Have You Found What You’re Looking For?

Photo courtesy of elitetrack.com

Photo courtesy of elitetrack.com

A while back, I read this post over at Radio Silencer. It’s so funny what people look up…and how it all can somehow lead to your blog.

When I look at the search terms now, I mostly see “unknown search terms.” Boring! So this post is dedicated to the good ‘ole days when I could see what hilarity led people to my blog:

  • Presidential badassery – …I…what? I mean, it seems like two words that don’t necessarily go together, unless you are referring to Ronald Regan riding a velociraptor. Then that all makes sense.
  • Distomance – A fun word that combines dystopia and romance. And I did write about Divergent, so yeah, this one makes sense.
  • Joe Weil poems – Another that’s reasonable. I have read a poem by Joe Weil on this blog.
  • комиксы predator – I can’t even. A Russian predator? As in, Predator wearing a fuzzy black hat and kicking out his feet to folk tunes? Now that I can get behind.
  • My 2014 new year – Another one that makes sense. My resolutions posts usually get good traffic.
  • Wesley Mcnair – *shoulder shrug*
  • Barefoot business – Ah yes, always be businessing…barefoot, if possible.
  • Dr Who and Jesus – Did I write a post comparing Jesus to Doctor Who (the tenth to be exact)? Yes, I did. You’re welcome.
  • How tall is Rachel Frederickson – I weighed in (see what I did there?) on this controversy because people bashed her because she was thin. I know that feels. Apparently many other people wanted opinions on this as well.
  • Dear Sister AK Press – I end on one I’m the most proud of because it was a huge step for me in a lot of ways not only to send my work to the Dear Sister anthology, but also to be published alongside some great artists.

 

What are some odd search terms that have led to your blog? Or what are random search terms you’ve entered?

You Like Me. You Really Like Me!

Photo courtesy of 101fundraising.org

Photo courtesy of 101fundraising.org

So back in 2011 and 2012, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by two bloggers. I responded to both of them, saying that I was honored they thought to give me this award. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it’s taken me the better part of two years to actually getting around to what the award entails.

First off, thank you PoeticJourney and Write, Wrong, and Everything In Between for nominating me for this!

Second, I’m supposed to list 15 blogs I like/regularly follow. I don’t know that I regularly follow that many, but here are a few I really like and regularly comment on:

Don Miller’s Storyline Blog

Tara Anderson’s The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh!

Sarah Clare’s Behind on Books

Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half

Dave Williams’s Zooky World

(5 out of 15 ain’t bad, right?)

Lastly, I need to list 7 things about myself:

1. I think I overuse the word “anyhoo” when I write. I know I overuse the word “awesome” when I talk AND write.

2. When I was little, I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up. I still do….

3. I think proper grammar is sexy (this includes the serial comma).

4. I’m a big sci fi nerd. Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Supernatural. Love it! (Haven’t gotten to Stargate yet, but I will.)

5. I hadn’t seen the movie The Goonies until last year (Stop judging me! I feel those stares…)

6. I love ice cream and milkshakes.

7. After some years of denial, I must admit that red is my favorite color, followed closely by midnight blue and black.

Thanks again for the award! Now ends my acceptance speech.

What Makes You Vulnerable?

“My weakness I feel I must finally show.”
Awake My Soul, Mumford and Sons

This post is a bit darker than usual, but I feel I can’t break my hiatus from posting written blog entries until this one is seen.

To answer the question posed in this post’s title: What makes me vulnerable? Asking for help when I am so incredibly depressed I lose my words.

Now let me put this in context: Around the end of June of this year, I felt…off.  I don’t really know how else to describe it. I’m typically fairly calm, content, and level-headed, but I found myself off center. I was snapping at those closest to me and always felt either fuming angry or deeply sad. There was no in between. Thus started three months of the worst depression I have ever faced.

I don’t know where it came from or why it never left during that time period, but there it was when I woke up in the morning, haunting me throughout the day, and keeping me from sleep.  There was much crying and frustration and voices (yes, voices, which makes me sound schizophrenic. But it’s more common than you think.) I couldn’t do anything without crying. I knew there was a problem, but didn’t know what the source was, which near made me go insane.

