In addition to my last entry, I drew this sweet, sad little ghost last night on some ipad app. As always, if you wish to have a print or anything else, e-mail me or comment here.
I don’t do well in social situations.
Some of this can be attributed to my autism, some of it can be attributed to the fact that I just feel completely out of place everywhere. I mean, feeling out of place in an existential crisis kind of way is one thing, and I deal with that every single day, but add feeling out of place to every social situation you can dream up and suddenly you get Intro to Introverts 101. It’s not that I go out of my way to be afraid of people, or the public. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of either, but I also don’t want to be completely cut off from human contact. When I was about 17, I went to a party at a small building downtown with a friend of mine for Halloween. She was the only one I knew there, and she left me alone to go dance and go smoke out on the patio. I am not the kind of person you should leave alone at any social event. I don’t make the first move in small talk, so it’s not like I’m going to approach someone, and when someone approaches me, I’m usually so shocked by their willingness to interact with me that I become flustered and unsure of what to say, so I simply trail off into special interests that mean nothing to no one except me, making me sound like an egomaniac who can’t discuss anything but herself or what she likes, thus inevitably driving the person away.
So, I’m trying to be more positive. I’m trying to be better about this problem. Still…crowds, with flashing lights, with hard pounding bass music which I can’t stand coupled with both introvert tendencies and autistic symptoms means I can handle each one of those things….separately. I can listen to loud music. But only when it’s not coupled with lots of people and flashing lots. Likewise, I’m much more comfortable speaking to lots of people, if there’s nothing else going on that I’m supposed to be reacting to. Also, I can’t dance. I often find myself feeling like a ghost. Someone who’s died and is now simply watching life continue from the seat of a worn out couch with god knows how many semen stains on it, drinking pepsi and listening to “so and so got a job at random place and now blah blah blah i couldn’t care less someone please shoot me right in the face”. I’m barely interested in a lot of the conversations I’m involved with, but listening to other people, especially with no context, jesus that’s tedious. I don’t know Ben, so why should I care what kind of car Ben drives? I know nothing about Ben, and therefore am super uninterested in every single fucking action of his life. Hell, I have a hard enough time being interested in the lives of those I DO know. And not because I’m selfish and self centered and egotistical, but just because I genuinely suck at being a person.
It’s a problem. It’s a problem for me, and for others. I feel like a bad person because I lack the ability to connect to 97 1/3% of humanity, and they feel bad because I make them feel uncomfortable. Connection; it’s supposed to make humans closer. It’s what we’re supposed to bond over. Our single unified being. I don’t want to be this alone and introverted and uncomfortable but I am and I just have to learn to accept that, and hope others do too. I’m sorry that I’m not enjoying your party where everyone is drunk and you’re blaring Black Eyed Peas at 3 a.m. I’m sorry that I would much rather be home using a Ouija Board to play 20 questions with Virginia Woolf. I’m not a fun person. But that doesn’t make me a bad person. I’m a ghost. I’m ok with being a ghost. People watching, observing, these are the things that allow me to write fictional characters and dialogue so well. It’s how I learn. Not only how to write, but also how to mimic neurotypical behavior and seem “normal” to everyone else on the rare off chance that I do decide to participate.
Maybe one day I’ll get better at this whole “person” thing, but until then I’ll continue to be a spirit on a couch, drinking DIEt Soda.
If you’d like to purchase a magnet/sticker or print of this piece, e-mail me at email@example.com!
I put flowers on the table. A little controlled beauty to cancel out lifes uncontrollable ugliness.
I planted flowers in a garden. A small gesture to bring color to an otherwise grey, destitute wasteland called reality.
I sent flowers to a girl. A motion of kindness to someone in the hopes that they won’t be as lonely as I am.
Flowers are a saving grace; a vision of positivity flying in the face of what feels like endless, hopeless nihilism. They prove that despite all the pain, something, anything, beautiful can grow.
PS: If you wish to own a print or magnet or sticker of “plants not pain”, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here. Only 1.50 for magnet/sticker and 3 dollars for a print.
