Is A Real Boy
Aside: This blog post was almost called Where’d You Go?, so either way, the title was going to be a nostalgic song reference. OOPS.
It feels weird talking about decisions that I’ve made regarding this website. Mostly because I look at this as sort of a passion project and not a job; I don’t look at views and write about what I want to write about. I don’t even know that my absence was noticed, but it’s still something that I want to address with y’all. Here goes.
I’ve had a cyclic relationship with depression for as long as I can remember. It comes and goes in waves; I either feel “normal” or like I’m free-falling through the atmosphere with my whole body on fire and I’m being forced to watch it from an outside view. Sometimes, I swear that I can feel it start in my chest and slowly work it’s way into the back of my throat. Try as I might, I know that I can’t pull myself out of these lows, so I just try to ride them out. That wasn’t happening this time around. I sat in this funk for weeks and eventually got to the point where I was in this cool pattern of feeling low, getting angry that I was feeling low, and then feeling even worse about the fact that I feel bad about feeling bad. I constantly told myself that there are people with real issues that have it so much worse than I do and that I need to put that into perspective, which was the exact opposite of what I needed to hear in that moment. I felt trapped in my own head.
So, I threw myself into life outside of the internet in hopes that doing something with tangible results would help turn my head-space around. I started trying to hang out with friends more, I started going to the gym after work every day, and I closed my laptop and let it sit unopened for months save the occasional circumstance in which I needed to print something. These additions to my life, while welcomed, weren’t some godsend or instantaneous miracle fix. Until recently, going to the gym felt like a game of “how much anxiety can Joel take before he starts to cry in public.” I couldn’t help but feel like every eye in that building was on me, that every look in my direction was to indicate that I was doing something wrong or to say something judgmental, that every smile or laugh was because I was the punchline to some cruel joke. Five days a week. Every week. I endured that feeling in hopes that eventually the physical results that I was seeing were going to flip an imaginary switch in my head and I was going to be cured. Also wrong, lol.
Save for the new Oso Oso and Boy Rex albums, I didn’t listen to new music in the months that I was gone either. I took an extensive dive into the Say Anything catalog and felt like I was at home. I wasn’t speaking to anybody about the war zone that my fucking brain felt like, but I felt a little relief finding somebody to commiserate with in Max. Say Anything offered me a temporary escape that somehow also managed to acknowledge every sick and twisted thought that ran through my head and reinforced the idea that I’m not the only one that feels this way or hits these lows. I’m thankful for that band in ways that I don’t totally feel comfortable expressing, but the feelings of reprieve that they offered me are something that I hope everybody eventually finds in music. Unfortunately, this was no miracle fix either.
Late May saw me blackout drunk in my grandmother’s living room and the only clear memories that I have from that night include waking up in my bed sweating, crying, and throwing up. In that moment of rock bottom, unbeknownst to myself, I became a goddamn Molotov cocktail of emotion. Everything that I’d been sitting on found it’s way to the surface (feelings from my parents divorce that I never got to address all the way to my coming out to my family), and while I wish that it could have happened in a manner that I had some control over, I’m glad that these dark parts of my psyche found their way to the light. The following morning was met with phone calls from my mother, my aunt, my cousins all telling me how much they loved me and that they wish I would have said something to them sooner. This flood of support wasn’t necessarily a miracle fix either, but it was like a hundred hands helping to lift the weight of the world from my shoulders. Moral of this last story is to please talk to somebody.
Life’s not perfect and it never will be. It is okay to not feel okay. Please, do not let your demons eat you up until they start to manifest. Please, do not be afraid to talk to somebody. Punk Talks has a handful of resources available to everybody, and I’m going to strongly encourage that you make yourself familiar with that.
I’m just so happy that I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. If you’re reading this, I just wanna say thanks for sticking around!
I’ll try not to disappoint y’all!