I’m not okay

I think I may need to start carrying/using a poetry journal again, soon. I’m pretty broken, right now.

I’m thinking I may also need to go back and review some of my old journals, as well. I feel like I’ve already faced some (all?) of the questions, problems, mysteries of life I’m currently plagued with, some of them again and again. Some of them, I recall the answers and conclusions I came to before, others I don’t recall ever discovering an answer to, except to just go on living as though those questions needed no answers. Some of them I believe I wrote the process of going through the problems down. I wonder whether, if I dug out those old journals and read them now, would I be dooming myself to repeat the mental states I adopted then, which led me here? Or will reading them enlighten me about ways I may have changed since then? Or frustrate me that, over and over, year after year, I continue to fail in the same ways, fall into the same darkness, feel the same emptiness.

You hear a lot about teenagers getting depressed to the point of facing suicidal feelings. Not so much people in their 30’s. I’d be willing to bet I’m not the only one, but that our society simply pretends (and the other depressives in their 30’s and beyond pretend) that we’re all okay. I’m not okay.

Sometimes I feel like all I have to say about the books I’m reading is a laundry list of the things I don’t like about it, that I don’t think I could ever let myself emulate, and/or that make me feel like perhaps I don’t like books at all. The last of which is a pretty terrible conclusion for an author to come to. To a certain extent, this is just my self-doubt talking. What I feel and what the data bears out do not always agree; a quick glance at ‘my books’ on Goodreads shows that, of the books I’ve read so far this year, I’ve given over half of them 4 out of 5 stars. Of course, those ratings are all subjective and, for the most part, I’ve tried not to let the things I don’t like but which I know are part of that terrible writers-religion drag my ratings down. ie: a formulaic, peril-filled book with ridiculous stakes, and no adverbs might still get four stars if I liked the characters/story/ideas despite the handicap of being written in the modern ‘popular’ style. So what does that mean? I don’t know.

Maybe it means I shouldn’t let random people construct my reading list for me. Maybe It means I need to learn to quit books more easily, and not read the ones I don’t like. (Except that, perhaps I need to read those books to fully understand what I don’t like, so better to understand what it is I do like to read and what I ought to be sure to try to avoid writing, myself?) Maybe it means the last decade of my life, spent writing books, has been a mistake or a waste of time or a misguided result of following through on the wrong answer to one of life’s deeper mysteries, come to long ago and never yet re-examined.

Maybe it means I’m in some sort of middle ground where my taste is sophisticated enough not to like the pulp/pop/genre fiction, but not sophisticated enough to appreciate real literature. Maybe I need to keep at it, push through, and I’ll find a new appreciation for really good books…

…or maybe, as I’ve been finding, the more I read the less I’ll feel like I ever liked books at all.

Then there’s the part of the explorations of recent days and weeks which leads me to conclusions like “visual forms of expression are almost entirely lost on me,” which is a terrible conclusion to come to, for an artist. The idea that, as a general rule, I’m unable to (or uninterested in, or consider it unimportant to) follow story when it’s presented in strictly visual terms is a frightening idea, when I realize it that way. I’ve spent the last year and a half not working directly on my art, but thinking about it and where I wanted to go with it. Some of the questions which have come up in that time are answered quite definitively by the idea that my mind doesn’t process visual communication “correctly”.

It isn’t even difficult to find evidence that this has been the case the entire time. As a general rule, my artwork isn’t about anything, doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t tell a story or even pretend to, most of the time. After I’d made that observation about my comics-reading yesterday, it also occurred to me that my perception that the purpose of the images in a comic are mostly to communicate who is present, speaking, and/or acting bears out to the comics I created during the years I was making online comics; the images were basically just cut and paste, it was the words I used to tell the story… even to the point that my last comic’s art & character design was built around the idea that the art and character design in my comics was meaningless and irrelevant to telling my stories. I suppose I didn’t do it particularly consciously or deliberately, but looking back now, after (finally) taking some time to think about my art and writing (at all), it seems obvious.

Of course, there’s the reality that meaning is generally lost on me.

My art, my books, mostly they don’t mean anything, but it’s because nothing means anything to me. Mostly. And apparently a lot of the meaning other people carefully put into things is totally lost on me, too, because of my uncertainty/inability re: implied meanings. Which might be why life/everything seems to be so meaningless to me? Sigh.

Alright, I think I had a few more ideas about what to explore here when I began, but I’ve been watching comedies and other generally mood-improving things on TV for the last 4-5hrs while I’ve been writing and … I’m not in the right state of mind to want to explore these concepts right now, anymore? Oh well. Give it a few hours, I suppose. I’ll try not to post too much, too often, but I’m feeling pretty … broken and wordy, right now.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

One thought on “I’m not okay”

  1. I have also been depressed. As has my mother, father and brother. The last talks a lot like you. He is 19. I find similarity interesting. Personally I never could talk about it. I could never find the right words. Whenever I went to a consoler my problems would seem simple for 50 minutes and then gone for the day but pile on again the next night.  My mother swears by them though. She seems to draw strength from her sessions. My father doesn’t care for it. He prefers pharmacological solutions. In fact if he hadn’t told me he of his disposition I would never have guessed. He has always seemed a rock and always had a good joke in his pocket. My brother doesn’t like either solution. He seems to embrace the ennui. He says, “it is the truth.”
    My point is that we all deal with it in our own ways. I wish I knew something to say that would bring you and everyone I know happiness, but I don’t. I can tell you that I don’t feel bad now which is proof that these things pass. Maybe as a writer you can find it easier to put outside what you feel inside and to do so is doubtlessly good. But there is more to it (for me) the next has always to move off into something new. The sooner I do that the sooner I (maybe not feel better) but don’t feel badly. The unexplored, even when uncomfortable or disconcerting or distasteful, has always been sometimes exciting but always helped me to forget how to think. For me a blank slate is better then a jumble of negative emotions. 
    I hope this comment helps you find your solution or at the very least lets you feel less alone. Feel free to write, I’m always reading.

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