Mushy White Noise

I can’t figure out what’s exhaustion and sadness from everything it means to live in America right now, and what’s exhaustion and sadness from my own depression.

The lines continue to blur, and the guilt from those lines being blurry raises the waterline of this human experience. I don’t know who or what to believe about how to feel, least of all myself, since I know myself has a really shitty tendency to lie to me about everything.

My brain tells me: “Don’t feel bad about these things. You have these other things, and also look at the world. The world is full of the worst things, so you don’t have the right to grieve and heal from your things. Focus on the world’s things. Ignore your things.”

Meanwhile, my things continue, like acid, to eat a bigger and bigger hole into my soul, my sense of being, my sense of self, and the way I move through the world. The world, which is full of the other terrible things. The world that I should be doing more to help save. See what I mean?

So the snake keeps eating its tail, and the lines get blurrier, and the white noise gets more and more static-y. I try to find the balance between self-care and immobility, between rage and numbness, between making sense in my head and out loud.

I cry a lot, mostly about nothing. My husband is destined for canonization. I will write the petition, despite our lack of religious affiliation.

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Things That Are Not Coffee Spoons (but that I have nonetheless measured my life in anyway)

I’m porting some stuff I liked over from an old blog. This was supposed to be a series, so I’ll turn it into one here. It’s amazing how different things are, and how different things are not.

 

– “no, seriously, THIS is my new favorite pen” (once every two years, except I’ve pretty much settled on the PaperMate InkJoy)
– headshot sessions (one every four years or so, but I did jump the gun with a new hair color recently)
– trips to Ikea (used to be one every six to eight weeks, though we haven’t been in a really long time)
– cans cases of Diet Coke (one per month or so)
ETA: I stopped drinking Diet Coke two years ago and now go through SodaStream tanks at an alarming rate
– the number of black pencil eyeliners I’ve bought hoping they would be the one that didn’t give me racoon eyes by the end of the day (countless. I gave up on pencil eyeliner and now use liquid with a shadow/angle brush situation and pack in the concealer)
– times I’ve said “I have an idea” and had my husband look at me out of the corner of his eyes with fear (once every two days)(see: trips to Ikea)
This has changed a bit since we’ve been hunting for apartments and my former glee to trying to solve space-related problems has mostly turned into harumphing on the inherent unfairness of real estate in NYC
– anthropomorphizing absolutely everything (several times a day)
– silent screams at slow walkers (several times a day)
– shower performances of “Last Midnight” (two per week, only to be occasionally eclipsed by whatever music I had to learn most recently that will not leave my head)
– order confirmations (not telling)
– frantic document shredding sessions (one every three months)
– organizations (one per month)
– reorganizations (one every other month)
– deleted Twitter drafts (several per day)
– collective number of hours spent staring at my cat (countless)
– shoes tried on (countless)
– holes spackled (hundreds)
– emails that seem important at the time (at least three a day)
– haircolor appointments (one every six to eight weeks)
– yogurt containers (three to four a week – we’ve replaced them with one giant container)
– up-to-date union cards (two every six months)
– the filling and emptying of ice cube trays (less than you’d think, because I mostly drink my alcohols neat and don’t like ice muddying up my seltzer and diluting the bubbles)
– jewelry (one to two per major life event)
– litter box scoops (one every few days)
– tote bags (too many to count)
– unread New Yorkers (at least three in the bathroom right now)
– side eye (countless and constant)
– crumpled audition sides  (see: frantic document shredding sessions)
– physical therapy sessions (so many)
– mental therapy sessions (probably not enough)
– storage bins and the ever changing contents within (18 at the moment)
– Gmail labels (47 59 as of now)
– internets (countless)
– computer/iphone mahjong games (tens of thousands, easily)
This was clearly written before I discovered TwoDots
– bacon cheeseburgers (not telling)
– times I’ve said “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” (at least a million)
– readings of Infinite Jest (one quarter, five years ago)
– times I’ve wished I was well-known enough to just be adorably quirky instead of weird (more than I’d care to admit)
– deep breaths (i mean, I’m still alive, so…)
– high notes belted (oh, plenty.)
– Boggle games (at least two a month)
– promises to myself that I’d write more (this one. right here.)

I promise to keep this list going.

Getting Out Of Bed

Hi there. Yesterday, a friend of mine challenged some friends of his:

“I want you to share something that is making you get out of bed these days and one thing you are working towards that might be scary to admit.”