Nothing will crush a childs soul more than sitting on a curb, waiting for your parent to come get you and spend time with you, and then never showing up or calling to explain why. As a little girl, I experienced this on endless occasions. My father would call, say he was excited to see me, say all the fun things that we were going to do that weekend, and then I’d sit on the curb in front of our house and wait for him…but he’d never come. Sometimes he wouldn’t even call to say why or even make up excuses as to why. As a child, my mother told me it was because he was doing drugs or drinking and just couldn’t stand the pressure and was controlled by their influence, and while that may be the truth, that’s not how a child hears it. A child has to trust adults. We have to believe in them because who else can we believe in if not for the people who not only gave birth to us but have lived much longer than we have? No, a child hears that as “they just don’t care about you”.
So as I got older, I simply learned not to trust anyone. ESPECIALLY my parents. You start to believe nobody cares. That you’re just simply not all that important. This may not do it for every kid, but for me, it absolutely started me down a spiral of everlasting depression that I still have to this day. I just wanted to know SOMEONE legitimately cared. The thing is though, when you grow to have that much distrust, when someone tells you they DO care, you don’t believe them. Their actions, their words, they’re never enough. You’ll always have a constant, lingering belief of untruth. I’d grow to have a few very close friends, allow them access to my life and the deepest parts of my psyche, and when I finally started dating girls I did the same thing and ultimately I always knew they’d hurt me. That they’d leave. And they did. This eventually led to some extremely twisted beliefs such as when my grandparents died that they did so to get away from me, despite the fact that my grandparents were the only people I ever fully, 100% believed loved me as much as they claimed they did.
In the end, I started begging people not to leave me. I would make my girlfriends and friends promise not to leave and hurt me “like everyone else has always promised and still done”, I’d always tell them. I realize now that this was pretty psychologically abusive in many ways on my end, but it wasn’t intentional. I was truly sick. I didn’t recognize at the time the pressure I was putting on people by asking them that. I don’t want to be that kind of person, but I also don’t want to be the kind of person who can’t believe a word anyone says to me. People often like to use the phrase “Well why didn’t you say anything about this when you were a kid?” whenever you try and explain your current adulthood mental health, or as I did, when you come out. Why didn’t I say anything about how your abandonment made me feel? Because we’re children. We don’t know how to put that into words, and even if we did, nobody listens to children because they’re considered “not developed enough to form that sort of cohesive thought”. It’s a lose/lose scenario. Not to mention we’re scared. We simply want everything to be perfect. To be right. The thing about life is that you’re born into the world with no indication of good and bad. You simply learn about those things by experiencing how shitty or great life can be. If all you experience growing up is bad things, then it’s pretty safe to assume that ALL of life is bad, forever and ever, until you die, which is also considered bad, if the fear of death we have in this country is anything to be believed.
But I’m still here. That’s one way of knowing I’m doing something right. The one thing I have to always remind myself of. That despite everything I’ve been through and how terrible I’ve felt and how poorly I’ve been mistreated or mistreated myself, I still exist. I must be strong. I must be powerful. I must have some sort of strength and beauty to make it this far, given all that I’ve been through. You can tear off a unicorns horn and try t beat it to death with it, but it’s still a unicorn. I’m not sure what I was trying to express here. I guess I just wanted to ramble. It IS a blog, after all. I guess my end point is that I come from probably the most mentally abused and psychologically damaged generation there has been, and I simply wish to get better. I simply wish to help others get better too. I’ve done nothing in my life if not try to make others feel better than anyone’s ever made me feel. I don’t want anyone to feel as alone, and sad and unloved and forgotten as I’ve felt. I’ve gone out of my way to make sure people I know don’t feel that way because I’ve felt that way the majority of my life and it’s awful. Truly awful. I’m going to end this by being realistic and say that I don’t want life to be great. Good might even be overshooting it.
I’d simply settle for it being tolerable.
And the fact that tolerable is what most of my generation aims for is simply depressing in and of its own right.
