An unwanted visitor
My depression doesn’t want me to create today.
“What’s the point” it shrugs, lounging on it’s fainting couch in my head, sucking on some deeply ironic brand of cigarette and watching me through long, greasy strands of hair. “Nothing ever works anyway. No one values your art. You’re going to get worn out, and take some minimum wage job and pretend like climbing the ladder is going to be enough for you one day, so why put it off”.
The problem with my depression is a lot of people would call the things is says “common sense”. Not everyone gets to be an “artist”. It’s a luxury job. I should just figure out how to make ends meet and get over myself. Never mind that there is this DRIVE inside of me, this intense sense of PURPOSE. Never mind how many countless people have told me that my music arrived in their lives right when they needed it, that I’ve convinced strangers not to kill themselves that day. That I’ve been the voice people have turned to through job loss and fear and break ups and that terrifying hope. Never mind all the good I do, who the fuck do I think I am to think I deserve to get PAID for it.
If you’ve ever wondered why so many artists are mentally ill, I’d say the fact that society will happily consume our creativity without feeling the need to support it is probably a big part of it. That, and there are plenty of people that will repeat the perspective of that shadowy figure, chain smoking and laughing at you in your head.
Your dreams start to shrink as you focus on how to keep making that thing you can’t help but make, that you know through your very soul you are supposed to be here to release into the world. “I’d love my own home” you think, and then you dismiss it because you’ve so internalized the idea that it’s hard to make any money doing ________ that you don’t feel like you can even ask internally for it.
That’s the big lie, that it is inherently hard to make money creating beauty. You can work for a huge corporation that literally moved imaginary figures into one account or the other all day and that is considered more stable than making art. You can help poison the earth, sell cheep plastic bullshit that just becomes clutter and trash, create messages that contribute to insecurity and the sense of not enoughness so that more meaningless feel better quick widgets end up in our homes and THAT is “real” work. But for GOD’S SAKE don’t delude yourself into thinking you are WORTHY of a future making stories, or songs, or images that make people feel good about themselves. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
My depression doesn’t want me to create today. It would like me to just accept my powerlessness and let the cogs of industry crush me as they may. It would like me to moan about the injustice of the world and spend the day refreshing social media and my email to see if other people agree with that dark reality. It would like me to stop being so fucking naïve, to stop insisting on going through the motions, to finally “grow up” and accept what other people have decided is good enough for me.
And all the while that it’s been sitting on that internal couch, belching fumes and superior “logic”, it hasn’t noticed that I’ve been writing everything it says.
Sometimes creativity isn’t making something beautiful from nothing. Sometimes, it is bleeding on the page, knowing you aren’t the only one wounded.
Take that, you fucking emotional squatter.