I was tagged in that post, and so therefore challenged to write something. Although I had some lofty shit ready to go, under the illusion that I had to be a role model or something for the younger folks in the group. But as I started writing, nothing came out honestly. Delete-delete-delete. Start over. Here’s what I ended up posting, and felt the need to port over here:

“If we’re playing honesty box right now (and I do think that’s the point here)? I’m having a hard time identifying what I’m getting out of bed for. Right now, it’s in service of others in my union leader capacity – which, in the short time I’ve been doing this work, has been some of the most gratifying and infuriating work of my life.
But I’m struggling with depression and anxiety and waves of not-good-enoughitis and here’s-a-new-thing-to-feel-guilty-about syndrome wherever I turn, and I’m having a really hard time maintaining it as my artistic career seems like it’s falling apart before my eyes. I’m not sure what to do next, so I try to dig in and be helpful to others wherever I can. But sometimes it hurts to get out of bed, and it hurts to manage my own expectations and the expectations of others, and it hurts to feel like I’m falling far behind. I’m tired and I just want to try to save the world.”

 

I can’t say it made me feel better or lighter or anything to write this, because it’s still permeating every cell of my being no matter where I turn, but there it is. I am wondering how much pressure must be released before any relief is felt, or if the release of pressure just invites new pressure to fill the empty space.

Look.

There’s nothing I can say about what’s happening in the US right now that hasn’t and won’t already be said by people who are much smarter and more articulate and better writers than I – and I encourage you to find those people, those voices pinging clearly through the shouts and violence in the crowd.

Follow these people and the people they follow. Sit in your own privilege, and USE IT TO DO BETTER FOR YOUR FELLOW HUMANS. Breathe into what makes you uncomfortable and sad and angry, but do not stop there. Let it fuel you to BE better and fight harder and use your body to stand up.

My heart hurts and I’m afraid. But no matter. I can do better today and tomorrow and the next day and every day after that.

Young [blank]

Young Existential Crisis

Young I’m Terrified Of Losing My Health Insurance

Young Haven’t Set Foot Onstage In Eight Months

Young PMS

Young Mana Allen’s Facebook Tribute To Barbara Cook

Young What In The Actual Fuck Am I Doing With My Life

Young Threat of Nuclear Winter

Young I Haven’t Accomplished Enough

Young Pension Statement

Young What Am I Supposed To Do, Just Cold Email Choreographers And Beg For A Job?

Young OMG My Cat Is So Cute I Can’t Handle It

Young Middle Of The Night And Can’t Sleep

Young Slipping Through The Cracks

Young Why Is Nobody Listening To Me In This Meeting

Young Last Episode Of Parks and Rec

Young Being A Woman Is Fucking Exhausting Sometimes

Young Being In Show Business Is Fucking Exhausting Most Of The Time

Young Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Young That Isn’t My To-Do List, Right? Oh, Fuck.

Young No, But Seriously, My Cat Is Incredible

Morning Meeting

We are all catatonic, the executives.

This week has been a challenge, and we’re not quite sure how best to handle and sift the mountain of actions and emotions laid out before us. It’s okay, that’s what morning meetings are for?

The agenda is some scribbles that turned into meeting doodles, and the CEO keeps staring out the window.

I guess brains get summer Fridays too?

No News Is Good News?

As a basic idiom, “no news is good news” was a fairly simple, self-explanatory little phrase: if you didn’t hear about something, things were probably going pretty well, and the best course of action would probably be not to fuck with them too much. If something went wrong, hopefully someone would send up a flare, and you’d be able to figure out how to solve the problem.

Somewhere along the way, everything changed. The 24-hour news cycle began. During the OJ Simpson trial, the TV in the kitchen (usually reserved for dinnertime news-watching) was turned on during the day so my parents could obsessively follow what was happening in that courtroom not so far from the house they were in. The TV never really turned off after that.

Somewhere around 2005, YouTube appeared, and with it, the emergence of something that was in us all along – that we could be stars. All of us. The rise of reality TV didn’t help that. After the writer’s strike, we were suddenly in the throes of Web 2.0, and it started moving faster than anything else. With the advent of social media, humans began existing on a brand new connected planet. And, even more suddenly, we were expected to make EVERYTHING into news. Every meal, every piece of media we consumed, every outfit change, every night out- it’s no longer about living a life we’re okay with, it’s about the population of our own personal news feeds in our own personal 24-hour news cycles. Just being a human in the modern world now means we have to create news, and no news is no longer good news. No news means you don’t exist. “No news” is now tinged with the threat of irrelevance. The idea of “no news” isn’t even a fathomable idea anymore. Who are we without news? Who are we if we’re not making the news ourselves? If there’s good news, does it still exist if we don’t share it? (yes.) I feel intense pressure all the time to say something or create something and to make sure it’s consumable or sharable or otherwise digestible by an audience. Despite my overwhelming reticence to do something for the sake of doing it, I feel the pressure. Whether I give in to the pressure or not fluctuates on a daily (hourly, to-the-minute) basis. My struggle with making sure that I seem okay (busy) and happy (successful) is often directly at odds with how I’m actually feeling (staring down the barrel of time into a deep existential vat of nothingness and obscurity) on any given day.