When I was about 12, my stepsister and I went to stay with my aunt for the summer, and a family friend had enrolled us in “Sports Camp”. As a nerdy, shy teen starting to question her sexuality, this was not the sort of thing I was cut out for. My stepsisrer could be athletic. She was on cheer in high school later on, and she was always very active as a child, playing soccer on a local team and doing karate too. I, on the other hand, preferred to stay in my bedroom and read and fantasize about what it’d feel like to kiss a girl and then feel ashamed because I was a girl and everyone and everything around me said that that meant I was broken. We didn’t exactly see eye to eye. I failed sports camp, needless to say. I was downright miserable. Then, a year later, we stayed with her again and this time our family friend enrolled us in art camp. Now this I could handle!
Until I started realizing that “art” meant something entirely different to everyone else than it did to me. To me, art is personal; an expression of who’s making it, a statement they wish to say or an outlet for their pain or happiness that they want others to witness visually. But to other kids, and because kids are especially cruel and competitive, they turned it into a competition. Who could be the best artist. I failed that as well. I didn’t enjoy making art for a while after that. That school year, 8th grade, I took an art class, and I failed that too because I refused to simply become a shell of what the teacher thought we should be; an embodiment of her failed achievements as an artist herself, so she could live vicariously through her students. So far, my track record was 0 for 3, and 2 of those in something I enjoyed. After that art class, I didn’t make art for a year. However, that teacher liked a flower painting I did so much, she entered it into a local gallery contest for our town. I lost that too.
0 for 4 now.
A pattern was starting to emerge to me. I was no good at stuff, especially stuff I thought I liked and maybe could be good at. I stopped trying. The way I saw it, why bother? I clearly had a 0% success rate, so why continue to humiliate myself simply by participating. Soon this began to leak into every aspect of my life, and by middle school I’d stopped caring about homework, believed I was truly stupid and that I wasn’t someone anyone would want to be friends with. Failing at everything you do isn’t good for your self esteem. Things started to look bleak, and I was starting to become unsure of my future in any sort of career, especially an artistic one. Plus, it’s not like I was trying to succeed to impress everyone else. I was doing it to make myself feel better. If I couldn’t even achieve my own pathetic low standards, then why continue trying, right? I became apathetic and depressed beyond help, to the point of waking up everyday and wanting to be dead. It’s a weird feeling when you really decide you want to not exist anymore. It makes everyone else more uncomfortable than it makes the person contemplating their soon to be nonexistence, which I find odd, but that’s how it is. I enrolled in film classes at a trade school during high school, and things got even worse.
When you have siblings who outshine you (sometimes in hobbies they thought were stupid originally then stole the spotlight from you in later on), and then classmates who steal ideas for the film work you wish to do and then your film crew who tells you they’ve had enough of your work and are tired of doing what you’re doing, and when your parents split up, and your grandmother and your dog die at the same time, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve hit rock bottom. That’s where I was; rock bottom. I moved to a new town after graduation and I stayed in my bedroom and snacked and watched netflix and read and played video games for about 4-5 years solid. Only this past year did I really start to make art again, and have I been happy with it too. I’m happy to say I’m no longer at rock bottom. But when you get pushed that low, low enough to the point where you stop trying, caring and waste 5 years of your life doing nothing but watching crappy b movies and eating fritos, it’s a tough road to recovery.
See, I wasted a lot of time that could’ve been used to create things. I won’t blame the others around me for hurting me. I’m not going to do that, I want to be responsible, and mature, and accept the blame for my own problems. I was damaged, but I was also the one who reacted in an exceedingly negative light towards my own self worth for the next few years. I essentially wasted 5 years of my life doing absolutely, literally, nothing. I surfed the internet for 5 years solid, essentially. I’m not proud of that fact, believe me. But I’m trying to pull myself up from that, and I’m doing a pretty good job, especially with the great support system my girlfriend has become, who constantly believes in me, helps me edit my work and tells me how much she loves what I do. I have a positive support system now, instead of one that consistently told me that I wasn’t good enough even if they didn’t say it directly (ie; school, family, friends). If I want to get better, if I want to heal, I need to start accepting that while others hurt me, I was the one who should’ve reacted better to it. Sure, it’s only human nature to want to recede and disappear and feel terrible when people hurt you, but I’m at a point in my life where I can’t spare that expense anymore. I need to be strong. I need to be happier. I may need some help along the way, who doesn’t? But in the end, if I want to catch the worm, I may not be the early bird, but I’ll get there around brunch time.
