American mini tour

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for a couple of weeks, but it’s been a flurry of distracting activity as I wrapped up work obligations before a long flight over the Atlantic.
I’m going “home” for the first time in six years. I am anxious. My fingers are sore from the chewing I’ve inflicted on my cuticles. I have had disrupted sleep and digestive issues. Although I’m visiting people I love who also love me, I’m deeply unsettled by one thing: mom won’t be there. Mom is dead. The last time I was in Janesville was to care for her as she died.

I was starting to heal. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit- I don’t really write to her anymore in my Letters to Mom blog section, and I don’t think about her as frequently I used to. I don’t torture myself mentally and emotionally anymore over the end-of-life care we were faced with in autumn 2010. And I finally managed to get the memory book I wrote after her death printed, which includes photographs I took during those whirlwind couple of months we had together. I’ll be time travelling back to emotions I was just starting to accept, but I’m not the only one- I’m staying with Aaron, and he was involved in it all too. Seeing each other will be great, but it will bring with it some tough stuff we’ll be helpless to avoid.

Originally, I was trying to get back to the US for the fortieth birthday of one of the best people on the planet: Jodi. However, September is an expensive time of year to travel, so we postponed till I could get flights that didn’t cost an arm, leg, and kidney. I’m flying out tomorrow. In the middle of the trip, I have a mini-trip to North Carolina to see family I haven’t seen in person since 1985. In fact, we only reconnected a few years ago through Facebook. I’ve had a few different surnames which makes me harder to Google, but I have two brothers (by my adoption), and so the Parrish children are about to be reunited. It’s going to be weird and wonderful.

That’s not to say this whole American mini tour won’t be weird and wonderful- it will be that and more, I know it. I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends, cooking for them, going to Target, small town bars, and laughing in the same room instead of through computer screens. I know it’s going to be a good time, and I hate that my brain is tainting it all with anxiety. Although I’ve done lots of solo travel and long flights alone too, I wish I could take Pete with me. A little piece of what has become my “normal” life would be comforting, and he’d love meeting Jodi and Aaron in person. Sadly, no money for it this time, but maybe going this alone is what I need anyway to work on my closure of certain emotions. I’ll have plenty of thinking time on planes and coaches, that’s for sure.

So, to those I’m seeing soon in America: I love you, and I’m looking forward to seeing you. I’m just not looking forward to the dark stuff I’m facing and I know you understand. See you soon. There will be hugs.

Realisations, exhibitions, summer, and such

Good morning.

The lazy blogger in me was about three sentences into a Facebook update when I realised I have a perfectly good blog sitting patiently, waiting for an update. Oh, blog, I have missed you.

There’s something nice about the long-form ‘status update’ that is done for reasons of expression rather than a quick blurt about how my morning/afternoon/evening/sandwich is going. I love Twitter still (even though my habits there have drifted a bit in recent times) and I tolerate Facebook, but blogging goes right back to the writing I did in html on a manually updated static site way back in the mid 90s. Jesus, I’ve been typing for a web eternity.

So, what was I saying on the faceplace? I am having a good September, if one compares it to the months/year or more that preceded it. Yup, I said it: September is good. I went through some desperately bad times before now, and although I still struggle with anxiety, depression, and the chattering monkey of ADHD, I am feeling a climb out of the hole happening during September. Here’s what’s going on (in no particular order):

I have a new video art tuition endeavour that is off to a magnificent start. Not only have I surpassed my own quiet goals on enrolments and potential earnings, I have smashed it and my class on Skillshare has earned enough to at least pay a whole month’s rent. I’ll know more when payday happens on the 16th, but by my estimates, the time and effort spent in writing, filming, editing, and promoting my very first class have been worth it. I have several more classes planned and partially scripted, so this will be a huge help in the ongoing battle to earn as a full-time artist. The success of this spoke in my professional wheel has had an uplifting effect on my mood, of course. I plan to release another video class this month, and that’s going to be hard work since I’m also preparing for…

Cruel and Curious ‘Sanctuary’ is a group exhibition taking place on the 23rd and 24th of this month. I was pleased with my personal success at the event last year, and so I handed in a proposal for involvement again. Work is going well on my part of the show, and the puzzle pieces of details are beginning to form wholes. I am producing more of an interactive experience this time around, which is no small feat. I am quietly confident it will at least be interesting, even if sales of works don’t match the success I enjoyed last year. People will remember the thing I’m doing, and that will contribute to long-tail returns.

