500 Years of Reformation

It’s been 500 years since Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg (you can read them online here). The world endured centuries of violence and persecution, but for the past several years it seems as though there have been more calls for unity and reconciliation. (My prediction: both of those are unlikely. Highly unlikely.)

I read about the reformation in grad school, and as someone who was raised in a mixed-religious household I was intensely aware of the ramifications of the theological split. Holidays are REALLY awkward when one parent is Protestant and the other is not (you kids wanna hear about the origins of the Coptic Church, aka the original and best church?). Most of us these days really can’t relate and it all sounds like so much squabbling over details that don’t matter as much as the core gospels. And in an era of Mega-churches and Feel-Good-Nondenominationalism, who even remembers why the churches were arguing anyway? For me, as a kid, it came down to churches that had snacks during the service, and churches that didn’t. As I got older, Luther’s arguments became more important to me on a personal level – why should I only pray to God for wealth? Why should I look for grace in the mundane world? Why should I put my faith in imperfect people who claim that they alone can grant me entrance to heaven?

But does this really mean anything for us now? WaPo has an intriguing article – more of a brief set of interviews, really – on the reformation and what it means for us today. Most of the responses have a similar undercurrent – return to a love of neighbor, to forgiveness, to opening up our hearts rather than closing off. The statement by Cardinal Blase Cupich seemed particularly salient: “Authentic Christianity never closes in on itself. It always leaves its comfort zone to listen to others, especially those shunted to the margins of society.” And yet all we have to do is look at the latest headlines (or Twitter, or the comment section of literally any news article on the internet) to see that people would rather burrow in to their comfort zones in a kind of self-marginalization and closing off from new and different ideas that would pose challenges to ingrained beliefs. People don’t want to be challenged – it’s natural to resist challenges to the status quo and to resist change, because what’s known is comfortable, reassuring, and consistent. But change is inevitable, with or without wholesale reformation.

500 years later, we haven’t come up with any sort of unity, the Catholic Church hasn’t fallen to give way to a glorious age of Protestant theology, the Orthodox Churches still haven’t united with the other Churches, and Christianity as a whole seems even more divided than ever. But we do still feel the very real impact of the Reformation in the form of having access to our own Bibles, taking charge of our own spirituality, and, for better or worse, being able to choose where and how we worship (even if we choose to worship in the same arena that used to host Iron Maiden and basketball games).

Luther’s arguments against the Medieval Catholic Church were probably (definitely) valid – buying your way into Heaven with papal favors defeats the purpose of having God send His Divine Son down from Heaven to act as a final sacrifice for our sins. Certainly murdering heretics wasn’t the ideal response from either camp, but religious sects are still murdering each other, and they will likely continue to do so for as long as religion continues to exist. Likewise, political sects argue about the same kind of trivial details, arguing which details matter more or less and whether one detail is significant or not, and who gets to be in or out of the sect based on their belief pattern. Political thought, then, seems more like religious thought when you look at it. Perhaps we should start demanding more by nailing political theses to the doors of Congress or the State Legislature. Seems like we could use some political reformation these days.

Saturday Thoughts – Resiliency

We live in a society that places too much value on self-reliance, resilience, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. That’s completely unrealistic and ignores the fact that humans are a social animal, that reliance on others is part of what creates and reinforces society. Humans live in groups and divide labor to achieve efficiencies – hunters,  bakers, fishers, cooks, blacksmiths, woodsmen, etc.

There’s too much insistence on playing it cool and brushing off our own frustration and anxiety. We’re humans living in a stressful world, and when you add trying to recover from storm damage on top of the usual stresses of life, it can make things overwhelming. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. Let yourself rely on other people.

Writing While Anxious

I’ve reached a point in my anxiety where I’m afraid of my art and my writing and I talk myself out of it. I don’t want to write because I’m afraid, not just of how other people will receive my writing, but how I’ll receive it myself. I’m afraid that what I create will be ugly, that it will be the same regurgitated crap I see all around me, that I won’t be able to adequately put down on paper (or on screen) what’s in my head.

