Thursday, February 27, 2014

The magic of intent

        "Magic" has always had an appeal to me, even though I don't strictly speaking believe in it. What I believe in is the power of my mind. The power of associations, the power of intent.

         I believe that if I give meaning to something, on some level, it affects my performance.

         Today I created a confidence oil blend. A number of the essential oils I picked actually correspond to confidence according to people who at least pretend to know what they're talking about, but it doesn't really matter in the end (a bit of oil on my wrist isn't gonna affect my brain much). The point is that I put the intent of strengthening my confidence level into this formula, and I was thinking in terms of solar energy plus a bit of rose for love, and I added a tiny amount of glitter than still managed to give it a golden glowey color in the bottle. I added a bit of my voice tincture for communication.

           The point is that whenever I use it I am telling myself, "Today I will make progress in being strong and confident."

           Call it magic, call it positive thinking, call it what you will. But I have a hard time calling it bullshit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exploring the light

        I don't know myself out of the darkness.

        I don't know how to act with people. Don't get me wrong, I know I didn't act well with people before, but I had a pretty well established mode of operation: try to pretend I'm invisible, barely speak, and if I speak (or even if not) generally give off a negative, almost toxic vibe. I'd spend a good deal of huge social occasions (i.e. parties, dances) off in corners, miserable because I wanna join in the fun but I felt I couldn't. It's similar in all areas of my life. I'm having a hard time actually acting, and I'm starting to wonder if it's because I'm between habits. So many of my routines were negative.

         I know that I'm getting better, but I don't know what to do. I'm slowly degrading old programming, but I don't really know what to put in their place. Could go all cliche and say I need to learn to "be myself," but what the fuck does that actually mean? Acting natural? Well that doesn't work, it still takes effort too much of the time to not be a depressive positivity-killer.

          It feels like I'm getting to know myself when I talk to other people as much as they are. I don't know who I'm becoming. I have faith that it's something better than who I was, but that's about as far as I really know. So, yeah, it's interesting.

         But life keeps moving. I'm drawing closer to my performance goal date, which scares the shit out of me especially since my body doesn't seem to agree with my desire to practice (I'm all aches and stiffness). I'm moving closer to having to work back into school, which similarly scares me because I'm still a ball of confusion. I have to keep moving. I have to keep working on becoming whoever it is I'm becoming, because I can only be in chrysalis form for so long before it gets unhealthy.

          It's time to come out and start drying my wings so I can see what they look like. ... Guess this metaphor might break down at self-awareness, but whatever. XD

Monday, February 24, 2014

Drafts drafts drafts....

        Looking at my posts, probably about fifty percent only achieved "draft" status. I'm not entirely sure how I should feel about this. I suppose it's just a change of view: when I came into this, every bit that I wrote was intended to be a gem. I may have fallen quite short, but that was the idea.

         But that's not how art works. There is no craft where every attempt is going to come out just as you wanted it. Some bits of writing just flow out uncensored and not thought out, sometimes spiteful or angry or sad, sometimes rather self-involved. Sometimes I end up writing something that I'm not ready to share, or that I can't imagine being beneficial for anyone else to read. And at the end of the day, that is part of the point. I'd just be writing in a journal if audience didn't matter to me at all.

         So, sometimes I look at my lists of posts, which by default includes both published posts and drafts, and it makes me sad how many are only drafts. How much of my expression here never actually sees any light, is never even seen by the maybe one person reading. It feels like a waste, but I don't think it is. Artistic expression can be good for the artist even if not for anyone else, and practice is certainly of value. And, anyway, drafts can occasionally prove to be polishable at a later date.

          My point is... I still want to produce good posts. I want to keep this going, and hopefully it'll morph over time into something awesome. I want to get back into poetry, and that'll take even more time before I get anything that I feel is worth sharing. I've also heard that forcing oneself to do art is pointless, but I'd argue that it helps keep things going. You may not produce anything good when inspiration has run dry, but you can help maintain the habits and the skill by doing some anyway. There's no such thing as artistic waste. Just do it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sometimes perfection isn't what we want to see.

