Full disclosure: this post sucks. It is sad and it is poorly written and it is probably more than a little whiny. Abandon fifteen minutes to the waaah-mbulance, all ye who enter here.
I am not well.
I am struggling and stuck and I don’t know how to move through it into a place where I am not struggling and stuck.
I need to shoot clips today, because I am so broke, and my clips total is so small this month it will not even cover my electric and internet. There is no question – today needs to be a shoot day. But unless I am doing crying fetish or something, shooting today is looking less and less likely. And that makes me cry harder because I really need to do this, and i just can’t.
I can’t face myself on a camera today. If I were just a shell, then sure, it’d be no problem. But I am not just a shell. My core is volcanic: flourescent, burning, explosive. Painful as hell. But as much as I am burning down to ash inside, there is no fire to spare, no heat to throw into my work. You cannot really channel this kind of feeling into a video clip that – even though my shrink euphemistically says I am a ‘performance artist’, there really is no way around this – is intended to get someone off. No matter how graceful or poised or put together (and these adjectives are, to my mind at this moment, laughable, because I am none of these things, I am a fucking mess), there is no channeling this kind of angst into a smoking fetish clip. I am sure that some could think of ways to do that, but would they be successful at their intended purpose as well? Is life-overturning angst sexy? I don’t think it is, in the way that the audience would want it to be. Who wants to see someone contemplating their existence in the most negative of ways in this sort of scenario? Why commit that to video unless that itself is the focus?
Doing a documentary short about my insanity would probably be in some way healing. To be able to talk about these things that, quoting Eliot, I “too much discuss, too much explain” in my head. Always in my head, this torpor. It’s really hard to live with it. But it’s even harder to get work done when things are like this. How could i even face a camera? My eyes grow more swollen by the minute, my nose is probably in Rudolph territory. And how do you project ‘sexy’ when you hate yourself?
Marilyn Monroe used to spend hours in her dressing room, frustrating her director and fellow actors to no end, because she could not pull herself out of there to do the work until she had enough time to get herself together and possibly take some sort of prescriptive assistance and a bit of champagne. And I think I know the feeling. Not to compare myself to one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. I’m a far fucking cry from even being in that area code, let alone on that street. But our tears are very similar. They are made from the same stuff. A lifetime of being made to feel bad and crazy and worthless, separated from blood family to be raised by people who seemed to resent this duty a lot of the time. I don’t know that she felt everything I feel or that I feel everything she felt. But I see the parallels. I see the panic and frustration and lack of patience with self and feeling of “how can I ever do this?” and some days she just couldn’t, and when she could she may or may not have been under the influence of something to help her out. I don’t have the luxury of getting myself blotto to the point where I don’t feel my emotions, to the point of relieved numbness. I have cats that need insulin shots and their meals are on a schedule.
I see the differences too. She did not have to worry about having enough money to pay her rent. She was beloved by many people. She got out of the fucking house once in a while. She took acting classes. These things don’t cure but they fucking help so much. If I didn’t have to worry about money, just for a short time, perhaps I could see a therapist and get some help. Perhaps I could work on a creative project that would actually be therapeutic and perhaps somewhat healing. I could do the work on working through part of the enormous pile of traumatic experiences that haunt me every fucking day. Because so much of each day is spent in that metaphorical dressing room, trying to process things to the point where I can move again, trying to give myself pep talks that land flat, trying to duck the feeling of impending doom that makes up a lot of my emotional landscape during these times.
These are the days when every act of cruelty is front and center, every dark word that condemned flashes in neon in my mind’s eye, and the echoes of emotion ricochet off the walls of my skull like some perverse, never-ending game of mental Pong. I remember the people who told me I should kill myself – there was more than one and these were so-called “friends” against whom I never committed a sin greater than briefly expressing my distress, I had done them no worse than not-quite-forcing them to view a Facebook status message that said I wasn’t doing well. “Oh, what is it NOW?” one of them replied. Because clearly, if other people are in extremis, this is worth a look, but if I am in extremis, then I must be “doing it” – as if anyone would choose this – for attention or maybe just to bother THEM, judging from their reactions. After the third person told me, just kill yourself, I stopped using Facebook. Because if I want someone close to me to tell me I should just kill myself, all I have to do is call to memory when my dad was in a lot of pain and angry at the girl I used to call my niece, and he took out his anger on me instead, and that is what he, too, said to me. “Why don’t you just go kill yourself!”