I was in the habit for a while of writing every morning, essentially using the Morning Pages method of writing at least three pages every morning. It was an easy habit to make, and an easy habit to break when I was tired, or achy, or running late, or busy. Three pages of anything, every morning. I’ve managed to claim some lines of poetry from them, even some full poems, and a few lists of solid short-story ideas. But I’ve also dragged out memories and feelings from the darkest parts of my mind, and made myself uncomfortable, more anxious, less secure.

As a result, writing has started bringing me more anxiety, which causes writer’s block as soon as I set pen to paper, or sit in front of a blank screen. I can have words and ideas swirling in my mind all day and determine that I want to write them all down. And as soon as I sit in front of a screen with a blinking cursor and type a few words, I feel a familiar tingle across my face signaling the beginnings of an anxiety attack. A blank page will send me staring into the distance, my mind racing.

I want to sit down and set intentions, to let my mind wander in words, to put my ideas down on paper. I still get a feeling of excitement when I think about the idea of writing, when I imagine what writing was like when I was an undergrad and a grad student. But actually writing makes me feel like I shouldn’t – not just that I’m an impostor, that I gave up my creative side when I sold my soul to become a CPA, but that I’m stealing creativity from people who are legitimate writers. That I’m tapping into something that’s no longer mine.

Before you tell me that’s ridiculous and no one thinks that, I’m going to tell you that I’ve had people tell me to my face that I turned my back on creativity, on art and literature, the second I signed up for my first courses in my MSA program. That I had sold my soul, I was joining the legion of faceless, soulless office drones, and I would never be the same afterwards (also that I should be ashamed of myself, because. Further, that I had no business thereafter calling myself a writer, much less actually writing. I think about those conversations often, every time I think I want to write something. And I think that maybe I was an impostor all along and perhaps I was just really, really good at mimicking what “real” writers do. Or maybe the people who told me those things were insecure bastards who had no business policing the arts for people they felt were inferior.

Regardless, my writing is suffering, and I suppose a part of me is suffering as well (a different part of me, that is, other than the parts that are already suffering from chronic illness, anxiety, depression, and other various malaise). The pen is fire, and as badly as I want to be burned, I can’t even enjoy its warmth.

I have no obligation to tolerate Nazis


I’ve posted this and other things like this on Facebook before, but it bears repeating. I’m going to mention this again (and again, and again, and again – as many times as necessary), as an avid WWII history buff, and as someone whose grandparents were heavily involved in the war effort at home. If you wave a fucking Nazi flag, throw a salute to Heil anyone, or try to claim anything about a superior race, we’re going to have words – strong words. I don’t have time for bullshit, and I certainly don’t have time to argue about why your widdle feelings got hurt and that’s why you started calling yourself a Nazi.

GET OUT. Stop trying to relive the Civil War or WWII, and pretend that the Nazis were just misunderstood, and that we can all wave second-place flags and pretend that words don’t have meaning, and we should all hug and sing Kumbayah like Daily Stormer doesn’t advocate violence and Richard Spencer’s “peaceful genocide” isn’t actually so bad. I don’t have to tolerate that shit and I won’t tolerate it. As soon as you advocate those things, tolerance is done – you have violated basic human decency, not to mention the social contract that we all abide by in not killing each other and burning each other’s homes down. I don’t have to tolerate that shit, just like you wouldn’t tolerate it if I walked over to your house and kicked your dog.

I’m reaching the end of my tolerance for bullshit, and while people are welcome to argue the finer points of National Socialism, they’re not welcome to come tell me why I need to tolerate some assholes with their Wal-Mart tiki torches crying that white people don’t get enough attention and that their tiny little snowflake egos need more stroking.

As Yonatan Junger states in his article on Tolerance, tolerance is a peace treaty but not a suicide pact.