What was the most maddening for me during this time was the fact that I’m a writer…but I had no words. When my fiancee or a friend or a family member would ask me what was wrong in a genuine attempt to help (which I am so grateful for), I had nothing to tell them. I wasn’t trying to be coy or less of a burden. I legit had no idea what was wrong with me. I eventually stopped reaching out because it seemed pointless.

I kind of felt like Vincent Van Gogh, as portrayed in Doctor Who. During one of Van Gogh’s fits of madness, he has a short conversation with the Doctor:

The Doctor: Vincent, can I help?
Van Gogh: It’s so clear you cannot help. And when you leave—and everyone always leaves—I will be left once more with an empty heart and no hope.
The Doctor: My experience is that there is, you know, surprisingly always hope.
Van Gogh: Then your experience is incomplete! I know how it will end. And it will not end well.

For months, I felt exactly as the artist did in the previous exchange. I felt as if everyone always left me, and I was always alone. I felt like this experience I was having would end very badly.

I don’t think that people should live without hope, but I do think that everyone reaches a point where they truly believe there is none. I agree with Van Gogh in the sense that if someone has not experienced that, then her experience of life is incomplete. But the point isn’t to stay there. It is to rise and get help.

I know it’s a cliche saying, but it is true that sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to go anywhere but up.  That’s where I was, and I decided to just fold into myself. I didn’t reach out, as mentioned before, and tried to deal on my own (This didn’t go well. If you’re experiencing depression, please tell someone). I watched depressing movies so I could cry. Sometimes it was all I could do not to hyperventilate. And in between all this, fielding the voices in my head, and fighting just to go out and see the sun on so-so days, I made it my goal to find words for whatever it was I was feeling.  In the process, I amassed a pretty good collection (some of which I’ve already shared in this post, with more quotes to come).

Now to circle back to the question posed in the beginning of the post: I was vulnerable during my depression, especially because I didn’t have words. But, somehow (and very thankfully), I moved past that to ask for help again. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t pretty. But I started to say, to a trusted few, things like “Something’s wrong,” and “I can’t take this anymore, but I don’t know what to do,” and “I don’t know what this is.” And people stepped in. My fiance, my friends, and family checked in on me. They made sure I had everything I needed. They skyped with me in a minute’s notice. They got me out of my apartment.

It’s hard for me to accept help. I think part of this hearkens back to the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” One of the main characters says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I wanted to soldier through the depression on my own because I wanted to be independent, but I also didn’t want to be a nuisance. The kind gestures of those closest to me showed me that I deserve a love much better than what I originally thought, and I try to carry that knowledge with me wherever I go now.

After getting help, both personal and professional, I’m feeling better. I’ve been ok for about a month now, and I can’t fully express how refreshing it is. I’m back to being myself. I still get frustrated and blue, but it’s manageable and in proportion with the circumstances I face. And I also get happy and smile a lot. But more than that, I’m content. While some may see content as being “middle of the road,” for me, right now, there is no sweeter feeling than to just be satisfied with where I am.

I must give credit where credit is due: There are two web sites (one blog post and one TED talk) that really pushed me to be brave and write this post: Natalie’s “The Lies in Our Heads” and Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.”  Thank you, ladies, for sharing your stories.

In her TED talk, Brene Brown talks about telling “the story of who you are with your whole heart” and having “the courage to be imperfect.” That’s what this post is for me. That’s why I felt I couldn’t post anything else before I wrote this. I had to learn that being depressed wasn’t my fault. I had to learn that it’s ok to be imperfect and ask for help, spreading that messiness to others who can do something positive. And I needed you, the reader, to know this and, perhaps, let what I’ve learned sink into your own life.

Epilogue: I was seriously thinking of making this a private post just so I could write it, but only for me to see. So why make it public? Because I’m starting to find words and, as a writer, it’s important for me that I put those words out in the open, knowing that this could backfire or that not one person besides myself will read this or care. But even in the times when I don’t believe in myself, I know that risk is worth it, that the written word infused with authenticity has the power to change everything. Aside from authentic human relationships with the closest people in my life, it is all that has ever changed me.

