Tag Archives: writing

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


See Me

Yesterday, I wrote a blog asking what is apparently a very strange question  – does the band know their fans? In the undercurrent floated the additional question, “Should they?”

First of all, I could tell it was a Monday because not many replied, even on FB, which is the typical place for such conversations. Some answered that sure they did – for marketing. Fair enough.  Still others seemed to indicate that I had finally lost it. Maybe so.

The point of the question wasn’t really in the answer. To be 100% clear: I am not asking or expecting for the band, or anyone within, to become my best friend. I also was not insinuating that anyone else reading should have those expectations, although I can understand why some may have read my words, taken the path most traveled and arrived at the door for the mental facility seen in Falling Down. It happens, but I don’t think Dr. Le Bon is there ready to do patient intake just yet.

Recently I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, which is a fantastic book if you’re like me and feel like you’ve got to handle everything yourself. The book was given to me by a dear friend who knows me only too well. In the book, Ms. Palmer explains that as a street performer (she performed as a live statue of a bride), she would make eye contact with her audience, and she would offer them a flower (in exchange for money that they would put in her bucket). It was her way of saying “I see you”.

 

“I was amazed by the intimate moments of prolonged eye contact happening on the busy city sidewalk as traffic whizzed by, as sirens blared, as street vendors hawked their wares and activities thrust flyers at every passerby, as bedraggled transients tried to sell the local homeless community newspaper to rushing commuters…where more than a second or two of a direct, silent gaze between strangers is usually verboten.

My eyes would say: 
Thank you. I see you.
And their eyes would say:
Nobody ever sees me.
Thank you.”

She goes on a page or two later, “I laughed thinking about every single artist I knew – every writer, ever actor, every filmmaker, every crazed motherfucker who had decided to forgo a life of predictable income, upward mobility and simple tax returns, and instead pursued a life in which they made their living trying to somehow turn their dot-connecting brains inside out and show the results to the world – and how, maybe, it all boiled down to one thing: 

BELIEVE ME.
Believe me.
I’m real.

Here’s the thing: all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. 
Every single one of us wants to be believed.
Artist are often just…louder about it.”

When I read that passage, I found myself nodding vigorously. I’m not saying I’m an artist, of course. But I write these feelings that are in my head and heart. I suppose that makes me a writer? I always pictured being a writer as something so much different from what it is, I guess….. But yes, as I said yesterday, I write with the hope that the words and feelings I plop down here reach someone, somewhere.

I suppose that’s what I was trying to communicate yesterday. I want to be seen and believed by someone. I am real, and no…most of the time I’m not really seen, and I’m certainly not known. For a long time, I was a fan like anyone else reading. I went to shows, I bought records, I would grin wildly when I’d see anything about them on TV or hear them on the radio, and I would talk about them on a message board. At shows I was just another face in the crowd. But somewhere along the line, something changed for me. I wanted something else. I think I wanted to tell my story, which is incredulous. I mean, what makes my story any different?

Nothing. That’s the crazy thing! I’m a mom of three beautiful kids from California – above anything else, they are the reason I keep going each day, and I’m prouder of them than anything I’ve ever done on my own. I don’t really work unless you count teaching, keeping this website running, and writing manuscripts that we hope to get published. I’m not even from the UK. I’ve only traveled there three times and I can only claim to have stood outside a rehearsal space for Duran Duran one time. (Twice if you count the day before when no one was there!) I’ve never once stood outside a radio station waiting for the band to suddenly emerge, although yes – I’ve actually hung out in a hotel lobby when I thought they were there. I’m not very good at band stalking, as it turns out. Up until this past September, I hadn’t ever been to a taping of a TV appearance. In the past I’d tried for tickets to various things, but I’d never won. I have no real band stories to share, or anything that I would necessarily need boast about. I can’t claim anything out of the ordinary, yet I write this blog and for some crazy reason I think it’s worthy of being read, whether we’re talking about members of Duran Duran or anyone else.

The shameless audacity!

I think I got tired of just being in the audience as a nameless floating head in a sea of thousands.I started writing. This blog challenges any of you to see exactly who I am. Not just the jeans I wear, my bottle-blond hair or my green eyes. Not just my opinions, but my heart. See the part of me I pour here on the blog each day. I keep writing. And sometimes, people read.

And maybe, just maybe, someone sees me.

 

-R