Sometimes you just feel destroyed. Sometimes you can’t think straight because you’ve got a million different fucking theologies flying around in your head and you just can’t process it. Sometimes it sounds nice to have a nice professional blog but the only time I can seem to write is when my life is falling apart. A nice professional blog I will most likely never have. I’m going to art school and I don’t even feel okay about it because I’m riddled with ridiculous guilt from an angry, tyrannical god. I want to fly, to make art, to put it in a perfect portfolio and have everything listed out on a webpage but most likely, it won’t be. Most likely I will drop out after three semesters at best and have all my artwork saved in random folders on my computer and shuffled into random spots around my house. I can’t fucking do anything right. I’m sick of all the cliches and tips stuffed into my fucking head. I knew how to live a normal life before Christianity and now I feel as though 45 full sized millstones were hung about my neck and I’m drowning. Just drowning because I don’t pray right, I don’t have discipline, my house is a disaster. And that one girl from bible school is posting about how we’re too obsessed with “messy culture.” Well excuse us for trying to push back against the legalism. God forgive us if we admit this life is hard, God forgive me if I admit I don’t want to be a stay at home mom, don’t feel like birthing children will make me feel complete, forgive me if I struggle hard with my bisexuality and what that means and who I am and my calling to be a Pastor but that’s WRONG so NEVERMIND! I feel like I have no feet planted on the ground and I’m just fucking floating away, seeing pictures of old friends getting Christianmarried and wishing them good luck because I’m sitting at my kitchen table bawling for the first time in weeks because I’ve been too shut down to shed a freaking tear, because marriage is so fucking hard and I literally cannot keep my head up I literally cannot keep my head up I literally will drown if someone does not help me I am literally going to die. Because I want to jump on the train of my favorite slam poet Emily Joy from Moody Bible Institute who actually does things FOR THE KINGDOM that I believe ACTUALLY MATTER and I wish to disassociate myself from John Piper and Franklin Graham and other conservative Christian things as much as possible, but those I love and respect more than anyone else believe the same way they do, including my mother. I need to write more because there’s really no one in my life that can feel my pain, who will sit with me in it, who is open to thinking that maybe the Bible isn’t saying what we think it is? It’s easy for the cute housewife to affirm things that make me want to vomit out my own soul. I’ve contemplated suicide, but I don’t have the nerve. As we speak I can feel God’s presence in the air and I appreciate it. I like it. That’s all I know is that I feel God’s presence all around me in this FUCKING mess and I like it. I don’t even know anything else, fuck it.
“How are you?”
“How am I… Hm. That’s a hard question to answer. I haven’t thought about it myself in a while, honestly. I’ve been burying my face in my Nintendo. How am I… Well, I’ve been burying my face in my Nintendo, and, trying to read three books at once… I pass a lot of time feeling guilty in between my times of playing Nintendo and picking up books and reading little sections and getting bored and putting them down. I mean, yeah, that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. But I guess that’s not what you asked, I guess you asked how am I, and that’s a hard question because I’m not really sure because I’ve been pretty distracted I guess. Yeah, I guess that’s the best way to answer your question… I’ve been distracted. I’ve been playing Nintendo a lot, reading three books, and feeling pretty guilty. How am I… Well, I feel like I should mention God, and we’re not great, but we’re not too bad either. I guess I’m not really sure how we are. I guess I’ve been pretty distracted yeh know? I jump from playing Nintendo to reading little pieces of these three books. I feel really guilty about it all the time. Oh, but I do have a cat. He’s good, when he jumps on me it gives me a few seconds of peace or something, but then I just go back to feeling guilty. I guess how I am is not to great right now, I’m realizing now that I’m telling you. I haven’t really been on top of things lately. I have a lot of dreams, but when I sit down I feel like I can’t remember any of them and the Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Wii U is so much fun and makes me feel like I’m on an adventure. Yeah, like it really makes me feel alive! My life isn’t really very exciting. So I guess you could say I’m kind of bored. Nothing’s really going on. A lot is going on in my video game and my books, I could tell you a lot about that. But that doesn’t really seem like something people would wanna hear about. Not a lot is really happening that matters. I just kind of get through my days the best I can. And I guess that’s kind of sad, huh. Probably. Thanks for asking, though. It was nice to talk. Maybe I’ll try to take a day off soon, just chill out for a minute or two. Although that would be my fourth day off this week and I’d probably end up feeling guilty the whole time like I do every other day off I take. Oh well, I’ll get it under control eventually.”
