAVE TO FEEL LIKE CONSTANTLY PERFORMING FOR PEOPLE?!?! ALSO IF I LOVE THEM, WHY DO I FEEL THE PRESSURE IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why do I always feel like I OWE people everything? Why can’t we all just exist and I don’t have to feel GUILTY all the FUCKING time?!?!

I have a long ass list of things to do, but rather than doing them I get wrapped up in some fucking MELTDOWN and then the list gets longer and longer and longer and I feel like I’m DROWNING then just want to up and LEAVE IT ALL. But I’ve CHOSEN THIS LIFE and I know I would REGRET NOT DOING THESE THINGS and NO MATTER WHAT LIFE I CHOOSE I’ll still have to LIVE WITH THIS MONSTER INSIDE OF ME SO FUCK IT.

WHY DO I TAKE SO MANY PICTURES?!? Because I enjoy my experience so much and want to document them! But THEN WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM AFTERWARD!? NOTHING! SO NOW I FEEL SO MUCH PRESSURE TO GET THEM PRINTED AND PUT THEM IN ALBUMS AND GIVE THEM TO PEOPLE AS PRESENTS!! But it makes me PHYSICALLY ILL to think about organizing all these thousands of fucking things!!!

BECAUSE THE PRESSURE OF THE PICTURES AND GIFTS ARE ALWAYS ON MY MIND I CAN’T GET MYSELF TO DRAW!! When I sit to draw, all I think about is this LONG LIST OF SHIT I NEED TO DO! Currently, because it’s the end of the year and also Christmas, I KNOW I need to focus on the thank you cards and organizing photos to print for people but I have all this fucking pent up anger inside me that if I were to go and do those things right now, they wouldn’t come out right and I would just have ANOTHER MELTDOWN because I have all this HORRIBLE ENERGY I NEED TO GET RID OF FIRST.

Am I just DOOMED and CURSED to have too much EMOTIONAL BULLSHIT EVERY DAY OF MY FUCKING LIFE that I can’t even FOCUS ON ANYTHING REAL AND PRODUCTIVE?!?! Is whatever this energy is inside of me something that will ALWAYS CONTROL ME??? No matter what I do and what I try?! I KNOW I SHOULDN’T ALLOW IT TO HAVE POWER OVER ME BUT IT FUCKING DOES.

It’s so fucking painful to want SO BADLY to just BE CONTENT but constantly be torn in two completely opposite directions of WANTING TO DO and NOT WANTING TO DO, WANTING TO BE ALONE and WANTING TO LOVE, WANTING TO RUN and WANTING TO FIGHT. HOW DO I EXIST IN THIS REALITY?!?! AM I SUPPOSED TO JUST SPEND HOURS EACH DAY VOMITING OUT MY SHIT SO I CAN BE AT SOME BASE LEVEL WHERE I CAN FUNCTION!?!? WHAT EVEN IS THIS?!

WHAT THE FUCK DO I WANT REALLY???

Ha, yesterday Eddy mentioned that my mom had “done a number on me” with how I was raised. I guess I didn’t even realize till recently how insane I actually am, and how all these issues have manifested in ways that are so challenging I’m not even sure what to do with myself anymore.

I was diagnosed as bipolar this year, and when I went to do ayahuasca, I remember thinking “am I really bipolar?” I think these diagnoses really help us try to pin down what’s wrong with us based on certain traits we have. No matter what you call it… I think I’m starting to finally learn what I actually am. Or what about me at least got me the bipolar diagnosis. It’s amazing to think that people are constantly going to doctors about symptoms, but because they just want the pain to stop they take a pill and don’t do the work to actually try and get to know themselves.

I am so grateful to Ayahuasca for teaching me how to get to know myself, but at the same time… it’s really fucking scary to face… whatever this is I am. And SO fucking hard. “Bipolar” people are known to experience extreme highs and lows, and that’s definitely something I’ve always struggled with. Existing in the “gray area” between SUPER HIGH and SUPER LOW has always seemed impossible for me.. But it’s that “gray area” where life happens. I’m constantly guilty about not spending enough time with Eddy and our dog Han because I’m having a fucking breakdown… but I don’t know what else to do with this energy. Because if I DO go and spend that time… I feel guilty for not doing all these things I feel constant pressure to do! And then when I go and try and be rid of this energy by writing or whatever… I FEEL HORRIBLE THAT I’M NOT DOING THE OTHER THINGS!!!

This breathing technique that I recorded from Dreamglade is saving my life in the way that… I feel like I can get myself in a similar headspace as in ceremony, in order to work on things I need to work on, and even IDENTIFY things I need to work on. It’s so funny because I remember leaving the retreat feeling like I had all the tools I needed to succeed. They kept saying “the real work happens AFTER you take the ayahuasca and get back home” but I was in such a great place, like “psshhh I never need to go do Ayahuasca again! I’m completely healed!”

But that’s another one of those extremes talking. Each day I’ve been home… I see what they mean.

Doing the breathing exercise the past couple days, a LOT has come up… and I’ve become aware of JUST HOW MUCH WORK is to be done within myself… and it scares the shit out of me. There are so many layers to myself that I’m starting to become aware of and, like everything else in my life, it’s causing me overwhelm, but in a different way than having a long list of things to do.

I think actually, the overwhelm is what triggered this. Coming back to work I was all chill like “I don’t need to feel stress anymore because I completely trust myself to get everything done that I need to get done!!” But I barely got ANY work done during the week because I was TOO chill and now, along with the BILLION other things I need to do, I have to try and fit WORK on top of it during this holiday break so I can manage to meet my deadline in the first week of January.