Tolerance is not a moral absolute; it is a peace treaty. Tolerance is a social norm because it allows different people to live side-by-side without being at each other’s throats. It means that we accept that people may be different from us, in their customs, in their behavior, in their dress, in their sex lives, and that if this doesn’t directly affect our lives, it is none of our business. But the model of a peace treaty differs from the model of a moral precept in one simple way: the protection of a peace treaty only extends to those willing to abide by its terms. It is an agreement to live in peace, not an agreement to be peaceful no matter the conduct of others. A peace treaty is not a suicide pact.”

If one side decides not to live up to their end of the bargain, the other parties are not obligated to stand aside regardless of consequence and let those people trample on the treaty, and everyone else. When Nazis show up with torches and local militias bring guns to protests, they’re loudly proclaiming that they couldn’t care less about whatever social contract we think we’ve signed with everyone else. They only care about their feelings and their rights and their place in society, and they’re willing to trample (or shoot) anyone who believes differently. There’s no need to tolerate that, and it’s stupid to think anyone should. White Supremacists aren’t tolerating my right, as a mixed-ethnic woman, to live near them and work a high-paying job. In their eyes, my immigrant father stole his job from a more deserving white person, so everything I do and own was stolen from them. (See any number of articles about how immigrants steal jobs from white Americans. I’m sure the Daily Stormer is full of them, as is 4chan, reddit, and even twitter.)

I am under no obligation to tolerate such bullshit, and I won’t. I’ve listened to these people and frankly, all I hear is the sound of my grandparents spinning in their graves because we literally fought a war over this 70 years ago and they (and I) thought it was settled, that this was just isolated fringe making noise. Well, apparently it isn’t, but I have no inclination whatsoever to sit back and play, “But both sides…” or, “We should really take the high road.” Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policies were wrong then, and they’re still wrong now.

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Photo Credits:

1. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/08/tom_perriello_on_the_charlottesville_protests.html

2. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/white-nationalist-rally-virginia-triggers-state-emergency-article-1.3405906

3. http://abcnews.go.com/US/violent-clashes-car-ramming-charlottesville/story?id=49187074

4. http://www.newyorker.com/news/as-told-to/a-witness-to-terrorism-in-charlottesville

5. http://mashable.com/2017/08/12/racist-march-charlottesville-scenes/#c57yUhCkxkqK

6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Two Things

  1. Given my last post, I’m thankful that no matter how bad of a day I’m having I’m not Anthony Scaramucci right now.
  2. Apparently, Jonah Goldberg (and The National Review as a whole) is a voice of reason now.

Yes, we are still living in a world where Trump is president. No, this is not an elaborate acid trip or fever dream. This is apparently reality, where Trump is leading our country, and his communications director is 1980’s Bone-itis Guy from Futurama.

What a time to be alive!

What the hell even is this?

I haven’t written here in a while. A long while – five months to be exact – because blah blah busy season something something dark side politics whatever. The main reason I haven’t been writing here is that I’ve been vacillating between struggling in a dark place and barely mustering the ability to give fucks about anything, and . I have a good job, a loving family, a stable home life, and the thing about high-functioning anxiety and (recently diagnosed) Bipolar II-Depression is that none of that shit matters. When your brain chemistry is fucked up, things like logic and reason protect you about as well as those little paper cocktail umbrellas in a rain storm. If you’ve read any of The Bloggess’ posts, or Hyperbole and a Half, then you probably have an idea of what it’s like to wander around life while your brain tries to convince you that you’re a deadbeat and the world is better off without you.