In my darkest moments I wonder if they are right. If I am just a waste. I feel like one. And like I am a really bad and unlovable person. Maybe I am even being punished. These are defeating thoughts, I know, the meta-part of my brain knows this. But I can’t push the feeling in the center of my chest and in my being away. And at a certain point how I actually feel doesn’t matter, because the big concern is that I HAVE TO FUCKING SHOOT CLIPS. And I have screwed that up royally for today with my lack of emotional regulation. Because my emotional regulatory powers are about as strong as walls made from spit and Kleenex (or the walls of this ramshackle termite-ridden apartment). Some days the floodgates collapse and I am stuck in all things bad.
I don’t want to die without having done something to help other people, without having some way made a mark in this world which leaves it a little better than I found it. (I’m talking about when I die naturally, lest anyone think this is a suicide note. It is not. I am stuck in the Hell in my head but I am not ready to give up.)
I can’t give up on the clip-making, either, because I have no other way to survive (ironic, ain’t it? Killing myself to live). If I had an option to do this or else do something that I am actually good at, what I would choose is pretty obvious.
The problem – the big one besides Existence Itself – is the continuing. I don’t know how to do it. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to crack this. I have officially fucked up shooting today by crying my eyes mega-swollen and making my lash extensions that were a birthday gift all twisted and shedding in ways that make my eyes look strange and altogether unshootable. So I will try again tomorrow, when the swelling has gone down, and hope I can make the lashes work, otherwise it will be after Thursday, when my friend is going to fix them for me. And it is almost the end of the month and I’m not even a quarter of where I need to be in clip sales (I’m at $170 for the month and I need to be at least four times that to barely squeak by on my bills, not including all the vet stuff for the kitties, and Milhouse needs another blood test). I should be five or six shoots deep by this point. And I should be at least two thirds up to the minimum I need to earn. (I never surpass that minimum either. So add to all this extremis the feeling that I am not good enough to do my job, that no one is interested in what I create, that I am kidding myself doing this and that all the other girls that do are far better off than I am. Which is true if you look at their clips – they all have bedrooms, and beds, and rooms of their own. I live in the living room on a futon. Not exactly a come hither environment.)
The rest of this day I will kick myself for putting the finances yet another day behind and endangering my home on the futon. I will try to distract myself with mindfulness and study. I will try not to drown in the choppy sea of my emotions. I will try to keep myself together. And when my roommate comes home, I will act cheerful and agreeable and like absolutely nothing is wrong because that is how I do. My mom always told me, no one wants to hear it. And she was right.
I feel like I’m in the movie Open Water, and it’s only a matter of time before my legs give out from treading water and I sink under the murky blue and disappear forever. And that is not the kind of feeling you can keep in with any kind of success or positive result. It is the kind of feeling that eats at you and colors your internal narrative every moment of the day.
But I will tell you this: Just writing all of this helps. My problems are the very same as when I started writing this. Make no mistake, I am still simply FUCKED. I still feel like shit. But it really helps relieve the internal pressure to get them out.
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I encourage anyone who is feeling stuck or like they are struggling to try to do the same. Write. Or if it’s easier, talk. If you have no one to talk to, call a crisis line. If you want, you can even chat with someone online. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org – and if you need a treatment referral, contact the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (726-4727) . And if you feel like you just can’t take anymore, please call 911.
Even with all my problems and bad programming, I swear, I promise, there IS good in this world, good in this life, beautiful moments both past and future, THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE WORLD. These are strange times. But in no way shape or form is everything lost.
There can still be hope.