Here are some of the other words I found to help me through my journey and articulate what I was feeling:

“Do not ask the price I paid. I must live with my quiet rage.
Tame the ghosts in my head. They’re unwild and wish me dead.”
Lover’s Eyes, Mumford and Sons

“I feel fine, and I can smile,
But I feel the anger coming.
It’s underneath.
I don’t know why
It’s always overflowing.
It’s a constant fight
Deep inside,
And I wanna forget it.

I confess I’m always afraid, always ashamed
Of what’s inside me.
I confess I’m always afraid, always ashamed
Of what’s inside my head.

And I can breath, and I still feel,
But not the way I want to.
I’m on the edge. I don’t know how
I can escape this nightmare.”
Confession (What’s Inside My Head), RED

“You’re so mean when you talk about yourself. You were wrong.
Change the voices in your head. Make them like you instead.”
Fuckin’ Perfect, Pink

“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
(Thanks for sharing, Stephanie Levy!)

10 Songs that Should be on your iPod (or other MP3 player…)

Album cover for the Evanescence single "G...

Album cover for the Evanescence single “Good Enough”, version 1. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Streamy Awards Photo 1189

Streamy Awards Photo 1189 (Photo credit: The Bui Brothers)

Wordplay (song)

Wordplay (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, now that I embarrassed myself with 10 guilty pleasure songs yesterday, let me make some suggestions for songs that I think should be on everyone’s iPod.  I’ll admit, I do lean towards rock, but I have been on an R&B kick lately (though that didn’t really show through on this list).  Hope you find something you like!  This started turning into classic rock songs that you shouldn’t be without…hopefully further editing has balanced this post out.

1. Living in the Moment – Jason Mraz
This is a great song to serve as a reminder to loosen up and enjoy life.  I tend to keep busier and more stressed than I should, and this song reminds me to “not waste my days making up all kinds of ways to worry about all the things that will not happen to me.”

02 – Living In The Moment

2. Hook It up – Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew
Pirate Rap. ‘Nuff said

06 Hook It Up

3. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant
Good song for when you want to feel badass. Just open the windows, put your shades on, and blast this song down the highway!

03 Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

4. Taxi – Gym Class Heroes
A song made up almost entirely of band names.  As a writer, I find that impressive.  When I first heard this song, I tried to write a poem made up of band names.  It failed.  This song, however, does not.

Gym Class Heroes – Taxi

5. Good Enough – Evanescence
Usually known for their gothic stylings, this Evanescence tune is almost classical.  The piano and string arrangements are smooth, and when coupled with Amy Lee’s vocals, this song is absolutely gorgeous!  It’s both sad and happy, but then again, sad is happy for deep people.

Evanescence – Good Enough

6. The Doctor’s Theme – Murray Gold
This man is a music genius!  This song is great mood music.  It’s short, somewhat ominous, and yet oddly beautiful.

03 The Doctor’s Theme

7. Welcome to the Jungle — Guns N Roses
I like feeling badass…can you tell?

Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

8. Catch and Release – Silversun Pickups
I almost went with Panic Switch, but I needed more slow songs and this is a great one. It’s sexy, but also a little sad.  I always picture a figure skater when I hear this song because the music here is so clean and precise.  I also love the bass melody.

Catch and Release

9. Bromance – Chester See and Ryan Higa
This, like Hook It Up, is a silly one.  The title says it all.  I watched the video for this song on YouTube, saw it was available on iTunes, and downloaded it.  It’s set up as part rap song, part 80s power ballad, and all hilariousness.

01 – Bromance

10. Lost in the Echo – Linkin Park
I wrote a letter to Linkin Park and told of how this particular song was my favorite from their current album, “Living Things.”  It has served to give me energy and confidence.  For example, I played this song while driving to school on my first day of college level teaching in September.  I love the rhythm and hard-hitting lyrics.