Writing about mental health challenges is difficult. I’m going to just leave it at that. It’s difficult to describe the complex set of bizarre rules and rationalizations that your brain invents to get through everyday life, and it’s difficult because there’s a huge stigma around mental health – still. Where people wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg that they should just be positive and their leg would be fine, that they don’t actually need a cast or crutches, people have no problem sharing shit memes like this one:

I’m hardly the first person to comment on this, but I see a stupid ass meme like this almost every day. Who wants to be told that the treatment they’re getting that finally helped them live life semi-normally is bad and that they’re a bad person for accepting that treatment? Not me, and probably not many people. I won’t even get into the bullshit Happy At All Costs culture (mostly because Barbara Ehrenreich already covered it extensively in her book, Bright-Sided). GTFOH with that crap. But it perpetuates because who wants to be miserable? There’s a kind of peer pressure to be happy all the time, and that gets perpetuated on social media (which is where I see all these stupid ass memes) where everyone is looking for Instagram-perfect bodies and kids and yoga and whatever else.

Even without the stigma and the Happiness Cults all over the place (I’m looking at you, Instagram…), dealing with what’s going on in my head is difficult. I have the kind of anxiety where I am extremely sensitive to social rules and norms. Is my hair the right style? Did I put on mascara today? Am I dressed professionally enough? Will anyone notice that I’m putting on a facade and don’t actually care about this stuff, but okay maybe I care a little bit but I’m also antisocial and I’m just trying to get by…. Even a small slip-up can cause low-level anxiety and panic that lasts for days. The other day I was so focused on getting a report finished at work that I walked into the Men’s room by mistake – I had only just barely opened the door, noticed my mistake, and turned around, but a coworker was washing his hands and laughed. Now it’s all I can think about – OH MY GOD I WALKED INTO THE MEN’S ROOM! I HAVE MADE A GRAVE ERROR! Now I must concentrate heavily on how I can avoid making the same mistake in the future, even though all I can think about is making this mistake over and over and over again and mentally punishing myself for it.

Keep in mind, this is probably the first time I’ve done this in years – probably since I was a kid – and a) it’s not like I wandered in there and actually used the Men’s room blissfully unaware; b) no one’s privacy was violated; c) no one else saw me do it, other than the coworker washing his hands. I’m told that people do this shit all the time and it’s not a huge deal. But having anxiety means never forgetting a mistake, no matter how small it was.

So, unsurprisingly, it’s been difficult to muster the energy to write. When I feel good, I’m trying to catch up on all the mundane crap I’ve been neglecting while my anxiety was too bad to get laundry done or go to the post office. When I feel bad, I’m just trying to get out of bed and get to work so I can make enough money to pay for my psychiatrist who prescribes the drugs that keep me upright and functional. Recently, though, I’ve been forcing myself to do things that I enjoy – we have a local writers’ group, so I’ve started going to that; I went to see Roxanne Gay’s reading at Bayou Place; I saw Welcome to Night Vale when it came to town. It reminds me that I do actually enjoy things, and it helps keep me connected to those things so that when I do feel good I can do those things more often. I tasked myself with a writing project, and I’ve vowed to actually blog more (for real this time; seriously) or at least read more blogs and write some drivel here. Finding a reason to stay connected to this world is harder sometimes than others, but it’s usually worth the trouble.

Trump Goes To Court

I’m pretty sure the reason Trump tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT!” is because he’s so used to being in court. Being sued all the time (or suing people all the time) probably makes it like his second home (you know, after Trump Tower, Mar-A-Lago, and the White House).

But I digress. For those of you who haven’t heard because you were busy refreshing this page in the fervent hope that I’d be blogging again soon (wish granted; you’re welcome), and therefore missed the news that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (or rather their three-person committee) upheld a stay on the travel ban-that-isn’t-a-ban-but-is-definitely-a-ban, Trump got mad at the decision and tweeted his indignation and an assertion that he’d take the court to court. So yeah.

Today, he tweeted out that the 9th Circuit “forgot” to cite or read an important article that he claims supports his ban. (Spoiler alert, it probably doesn’t.)

However, as that liberal rag (not really), The Hill, notes:

“The Ninth Circuit is correct to leave the [temporary restraining order] in place, in my view, for the simple reason that there is no cause to plunge the country into turmoil again while the courts address the merits of these matters over the next few weeks,” the post says.

