Poop Chute Riot

Here’s my confession. I’m up at 5am, which I believe is due to mania, or something like that. This has been happening like clockwork at the beginning of the week. Fortunately, I don’t let anxiety take over like I used to. I know I’m getting manic when my dreams become especially vivid and disturbing.

I had this dream that I was hanging out with one of my cousins I hadn’t seen in years. She had her baby with her. Initially, this baby looked cute enough. I attempted to be nice to he/she/it, in the way someone who doesn’t like babies tries to be nice. The baby was walking around in that drunk astronaut walking on the moon kind of way, when it suddenly got on all fours and started crawling around really fast. As in, crazy chihuahua fast. If this wasn’t disturbing enough, his head (I could call it a he now) resembled someone I knew from high school. I’m trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with this baby, catch it, and feeling disturbed all at the same time.

I finally grab the thing. He’s wiggling around in a rather weird way. He’s wearing one of those baby long johns, the kind with a hatch at the rear, which I believe the technical term for it is the poop chute. It occurs to me that he might need to poop, because all babies need to poop. Too late. I try to open the release hatch, even as baby poop begins to leak out. At this point, I’m standing in the kitchen and swinging the demon baby toward the sink, but for some reason the poop is completely missing the sink. The whole time this baby is looking at me with the face of a high school acquaintance.

Then I woke up. I considered going back to sleep, but thought better of it.

Keyboard Confessional 07

Typebars in a 1920s typewriter

I believe wellness is possible. I even think I can self-help myself to wellness. There’s something to be said for self-reliance. That’s all a misnomer anyway. No one does anything all by themselves. I’m indebted to all the people who have helped me. Some of them don’t know me, and some aren’t even alive. I’m not sure I could afford to seek medical help right now (I know, “I can’t afford not to”). The truth is, I’m happy doing things this way. I’m happy being this stubborn. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I love that. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live. This isn’t medical advice. Everyone should decide what is best for them. This is just one person’s perspective. Someone could say, “look where your willfulness has gotten you”, and that’s fair enough. People can have their opinions. I see the mistakes I’ve made, the mistakes I continue to make, and I work on them. I choose to look at the past and the future positively, even if things don’t always turn out that way.

I’m free to change my mind. I do it quite often, but my values tend to stay the same. My real principles and beliefs haven’t changed much. I’ve discovered that much of what people believe isn’t really examined, just accepted. I see my job as clearing out the unexamined beliefs I’ve picked up over the years, and deciding what I do believe. All beliefs are biased to some extent, if only because the instrument we use, our minds, have built-in biases. That seems to be the only truth, that we’re biased people. See, that’s my own bias.

You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

Never give up on yourself. That would be Un-Laotian-American.

Making It

It’s hard for me to pin down exactly what I do for a living. First of all, I’d like to be making a living, but I’ve struggled with that. Money has never been a big motivation for me, which puts me at odds with society. I decided in my youth that I wanted to draw comics. My temperament would decide otherwise. Deadlines and me don’t mix. It seems like career suicide to be saying that, but I’m past the point of caring. My career has been lying dead, in the gutter, for a while. It’s time for me to move on and build something new.

The new looks decidedly like the old. I still want to draw comics. I still love to write, draw, and paint. I love to make things. I need a strategy in order to make that happen.

Firstly, I need to decide what I want. I want to write books. I want to draw comics. I want to paint paintings.

Secondly, I’ll use this nifty acronym, SMART, to help me get what I want.

S is for Specific. I need to be specific.  Specifically, for me to feel like I’ve made it, I would need to write books, probably fiction, but nonfiction, too, and get them published. I would need to write and draw comics and get them published. I would need to create oil paintings and display or sell them.