I’m growing. Or at least I’m really trying, and that has to count for something.
Welcome to Failure Fridays.
For Christmas this past year, my mother got me a collection of motivational quote cards. Uplifting, inspiring, hope filled cardboard textiles that make me nausea filled than hope filled. So naturally, I took them and made them into miserable quotes, using only a sharpie. Every friday, I will post all the failures I had for the past week, a long with a card. One of the reasons for doing this is because I think it’s better to be able to look at your shortcomings and go, “Alright, let’s try harder next week.” I may never succeed, but as they say, at least I’m making the effort. So here’s what happened this past week that I felt bad about.
- Struggled to finish writing a book I feel I really inflated with too many ideas, subplots and uninteresting characters
- Bought supplies for a new art project, but have yet to have a single idea that was even remotely interesting or creative
- Overspent at the grocery store
- Continually forgetting to brush my teeth, or shower. Depression is awful, man
- Bought a CD case for some discs but bought the wrong size. May have to buy another
That’s really all I can come up with right now. Not too bad, but not great either, especially creatively. Bad week creatively. If you have any failures from the past week, leave them in the comments. Maybe we can build a support group.
Tonight, my girlfriend and I caught this show on PBS about otters. Specifically, baby otters, who’re in desperate need of parents and are being rehabilitated by human help at an aquarium. In the show, the narrator said that baby otters can’t do much for themselves for a long while other than float. That they learn everything from their mothers and that’s how they gain the necessary skills for survival. They sleep, they eat, they poop. The end. It was at that moment in my head I thought, “Heh, I’m better than baby otters.” Something clicked. Am I seriously comparing myself to baby otters? Have I gotten THAT low in my own expectations of myself that I can look at a actual baby animal and think, “My survival skills are better than your survival skills! Suck it bitch!”
If so, that’s really kind of sick.
As I’ve said before, it’s often a good thing to take positive thoughts when you can find them. When you’re depressed, when you could be suicidal, it’s really a good habit to take the few brief thoughts of “maybe I’m ok” that your brain allows to get through the impenetrable sad fog that otherwise permeates your entire existence. They’re slivers of sunshine breaking through closed blinds. A somewhat dim, yet real, bit of hope. But when you get to the point that you’re comparing yourself to baby otters…you may want to rethink your problems. The first issue here is that it’s a baby. It’s not even that it’s an animal. NO baby can survive on their own. It’s like looking at a human baby and going, “Screw your 8 month old, Denise, I am WAY more capable of survival than this sack of flesh!”. That’s wrong, right? People don’t do that. Secondly, it’s an otter. It’s one thing if it were like a rhino or a tiger or something that has to watch out for poachers day in and day out and other animals trying to take its life. Saying I’m better than baby otters is about as bad as saying, “I bet I could beat this three legged dog in a race!” It’s a no win scenario. First, you make everyone around you hate you for trying to physically outshine a handicapped animal, and secondly you’re probably make that dog cry and who makes dogs cry? Assholes, that’s who.
Then there’s the entire factor that I had to run down, in my head, the gauntlet of things that I’m better at than baby otters that allow me to survive. I can make my own food. I don’t have natural predators. I’m not going to get caught in fishing nets (I said this last summer, but this summer, I mean it!). So basically that reasoning turns into “because I’m not an otter.” That’s not a good enough reason for anything, let alone comparing myself to baby otters! Comparing yourself to other humans? Now that I understand. If Carl gets a job and you don’t, you wonder what’s wrong with you. You’re applying to just as many jobs as Carl is, you’re trying just as hard, so why isn’t anyone giving you a chance? It makes sense to size yourself up to other humans in terms of comparative success because you’re both from the same species. Otters? Not so much. There’s nothing here to help my claim. I’m not better than otters. Especially not baby otters. Then, in the natural progression of this thought process, I became mad at the baby otters. They’re making me realize what a bitch I am! They’re making me question my motives and my self worth! They’re making me angry at myself for comparing myself to them in the first place! Now I feel worse than I did before I even saw the program!
What in gods name is wrong with me.
