“Stanley, why aren’t you doing your homework?”

And so another era of radio silence. This particular site may have lost whatever blood was going to it, but I still feel the need for some kind of outlet. Something broader, something I can throw out there, regardless of anyone everything actually seeing it.

Today, I need it’s help to figure some things out.

I resigned from my job in July. There were many reasons and I share some of those with others. Ultimately I’ve come to realise that I’ve never taken any risks, and I feel like I’m stagnating. I have a little money, so I’ve decide to take some time and figure out what I’m actually doing.

I’ve pursued  two main approaches. My original focus has been on a teaching English diploma; with an eye towards finding work while travelling abroad. A very logical and ambitious goal for me. Early on I maintained a huge amount of enthusiasm for this project, and I’ve been taking it very seriously. However, over time the process has become more and more of a drudge.

The qualification is earned through completion of two online courses and 20 hours of practical classroom experience. I managed to negotiate six months to complete everything – I’ve passed the practical component and completed 60% of Course A. The online parts involve units followed by ‘Progress Checks’ followed by a handful of ‘Checkpoints’ (essentially exams/coursework for the relevant units). I’ve halted at Checkpoint 2. Yes, they are challenging and require you to knuckle down a little more, but everything you need to pass them is in the unit materials. I just cannot motivate myself to push on.

You can plow through the units themselves very quickly, but I’ve increasingly found the process more and more unsatisfying. Yes all this work could lead to something amazing, but one problem I’ve always had is pursuing things that could take me away from where I am rather than work on who I am. Even on the other side of the world, I’d still be carrying me, and this realisation is unsettling.

I’m in my third decade (or Ryan 4.0 as I pretentiously consider it) and I’m yet to figure out what I want. All I know is I struggle with ties – good or bad, everything is shackles. Right now I want to play by my own rules, I want to focus on what I want and only satisfy obligations to myself. I’ve done a great deal of work the last few years: learned a lot, tested myself, achieved many things I would never previously believed possible. But I can no longer ignore that the enduring thread has been, for longer than I care to dwell on, that I am miserable and feel empty inside.

At the risk of turning this into a therapy session, I’ve been through some pretty fucked up shit. There are many many people who have it way worse, but for my part I don’t feel it’s unreasonable to note that I’ve had more than my fair share. For so long now I feel like I’ve been bleeding out; head up, marching on but increasingly limp.

The second approach has involved film. For the longest time after university, I did nothing related to film-making. Eventually I began writing CD/gig/book/film reviews for a sadly defunct magazine called Nocturnal. Recently, thanks to contacts made during that period, I’ve become typing for a website called Filmwerk. Unpaid work but well worth it. I get to see movies for free, at home and at screenings, many in advance of their theatre releases. I’m making contacts and it’s exciting to see where this could lead.

Alongside this, I’m involved with a film podcast, the first episode of which will be released soon. I also want to make my own videos/podcasts/features, for which I’ve created my own site (Violet Cause). This all ties into the conundrum of my life right now – I previously had a stable job, a career, one which I was pretty good at. I was making a living but increasingly felt like I was imploding. I could pursue a career taking me abroad but to do a job I’m not especially energised by. Then I could pursue things which tap into what I love but offer little or no security.

This isn’t an uncommon puzzle, but I have to be conscious of the fact that I tend to detonate when things feel far beyond my control. Basically I need to find reasons to keep this thing going on my own terms, because I want to keep going.

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Lithium Flower

Choice is your weapon. Belief is your weapon. No one can hurt you if you remember that you have been through the worst and you were not broken…

 

Ultimately we are fortunate enough to live in a godless universe, which harbours neither a particular care nor a omnipresent contempt for us. Probability is the highest resolution.

My radio silence has come from an unlikely chain of events which have led me to have what appears to be a career. At the very least, I’ve wound up in a situation where people are counting on me, and its taken up most of my runtime. As the months have rolled on, its all coming together into something I’m a little unnerved by.

Life.

I’ve never been the “I told you so” sort, but sometimes you hope and pray the patterns you’re seeing won’t come together. And then they do. I still believe in Icarus, but tested in the real world, the London Project has stalled. I won’t say its died, but what has kept it vital and alive has faltered. I have my own thoughts on the how and why, but I’m a little shy about sharing them, even here, in a blog I’ve always demanded be open and honest. My reasons come from my respect for others, because Icarus brings people together, and I cannot – will not – speak for us all.

One thing I have come to realise in the past 6 months is that I can no longer compartmentalise my life. Activist, employee, friend, son, brother, uncle, lover, hater, bipolar, epileptic, mutant, augmented, bisexual – epithets are necessary and inevitable; but I realise that the extent to which I try and live up to them is too much. When they slap a mental health label on you, it grants you a potent standard you can march under. But I’ve taken it for granted my whole life. Cast it as my defining characteristic, the stellar matter around which everything else must coalesce.

Broadly speaking, this is correct. But rather than allow a single aspect of my experience to become my fulcrum point, I should be trying to give expression to everything I am. For too long I’ve held off making choices or taking risks because of the perceived costs and potential, negative consequences. However I have been unable to avoid pain and misery even through such an approach, so why should I cut off any potential, positive ones too?

Risk always carries value. Sometimes you’ll wonder if the cost you’ve paid is too high, but at least you have learned something. What I have come to learn is that I can’t predict the future. The patterns I see are not always on the money, and when they are, they do not represent the whole equation. I have an input, I can make a contribution which affects the outcome. To be afraid is not a bad thing. Believing that you cannot do anything but be afraid is.

 

Visions come to prepared spirits…

 

I’m not 100% sure what this all means or where it leaves me. I have to make decisions and face consequences I think. Throw myself in rather than dip a toe. I have to think of myself as a person rather than a platform for an idea or disorder or abstract. The simple fact is that there is always hope, always truth and revelation and never any decent reason to remain on the sidelines.

 

sevaS trA

I try to paint. I only really succeed in the sense that paint is applied to a surface and then dries.

As a rule I’m proud that I’ve actually attempted to take a thought and render it into the “real” world. Inevitably some of it will touch on my disposition, though its not all based upon that. Sometimes you just need to create, though the ones I’m often happiest with are those which catch me by surprise. Ones which I began without any real thesis, but which I’ll later look at and think ‘Ah! I see what’s going on here.’

I thought I’d post a couple. In fact would anyone else be interested in posting art related to their mental health experiences under a ‘sevaS trA’ tag? It may confuse some Otep fans, but that’s her fault for being so eloquent.

Please be gentle:

 

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Dragon, acrylic on canvas.

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Hellia, acrylic on canvas.

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Unfettered, acrylic on cavnas.

Hope you’re all well.