01 – Lost In The Echo

ipod shuffle loja online leilao

ipod shuffle loja online leilao (Photo credit: sucelloleiloes)

Now it’s your turn!  What is one song you think should be on everyone’s playlist?

Following My Fez Instinct

As mentioned in my previous post, I had a hankering to draw my house-crushing bowtie with a fez.  My friend, Cara, nudged me in this direction, so here you have it (I even added the sky)!

I didn’t forget about the pterodactyl wings:

Since my last post had a post script, I thought I’d include one here to:

Cara (yes, the very Cara who nudged me toward this post) has a book out called Counting with Cats Who Dream.  Click here to check it out!

I’m not that funny…

When I first started this blog, I didn’t have a clear vision for it.  I still don’t.  All I knew and still know is that I love to write and want a space for my random thoughts.  I really admire funny blogs, like Hyperbole and a Half and Second Lunch.  For a while, I tried to write like them in posts/e-mails/etc.  And it just didn’t work.  But I think I’ve come to the conclusion that just because I can’t really wit in the blogosphere, I can still add something valuable to the internet discussion, like this poorly rendered drawing of a bowtie attempting to smash a house:

Why yes, that house’s door is TARDIS blue, thanks for noticing 🙂

And yes, I can draw a straight line.  Just not in MS paint.  I also signed this masterpiece in the corner…like a boss (or a nerd. Either way, really).

For some reason, the bowtie’s head reminds me of a pterodactyl.  I should make another version of this drawing with huge wings on the bowtie….and a fez. (Update: those drawings can now be found here!)

Also, while tagging this post, WordPress suggested “blissdom” and I couldn’t resist.  It sounds so cool, like being in a dome of bliss.  What would that even look like?  I think it would be blue.

I changed my blog’s theme about a week ago to the snazzy one you see before you.  I thought it looked professional and modern with the pictures of nature and whatnot.  This post made you unsee all of that legitimacy, didn’t it?  Well poop…if you come back, I promise to be insightful at some point.  Here’s a think-y face to prove it /-{  <—– me with my eyes closed (crookedly) and my lips pursed in deep thought.

I really should have called this “Post Scripts, the Blog Post”

Jesus and the Doctor

I often have seemingly disparate thoughts floating around in my head. The latest is a comparison between Jesus and Doctor Who. Let me explain….it is too much. Let me sum up:

About two weeks ago, I saw the clip from “The Passion of the Christ” that portrays Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This has always been my favorite scene from the Gospels. It is here, I think, that Jesus is at His most human. He is broken, asking for “the cup” of the cross to be taken from Him. In that moment, He didn’t want to go through with it. And yet, He is strong enough to say “not my will, but Yours be done.” Stunning.

What I love about “The Passion” portrayal is that the movie shows Satan tempting Jesus. It really made this moment come alive for me and brought it to a place that I think everyone can relate to on some level:

A few days after watching this clip, I saw the Doctor Who episode titled “Journey’s End.” I’ve often thought that if Jesus were to come back in human form today, he’d be a lot like Dr. Who — dynamic, fun, engaging. This scene from “Journey’s End” really cemented that feeling for me:

One particular line that stuck out from this clip was, “How many have died in your name?”  The flashback shows friends of the Doctor, humans and aliens whom he knew anywhere from a few hours to many, many years before they died.  The look in David Tennant’s eyes when he remembers those deaths, the destruction he never meant to leave in his wake, is palpable and heart-wrenching.

The question posed to the Doctor could also be asked of Jesus. There have been countless martyrs for the cause of Christ. But the question can be posed another way– how many have been killed by Christians in the name of Jesus? Or, to re-phrase again, how many atrocities have been committed in His name? I wonder if this was one of the ways Jesus was tempted in the Gethsemane– not “You can’t do this,” but rather “If you do this, atrocious acts You want nothing to do with will be committed in Your name.”

And perhaps if Jesus came back today, His enemy would not confront Him with “I have shown You Yourself,” but instead “I have shown You the people You died for… and how they continue to get it wrong.”  And He keeps loving anyway.