It adds that the judicial system will eventually have to confront the clash between the president’s powers and “the incompetent malevolence with which this order was promulgated.”

I really wonder how Trump feels right about now. Well, I won’t even bother with a spoiler alert: apparently, he fucking hates it. It turns out that he CAN’T run government the same way he runs his businesses – by throwing down edicts from on high and throwing a tantrum until he gets his way, because he’s Donald Trump, God Dammit, and we’ll do it his way or the highway!

Anonymous source rumors aside, Trump appears to be confused at the concept of oversight. Being in charge of the Trump Organization meant he could be in charge and throw his weight around, making all the decisions, making the deals – but it’s difficult at best to do that with the US Government. We have checks and balances for a reason, and it’s generally considered a good thing that the president has both Congressional and Judicial oversight. We don’t elect kings in this country, a fact that apparently has been slow to dawn on Trump.

I’d like to say that the man will eventually get it, that everything will click, and suddenly we’ll have the presidential pivot that we were all promised during the campaign. I’d also like to say that I have a million dollars in my bank account and no debt, but neither of those things are true, and repeating it won’t make it happen. There is no pivot. Trump is still bitching about imaginary voter fraud and crowd sizes, and he’s obsessed with his appearance in the media. Tweeting that he would take the 9th Circuit to court is another attention-grab, whining from someone who’s used to getting his way and isn’t happy that he can’t do everything on his own timing.

Being in charge of the free world takes patience and determination. You have to be willing to work with people who may be radically opposed to you. You can’t expect to “make deals” if you’re insulting allies and belittling trade deals that took years to undertake. Trump will find himself alone, and America will be worse off. But hey, remember Hillary’s e-mails! We sure dodged a bullet with that one, right?

Burning The Village To Save It

I hated school growing up. It was terrible. I was bullied incessantly by teachers and students alike, and because I was above average but also had an oppositional and independent streak (a really big one) I wasn’t allowed to participate in gifted programs. I had “an attitude problem,” I was “disrespectful,” I didn’t “work well with others.” I spent more time in the corner and in time out in 3rd and 5th grade than anyone else. Well, it certainly felt like it, anyway. Public school was a nightmare for me, and I felt left out because I was ahead of the class but made to wait on my peers, which made me resentful of classmates and teachers, and which made my classmates and teachers dislike me. If I could do it all over again, I’d never set foot in a public school ever.

But public school is a necessity. Public schools function as a way of ensuring that we have an educated populace prepared to take on the challenges of the world, but also ensure the future of our economy at home. Don’t want to go to public school? Go to private school, or a charter school. But the local public school ensures that the kids who don’t have a charter or private school option have a chance at a decent education. It’s part of the social contract we sign with each other when we decide to live together under the branch of a local government. Or something. A number of my friends are teachers and they’re passionate about their jobs – they work incredibly hard for not a lot of money. They understand the importance of education, and they wouldn’t do it otherwise.

So when Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education, we were all appalled. Betsey DeVos has no experience in public school, has never been involved in a public school, has never held any public office, has never done anything but lobby for “school choice.” Of course, party loyalty mattered more than actually promoting what was best for the nation’s public schools and the children who attend them, so all but two Republican Senators rubber-stamped DeVos’ appointment. The two Senators who did reject her did so because they were concerned about her lack of experience and knowledge of the public education system.

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved in one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers, that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools, and also what is broken and how to fix them,” Ms. Murkowski said last week when the two announced their opposition. [Source: NYT]

Okay, so maybe we need to make radical changes to the system. Maybe we need someone new and different to effect real change. However, that usually means the radical change agent is going to have some knowledge of (1) the system they’re trying to change, (2) the problems that need to be resolved, (3) the things that work that should be kept. In reading DeVos’ background, it’s clear that she doesn’t have any knowledge of any of those things. If you aren’t convinced, look up the video of her confirmation hearings. Apparently, the biggest problem that needs to be resolved for teachers is not having enough guns in schools to protect kids from grizzly attacks.