        There is a certain appeal to watching growth. Sure, there's beauty to an orchid bought in full bloom, but at least for me it doesn't match the thrill of watching as new leaves form or a new bud come out of a dormant plant. There's a beauty to seeing a new sprout. The leaf buds in spring....

         I think it's true of people, too. Sometimes already developed beauty is what people want, and then they go to the ballet or concert or art museum. But then you have shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" which seem to exist more for the making of. The growth. There is a magic to seeing dreams even before they are realized. 

         So maybe I'm just trying to rationalize, but this feels like a reason to put myself out there before I'm "ready." I feel like, perhaps, there could be good to being transparent as I learn to dance. Letting it show as my performing self takes form instead of hiding until it's "good enough." It will never be good enough, if I set that as a limitation I will never even start. 

         I don't know. But when the worst I'm doing is being some crazy dancing chick in broad daylight... well, do I really need much in the way of proof? No one is wasting money on me since street performance is tip-based, I'm not taking prime time at this point away from other people who might do this (or even pedestrian space at a time when it's crowded)... is there a point where I could do harm to anything beyond my pride?

         I may have to work on setting a more official "event" for the equinox... ;)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Medication Use

        For a while, I've seen psychological medication as a crutch, except I think I mean that differently than most people who say that. I don't see it actually fixing anything. Medication can help alleviate some of the pain, help with functionality, potentially offer what's not working a better shot at getting better... but it doesn't, in itself, fix much. There is very real use, but it takes other factors to produce lasting change.

        Which is a big part of why I take issue with a shrink basically telling me that meds are the only way I'll get better, or that they are the only possible reason I'm getting better. As I see it, drugs might partially explain relief from direct depressive symptoms. They don't explain my efforts helping me be more productive and hopeful before I even got to my appointment. They don't explain changes in thinking. They don't explain my coming to understand better some of my dysfunctional thinking.

          My life isn't a controlled experiment, which is part of the problem with looking at medicine for a specific person I suppose, but I honestly feel like the trajectory of my improvement hasn't been changed by taking medication. And now, a month after a dose increase, I'm feeling more tired and my muscles are tightening up on me and feeling weak and I know it's not because of overtraining because I've been too tired to train much at all.

         I believed enough to keep going if there was no negative consequence, but not enough to suffer side-effects that keep me from doing what I wanna be doing (although, yes, there's a conversation with doctor that needs to happen). I think it may be about time I prove to myself and doctors who don't believe in self-healing that my improvement is a result of more than popping pills.

         On a more public service-y note, my rat nabbed a sertraline pill from my hand this morning when I went to take it. I don't know if this applies to anyone reading this, but it's not safe to assume that pet rats won't register medicine as possible good eats (my rats like to nab food from me), and I'm guessing that had she succeeded in getting more than maybe a tiny nibble I'd be looking at an emergency vet visit for serotonin toxicity.

---- edit----

        Doctor says that what I'm experiencing aren't side effects. But I can at least call partial bullshit (fatigue is enough of an issue to list on the fucking bottle!!), and saying "such and such isn't a side effect" seems nonsensical when it appears they don't bother listing super rare ones normally. I don't know, doctors probably hate me because I have a problem taking them at their word sometimes. But then, this is the doctor that tried to tell me that my getting better couldn't possibly be affected by anything but drugs, she's set me up to be skeptical.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Late night musing

        Is drinking a moderate amount of (sparkly) wine classy enough to make up for drinking non-corked wines? I need something that stays good for quite a while after opening, dammit. 

        Dancing appeals to me, and I couldn't entirely explain why. It just feels good. The way I move, I believe, is largely what got me the performance part I'm still perhaps the proudest of. I may not have done much in the way of formal dance, but get me on a dance floor and actually moving... I feel amazing, even if I don't look it. I always secretly hope that I'm one of the people that others enjoy watching, despite the lack of props or anything. I've not gone dancing in way too long. But I digress. 

         I don't feel like I'm lying when I say that I'm meant to perform in some capacity. That I'm meant to dance. My goal of performing on the street on the first day of Spring may be overly ambitious, but even if that timing doesn't come true, it will eventually. I'm still "reality" minded enough to accept like I likely need a more typical "9-5," but that doesn't mean my life won't be creatively focused. It can't not be, that isn't who I am. 

