“How can I talk of light and warmth?
I’ve got a voice like a gutter in a toxic storm
All the dark words pouring from my throat
Sound like an oil slick coating the wings we’ve grown”
– Frightened Rabbit, Oil Slick
I know, I know. Seven days of radio silence immediately after pledging to go ham on this blog isn’t exactly what you’d call a breakthrough. I suppose as far as you know I could have been working hard on writing some new material in that time period, but I’m going to be completely honest with you:
I haven’t done anything whatsoever.
To be fair, ’tis the season, and I haven’t had a lot of free time on my hands. The family demands a certain degree of attention too, even more so around the holidays. There are certain familial expectations you must meet, partaking in holiday traditions and spending time together. You know the whole shebang; opening presents around the Christmas tree and roasting chestnuts in an open fire and sacrificing goats to the dark lord and such the likes and what not.
I’ve also been trying this whole new “positive outlook” thing, and that means less time sitting in front of my laptop all day contemplating the chaotic meaningless void we live in, and more time hanging with the family.
So on the one hand things have been good, because I haven’t really had time to be depressed, but on the other hand things have been bad, because I haven’t been able to channel my depression into writing. Which is a scary thing to think about, if your whole plan is basically to live off of your writing. Because that essentially means that if I’m not having a shitty time I’m not going to have anything to write about. It’s like I’m resigning myself to depression for the rest of my life.
And it’s a cycle, too. Because when I can’t write, when I really just can’t bring myself to sit down and work on one of my stories, it’s an incredibly depressing feeling. Not being able to do the one thing you actually might be good at? Pretty shitty feeling. So then you get depressed again, and then you can (hopefully) write about it, and you’re back to square one.
I’d mentioned in an earlier post how depression has become such a norm for me that I no longer think of it as a temporary condition, but rather as a permanent aspect of my personality. And yeah, that kind of thinking is probably not great, especially for someone trying to turn his life around, but I don’t know that I was wrong to say it. It’s not even just that I’m a pessimist (although I am, but that’s besides the point); it’s that I’m inherently sad. Now that doesn’t always mean suicidal, or even depressed, but it sure as hell means morose at best. I’ve found ways to cope with it, to float on past all the sadness and the anxiety without letting it consume me, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there. I don’t know that it will ever not be there.
I can’t just turn around and say “okay, I’m better now. All of the shit I went through is behind me, and I’m an entirely different person now. A whole new me.” To do that would be to forsake not only who I am, but all the things that have shaped me into the person I am today. Some scars never heal; instead they become a part of who you are: a testament to what you’ve been through, to what you’ve survived. To deny that part of me would not only be wrong, but impossible.
And yet I can’t exactly revel in them, or I’ll end up just as bad as I was before, or worse. It’s one thing to accept the darkness inside you, it’s an entirely different thing to embrace it. I don’t know that I would survive that.
So yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. It’s not going to be easy navigating this road, with depression and inevitable suicide on one side and suppressed emotional insecurities festering into psychoses on the other. But I’m trying. I’m trying to find a balance between making changes for the better while staying true to myself. I’m trying to find a balance between accepting who I am and not letting it consume me. There’s got to be a middle ground somewhere. I just have to find it.