Midnight. The literal middle of the night. Often the darkest, quietest hour - always the witching hour, in my opinion. Spirits move at midnight, God whispers at midnight, lives I get weird about midnight. Once, I swear I saw the moon swell to double it’s size before my eyes right at the stroke of midnight - but I was 14, and prone to fits of fancy. Once I passed the Midnight of a New Year somewhere over the ocean between Africa and Europe, and yet another time I screamed midnight’s praises into the atmosphere with thousands of others after my football team clenched a victory at the Georgia Dome. I do my best thinking at midnight. On our honeymoon this summer I stood out naked on the deck of our vacation cabin at the foot of Mount Whiteface, peering into the bare night sky with my own bare heart, letting the late spring breeze roll up beneath the arches of my feet and hug the underside of my breasts, mountain air settling in the spirals of my curls.
And now, it’s is New Year’s Eve. The one day a year where we all race feverishly to that darkest hour, midnight.
How utterly strange.
I’m sorry I’ve been silent. I don’t really have an excuse or an explanation outside of pure depression.
For a while I figured that no one was reading here, and that folks didn’t really care about what I had to say. The “numbers” weren’t looking good, and as much as I truly don’t feel like I do this for the “numbers”, they can be pretty daunting when they’re not good. So I’ve stopped writing, stopped sharing what’s going on in my life, stopped blogging right before I truly even got started, and just…switched to auto-pilot. I focused on surviving. I quit my part-time retail job at YUMIKO USA in early September, which I’m glad I did, but it left my days unexpectedly free and weirdly disorganized - and for someone who needs to be busy, and needs to be needed, that got old very quickly and made my anxiety itchy. Make no mistake - myself and some colleagues extracted ourselves from a very toxic situation at Yumi, and we’re all glad we did - but the lack of a job does leave one somewhat aimless, especially when you’re still trying to follow your dreams. So I just tried to put one foot in front of the other, most days. Get out of bed. Put clothes on. Go to the studio. Come home. Take a shower. Sit at home and read for the rest of the day. I couldn’t bring myself to do more than the bare minimum.
This is mental illness, and the depths it can drag you to even when you think you’ve got it under control.
That’s the whole point of this blog, to show how mental illness can hinder you profoundly, even when you’re putting on a fine facade for others.
I’ve skipped class more days than I haven’t these last few months, mostly to save money and save classes, but also because that plunging feeling of directionless-ness triggered my agoraphobia, and convinced me that my house was the only safe place for me to be.
I’ve felt my dreams slipping away steadily, and I spiraled badly around my 25th birthday in November. 25 - an entire quarter century, and nothing to show for it. I was beside myself with shame, guilt and the foulest low of depression I’ve felt in years. My ever patient wife reminded me how much she treasures me, and that served to briefly salve the wounds of my own crippling self doubt.
Depression is a sneaky, strange animal. You never quite know how well or how poorly you’re doing until you’re squarely in the middle of a relapse or doing so well you can’t believe it - the positive and the negative aspects sneak up on you rather aggressively.
It can be Midnight in your soul. It can be dark in your soul. But dawn breaks darkness every time, unfailingly, that perfect providence and ordinance of nature that changes days and seasons and clothes and jobs and schools and suns and love...the same sun that gently negotiates itself into place every morning will rise again inside you just as it rises again above you, and that much can be counted on with total confidence.
Instead of masquerading like everything’s fine, I chose to be calmly and evenly transparent about how I was feeling - not just with others, but with myself. I had to let myself break down in order to have any sort of come back, in order to refurbish myself and my dreams…in order to shine again.
SO here I am, ready to shine again.
Midnight approaches, and I am wrapped in the embrace of the person I love most, staring defiantly at the night sky, willing the sun to rise again, as I know it will.
Wishing You All A Beautiful New Year, with a Midnight to Remember,