"Gasping – but somehow still alive – This is the fierce last stand of all I am"

Lyrics tonight courtesy of The Smiths [well I wonder]

I’ve been going through a tough patch this week – my depression’s been on a tear, as much as depression can get rowdy, I suppose… enough to make me consider upping my Cymbalta dose a couple of times, though I’ve rejected the possibility each time. Honestly, the sadness isn’t the part that’s the toughest to deal with. It’s the overall fatigue, body aches, and listlessness that gets to me. I can’t shake the internal feelings when I can barely get motivated to move my fingers over the keyboard, much less go out for a walk or clean the house. I scrape by on weeks like this, trying to get at least one thing accomplished a day while my energy holds. Mostly, that’s been keeping the house running, Morning Pages, and running a few errands… then I’ll poop out for the day and very little seems to help me scrape up motivation.
I’m trying to be gentle with myself in this and not get mad at myself for things that I can’t help at this time. I have a list of things that I need to nurture in myself, but also I’m telling myself “no pressure” on any of this. My body is really good at telling me when I need a break, and it’s telling me that now.

This week’s chapter work in The Artist’s Way is about nurturing and support – the places where your power is built. One of the reasons that I chose to start my work with The Artist’s Way now is that I need this recovery not just for my inner artist, but for ME, and these exercises, as difficult as they sometimes are, bring home the very things I’ve been dwelling on and working with on my own. Who does back me up? Who does tear me down? What do I do that undermines myself, and what do I do to get in touch with the Inner Artist?

I don’t like a lot of aspects about my childhood. Two exercises, some of the first ones of the chapter, are REALLY hard for me – to describe my childhood room, and to list five childhood accomplishments. I’m going to do it, because as I’ve said before… this is about honesty. However, I don’t like it. That’s also Honest Xiane. I’ve stopped and started typing this entry about 20 times so far tonight.

About my childhood room: I didn’t really have a room of my own until I was about 8. The first part of my life was spent sharing a bedroom in our apartment with my Mom and Grandmother – at first I even shared a bed with Gran. Other than losing my space on the bed if I got up to pee in the night, it was actually a pretty excellent time in my life. When my aunt moved out, I temporarily got that room as my own, but subsequently was kicked back into a room with Gran when my soon-to-be-stepdad moved in and he and Mom took the room. I was a little sad for losing my autonomy, but mostly okay with being back with Gran, whom I adored.
I didn’t get my own, truly private space until after Mom married the stepdad and and we bought our first house. My room was a small, small space, the inner bedroom on the front of the house, on the second floor of our end-of-the-section rowhome. The room was impossibly hot in the Summer, but passably comfortable the rest of the time, with a window that looked out over our very green lawn and the street.
For a while, it was painted a painful pepto-bismol pink, my attempt at controlling a small bit of my environment – Mom expressed doubt when I chose that colour and I should have listened, but you know… I’ve never been good at that!
So it was PINK with white trim, and just large enough for a captain’s bed, a bookshelf, a dresser, and a small desk; this was my realm, my retreat, and my solitude. I had a small black and white TV that I could watch bad science fiction movies and old TV shows on all night long [as I’ve always been nocturnal] and a small fold-open record player to listen to my weird collection of music that I was amassing, even at that early age. I would often put on music late at night, turn a sheet into some crazy costume, and dance around while creating some elaborate story about gypsies or faeries or nomads.
What was my favourite thing about my room? More than anything, it was MINE. I had books and music and privacy when I closed the door that was respected by my family… I had art and craft items and I made things all the time in there… and sometimes I’d open the window and sing out into the street, late at night when everyone was asleep, singing to the stars and the darkness. Until the time when my trust was irrevocably broken, I felt safe and secure in my room.

Five traits that I liked in myself as a child? I was:

  1. dreamy
  2. intelligent
  3. creative
  4. resourceful
  5. polite

And the hardest task out of today’s directives – list five childhood accomplishments:

  1. I got to shoot off model rockets in 6th grade – we made them ourselves. Mine didn’t break apart and flew properly, and I was pretty proud of that!
  2. I was so ahead of the curve in English throughout school, I often would read ahead and get to do work that was far ahead of my peers. In 5th grade, we had a system of reading with questions, on cards – each grade level had various stories, tests, puzzles… I finished the whole box in a few months. I was doing college level work in Elementary school!
  3. I started sewing at an early age and made a whole wardrobe of clothing for my dolls.
  4. I taught myself to play the guitar.
  5. I read both the dictionary and the entire Collier’s Encyclopedia over Summer break while I was in Elementary school. I was a voracious reader!

And the bonus was to list five favourite childhood foods, then to eat one this week. This one’s tough, because a lot of things that I ate then, I don’t eat now. Pancakes would probably be the default one that I still eat [and eat often!] – other foods were ice cream, scallops, steamed crabs, and grilled cheese. I did eat almost every veggie and fruit out there, pretty much like I do now, at least!

… this was so freakin’ hard to do, you don’t even know.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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