        This feels more like the truth, more like my genuine self than I've felt in a long time. Depression isn't me. It may be something that affects me, but it isn't me. Letting the crowd push me down a path that isn't my own (or trample over me and I trip over my feet on a wrong path for me) isn't right. I still suffer. I still get down. I still have days like most of today where I just feel defeated and sad and want to stay in bed. 

         But it isn't me, any more than it'd make sense to define myself by how I am when I get a nasty virus. It certainly doesn't give an indication of who I should be. 

         The story of my life has been filled with wastes and sorrows and pain and failure. 

         The pen is still tainted with bad ink, but it is slowly being washed out and replaced by pretty new ink that suits me... 

          I'm working on a new chapter.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another singular Valentine's Day.

        Valentine's Day has gotten harder as the years have passed. Another year single, another year not really even able to take comfort in friendly love. Not that I'm completely alone, mind you; but the few friends I have aren't single so I fully expect that I won't be able to be with them. My loneliness feels more in my face every year.

        This year has been a touch better. It's amazing how the caring of a stranger can be so touching. I signed up for a secret Valentine's thing this year, and just got a beautiful card in the mail. I don't know how to describe this... in a very real sense, there's a certain type of love that seems to permeate everything. At least compassion, if calling that a type of love is too far a stretch. You see people who seem to love everyone in this way, and I can't help but believe that it is genuine. And it is beautiful. I don't know if my secret valentine is that way, but I believe that affection of some form was put into my card, as it was in the gift I made for this.

         V day also makes me think about what kind of love I'm cultivating. I haven't been cultivating at all: I reject it all too often. I have a hard time believing in the care that others might have for me. If anything I cling to "love" that hurts me, but more often I've held on to the idea that I just don't deserve love, and anyone who knows me must hate me. It's hard to have a relationship of any kind with that block there, as much as I want to connect with people.

         And I suppose it starts with a love I've most resisted cultivating: my own. Which sounds cheesy, but there's some truth to it. It's why I made that mirror a while ago. It's why I fully intend on buying myself flowers today, and maybe some decently dark chocolate or something else happy. It kind of pisses me off that I have to accept the idea that you have to love yourself first, but there it is.

         So here I am. No expectation of having a date tomorrow, or a singles moping party, or anything like that. And I don't much care. Because I find it too awesome that I've been working on how I treat myself these past couple weeks, and it's a full moon on Valentine's Day, and while I certainly wouldn't mind being shown love from others as well... it's about time I learned to show myself love.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This is new for me.

       I'm good at being sad. I'm good at hating myself. I'm good at pushing people away, keeping a wall up around myself or scaring people off. I'm good at crying out for help as I suffer over the pain I ultimately inflict on myself. I know this version of me all too well. I've had a good deal of practice.

       Right now I am in transition. I'm better enough to make attempts but weak enough to be easily beaten down. And I'm not good at much of this. I think that social might be where it shows the most... I don't know how to interact with people normally, and I keep feeling like I should just retreat back into a little cocoon, but of course that's not how I learn.

       I don't know who I am, because I've lived too long under the influence of depression. I'm finally tearing "stupid depressive" away from how I identify myself, which is good, but it also leaves a void. And so many of my other self-descriptions are infected by related thinking. I have this creative drive but I suck at arts and always will. I think I move well and have some potential in dance except, ha, being a dancer doesn't work when you're a blob. I definitely have some writing potential yeah right, how much you want to bet that no one gets what I'm doing when I think I'm being clever?

       So I'm lost, and scared, and confused, and so easily made to feel like I should just give up and let myself fall back to what I know because I'm failing anyway. And this sounds like I'm whining, but this recognition is hopeful to me.

         Because I feel this crappy precisely because I'm progressing. I'm changing into something I don't know. I have every reason to think that ultimately this is a good thing. And I'll get the skills as I go, in learning to be a happy, social, artistic person. All those things that have atrophied in my depressive state, they'll get better. Like starting to walk again after being on bed rest, or something, there's a phase of weakness being more obvious when you first start working on it again.