If that doesn’t concern you, Cosmo (yes, that Cosmo…) has an article on 11 things you should know about DeVos, and I can tell you that 3 – 5, and 7, are very concerning to me, with #5 being most concerning. DeVos pushed for charter schools in Michigan, and she got them – at the price of compromising childrens’ education. From the article:

An investigation by the Detroit Free Press in 2014 found that Michigan’s charter schools “rake in taxpayer money and refuse to detail how they spend it,” that charter school employees and board members were “steering lucrative deals to themselves or insiders,” and that more charter schools were ranking below the 25th percentile than public schools. Even a charter advocate, former state schools superintendent Tom Watkins, said, “People are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren’t getting educated.”

Adding school choice only works when those schools perform as good or better than the existing public schools. The whole point of providing alternatives is to give people a better alternative that works for them. Providing an alternative that has no accountability and is actually worse than the existing system is counterproductive at best, actively destructive at worst. The whole thing smacks of the bizarre assertion that you have to burn the village in order to save it, and the people who will suffer the most are the kids who go to these crappy schools and come out unprepared for the real world as future adults, the people who will rely on these future adults to support the economy, and the future generations that have to work to fix an even more broken system.

But that’s all in the future, and politics is hyper-focused on the here and now. How many votes can I get NOW? What are my popularity ratings NOW? What’s my likelihood of re-election NOW? The future is obscure and doesn’t get votes, but pandering to current concerns (real or imagined) does.

Well, good luck, everyone. So far we’re doing a good job of turning our country into Idiocracy. Hopefully it will at least be entertaining….

Image result for idiocracy

 

Edited: (1) to correct spelling of Mrs. DeVos’ name.

Soylent (Not The People Kind)

The Dude (aka my husband) has been getting Soylent for a while, but I didn’t get into it because I don’t like the idea of flavorless chalky drink. (Though admittedly, I do drink a lot of vegetarian and vegan protein shakes, and the same could be said of those….) I decided to see if there was a way to make it into muffins, and of course there is. There’s an entire DIY forum on how to make Soylent into muffins, quickbreads, and all sorts of other things to make it more portable and convenient. (Note: despite the name, the only real soy in Soylent is soy lecithin, but it does have Sucralose, so forewarning if you’re trying to avoid either of those.)

I started with this recipe (found on the Soylent DIY forums), but the muffins were too dense, even after adding eggs and more liquid. I had already modified the recipe to include 2 eggs and 2 cups of cashew/protein-nut milk, but they were still too dense. So today, I did some additional recipe adjustments and finally came up with a recipe I’m happy with.

SOYLENT MUFFINS

Recipe yields +/- 48 mini muffins or cookies.

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 bag dry Soylent
  • 1 cup plain dry oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or more)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (such as raisins or cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (helps the flavor)
  • 2 cups water or non-dairy milk
  • 2 large eggs

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degreess.
  2. Grease a non-stick muffin pan (or three). (Yes, really – grease the pan, and probably flour it too – the Soylent gets pretty sticky in batter form).
  3. Mix all ingredients together. You should end up with a thick batter.

 

  1. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. (Alternatively, the batter is thick enough to make cookies with as well.)
  2. Bake at 325 F for 25 – 30 minutes.
  3. Let cool 5 minutes after removing from oven, then remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

So what do they taste like? Oatmeal muffins, mostly. There’s no real aftertaste like I expected – Soylent tastes pretty weird to me (largely due to the Sucralose), so I was worried that I’d bake a batch of muffins that had a weird taste and wouldn’t like. These are surprisingly good, and using the Soylent makes them more nutritious than an actual muffin. Of course, adding eggs, milk, nuts, and dried fruit will add calories, but if you’re eating only the muffins then it shouldn’t matter too much because the additional calories aren’t significant to the individual muffin.