M is for Measurable. Okay, I need to write, draw, and paint every day. I’m already writing at least 300 words a day with this blog. I’ll stick with that for now, and build up my stamina. Drawing and painting is combined when I do my illustration work. I didn’t mention it earlier, but illustration is as close to a real career as I’ve had. I consider comics a kind of illustration, but not really. Anyway, no time for semantics. I currently have a system where I do a few hours of illustration every weekday. As for painting, I can do one small painting a day.

A is for Achievable. This should be something I feel confident I can do, but not so easy that it’s not a challenge. I’m okay with what I’ve come up with for now. There is some anxiety about doing the oil paintings, but I’m also excited.

R is for Relevant. Yeah, this is what I want. I want to make, build, and create things. Getting rich and famous is a welcome bonus. I’ll settle for wildly successful.

T is for Time-able. Oh no, deadlines. This is where I struggle. This year I want to be writing actual stories. Stories that have plots and characters. Also, I want to have a webcomic online. Then I need to finish oil paintings and hang them on the walls. When those things happen, then I’ll know I’ve been successful, at least for this year.

Thirdly, I need to put my goals into writing. Well, this counts, but I also need to remind myself often.

Fourthly, I need to create small steps so I can accomplish my goals. I’ll have to keep working on that.

Fifthly, I need to stick to it. That makes sense.

Wow! This has been pretty helpful!

A Letter to God, or the Universe

Dear Universe,

It’s me, Sedone. I felt compelled to write. I get the feeling you wanted me to write, and I did want to write much sooner. Here I am, a tiny, tiny person somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy, so small and insignificant as to be invisible. I’m an ant whose personal problems seem to encompass my whole world. Yet I see pictures of how vast the Universe is. I can sense infinity, but never wrap my mind around it. Some people call this consciousness. Some people say the Universe is becoming conscious of itself. Are we cells moving around in your body? Or are we smaller than that? Molecules and atoms. I asked God, not too long ago, what my purpose was. I asked, “God, for what reason am I here? What’s my purpose?”. I know that by asking that question, by writing it down, I was setting in motion something bigger than myself. I know I can’t take back a question like that. These are some of the consequences of asking such a thing: I now have a relationship with God, not a going-to-church-every-Sunday kind of thing, but a true, spiritual relationship. I’ve also learned about all these mental problems I have, not because they weren’t there before, but because I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of dealing with them.

My soul felt lost. I didn’t know why I should do anything anymore. Why I should care. I looked around and saw people who seemed to care about insignificant things. I felt like a miserable loser. On the outside, no one would have known. On the inside, something was missing. Maybe it was mental illness, but I knew it was deeper than that. It was a spiritual hunger. I looked at religion, and I saw nothing but soullessness. I looked to society, and nothing but soullessness. I asked people what made them happy, and I got soulless answers. It’s like we’re all tip-toeing around our fears. We’re all desperately trying to fill our soulless lives with meaning. With this kind of mentality, with my attitude, how can it be that I should have any amount of inner peace? Yet I do, and that’s a miracle, or rather, grace.

This letter is meant as a thank you. I suppose the Universe, or God, is one and the same. If God is God, then God is All. Maybe I haven’t shown as much honor and respect as I could have, but I hope you understand. I like to think my God understands that kind of thing, the failings of a human being.


Keyboard Confessional 06

I, Sedone, will make a name for myself. People will talk about my stories. My name will be on the cover of books. I will write books. I will draw comics. My work will be made into movies, video games, toys. I will have fans. I will create stories and artwork for my fans. I have a plan to make this happen, but more important is my belief that this is inevitable. The Universe itself will pave the way for me to accomplish my dreams. I admit this now. I put it into writing. It will happen as surely as I breathe. As surely as the sun comes up. It will happen. I don’t have to know how. I just have to know. I’ve been afraid to admit this. Afraid to admit what I want. Maybe I didn’t think I deserved it. Maybe I didn’t know if I could handle it. It’s bigger than me now. I’ve written it. I can’t say to myself that I don’t really want it. That would be a lie. I can’t lie to myself, no matter how much I may try. Even now I feel the Universe shifting its attention onto me. It wonders, “what does this person think he’s doing?”. It waits to see if my motives are pure. It wonders if my heart is truthful. The decision has been made in my heart. My path has been chosen. Fear evaporates. Purpose solidifies. Is this mania? Is this depression? It doesn’t matter. I believe in myself. I write this despite fear. I keep writing despite fear. I’ll go forward despite fear. I’d rather live as myself than die with regret. This is my moment. This is my life. I am true to myself. I move through the fear. I breathe. It is written.