         I'll be okay.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Music and arts

        The arts seemed more encouraged when I was a child. Sure, there were some obvious biases (saying that playing music improves math skills sort of implies that math is more important, at least to me, and they were either electives or on a three-day rotation instead of being an every day, every year class), but still heard constantly how awesome these activities were for my intelligence and well being and isn't it so awesome that I'm playing flute and writing.
          And then I get into the adult world, and I so often see things about how the arts in schools are being threatened, and we need to protect them. I don't think that this is wrong, but I feel like we're looking at too small a picture.

           Occasionally there will be a call for help supporting the "higher" arts or drum corps. It's a cool hobby to have. But for the most part, no one gives a damn about arts in the "real" world. As if suddenly, its worth for the individual vanishes when they grow up unless they are looking at making a career of it... and even then, that's often considered a foolish ambition.

            I don't know. I started thinking about this because I've recently discovered that I like some folk music. And how that term probably came about to differentiate between "common" music and the kind of music that'd be played at court or what have you (not that I've looked this up). If we were to define a folk music for our current time, it'd mostly just be amateur covers of famous songs. Karaoke, maybe djing for drunken idiots kind-of-sort-of dancing. And at least to me, that seems really sad.

            I'd agree that the arts have a place in school. But I also feel like as a larger society we need to get out of the audience more often. I'm just musing, maybe this is silly. But I do think that either the arts don't matter or they matter for life, it doesn't make sense that the benefits dissipate... and I certainly don't believe that being artistic is worthless.

            When I create, I see things about myself and the world that I may not otherwise. Dancing makes me happy, and occasionally even that most abstract art form helps me see the world through a different lens, or feel empowered.  Writing helps me focus my thoughts so I can see them, and alter them as needed (i.e. being negative). I'd like to think, perhaps, that I have a greater creative drive than the majority, but I also suspect that such a drive is present in everyone. I see it in the number of people who enjoy art back in grade school, and the fact that enjoyment of music is all but universal. But it is so often lost....

             I don't know how to change this picture, but it does seem quite off.


Monday, February 10, 2014

What makes you come alive?

        I've almost always "known" that my career path couldn't be in the arts. I'm not that talented, I'm not that dedicated. I am nothing special. I don't think that this is self-loathing talking, although it likely plays a part in my past lack of success. I just don't think I'm one of the few who could make it.

       But just about everything that's made me feel alive has been in that realm. I don't really get so hyped up over information. Over scientific inquiry. Not really. If I were honest about what I wanted to do with my life, I'd probably say that I want to live more of an artistic lifestyle. Even if that's not all that I do, even if I always have to have a "day job," it'd be a day job that gives me the support I need to actually do what I want to do, not my life in itself. Because I know the odds of my making a living in the arts, but at the same time... what do I really want to do with my life? How would I craft my life if I were coming from a place of fearlessness and confidence?

       And then the question of school becomes not "what do I most want to do with my life" and instead "what path would best support my dreams?" Not chasing after my dreams directly in academia, but more of a second choice. And maybe that does mean science, and maybe that would turn out to me a good balance. Maybe there's my compromise. But maybe with suffering through school it wouldn't be worth it, or maybe I'll get into it later on.

       I don't know. I'm just musing. I think it's an important line of questioning though.

       What really makes you come alive?

Friday, February 7, 2014


         Yesterday was not good. I was doing alright aside from sleep deprivation, up until I got my hand slapped again for what I still bloody well think falls into the "cultivating healthy work relationships" level of talking. I know at least the second part isn't right, but 1) it makes me hate my job, it feels like they are seriously just trying to drag down our well being and 2) it feels like the world telling me that me trying to be social is inherently negative and I should just give up and shut up. I don't know. That's really what sent me on a downward trajectory.
           There's also the fact that I keep having people I feel close to act like they don't care, which is hurtful or irritating depending on if I blame my worthlessness or their lack of consideration. And I get disapproval from people for not doing enough. I wish I was strong enough to just say "fuck you" and go on being awesome, but I'm not just yet.

             Anyway. I pretty much crashed once I got home from work. I felt done. I felt like giving up on everything. Not as deeply as in the past, but still significant. I tried to fix it by working through what I was thinking for a bit, that didn't help anything.