Oh my goodness I’m typing typing typing. I think my blog is sweating.
And so am I. Daily. I’m fed up with being chubby. I’m about 15 pounds overweight for my size and after years of neglect, I started doing daily exercise again. There was a time when my yoga body was a thing to be proud of, and I’m determined to get that back. I am moving around and eating less, and taking a little better care of myself because the alternative is to continue to look at photos of myself life modelling (naked) or candid, clothed shots on Facebook etc., where I wonder how the hell I let myself go. My face is young but my body has been ignored for far too long. This stops in September, and continues for as long as I am able. It’s gonna do my brain a world of good too.

There are other things I’d love to write about (getting flowers, selling art, private tuition students, figuring out that it’s ok to hire someone to cut the grass, beach cleans, and more), but I have a puppy to go walk – not mine, but I’m a proud ‘aunty’ to a gorgeous setter/welsh collie mix – and you’re probably at the end of a tasty beverage anyway and maybe need a wee.

I’ll just have to write another post soon. I have a lot to catch up on… Hello, world, I’m blogging again.

Peppermint tea, tunnels, tears

“I need you better.”
Say what you will about the somewhat universally detested word “moist”, this phrase kills me. The irony being that I’ve used it in speaking to someone with depression too. We are not immune from the helpless feeling just because we understand deeply what depression feels like. “I need you better” has more desperate weight to it when coming from a person who also suffers. Depression for the depressed is like cold germs and easily passed to each other. The mood volley in this house has been relentless. I don’t remember what it’s like to live in a happy home.

This isn’t to sound melodramatic; it is the truth. I’m sat in bed with my laptop trying desperately to get out some thoughts. I have been struggling particularly hard with depression all week. This morning, I showered, but without any ability to stand in the cubicle. I washed myself slowly, huddled in the corner, feeling numb. After emerging, I dried, and went to lay down, feeling unwell in my stomach. I was unable to think.

Pete sat next to me. I was naked, on my stomach, being asked what’s wrong, talk to me, and me only able to say “I don’t know” before tears. Gentle words “take the day off” and “I need you better” soon followed.

I need me better, too. It’s just not very straightforward. It’s almost like being in a tunnel and you know there’s going to be an end, but the tunnel is still under construction and length keeps getting added to it. I was thinking about pedestrian walkways in tunnels in Spain and how there’s a sign with the distance in metres to the end. For me, the number doesn’t seem to be decreasing as I move forward. I have countless hundreds of metres to go before I reach better.

I have lived with depression and depressed persons all my life. My mother, my former husbands, Pete. There must be something that draws us to one another, perhaps out of a need for understanding, perhaps an unconscious want to help someone else cope with a thing you know well, I don’t know, but there is an attraction.

It can be a difficult relationship, living and loving when there is depression in both individuals. Depression becomes cyclical between co-habiting people, like passing a yawn, but at least both parties understand where the other is coming from. In this situation, unlike – I imagine – what it’s like to live with someone without depression, “I need you better” is not so much a pep talk but a plea. Like asking to put pressure on a bleeding wound for the greater good. I need you better, because we need to stop the bleeding for us both. It is not selfish to not want to be next; it’s wanting to reach the end of the tunnel and emerge in sunlight.

After crying a bit, I was still laying on my bed unable to move. I thought about writing to hopefully purge some of the darkness, get my brain working. I gathered the strength to ask for a pair of panties from the clean laundry basket across the room, my laptop, and a peppermint tea (for my queasy belly). Now, I’m dressed, warm, and typing. I am still hurting.

But it’s a start.

sharing too much since 2003