put out the fire, and don’t look past my shoulder

screenshot from No Man's Sky
Screenshot from No Man’s Sky

Last year I wrote a lot about my depression and anxiety and trying to work through it.

I increasingly started to feel like the world had flipped on it’s head, and some of the stuff going on couldn’t possibly be real, almost like something “space-time”-y had happened. Alternately, I felt as if I had been flung into a deep, dark hole carved from the blackest, hardest, heaviest, wettest dirt, with no way out and I was trying to claw myself out with the tips of my fingers every moment of every day.

A part of me thought that I could use positive psychology and neuroscience to pull myself up, because that’s worked for me before. But then I started getting really exhausted doing that work, and hope started draining, so I realized that I needed some outside, unbiased support.

Shortly after my last post (about a year ago) I connected with a therapist online and I’ve been working with her since then. [note: There are many services for this, but I went with BetterHelp.com.]

A lot has come up, a lot has changed, a lot still needs to be changed. But for the first time in years, I feel like there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong- I still feel like I’m in the tunnel, in some sort of weird parallel universe, but now I feel like there are things I can do to work on moving out of it.

The big turning point was realizing that I have spent my entire life believing that I needed to explain and justify and validate everything I did or thought or believed or felt. This likely arose from feelings of shame and self-loathing lingering from childhood and especially the years in high school and college.

But I’m absolutely not interested in doing that anymore. I don’t have to justify anything to anyone. Not to myself, my peers, my family, my parents…  no one. I finally am starting to realize this. It’s going to take a while to break free of that habit- the need to validate my choices and feelings- but I’m making progress.

In doing this, it almost feels like I’ve reconnected with a part of me I lost when I was about 17, when I made the decision it would be easier to quietly fit in if I sort of assimilated rather than following my own path. I was literally beaten down from dealing with my health, and then being marginalized because of it every minute of every day, so I didn’t have the energy or confidence or strength or self-awareness to say “screw it, this is who I am. This is what I love and what I want and who I want to be with.”

I spent most of my late teens and early twenties scared of what I *really* wanted. I wavered between cherishing the things that really meant something to me and then pushing those things away as fast and as hard as I could (interests, career choices, people) because I felt that anything or anyone I had a connection to must be broken and/or repulsive because I saw *myself* as broken and repulsive. Does that make sense?

I don’t feel like that anymore. I’m not thrilled with myself, nor am I comfortable in my own skin, but there’s a part of me that wants to stop struggling with that aspect of my life and just embrace what it is that really makes sense to me. I just want to *be* whatever it is I am, for the first time in my life, and see what happens.

As you can imagine, a huge part of this process has been letting go of a lot of old stuff that I believed was tied in to my identity- and a LOT of that was recorded in detail on this website. It’s not that those things weren’t meaningful or valid or real at the time, it just feels very out of sync with who I am right now. So I had an urge to wipe this site clean. But everything I have posted is already out there, so ultimately it doesn’t matter. (For now).

So I’ll leave it and hope people understand that a lot of what was documented on this website is a snapshot of things in specific moments in time.

I came back to this space because I felt myself wanting a central place where I could collect random stuff like quotes, lyrics, artwork I love, some art I make, photos, screenshots I take from No Man’s Sky, etc, funny stuff I find around the internet, etc.. I know that’s the stuff that normally happens on social media, but I avoid social media because, quite honestly, it makes me feel like shit. So I figured I’d reconfigure things to be a space I could use, since it’s just sitting here, collecting dust.

And, so, this is that.