Keyboard Confessional 05

2010 has been kicking my ass. At the beginning of this year I found myself in a depression. I could tell something was up when I got a migraine attack. The migraine came after the Winter Olympics, and I’ve been having migraine attacks around the same time each year for the past few years. In fact, the first time I remember having a severe migraine was during the previous Olympics, and by severe I mean at least a couple of weeks of intense migraines. Other than blaming the Olympics for making me depressed, I started to see that there was a cycle to it. There is actually some basis for blaming something like the Olympics, at least for me, because of the days long, mania-inducing nature of the event. I get pulled in every time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I found myself in a depression, and didn’t know why. I knew I had always been a little depressed, on and off, for years. The most severe episode had been around 2006. I thank God I was able to pull out of that one. This one had me perplexed, frustrated, and…depressed. Lack of money, stubbornness, and other personality factors led me to doing lots of self-help. I used books and the internet to learn as much as I could about depression. The rabbit trail finally led me to bipolar disorder, which I had glimpsed during my forays into the world of self-help, but I never gave it much thought. I can’t help but appreciate the irony, because it was, in fact, bipolar disorder which seemed to fit me to a T. Of course, this is all self-diagnosis, and I’m not trying to downplay the severity of the disorder or be so flippant (it’s how I deal with it). There have been many days and nights of suffering, and not just including myself. If I do have bipolar disorder, then it’s serious business. If I don’t, then I’ll have to keep looking for answers, but my gut tells me it’s a big part of my problems.

To add to the confounding nature of mental disorders, there is often more than one disorder happening. “Comorbidity”, I think they call it. Those doctors certainly know how to pick a name. Eventually I learned about “mania”. Dealing with depression was nothing new to me, but mania, that was different. It was like learning Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s dad. I couldn’t believe it, yet it made perfect sense (Darth Vader and manic depression). I learned about manic depressive cycles, how mania triggers depression and vice versa. I saw how my whole life could be mapped to cycles of manic depression. The term “mood swings” took on a whole new meaning.

I’m currently climbing out of a depressive episode, but I know that climb can turn into a manic episode.

Keyboard Confessional 04

No one is coming to the rescue. I finally get it. That’s why I’m able to get up this morning to write this. No one is going to make me feel better about myself. There are no explanations, or reasons, that will ever be good enough to make me feel like I’m ready to move on. I’ll just have to choose to move on, and move forward. If I must be anxious, so be it. There are reasons for the anxiety. There is an origin and history. Sometimes it even helps to write about it. I expected people to care. I expected them to understand. Now I see that some people care, some people don’t. In any case, it will never be enough for me. I’ve avoided this fact. I told myself that if only the right people cared, then I’d have some kind of epiphany, then I’d be able to be happy. There’s a little boy inside me that clings to that hope.

I am the rescuer. I, dysfunctions and all, will rescue me. I may not be the best person for the job, but I’m the only one I’ve got. I can begin to move forward. I can take the steps I need to take. I can begin to do an imperfect job of solving my problems. I can do it with honor, knowing that I’m not expecting someone else to do it for me. When I feel weak, I appreciate all the help I can get, but I know that these personal problems will never be fixed by someone else. No one will make me feel like I’m worth it, that I have something to do or say, that my life is worth living. I thought I could pass that responsibility onto someone else, that I could have the "perfect" girlfriend, the "perfect" job, be a "perfect" person. That was an illusion. My reasons need to come from myself.