Then we entered this completely insane political climate. Again, as during the OJ trial, the TV is on all the time (not in my house, but in many houses) because we’re terrified to look away from the implosion of everything we’ve known to be true up until this point. We are, again, at odds with “no news is good news” defining itself as a third thing entirely. Now, literally, none of the news is good news. Okay, very little of the news is good news. No news is good news, aside from the few Twitter accounts I follow that devote themselves entirely to calming people down with photos of adorable baby animals. And the great @tinycarebot, which reminds followers to do things like “take a sip of water” or “stretch your arms over your head” when you’ve been staring at the internet too long. It’s really good, and I recommend giving it a follow.

I’m exhausted. I don’t have anything good to say. I have no news, and the news I have is not good. It’s a delectable combination of lingering depression/anxiety, confusion about the world, and the feeling that I’m being held in place by a thousand forces and I can’t escape. But you’d never know it, because I keep that locked away here, on the internet, where anyone can see it.

…waitaminute…

Morning Meeting

The CEO and board are back from their trip away. It’s raining like a motherfucker out there right now, which of course, shoots down any plans for hanging out in a park that might have been manifesting.

Her 1pm phone meeting just got moved around, so she’s gonna have to move some other things around. Rather, one of the other executives is moving things around while she stares out the window and remembers the rainy summers at camp, and how they didn’t matter because camp was (is) the purest form of magic.

Also, there were very few outdoor activities at camp, so that made the rain mean less.

This meeting is going nowhere. I guess that’s okay sometimes. Better to get some writing done. The board member who really likes writing had the idea to port over a blog post from a previous internet spot and continue it here, and everyone is into the idea. It can keep living on and being very silly.

Meeting adjourned. Let’s get some stuff done today.

Out of town?

We’re going out of town later, so clearly the CEO will not be coming into work today. The CEO has done some minimal work on her to-do list, but spent more time than normal beating herself up about nothing in particular and then apologizing for it. This is a fairly normal occurrence.

A friend of mine is dealing with some crazy jaw pain, which led me to tell her the story of one of the most vivid dreams I’d ever had, because it just says everything it needs to say about me. I rarely remember my dreams. Everyone hates a dream story, but here it is anyway.

I dreamt that I was part of the French Foreign Legion’s fledgling space program (not a thing). We were testing equipment for durability to go to Mars. I was scheduled for a space walk, and there was a part of our training that involved my giving a signal if the pressure in my head got to be too great. My colleagues inside the ship (and ground control) would bring me back into the ship and pressurize my suit, alleviate the conditions, take some notes, make some adjustments, and send me back out. This was a training exercise that had been gone over thousands of times. There was no way it could fail, because it was someone’s job to watch for the signal. I was ready to go, so out I went.

Everything was normal at first, like “yay space this is so cool these suits are so durable there’s no way we can fail on this Mars mission I can’t wait.” As time passes, the pressure in my head starts to build up. I ignore it at first, but it keeps getting worse. I start with the signal. No response. I give the signal again and again and again, but nobody is paying attention. My head will explode and I’m going to die if the pressure isn’t alleviated.

Now, at this point in the dream, my conscious mind pops in and says “GURL. You feel like your head’s going to explode because you’re clenching your teeth so hard that your jaw muscles are starting to give out. You have to open your mouth. Open your damn mouth. Now now now now.”

(I clench my jaw and grind my teeth pretty intensely while I sleep.)

Anyway, I don’t believe my conscious mind and keep frantically signaling until I realize nobody’s going to help me, and I should try to open my mouth because I’m running out of air. It takes several tries, but I finally get my mouth open, and in my dream, oxygen rushes my helmet and I can take a breath. Once I do, whoever was supposed to be paying attention in the ship finally looks up and sees me totally distressed, apologizes, and they bring me back to the ship so I can calm down.

There’s not a lot to unpack here that isn’t already pretty clearly out there. This is what my anxiety and depression feel like most of the time.

I was pissed at myself when I woke up because the French Foreign Legion (with a distinct history of preserving colonialism) is not at all in line with my generally pacifist/diplomatic way of existing, and I mixed them up with the UN Blue Helmets (which yes, I understand, is still military) in my head.

Let me repeat that: I got mad at myself for subconsciously thinking of the wrong international military situation when I have no actual experience in or with the military. Everything’s fine.

Also, the French Foreign Legion doesn’t admit women.