Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Long Break, Again

     I know it has been a long time since I have posted, I am a miserable blogger, but this time I have avoided doing so on purpose. Not initially, but hear me out.
     Only a few hours after making my last post, one year ago, I got the phone call that my 91-year old grandfather had passed away. He had been sick for some months, it was a miracle he held on as long as he did, so the call was not unexpected, but when it did come, it was with such a feeling of finality, I was literally stunned.
     I made the arrangements and flew out for the funeral, I was going to post the eulogy I wrote for him, the patriarch every family could only wish for, but it felt just too personal. Not only that, but the behavior of the individuals I have to claim to be related to, by blood, was just too shameful to be believed. I was angry and depressed. My grandfather was the best father figure I had in my life, and he would have been rolling in his grave, if they had given him the decency to be buried yet, before they started picking at the remains. I won't get into a lot of detail, but suffice it to say, I will not be talking to any of them in the future, possibly EVER.
     At any rate, the experience got me to thinking about the legacy I would be leaving my own children, the lessons I want to impart to them, especially the understanding of family and what it means to really stick up for and care for one another. My writing kept my head tied up with unrealities, so I decided to take a break. My job meant I worked a lot of late nights, and the compensation was not worth the loss of time with them, so I quit and found a new job, it meant less money, but it was five minutes away, and I got a lot more time at home. I figured I would give it a year, and then look back and reflect on if it was worth it.
     So, has it been worth it? The answer is a resounding no. Again, not for the reasons you might think. I absolutely love having time with my kids, but we do have bills to pay, and for the most part, we are a one-income (mine) household. It adds stress that can only be relieved by the necessary sacrifice of AGAIN looking for a new job. So that is on the table.
     I do not do well with stress. I have to admit to a struggle with depression all of my life, and unnecessary stress only makes it worse. I could do a whole post on depression, and I probably will, at some point, since many of my characters are faced with it. Not writing only compounded the problems I heaped on myself. Writing is my creative outlet, my channel for all the pent-up emotions I can't just bleed onto people around me, no matter how much I wish I could make them understand where I am coming from. Writing allows me to vent so I can see clearly how to approach my real life issues.
     Depression is a vicious circle. It can be triggered by outside sources, but for the most part, it is a cycle of self-inflicted torture that even the best specialists at Guantanamo could not devise better. It is usually sparked by anger, which becomes blame and resentment before turning on you and becoming self-loathing. (I don't even know if loathing is a strong enough word, but it is a feeling that just seeps out of you, the depth of hatred you carry towards yourself is so powerful.) Ironically, this self-loathing and pity turns into determination, to make things better, and things usually do turn around for awhile. So then there is hope, and joy, contentment at last! But the little things start to get you. You feel unappreciated for your efforts, so you get frustrated, and though you cling to the veneer that everything is okay, because you know where these feelings will take you if you let them get their hooks into you, and you cannot let that happen again.... suddenly, there it is. Frustration, which so quickly becomes anger, and you just can't hold it back anymore, all these emotions roiling around inside you, the feeling that no one understands, you don't know how to explain, and you are lost. Because look where you are again. Anger, and they cycle begins again.
     Well, at least, that's how I experience depression. I think I feel things too deeply sometimes, take things too much to heart, too personally, and I cannot maintain objectivity, which is annoying to me, because when things are going well, I think I do a damn fine job of keeping a level head and approaching life logically. To make a Star Trek analogy here, it would be like a Vulcan and a Betazed having a child. Vulcans are logical, observers of life, but maintain a careful hold on their emotions, to the point of it becoming a handicap because not everyone in the universe can have that sort of self-control, which leads to misunderstandings. Betazoids are empathic, keen to pick up on the emotions of others, which can facilitate understanding, but leaves a person vulnerable as well, especially since we all know the experience of having other people's emotions affect our own. My life feels like a constant struggle to keep my emotions in check, while remaining open to the people I love. It is almost as though I take the pain of the people I love and make it my own, like it will make them feel better if I am the one that suffers instead. Which is illogical by itself, but it is what it is, and I try to cope as best I can. No amount of counseling could help me with this struggle, it is the way I am made, I must accept it and keep on moving.
     So I must write, and will endeavor to do so regularly once again, because it is the best way I have to pick apart the things going on within me, and examine the facets of what makes my brain work but putting pieces of myself into my characters, while coming up with ways to keep them from seeming one-dimensional. You can't put all your eggs in one basket, after all!
     Thank you for hanging in there, if anyone even reads this, I am at the determined stage in my little life cycle, so lets hope something productive comes out of it!