There is no such thing as high functioning

There is no such thing as high functioning

Or low functioning

There is only pretending

Or can’t pretend.

There is only “productive” or “not productive”

There is only commodity or consumer.

 

There is no such thing as high functioning

Just tightened chests in an office

Or a classroom

And quiet calls to therapists because your wrists are burning today

There is only “You look great”

Or “get better”

And “I never knew”

Or “Stay Away.”

 

There is no such thing as high functioning

Or low functioning

Just a bunch of coils

Deciding to live today.

Inadequacy

It’s really difficult to find something to say when everything feels so important. How do you write about the internal processes of working through the publishing industry when it feels as though the world around you is falling apart?

The truth is, it is all important. Literature and writing, in all of its forms, is still a primary means through which we share our humanity with each other– and  I think we all need a little more humanity right now. So, in light of that, I want to share a major drawback that I face working through this process of pursuing my own writing.

I have only recently started to hit the ground running with publishing. I wrote a novella (fiction) and poetry chapbook this summer and have been working on getting individual pieces into the ether of online and print lit pubs. I have, thankfully, been pretty successful immediately– a feat, which, I must admit, feels a little like someone has shot me with the luck arrow. But there are still these core issues that I struggle with each time I send a child in to be judged by a magazine:

The feeling of inadequacy: No matter what. No matter how long I have worked on a poem or short story, no matter how many acceptances, I still feel as though I am a fraud. That this was all an accident. From perusing the internet, I understand that this is a normal phenom for writers. I hate it, would like to uninstall it, but *shrugs shoulders* oh, well. I am not sharing this because I have any particular solution. This isn’t an inspiration blog. More just to tell you that you are not alone and that the voice in your head that is telling you that you are not good enough is not real.

We are all just floating around in space, trying to find meaning. It’s easy to get weighed down thinking that you should be doing XYZ right now. You know, by that or by the massive typewriter that you’ve been carrying around to make yourself feel legit. You are legit. You did the thing. You are doing the thing! Keep going!

To Love the Depressed

You are wanted. You are loved. You are worthy. Look at your friends and family and say that to them regularly. You are wanted. You are loved. You are worthy. Send your loved ones a text in the middle of the night. Give them a call and ask them to lunch. When they cross your mind, consider it a sign, and let them know that you are there, with them.

When a celebrity dies of suicide, there seems to be a traditional barrage of think pieces on the nature of suicide, the hotline numbers sufferers of depression might call, desperate pleas that loved ones might seek help if they need it. But seek help from who? From the stranger at the end of the 1-800-WE-CALL-THE-POLICE hotline number? From the psychiatrist that they cannot afford? At the appointment that they don’t have the energy to make?

What if, instead, it was you? What if, like someone adjacent to a person suffering from terminal disease, you brought them a basket of the things they needed, held them while they cried, or memorized a Jerry Seinfeld comedy routine and barged into their apartment with it like Kramer?

Emotional labor is hard. It is especially hard to perform for someone who does not have the capacity to reciprocate. But sometimes, instead of reciprocation, we need to assume that we are paying it forward— that when that person’s illness is in remission, they will be a soldier for you, that the radical vulnerability that you practice is mutually beneficial. Depression can be wild, all encompassing, and crushing. It can make a person feel sub-human. It can make them feel unworthy of your help, of your labor.

To that end, I suggest the “My 3” app, instead. It helps you set emergency numbers of people who are safe for you to call in crisis. People who will support and listen to you. People who will send you messages telling you that you are loved, you are wanted, and you are worthy. It can be found and downloaded here: http://my3app.org/. To those living with folks suffering from suicidal ideation, please try to just be a member of the community. Be a quiet, meditative listener. Witness your friends, do not surveil them. Validate their pain, acknowledge it as real and surmountable. Offer to help them get through it. Do it together. You are wanted. You are loved. You are worthy.

Tattoos

I chose to cover the tattoo I got for him with a poppy. A big, red, opium-producing poppy. Wikipedia told me that poppies were symbols of remembrance. I knew I could never forget. I saved up the $400 from my pay checks at the makeup store while I researched the best artist. When I made an appointment and came in for the consultation, he told me the cover-up would be difficult. The tattoo was all black and extremely well-done to boot. So, he would have to put it under a leaf. “No one else will be able to see it, but you will always know it was there,” he told me.

The artist was a big white man with full sleeves and gauged ear lobes. We smoked the same cigarettes and listened to the same, old-ish rock and roll. He printed photographs of poppies off of the internet and then free-handed an outline in highlighter onto my back. I gave him the go-ahead and he started to outline it in black. It would two more hours-long sessions to fill it in. It would take months for it to properly heal. But I would never forget— that underneath of that euphoria-producing poppy, underneath it’s thorns and bright green leaves, was his mark, his rings, his promises. When I look in the mirror, I can see them— dark and obscured, a turn of the light, but they are there nonetheless.

When the micro is macro

I find myself sitting down to write, much like I am now, and getting lost in the minutia of what I am trying to say. When there are so many tiny, beautiful things that I would prefer to write about, how do I put together a story?

In that way, I understand why I find poetry to be the vastly easier medium. It captures a moment so clearly and in a way that I could never do in prose. Although, I suppose my written voice may be getting a tad better.

Blue

I’ll dye my hair blue

and open it

like a curtain

Dive in

Dive in

The sirens are calling

and they want everything to do with you.

But you like

Blue, Blue

And pools instead of oceans

pools with smooth concrete and plastic floats.

Blue,

Blue a hue that speaks volumes to you.

You love

My bare blue breasts

smooth Like concrete

And metal too.

*LunaSpeaks*

Why are we here?

Although I suppose that I did not do this consciously, I don’t think that it is a coincidence that I am beginning this creative adventure on the same evening that the full moon coalesces with a lunar eclipse and the appearance of  a pale green comet in the late hours of Friday, February 10.

We are the product of our direct environment both physically and spiritually. I have long wanted to take the time to sit and weed through why I do what I do, why we do what we do and just what on earth we are doing here on our giant blue-green space ship.

So, fellow witches and wizards, time travelers, skeptics, politicians, blue collar, and white collar people, thank you for tuning in. I am going to be posting some of my own poetry, some serial fiction, and my own personal ramblings about life in general. I am currently working on Capitol Hill, so sometimes things will get political. I can’t apologize for that, unfortunately.

But for the most part, I will be using art to do what art does, examines the truth of our existence. Why do we love like we do? Why do we hate like we do? What is it about the banality of life that drives us to the little rushes. What is dark? What is light? Where does the spirit divorce itself from the body and do we even have a spirit at all?

I know about as much about the answers to those questions as you probably do. All I can promise is that, when I can, I will be thorough.

Feel free to use the “contact” section to send me readings and musings you find important. I am so excited for this project to begin.

* LunaSpeaks *

Why the moon?

I feel, as I also believe we should all, inextricably connected to the moon. Personally, I have always used the moon as a point of contact- the visible signal that there is something greater than me, be it the processes of the earth, the spirit, or the far reaches of space.

The moon reminds us each night that we are always in a phase of change, that transition is normal and ever present. For me, personally, I see the moon as a touchstone to remind me that even though I might feel like half of a person, out of touch with myself, underneath it all, I am always full.

So, do with that what you will. I am sure that the influence of the moon will be present throughout this whole endeavor. I urge you to connect with me and look for those little motifs in my writing.

**LunaSpeaks**