I could just go over and walk in. The banging on my door at 8 this morning, I don’t know what that was about. I didn’t check. But those people I see across the street as I strum on my guitar – one man with no arm, two plain looking gents and a girl in tight Nike pants walking across the lawn. Those people are sure interesting. A little unsettling – what are they doing?
Strumming, strumming, observing. I poke my head to the window and hope they don’t see me. What if they see me and get angry and come over and shoot me? Maybe that’s what that banging on my door was at 8 this morning. Maybe they’re collecting cans, going from house to house, because they’re homeless, and found a way to get into my complex and were knocking on all our doors. That’s silly, isn’t it? They’re coming up to a house… Spread out like girl scouts ready to sell. I expect them to knock, but the man with one arm opens the door. The two men walk in after. One has his arm on the Nike girl’s back. What are they doing? Should I call the police?
Hey, the door’s open. I could just walk in. I never think about it because it seems impossible. Like, that’s a restricted zone. It has a force-field.I’ll get zapped. But for all intents and purposes, there is no reason I couldn’t approach that old brown beautiful house with all it’s mysteries hidden inside. All these wild thoughts that rattle in my brain could be answered. How do you get that brave? I watched Batman last night. I bet Batman would walk in. He’d just walk right in and look around and take no shit. And I’m just left here wondering.
Police officers are brave. To just go in to a place like that and look around. Although, they do have guns. Could I ever handle a gun? I probably wouldn’t be too welcoming if I had a gun. Could I bring them cookies? Even if they are dangerous people, are they really going to shoot me if I bring them cookies?
The door’s still open. What would happen if I walked in? Maybe they’d just look at me, confused. Maybe I’d be killed. Maybe they’d be happy for company. I know a lot of people live there, I’ve seen so many different people go in and out. I’m not sure if it’s several apartments or one big house. It’s brown and pretty. The windows are white. There’s a huge, obstructing tree right in front, with no branches until over half way up. White people walk by casually, wearing clothes that are familiar and comforting. I would be scared to walk by casually. My upbringing has made me scared, my town white-washed and perfectly safe. It has made me curious, suspicious of houses across the street. I have no idea if I should be.
Maybe they are a loving household, but my gut disagrees. I feel as though I am wasting time with these thoughts. But this is the nature of my brain daily. Scattered and confused. Wondering some of the most impossible things to ever make conclusions about.
Unless, of course, I walked across the street and knocked on the door. (It’s closed now.) I could ask how they are, what they’re up to. If they want to go get breakfast at McDonalds or something.
But of course, that would be foolish, because people are dangerous.
And I’m a woman. And it’s true, people really are dangerous.
Why can’t life be a little more welcoming, a little less threatening? And if the world actually is not as threatening as I think it is, I wish I could know. But I guess I’ll never know unless I go and walk into the neighbor’s house, but of course that would be foolish and dangerous and scary. So I’ll all just sit here wondering about the private lives of everyone else, behind closed doors. We all will. At least, I’m hoping I’m not the only one who does this. I’m hoping that this isn’t isolated experience.
I assume we all yearn for relationship with other human beings, crave to know their stories. Sometimes, especially, those who are so different from us. Craving to know what goes on behind closed doors, to know the story of the dog-walker wandering down the street, the gas station employee with the nose ring, the 4.0 MIT graduate. But whatever, we won’t, because the world is scary and we’re insecure. And the world really is scary. And we really are insecure. And it’s no one’s fault. This place is just broken and rotting, behind closed doors of middle-class neighborhoods and from where I sit in run-down Jackson, Michigan. And hidden behind cellphones and averting glances on subways and blanked hardened stares forward so that no one will talk to you. To me.
I’m just saying, okay, I’m just saying. I wish I could go over and walk in, sit down and be offered a drink and hang out. I wish I could know their stories. But I never will. Cause this world is too scary and things are so dangerous, especially since I’m a woman. But here’s the thing. Aren’t you so excited for a world where there is no fear? Where we can knock and enter stranger’s houses, because no one is truly a stranger?
