29 April 2019

Honest Ramble

Can I be very, very honest about my life right now? Here is one of the few places I can be, because here, on this website, on my domain name, nobody is required to read anything I write. If you want to read it, fine. If you don't, fine. Nobody's forcing anything on this blog down anybody's throat. On Facebook and Instagram, I have a persona to keep up, at least a little bit. I do show frustration on there sometimes, but I try to balance it with humour (even if it's sarcastic/dark humour).

I'm frustrated beyond words at my lack of ability to get a job. I've been job-hunting for three years. And I'm not being picky. I've applied for waitressing, cashier, reception, janitor, construction, literally anything that I'm even kind of half-qualified for. I feel like a failure as a human being because I'm not self-sufficient, because I still need financial assistance. People tell me, 'just apply for everything.' I know... I've been doing exactly that for three years. And I feel like I'm defective, like something's fundamentally wrong with me because despite being very qualified for a variety of different types of work, literally nobody even contacts me for an interview or anything. How is it so easy for everyone else to get a job and not me? What's so horribly, horribly wrong with me that it's immediately obvious even to those who have never met me in person?

I haven't practiced dance since February. I just -- haven't. I was busy, then sick, then injured, then recovering, now sick again. And now I'm wondering if I even bother picking it up again because now I'll be so far behind -- again. And it's not like all that practice was serving me well anyway... I was easily the worst dancer in Fame.

I am bored as heck. Having no job and no more schoolwork (ever) has left me with a LOT of free time that I really wasn't prepared for. Ordinarily I would just use it for practice, but I'm not even sure I want to put in that much effort anymore... I'm not sure it's going to be worth the time and energy I've put into it, and I have so little energy to play with as it is. I'm not sure I should even bother pursuing the performing arts anymore. I'm not sure what I should be pursuing or what I should be doing. I feel very, very purposeless. Up till now, the arts was my purpose. But now... now I don't even have that. Never before in my life have I not had the arts, some kind of creative project, to capture my imagination and my days. Never, never before. Is this how people live? Is this the hell they wake up to every day? How do they breathe under that weight?

I just feel so, so useless. I feel like I have nothing to bring to the world that somebody else isn't already doing ten times better. I feel like everyone's got everything taken care of and they don't need me for anything. I worked so hard and I tried so hard and I practiced so much and it wasn't enough to be of use to anybody. I feel like I have nothing to contribute, nothing to say that hasn't already been said, nothing to do that hasn't already been done. They say to put your own unique stamp on the world and to live life as only you can, but my only calling card is that everything I do is subpar. And maybe that's not even my fault... but it feels like it is.

I don't want to just spend my life watching YouTube. I don't want to spend it scrolling through Facebook. But right now those are literally the only options available to me. I don't have a job and I don't have talent and I don't have money to start something even moderately big. I can't even do another dance video -- I don't have the money.
I'm scared that I'm just wasting my life and that I'll be mooching off my family for the rest of my life. I'm scared no-one needs me. I'm scared I'm missing something.

My brain literally feels like it's being eaten by acid -- melting, burning. I wanted so much to create things, but they're always, always subpar and I'm exhausted from expending so much energy into something that's worth nothing.

When you're a kid you can do something as stupid as make bracelets and sell them for $5 each and make money that way. But when you're an adult they expect so much more from you. They expect the world. They expect complete perfection. Nobody will pay $5 for a string with three beads on it made by a fully functioning adult human who's perfectly capable of going out and getting a job... right?

I feel unheard -- completely invisible. I send emails and it's like they're never received. I talk to people and it's like they never heard my voice. I stand by them, I even touch them, and they look right through me. It's like being gaslighted by the entire world -- 'I never ignored you.' Then why do you refuse to acknowledge my existence?

I'm aware that time is marching on and I'm doing nothing with it and it'll end soon and I'll have nothing to show for it, but it's not for lack of trying. I tried -- I tried. I freaking tried.

I feel like I'm trapped and I'm drowning and I can't get out.

25 April 2019

Too Personal

I've touched on this rant before. However, I've reined myself in in those instances. Here, I am going to give you the full, unadulterated, 100% pure-from-concentrate rant.

(Buckle up.)

In the more immediate aftermath of the Year from Hell (2015/my second year of college/when literally everybody I ever loved was dying), I was so consumed by the pain that admittedly, it was all I talked about. I was trying to process it, trying to hash it out, and as a result, I talked about it incessantly. I was angry, I was wounded, I felt like everybody was abandoning me (dying) and I was crying out for somebody to just not. I felt like everybody was leaving, despite my cries for them to stay -- it was like nobody heard me. I call this phenomenon 'screaming into the void.' I was screaming for someone to stay and they kept walking away, without even glancing back or checking their pace. As if I wasn't making any sound at all. As if they never even heard me. As if I wasn't even there.

So, in a desperate attempt to get some measure of sympathy or attention or even some acknowledgement that I wasn't invisible, I kept telling the story of my pain. Over and over. I was waiting for somebody to really, truly hear me. To listen. No-one did, so I kept rehashing the story. I wanted somebody to hear it, and I would keep telling it until somebody did or die in the attempt.

In May 2016, somebody who I had considered a friend told me through text (somewhat rudely) that I was getting 'too personal.' I was too stunned by his rudeness to ask what that meant, but I made a mental note to not bring up anything but fairy floss and unicorns around this person again (which, when your life is a living hell as mine was at the time, means you're never going to talk to them again). As best as I could figure given the limited context, 'personal' meant 'not ecstatically happy.'