For me, I knew that things were going to be tough when I reached age 14 and started actually debating killing myself. Before that I’d only thought about it once or twice, a sort of “what if I were dead” type of thing, but when I became a teenager, it really hit in full force. Obviously I didn’t kill myself or else I wouldn’t be here writing this right now. Unless I’m a ghost, and this is a ghost blog, which would be pretty cool, actually. But since it’s not, at least not to my knowledge but then again I am always the last one to find out about things, I’m going to go on with my story. From the fountain of youth onward, mankind has had an endless ongoing love affair with mortality. More and more these days, I read headlines that state “Humans may live to be 120!” and constantly see things on the news about anti aging and how we’re lengthening our life spans.
To someone who’s constantly battled suicidal tendencies for the past 12 years, this is hardly encouraging news.
I’m envious of dogs, who don’t know they’re going to die. One day they’re chasing a ball and the next thing they know they’re weaker than they used to be and then that’s it. They shut their eyes one night, blissfully unaware of the end of their lives. I’m jealous. It’s often been said that humans are the only creatures cursed with the knowledge that they will die. As a child, it’s really the worst realization that one can have. Forget the truth about the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. Death tops all of those. When I was younger, I used to go and take photos of roadkill. Yeah. I did that. That’s not a joke. I would take my camera and I would go hunting down roadkill, and when I was in the car with my parents and we spotted something on the road, I’d beg them to stop so I could get out and take a photo of it, because it fascinated me to no end. As a little girl, I was given a taxidermied squirrel by one of my moms boyfriends. When I was 11, my fish died, and devastated as I was, I buried him in a small box in the backyard as is the tradition. However, that wasn’t enough for this macabre wonderment I had, because mere months later, I dug him up simply to see how he’d decomposed. I didn’t have a lot of friends.
To make matters worse, my family has wonderful genetics. I don’t have to worry about about past family members health problems; heart disease, brain tumors, you name it and I’m likely not to get it, at least not through genetics. This only makes my lifespan even more of an issue. So not only is life depressing and hard to comprehend, and not only have I had thoughts of suicide plague me for a good portion of my life, but now it’s likely that I’ll live to be 120 simply by my own genes and not the help of medical science. How many people would be annoyed by that? I also look about 5 or so years younger than I am and am often mistaken for a teenager. I’m 26. This also sucks. I know I’m a rare breed because not many people would take a problem with this.
“God dammit, why must I be cursed with such good looks, blessed with wonderful health and live to see mankind colonize deep space?! Woe is me!”
But I think all this emphasis on death, all this time spent thinking about such a morbid concept, only makes me all the more aware of how damn alive I am. I look at roadkill, I look at taxidermy, I look at decomposing fish and I think “Jesus, that’s going to be me one day. I’d better make the most of the time that I have.” Embracing mortality, or at the very least the mere thought of mortality, makes one supremely aware that we don’t have long, especially if you’re one who wants to do something with your life, creatively or otherwise. Seeing graveyards, seeing roadkill, it makes you realize that you really need to live. You need to live as much as possible while you have the chance. People often speak of the dead as being at peace, but why can’t you be at peace while being alive as well? With or without the help of medication, one can be at peace. They just have to recognize that this is what they have and that one day they won’t have it.
Others are like me. Others have also been plagued by thoughts of suicide, whether constantly or rarely, and in some of those cases they don’t make it. They do kill themselves. I, on the other hand, have begun to train my mind to make positive from negative. To take my suicidal urges and say “Nah, not just yet. Maybe when I’m done reading this book, or writing his screenplay, or feeding the dog”. I always put it off by one thing, whether small or large, and that’s how I keep going. I take my suicidal urges and force myself to use them in my work, and use them to force myself to work harder. Maybe when I’ve published my 8th novel or won an Academy Award for screenwriting or have accomplished whatever it is that I want to accomplish and feel that I’ve done what I’ve had to do, then I’ll revisit the whole death thing. Then I’ll see how I feel.
Until then, I’m going to continue to let mortality inspire me. I’m going to continue to use my issues to write and create art. I’m going to continue to be alive, because while it might not be better than the alternative, it’s still something to experience.
Hey, you may as well give everything a shot once, right?