This world I crave.
How the hell does anyone function with this? I was laying outside yesterday with my husband in lovely sunny downtown Jackson on a big baptist church’s steps. Sounds romantic, but it wasn’t. I had to stop walking after I couldn’t get myself to go any father because a feeling beyond feeling was making it hard to do anything, including move or hold a conversation.
“What do you want to do?” he asks.
“Nothing,” my answer.
Which people say all the time but I meant, Nate, I literally don’t want to sleep or eat, or watch TV, or drink beer or walk around or have sex in a hot air balloon or fly to the moon. I don’t want to draw, play, write or read. I could possibly eat pizza, but that’s it, and I’d probably be worse afterwards anyway.
The moments that most devastatingly clarify my depression are ones like these.
Let me explain – when I was in my Senior year of high school I started feeling this feeling that I had never felt before – the familiar frienemy I now label “depression.” And of course, anyone who has struggled with depression knows that this thing – this monster – goes far beyond feeling. It’s heinous in it’s inability to be explained. It sneaks around at first and bugs your mind with little emotional traps – not enough for you to get a clue, but enough to break you down slowly. And by the time you’re broken down, you’re on Prozac and it’s all over.
Pictures and comparisons are almost always necessary to explain my depression, and even then most people don’t “get” it. So when I began to be sucked into the enduring silent vortex that is the deadlock of a word with no synonyms; the black gruesome monster who was simultaneously consuming more and more of my friends and family as he silently did me; affecting my mind, body and soul, I questioned everything. I questioned what this was because it wasn’t sadness – Sadness is sadness. Depression is collapsing headfirst into a rabbit hole you never saw coming, looking around and realizing that you have landed in a different dimension that is the same as your own, except it has lost it’s flavor. It’s color. It is more distant than before, more gray, and less exciting. People act the same but are more exhausting and more terrifying. You grasp the fact that there is something off and wrong, but you’re never able to fully grab hold of the entirety of it. That’s depression.
That’s what I felt for the very first time sitting in Finance class, and realizing that I felt worse than I had in my entire life, but not knowing how to fix myself. Not knowing anything anymore. That was my depression.
Naturally, I got a therapist, and the therapist put me on Prozac. Great choice, therapist. After months of cutting, smoking myself silly, and absolutely draining the life out of everyone around me, the Prozac kicked in, yay! Does Prozac actually work for anyone? UGH.
So Prozac made me want to kill myself. I made this discovery when I went to go for a run. Running was the one thing I had that would without fail calm my mind and get some of my tired endorphins to move. That is, if I could get myself to actually go. I started, taking the usual path that I always took, and dead stopped after less than 400 meters.
Shit. I don’t want to run, I realized. I don’t want to run, and I should want to run. Running makes me happy, and it’s not.
And then for the first time ever I wanted to die. Because why live at that point, really.
So when I was laying next to Nate yesterday, feeling the sun on my face – the sun that I had begged God for for months, that I said I would be so much happier when I could feel – the sun that promised Summer and adventure and road-trips, the sun that warmed me all over, my favorite feeling in the world, I tried to choose to feel happy. I tried to convince myself that this was a great moment and I should just choose to feel happy about it.
But I couldn’t. Because I’m depressed. It’s like eating a donut, expecting to taste a donut, and instead tasting sand. But everyone around you tries it and is confused because it tastes like a donut, why don’t you just taste the donut, Sam? No matter how fabulous that moment was, it wasn’t going to break through the jail cell that is this icy cold prison where I, and so many others, live all the time.
I hated my life yesterday. I questioned God extensively yesterday. And I remembered that familiar feeling of not being able to run yesterday. I wished I didn’t have to exist anymore yesterday. And I had no resolution yesterday. It only got worse and bled into today.
I love how the Psalms are so honest, and always end with a bit of hope about God. Even if the whole thing is a cry of total despair, the writer always chooses to end with hope.
As much as I like that, I don’t have a whole lot of hope or faith right now. So maybe, hopefully, this isn’t the end of the story. But right now I’m in a prison and God has the key. And for some reason He won’t hand it over, which really pisses me off.