I realize just how much I avoid things and procrastinate and let things PILE UP because I’m unable to focus on doing things when they’re SUPPOSED to be done…which I was aware of before, but I guess I was expecting myself to be able to handle it a bit better. I did just get my period so maybe I’m extra irrational because of hormones,  but I’m really trying hard to work through these things so I can at least be a bit productive.

That being said, today during breathing I immediately just burst into tears the WHOLE TIME, because I felt this INCREDIBLE POWER OF DUALITY BEING FORCED DOWN ON ME. Duality is something that Mother Aya makes you face in ceremony, but I have yet to even BEGIN to fathom how to use what I’ve learned in normal life.

BECAUSE the nature of ME is just SO FUCKING EXTREME. The duality within ME is SO HARD TO HANDLE. AND I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO START GOING ABOUT IT!

“Slow down, take your time”

“BREATHE”

“PATIENCE.”

Yeah yeah. All this shit that’s supposed to help me…YEAH I KNOW. WELL I DID JUST BREATHE AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.

I felt this incredible power within me… almost like a monster. Well I DID call it a monster, but Mother Aya said I shouldn’t see it that way. That I should see it as a “power.” The first blog I made was called “Bipolar Beastie,” for good reason… I definitely always thought of the “bipolar” being a beast within me but… today was the first time I actually FELT it (which, although scary, was pretty nice. Another duality). Like something deep deep within my soul that needs to be tamed but is just… writhing around in there wreaking all sorts of havoc. And holy shit it made me NAUSEOUS to actually FEEL it. (This breathing exercise is powerful shit, I assure you.)

The word that kept coming up was “Hummingpup.” After I got back from the retreat, I wanted to create a new site focusing on healing, and about a year ago this “Hummingpup” kept coming up in my mind… I dunno why and part of me thought it sounded a bit dumb, but since I’ve gotten back this little voice kept saying I needed to actually use it for something.

It’s nice because today I just got some clarification on this, but it confused me even more. I definitely think the keyword in all of this is CONFUSION. And with such a lack of patience and conviction, I feel like I’m so shit outta luck in terms of knowing on to deal with all this chaos that keeps popping up in my head.

But anyway, Mother Aya explained to me what a “Hummingpup” is. THAT’S what the “monster” or “beastie” within me is. It’s like a hummingbird in the way that it moves SO PAINFULLY FAST because it thinks that’s the only way to survive. It’s so sad to me how hummingbirds can’t even SLEEP unless they go into a state of torpor, or “temporary hibernation.” It’s the only way for them to save their energy so they can GOGOGO again in the day… and it’s so fucking sad to me that this is basically the only way I’ve functioned too. It’s either I’m GOGOGOGO or in complete isolation (hibernation) where I can’t even bring myself to interact with anyone to conserve my energy for the next time I can GOGOGO again. Then it’s like a puppy in that it has ALL THIS CRAZY ENERGY THAT IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH and this lighthearted curiosity, innocence and love for the world… that’s kinda stamped out by the constant need for movement. It’s sad really 😦 All the “pup” wants to do is play, and all the “humming” wants to do is work… but there’s really no in between…at least none that I can currently see.

Eddy says I need to relax, and that he worries about my motivations for doing things because most of the time it seems like I’m doing something out of frustration. I’m not quite sure how to do something because I WANT to do it, if there’s always such a long list of things to do. I’ve been doing the grateful flow tool from the tools book as well… to try and help with this constant state of worry from the overwhelm, but even that didn’t help today. I KEPT DOING IT TOO and it didn’t really calm me down… only the breathing calmed me down because I was able to RELEASE and CRY but then… afterward I was a fucking wreck.

He says my comfort zone is wanting to GOGOGO… wanting to write and get out my energy, wanting to angrily clean or throw a tantrum… but how am I supposed to know when to RELEASE ENERGY or when to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE with it? How am I supposed to adequately identify my comfort zones?  I’m not sure what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong… which way is the right way to go… how to actually move forward even though I’ve been doing the pain exercise from that book… I’m so constantly overwhelmed I can’t tell what’s what anymore, and again I feel so crippled by reality. Am I supposed to take time each day to expend this energy? Breathing, running, yoga, writing, talking? It takes me a long ass time to get my words out because I have so goddamn many of them… and then once I write I have to go talk to Eddy about it, and then I spend hours feeling sorry for myself and can’t concentrate on anything else…what is the proper approach here?

Hummingbirds are weak and fragile because they never stop flying, and pups have boundless energy and need to be trained to even start to focus. WHAT HOPE DO I HAVE OF A FOCUSED LIFE WHERE I CAN BE PRODUCTIVE AND ALSO EXHIBIT UNLIMITED LOVE TO EVERYTHING AROUND ME?! Do I need to start taking meds again?! Do I need to do more ayahuasca?! Do I need to run away and live in the jungle again but this time never leave!? How much work do I need to do on myself before I can ACTUALLY start moving forward!? UGH.

I feel as though… Mother Ayahuasca has opened a door within me that I’m both intrigued by and afraid of, and I’m not sure what to do with what’s coming out of it. It’s almost like opening a Pandora’s Box…There are so many layers and I’m not sure how to come to terms with that… Meanwhile time just keeps slipping away and I feel like my life is going to waste…

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. 😐