            I'm really lucky to have someone on my side who manages to say the right thing (a lot more often than they seem to think).

            Because I think, more than anything, it's important to keep perspective. Where I was today doesn't mean much without considering the context of how freaking awesome I've been feeling recently and how constantly and deeply I was stuck in depression a couple months ago. I don't know that I'd say I've done anything great, but I'm doing well. I am progressing.

             And the simple fact that evidence points towards me making actual change and just suffering through occasional relapses was enough to unchain my emotions and let them slowly start floating back towards positive. It wasn't a fix, but it helped me stop clinging to the negative that I am so familiar with. I'm still a little low, I'm up way too late. But I'll be okay.


Street performance tour and a thought on art

        I have no idea if this is plausible. It's still in the daydream stage. But if I could get a little bit of money as I travel by busking, I'd expect that to both be freaking awesome in itself and would help me stretch what money I have going in.
         I am not entirely sure I could explain how this seems like such an awesome idea to me. I just miss performing. And the kind of performance I miss most involved being able to use facial expressions and my whole body to convey things rather than just being a body in a chair playing music. So maybe it makes sense. Having people watch as they pass by on the street seems about as intimate a public performance as you can get.

          The thing about the arts is that I think it's important to be okay with showing yourself. I suppose this might be a product of a relatively recent mindset, I keep reading things suggesting that art wasn't always seen as necessarily self-expressive. I suppose it still isn't. I don't know. I was going to say that you can still see that lack in arts such as ceramics, but even then, there's a bit of myself in what I make. It's never completely cold. Or is that an individual thing?

          Regardless, that's how I am. Artistry for me seems to require a willingness to be transparent to the world, and even if it's in a form that may not truly come across (i.e. symbolic color choices), it feels a little scary. Dancing especially takes something very primal, very internal, so even if nothing overly emotional is on my mind it can be kind of intimidating.

          This isn't an obstacle, just an observation. If anything, it just shows how so much is connected on some level.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm about a month in....

        I'm not eating wonderfully, but I'm getting better. A healthy meal has become more the norm instead of the exception. I'm also moving a lot more, and I've kinda made it a habit to go walk outside every day.
        I've not made grand leaps in becoming a wonderful seamstress, but I am at least starting to think craftily (i.e. "I wanna make a hip scarf!!" instead of browsing online stores for one). I've tried my hand at decorating mirrors, which I'm still rather proud of even though my painting skills leave much to be desired.
        I'm not much of a dancer either, but I'm working on it.

        And most of all, I'm not past depression. I'm still really tired much of the time. I'm still not a good advocate for myself. I still get sad. I'm still kind of anti-social. But my thinking has changed. It's not just a matter of depression etc loosening it's grip enough that I can breathe and smile occasionally... My thoughts are changing on a deeper level. The problems I have are still quite at the surface, but I'm learning to deal with them instead of constantly being brought down.

         I keep worrying that I'm just going to crash down again emotionally, but this isn't like every other time. I am here because I fought, and I am progressing (however painfully slowly) because I'm still working on things. Maybe I'll get a decent amount of energy back too late to do a ton with it this semester, but even if that proves to be the case, this time will have served it's purpose on the path that I'm on.

           And I do feel like I'm doing more than I was doing last semester. I mean honestly, I got next to nothing out of a 17 credit semester. Have a mentioned that there's a reason I felt like I should run away?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A new dream, gaining strength....

        I want to get into street performing. I want to get good enough at belly dancing that others would enjoy watching, and I feel like I won't get a chance to perform on a stage without either getting really awesome at it (getting to a professional level) or paying for more expensive classes that include recital. And I love performing!
         I have no clue if this is reasonable, especially when I can't see myself doing any pure dance form improvisationally. And then there's the fact that I still have a hard time seeing myself as capable of looking graceful. So I don't know...

         But my goal is to have my first "performance" on the equinox. Which requires a lot of practice, a lot of other physical work, and sewing practice because I can't afford to buy a costume. And maybe that's too ambitious a date. But that's what I'm aiming for. ^_^