One of these years is not like the others…

Out of all the adjectives that have been used to describe me, “introspective” has never waivered in its accuracy. I am 100% introspective and I always have been. It’s something that I’ve enjoyed at great length, but also a source of misery when my introspection becomes an obsession and I can’t get out of it.

I have a strong, seems innate, drive to check in with myself, see if I’m making progress in my personal evolution, if I’m following the path I set for myself as a child, etc… Once in a while, I do need to remind myself of the things that are important to me about existence. If I’m not well (mentally) it’s very easy to get derailed and lie in bed for days focusing only on how much the entire world sucks (it does) instead of realizing the “suckiness” and trying to figure out how to make it better (it is possible).

During these times of self-reflection, I like to pull out my journals and see where I was then compared to now. It’s no secret that I deal with (I don’t like to use the word “suffer”) depression. I have PTSD and a variety of other initialisms under my belt that really affect my day-to-day. I think that’s also why it’s so important for me to keep a journal to record my highs and lows and other symptoms to get an idea about how well a treatment is working and to remind myself that: 1) It can get much worse and 2) It will get much better. Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I was curious to see where I was at this time last year. Once I found that out, I wanted to see about years prior. This is what I found:

December 31, 2010 – I was severely depressed. Didn’t want to eat, move, speak, and just slept (and slept, and slept…). I wrote about my frustrations with not being able to do artwork or write. I was also going through some issues with family that were borderline devastating to me. I didn’t write any hopes for the upcoming year (2011).

December 31, 2009 – Suicidal. That’s it. I wrote that I was suicidal, but I did mention my hope that 2010 would be better. It wasn’t.

I looked further back. I found one from January 1st 2006. I wrote of thinking about divorce and being mistreated. Wanting a different life and wanting out of that place I was in. Still grieving from a miscarriage that occurred in April 2005 and angry because of how much medication I was on and how it sucked everything – my light – out of me (it truly, truly did).

December 31st 1996 – I was 16 and wrote “I broke up with him”. I was sad. Things weren’t good at home. I wanted a place to go and couldn’t wait until I grew up.

So now it’s December 31, 2011. This year is not like the others. I’m not going to write a journal entry in one of my books. I’m going to write it here and share it with you because it has been monumental for me. Even typing the last part of that sentence caused a lump in my throat because as the thoughts form in my brain to flow through my fingers they’re full of an intensity that is difficult to contain. Maybe you’ll read this and think “That’s not really a big deal” or “What the hell is she going on like that for?”. That’s okay (I get it often). Maybe you’ll see what I mean and you have or will experience it in your own life. That’s cool too.

Here it goes (in my regular journal entry form):

31 December 2011 Saturday, 5:15 p.m.
New Year’s Eve once again and, once again, I don’t have the kind of plans I always want to plan for myself for New Year’s. I am scheduled to walk the neighbor’s really, really cute dog. Last year if I knew that was what my plan was going to be, I would have thought “How ridiculous” and wished for something BIG – thought I needed something significant! But now walking that cute, fat, little Sheltie (who waddles, by the way) and watching my cats’ reaction to dog smell when I get back is a wonderful way to celebrate. It’s not a party per se, but there is laughter, smiles, treats, hugs, and general foolishness.

This year has been crazy, quite literally. The lows were severe and my mental health issues were worse than they have ever been. I’m always wary to use the phrase “it can’t get any worse” but this past year is certainly worthy of a nod in that direction. There were 2 deaths, relationships were smashed, other relationships were rebuilt, another was reinforced, illnesses, tumors, psychotic breakdowns, and then…calm. Hope. Security, strength, liberation, confidence, independence, honesty, courage, love and love and love and love and love…

Something in my head changed. I don’t know what it is, but the way I would see things when I was manic is similar to how I see them now, sans the mania. I grab experiences/feelings and, in my mind, I break them down, unravel them, take them apart piece by piece. Not in a destructive way, though; more like a curiosity. I want to figure them out from a rational, not emotional, standpoint. Even the horrors. I delight in the smallest of things, even my own achievements. I’ve never been hard to please and I could easily become ecstatic over the most seemingly insignificant thing, but it has been years (YEARS) since I’ve known that. And this time ’round, the events that bring me light are even smaller than before.

As I write this, a part of me keeps saying “You’re being weird“…it’s that part of me that thinks I need to be serious, sound serious, and take life seriously…the part of me with a furrowed brow, trying to look more adult-like (or how I used to think adults looked – no spark in the eyes, strained faces, hardened words, tired). Then there’s the part that is saying “Then be weird. And let the furrowed-browed pissy chick be a furrowed-browed pissy chick. Just let go...”

“Just let go…” I say it every day. When things start to build, I let the words slide out of my lips along with a stream of air…like a whissssssssper. It’s soothing and it’s the best advice I’ve ever given myself and the best advice I’ve ever learned how to take.

