tougher, tender

I've been dying to come back here with something to say. The days are getting shorter, darker, colder, and with everything in my being I wish I could reconstruct my anxiety into a weapon against what I know (and don't know) is up ahead. But instead, here I am - a sad bitch who's thinkin' too much. I was talking to Katie the other day about where I'm at mentally and the best I could do was the absence of color, black and white like static. There's so much churning at once that I can't pick any of it apart. I try to verbalize it and come up with nothing. This blog is one of the only places I can really find the words for the things I need to say, but even that can be a struggle.

My camera's been acting up; I recently got back a load of film that I'm not happy with. It looks about as bleak as I felt when I took it, which is to be expected (thank you, universe). None of my images or words have been turning out the way I want. Our Queer Halloween event had to become virtual last minute due to new safety regulations, and while it was successful and a ton of fun, it was a moment I pictured in my mind going very differently. I got nervous and drank too much. I got hung up on what couldn't be. A few days before that we voted, but it didn't make me feel empowered. So much at stake in our country, so much to sift through, and my say comes in the form of waiting in line to press a couple buttons and leaving with a sticker as a fee-good token? Voting was important, but it didn't feel like enough. The world is scary and uncertain. I've been thinking about taking better care of my mind and my body, maybe hoping I can think myself into doing? I am sadly very aware of how often that doesn't happen. I disguise "thinking" as acknowledgement, which is an important part of the process, but it's not everything. That plan of attack slowly morphs out of my control, and soon I am "thinking" about how I wish I were anyone but me. About all the things I should have done, all that I shouldn't have, all the ways my future could look even though I have no grasp on it at this time. Disappointment and discomfort paralyze me. Eventually I must make the move to push past that thinking, one fell swoop into a blinding light. Dissociating into forward motion is sometimes the only way I can get out of bed, brush my teeth, or clean my clothes – I am often ashamed of how much I struggle with day to day tasks in the depths of depression. But if I think too much about what I want to happen, it may not happen at all. Maybe that is why this year of my life has been this new kind of devastation. There is still an element of control when I am thinking myself into a tizzy. I could stop if I wanted. I could get help if I needed it (let the record show I do, and I haven't). I allow myself a lot of false security. Then I get hit with stretches like the last 10 days that dissolve my fake blanket of security and land me in a haze. I try to be gentle with myself, but I don’t feel like I deserve it. I try to be strong, but it makes me feel even more broken down. A back and forth of thoughts and colors until I can't make anything out.

When I took this photo, I couldn't decide whether or not I agreed. I still don't know. Strength is important, but so is tenderness. Even the strongest of people fall. Even the softest of hearts can survive. I am trying to figure out where I fit into it all. I'd love to know if you, reader, struggle with the same dichotomy. My mind tells me over and over. Never be too soft. Never be too tough. All I can do right now is “be”. It’s little to nothing, but it’s what I have to offer.