Just a heads up: This one is a bit dour, but hopefully it takes you on a journey.
So, I'm not making things. Not anything I'm excited about. More leaf jewelry that everybody likes but nobody is buying. That kind of thing. I've written a bunch of things though, like a lot of things, mostly gnashing-of-teeth type of stuff. I could get specific, but then this would feel more like a diary entry than an essay about something. The fear. The paralysis. It is creeping, it draws near, I can smell its sweaty flabby body saying, ONE MORE EPISODE.
Since quitting both drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, my impulse control has made a strong comeback, like an unpleasant guilt shaming madness inducing things-you-did-forever-ago-reflecting type stuff that just isn't helpful or productive. It is fucking frustrating. Who knew getting healthy could be so, slimy or ruinous to the bits that were working. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? Let me say this, I'm no 12-stepper. I just decided to change things, nobody asks why they just say congratulations, or "Good for you man, I don't have a problem." Then I say, "It's not a judgment thing, I just, I mean, it wasn't going well, ya know?" I'm getting better at explaining that. It still makes some people self-conscious, but I go out a lot less now, so I'm generally nobody's burden in that way. I have dabbled in anti-depressants, haven't done talking therapy, but I'm being pulled in that direction, and holy shit DIARY ENTRY, right?
(Why am I using to words for this? Why can it not be paintings or something? Gotta find the right medium for the job, that's why, idiot. Like no one should care whether the book was better than the movie, but rather whether it was a good book or a good movie and if you can't see that distinction then GET LEARNT, ok? Shout out to Matt Price on the inspiration for "Get Learnt," lets go 50/50 on the T-shirt sales. Just kidding.)
I have been trying to work. I have made an effort to go into the studio and sweat a little, to move things around, to vacuum, and organize and shelve things. I am exercising. Let's go back a 18 months or so. I got called into the principal's office. Weird things happened. Lots of changes. I said yes to everything because I didn't know what was going to happen. Some of that stuff worked out. Some of it didn't. The stuff that didn't work out, this mailbox, I should never have even thought about doing. Or I should have done it WAAAY differently. But anyway. It was big. And heavy. And expensive. And required new equipment, and tons of consumables. And I kept screwing it up. I kept trying things. I was determined.
TIME WAS TICKING. MONTHS WERE FALLING OFF THE CALENDAR.
I DREAD MY OWN EXISTENCE EVEN MORE THAN USUAL.
THIS IS NOT GOOD.
Generally, my wife doesn't necessarily notice when I'm having trouble with things. And this is nothing against her. I have a tendency to seclude, and to "woodshed" and to fucking kill myself until I have a result and then I say, "Oh, this?! PSSSSSHHHHHHHHHH, EASY." I didn't want to admit that I couldn't do it. I didn't want to have to tell the client I had to cancel. I knew what I had was a piece of shit though. I had some ideas on how to change it, how to make it something usable, but I didn't want to get an, "Oh that's what it is?" from the client when I was done. MY WIFE NOTICED. I was putting in a lot of hours. And sweat. And screaming. And misery. And neglecting all kinds of things. This mailbox and my inability to complete this project was getting in the way of me doing anything else. FOR. EIGHT. MONTHS.
I had nightmares about it. I worked so hard, that my wife even noticed. "You worked so fucking hard on that thing, oh my god I don't know what to say." I was so pissed off and depressed and just radiating this vibe of disappointment. It was on everything in my studio. There were metal filings and BB's from the grinder in EVERYTHING. The spectre of this project lived on long after its demise. Reminded. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.
Am I a diva or what?! I don't know. I got fucked up over it. And didn't really have anybody to talk to about it. Or didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about it. Because I'm bad at that.
Sidenote: Who has friends? Like, who has people they walk with from place to place? And you aren't just recapping or talking about work/life related stress. Or transactional shit about fucking bin bags or mowing the lawn. You're talking about the bigger stuff, the hopes and dreams and fears and sadness things. THE FUCKING INTENSE STUFF THAT MAKES SEEING THAT PERSON AGAIN LATER ON SOMETIMES UNCOMFORTABLE BUT MORE MEANINGFUL BECAUSE THE CURTAIN HAS BEEN DRAWN BACK.
I think it's harder today. Because we see people more often on social media than we do in real life. And social media is the top 1% or our lives, if you're posting photos of concerts or vacations or weddings or kids or whatever. You do it because you want to show the world you are happy. I always found posting in this way to be embarrassing. Do what you want but I'm embarrassed. If I'm doing something fun, or I'm happy or I'm really truly enjoying something, I don't give a fuck about posting on Facebook or Instagram or wherever. If I am dipped out of the experience enough to think I should use this as a fulcrum for my status in an artificial social construct then I am probably not enjoying myself; it undermines mindfulness you see. Unless promoting a thing is the point of what I'm doing. It's complicated and this doesn't cover all scenarios but I'm building a narrative here, and I'm talking about feelings and SHUT YOUR FUCKING HOLE OTHER SHIT-TALKING, INNER MONOLOGUE INSIDE MY HEAD CRAIG, YOU'RE NOT HELPING.
That's another thing. My internal monologue has become less "Observational Comic Hopped Up Depressive," and more, "Grima Wormtongue Beatboxing and reminding me that I'm a piece of shit". It is how you say, no joy.
I failed. I wasn't able to make a metal sculpture. I couldn't complete it. Because I didn't know what I was doing well enough. I couldn't obtain those skills quickly enough for it to be worthwhile. I tried a ton of different things. And didn't ask for enough help.
[REDACTED - dm me, maybe i'll share it]
So I try to get into the studio. And sweat. And show up to things. And be better. And be different. And fight neglect. And I don't know.
You fail. You fuck up. You hope to learn. Try not to get caught up in the misery of it all. Don't post too much. Fight that inner-monologue fight all day and night. Zone out with some pencils or something. Get your shit together, you know? Try.
Let me know what you want here. I want to do a podcast. I want to talk to people. I want to make things. I want a vibrant fulfilling artistic existence where I make things. Show me how. Help me do. I can post more things I have been writing lately. Or my great mass of unpublished works from long ago. Send me a postcard. Drop me a line. Text me. I don't know.
Talk to you soon.