The batch above is about a week’s worth of muffins for me (I have a tiny appetite and only eat them for breakfast or snacks), but a bag of Soylent is actually about a 1 – 2 day supply, so 5 – 10 would be a single serving depending on your caloric needs. What I care about most is that these muffins are easy on my stomach, which is nice when your meds and chronic illness are conspiring to kill your digestive system. (I’ve been living on brothy soups, smoothies, and these muffins for a few weeks now – everything else makes me sick. BOOOOOOO….)

Vegan Alternative: If you’re looking for a Vegan alternative to the eggs, used mashed bananas or a tapioca starch egg alternative or whatever other favorite egg alternative you have.

Savory Muffin: I have not yet tried a savory version of this, but I plan to do so by replacing the vanilla and spices with rosemary and garlic. If you try it, please let me know!

So there you have it. If you try this recipe, let me know. I’m curious to see how it turns out!

Whatever, or something.

I guess it’s time to admit that I’m not just feeling weird, I’m experiencing a serious depressive episode. No, it’s not about politics. No, it’s not busy season anxiety. It’s more like I was sitting in a little boat looking at the scenery around me as I floated down the river and the scene change was so gradual that I didn’t even notice the landscape getting darker and more twisted. Now I don’t recognize my surroundings and I don’t know how to get back to where I was.

So what does this feel like? It feels an awful lot like nothing. I don’t feel anything. I’m not sad or mad or angry – when I reach down into the pit of my being there is literally nothing between me and the bottom, and the bottom feels much loser than it out to. It’s a frighteningly shallow emptiness. I WANT to care about things, but I don’t. I can’t. I don’t remember what caring about things feels like. It’s just an endless sea of empty feelings muddy puddle of meh.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

¯\(º_o)/¯

¯\_ಠ_ಠ_/¯

┐( ̄ー ̄)┌

Depression is a funny thing. Not ha-ha funny, more like, “Wow, that’s weird and unfortunate, and I wish it would stop.” I’m on medication and I see a therapist, but sometimes the chemicals in my brain overpower my efforts and I just wake up with the worst case of IDGAF, but because I’m an adult, a professional, and a parent, I have to pretend I give a shit, but I’m constantly questioning my ability to pretend so most of my day ends up with an internal conversation like this:

Ugh, I have a meeting today. I don’t want to go, and I certainly don’t want to talk to anyone. But I can’t back out of this because I’m supposed to be leading the meeting. I hope no one figures out that I can barely muster the energy to shower, much less come to work. Oh god, did I remember deodorant? Normal people wear deodorant, right? Crap. No, wait, I think I remember deodorant this morning. Oh, but I forgot to wash my face. Oh well. No one will be watching my face. Wait no, everyone will. Crap. I’ll just walk to the store on my lunchbreak. Wait, is that weird? No, it’s normal to forget stuff. I’m sure it is. I mean it probably is. Does everyone realize I forgot to wash my face? I’m sure they do. Maybe I should wear makeup more often. No, then people would realize something had changed about me and the jig would be up. Shit, do I look like I’m talking to myself? I think people are starting to realize something is up. Oh god, someone is coming over to talk to me. Stay cool, man. Pretend you still know what feelings are like and you’re not currently a soul-less robot wading uncomfortably in a sea of feelings pretending you know how to experience life.

Most people think that you talk to someone, you take some meds, get a good night’s sleep, and then everything is hunky dory. That’s not how brain chemistry works apparently, and it’s frustration. I really want to be able to psych myself out and be well and cure my depression through forced happiness and magical thinking. But that doesn’t work either. It’s a struggle – sometimes you coast along feeling great, and sometimes you hit gravel on the track and you have to figure out a new plan. I mean, I SHOULD figure something out, but I’m having a hard time finding the mental and emotional wherewithal to do that.

So, you know, I reached out and told my friends what I’m going through because I think you’re supposed to do that kind of thing, and then I called my psychiatrist. So I guess, you know, whatever. Or something.