Two months later, a very good friend of mine said the same thing -- the exact same words -- after I confronted her about blocking me on social media. This person knows pain very similar to mine, so this one hurt especially deeply. Our relationship still has a rift in it, as I now feel I can't talk with her about anything lest it be deemed 'too personal.'

In November 2016, in an email that was a direct factor in my suicide attempt four months later, a mentor said to me, 'you are being too personal. Nobody wants to hear about your troubles.' To me, this translated directly to, 'nobody will ever love you because your life has problems.' (Even though it was not my fault that everybody around me was dying.)
Even though I didn't attempt suicide till the following March, this email was the point where I mentally/emotionally gave up and these words were ringing through my head the night that I actually attempted suicide. Those words sent a very clear message that I was broken beyond repair and that nobody would ever want me in their lives.

What do we do with things that are broken beyond repair, things that nobody wants?

We throw them away.

People ask why I tried to kill myself. How could I be so selfish? they ask. Answer: Because I was broken and nobody wants a broken person. Broken people are a drain on friends, family, society, and -- I was told in no uncertain terms -- churches. We take energy and joy and hope from people and replace it with bleak despair. And Nobody Wants That. Don't lie to me -- you all told me that yourself, in those 'nobody wants to hear...' messages. I was going to throw myself away -- the way all broken things should be (sayeth society).

'Too personal' bothers me because it means that you think you can impose on me what I can and cannot say. You're trying to censor me. Everyone else gets to pull the 'free speech' card, so -- where's my right to free speech? More than that, it shows that you don't truly care about me. A true friend is there through everything -- good and bad, thick and thin. Yes, tough love is a useful tool, but it should be a last resort, not a wall you put up the SECOND a friend starts struggling. (Also, side note -- tough love really only makes sense if said friend is actively hurting themselves. However, if life is beating your friend down through no fault of their own -- you know, like if someone close to them dies -- that is not, not, NOT an appropriate time for tough love. THEY ARE IN MOURNING AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT THEIR FAULT THEIR FRIEND/CLOSE RELATIVE DIED. STOP PUNISHING THEM FOR BEING SAD ABOUT SOMETHING OUTSIDE THEIR CONTROL.) The instant you throw out the 'too personal' line, you have permanently placed your friend at arm's length and told them that you are not a safe person to come to if they need it (for more on that, read this). I have literally ended friendships over this line (and it takes one heck of a lot for me to end a friendship -- I've only ended two or three friendships in my entire life, but they were all over this or very similar issues).

There's a quote that floats around the internet to the effect of 'If you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best,' and that is SO true. Either you're with me through it all, or I'm done with you. I don't have the time or energy for fair-weather friendships who only want my perfect, happy life. If you love me, you love all of me, no matter how sad or frustrated or discouraged.

That being said, please hear this -- you don't have to fix me.

I'll say it again: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FIX ME.

I don't expect you to make my life perfect again -- that's not possible for anybody. You just have to love me. If I trust you with the information of how difficult things are for me at the moment, that means I trust you. Take that as an honour. Don't destroy that trust by telling me that you have arbitrarily decided that I can't talk about a certain topic or issue in my life that I just want to hash out or verbally process.

Now, that's all frustrating, just on its own.

But even before you get to all of that crap, there's the fact that from an English-speaking standpoint, the phrase itself doesn't even make sense -- at least not in the context of me talking about something that's happened to me. It makes sense if I'm asking you questions about yourself and your life and you say, 'that's kind of a personal question, I'd rather not answer it.' That makes sense to me, but if I want to tell a story from my own life, how is that 'too personal?' What does that even mean? You're asking me to avoid something that can't even be properly defined. And a person who's struggling -- especially if they have a condition like depression -- will tend to swing to the opposite extreme. They will stop sharing their pain -- entirely. To anyone. Full stop. They -- we -- will carry it alone and bottle it up.

And bottled up pain, just like bottled up anger, will eventually explode, and sometimes pain explodes into a suicide attempt. And sometimes suicide attempts don't get thwarted -- sometimes the thing we try actually does kill us. Sometimes nobody calls. Sometimes the person doesn't find us in time. Sometimes telling someone to stop talking about their pain means that we listen -- permanently.

21 April 2019

It's Over (Graduation)

It's over.

It's really over.

It hasn't sunk in yet. My five years in the music program is complete. I have no more requirements to meet. I never have to sing for a grade again -- that weight will take a long time to come off my shoulders because it's been there for so, so long. I'm not tethered to this town anymore if I don't want to be. (Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it/am not completely jaded -- it's just that if opportunity arises elsewhere I can take it without having to work around classes.) Even today I've had to tell myself multiple times that I don't have to worry about class on Monday. I have literally no responsibilities on Monday other than practice -- and even then, it can be self-directed. I'm no longer working for a grade.

I don't think my body realises yet the full implication of that.

The end has come at a good time. I'm tired, mentally, physically, emotionally. I feel like I'm in a fog. This past semester my health started to tank on a couple of different fronts. I have no doubt that if I had to continue school next semester, things would have gotten worse. I'm undergoing outpatient treatment for one issue and have medication for the other that seems to be working, plus of course counselling. I'm half-expecting to finally get some kind of a cold or something because I've been fighting to keep going through sheer force of will since the end of February and I have few delusions that I won't crash at some point. There was a point where I had rehearsal of some kind, somewhere, for I think sixteen straight days. I still don't know when I actually wrote my psychology paper.

There's still stress. I literally have no idea which province I will be in after my current show wraps in mid-June so I don't even know where to job-hunt. But right now I am just completely, entirely spent. Exhausted. I often wonder why and then I realise this is the first I've stopped since February.