This year was remarkable in the amount of destruction and creation/restoration that occurred. I don’t wish the same thing for next year. What I wish for next year is to keep evolving toward this lighter existence. Keep reminding myself that it’s okay to go outside and I don’t have to be afraid. Let myself know that I do have good ideas and I am capable of following through with them. It’s okay to trust myself and take care of myself. I will have very bad times and I will continue to have psychotic breaks now and then, but they’re not permanent. Like very bad times, I will have excellent times as long as I allow them to happen.

I hope you were able to get something, no matter how small, from spending all this time reading. Certainly much longer than I wanted it to be…maybe it would have been better to break it up. Or maybe I should just let it be as it is. For 2012 it would be awesome if everyone could spot something spectacular in something insignificant…and in turn, make it significant. I’m losing steam and getting sleepy, so I’m going to close this.

For 2012, just let go and be excellent to each other (party on, dudes)!

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A messy life and Work of Art…

My place is a wreck. A serious, serious wreck. After returning from the Illness Vacation and whipping out that MS Paint drawing on the 14th, I still have not properly cleaned my apartment nor have I really (really) worked on anything. I did start a painting I was asked to do, but only started it and haven’t touched it in a week. Terrible.

Today, though, has started out wonderfully well. I slept quite well (woke up nearly every hour, but did not allow myself to get out of bed), awoke at 5:30, made coffee, started laundry and dishes, and am well on my way to cleaning off the drafting table and getting my rather large behind in gear!

Last night I watched the final episode of “Work of Art” (thank you On Demand!). Two days prior, I watched the next-to-final episode and couldn’t wait to see the end. Wow. Before watching, I was certain Young would win due to his previous successes. I liked the idea of his work for the finale, but I couldn’t get into it. Although, I would have liked to stand in that structure he built to see the photos of his boyfriend and mother staring back at me – I really dug that concept. I’m not sure why that wasn’t made to be more significant in the work.

Sara’s work was really beautiful. Both the crane piece and bed of hypodermic needles are equally my favorite, just in different ways. I wasn’t entirely sure about the video (or the web), but I think it worked. I wonder if maybe it was detrimental to her winning, though? I go back and forth on it; a part of me feels it was necessary. I am a fan of getting to the nitty-gritty of a person’s being. That she took an idea that allowed people to say whatever they wanted/needed due to the freedom of anonymity was fantastic. Something like that always ranks high with me.

I would think it a tough decision choosing between Sara and Kymia’s work, but they chose well. I can’t think of any piece Kymia did that I didn’t like – including the burial mounds. The boat picture was my favorite, of course. That picture makes the cliché “a picture is worth…” true. Truly stunning. I’m still not sure about the headpiece so I will need to watch that episode again (I usually watch each one a couple of times because my head doesn’t always sit straight and still). Really, all of the paintings she did were beautiful.

Time to fly now. I’m running low on juice and getting easily distracted (I’m sure you can tell mid-way through the Sara paragraph!).

Illustration Friday: “Separated”

It is Wednesday and in 2 days a new theme will be given on Illustration Friday, but I ‘na care…I wanted to do one right now so I did.

I LOVE MS PAINT! I do. It has been a favorite of mine since high school “supposed-to-be-working-but-goofing-off-instead” time. And when I’m sleepy or just need to move my hands without much thought, this type of drawing appears. Paint, colored pencil, marker, and now in MS Paint. Naked lady with blocks of color separating her. Apparently I enjoy that sort of thing.

Here it be, yo.

Calamity brings calm, conversation reaches crux…

Complications occur which brings about the birth of a new, lesser, calamity.

That entire string from title to first sentence occurred from around my last post in November until today, December 7th. I had to leave town because of a serious family illness. Family member is on the mend, sans 1 lung, and a calm occurred. I had a conversation with a different family member which became a sort of “Well someone [me] has to say something!” ordeal which, of course, causes complications and disaster! Temporary disaster. Completely avoidable temporary disaster.

These life events have always derailed me. In the past I would have been out of order for an undetermined (far too long) amount of time, but I have worked at getting myself to a point where I’m not really hindered for more than a few days to a week. Progress. There are a variety of factors that aid in this, not the least of which being a distance of approx. 500 miles between me and the area of destruction (the home, not the area of destruction that resides within myself).

When my psyche-train runs off the tracks, my home, work, and play are soon to follow. Since I’m updating this blog today and have managed to get quite a bit of housecleaning and laundry done since my return this past weekend, I would say that I’m several steps ahead of where I worried I would be and am quite thrilled to be here. Hopefully tomorrow I can get started on something…anything!

While I was home, I saw a few pictures hanging up in my parents’ living room that I didn’t notice, but were mine. One I remembered giving to my little brother because, for whatever reason, he really really wanted it. This is that: