Are The ‘Dog Days’ Really Over?

“Happiness hit her like a train…” -Florence Welch

My soul is crushed. Remove my celestial being from my human form and you will see that this once glimmering soul is now rotting away like the dozen of old eggs in my refrigerator. It’s like someone crumpled it up in their hands and threw it away an inch from a recycling bin. Okay, that someone is me. Debbie Downer. Uma Unlucky. Whatever nicknames you can come up with, yup- you described me.

Are you happy? I ask myself these three words on a daily basis. I wake up in the morning, stare at my freckles in the mirror and think about that answer. For the most part, I wouldn’t say that I am- and why not? I have a lot of things going for me and while, my life is not ‘Sex in the City’/ Carrie Bradshaw glamorous, I should be shouting with radiance from the roof tops. But lately, I keep wondering if there is something more to life than this. More than being successful and earning globs of money, having friends and lovers, eventually getting married and having children. I think about my ideals and the people that I aspire to be- Kristen Wigg from ‘Saturday Night Live’ comes to mind. A college dropout, she worked odd jobs while performing stand-up, finally scoring her breakout role in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” at the ripe age of 33. I wonder if only a handful of people are magically destined to live these incredible lives while the rest of us try and try and eventually, just settle with what we have and accept it.

I understand that things take their time and you can’t everything you want all at once but how long must one wait? And where do we find the motivation to go on, especially when things have been so bleak and you’re losing hope? You wake up to go to this monotonous job, work yourself until you can longer keep your eyes open and go home and crash. Does anyone want that life? When we were little, what were the things we told our teacher that we wanted to be when we grew up? An ice skater? A astronaut? A marine biologist? Whatever happened to those dreams? Did we lose sight of them somewhere between college and high school? I know that once you have a family, those things change. But if you encourage your children to shoot for the stars, why can’t you do the same? What’s holding you back? Lack of motivation? Or pure laziness? But at the same time, would achieve this massive dream pile of success make you happy?

Research says that a muscle can be strengthen just be thinking about it. If that’s true, can your heart be? With the feeling as if its going to break at any moment, I can only hope that this hope I desperately seeking will come soon. Being depressed and blue all the time is no way to live your life. It’s these emotions that I wish I could control better- everyone deserves to lead a full life doing the things that make you get up in the morning with a smile. Leave the boring behind and take the risk that make you happy.

Time for a Story

“We have to have a version of our story that we keeping telling ourselves that allows us to get up in the morning.” -Steven Soderbergh

There are few people who know me. Like a good introvert. I keep most everything closed to myself and rarely let people completely inside. I tell a lot of half truths; explain to people that I’m fine; don’t look people in the eye when I think they’re catching my bluff. I’m okay with that. It keeps me safe and lets people (like awful ex-boyfriends and psychotic co-workers) see the plucky side instead of emotional, unstable me.

My life story is long and complicated, filled with dark days consisting of razor blades and oceans of tears. It’s not the thing most want to hear on a daily basis. I’m sure it’s something that my previous shrinks didn’t like hearing about during my monthly visitations. I try my best to keep everything hidden from plain view when I write this blog entry despite the fact that I’m sure plenty of my intimate thoughts grace internet pages. But a good writer writes about what she knows and I know plenty of suffering, abuse and misfortunate.

For some reason, maybe to due to the fact that I was feeling particularly lonely and felt like I needed some comforting, I shared personal information with a stranger Friday night. I tried to stop myself but my mouth kept moving. An unnatural force parted my lips and forced words to come out. The stranger came down from the Bronx to a dusty Starbucks in Murray Hill with hopes for a kiss and not a tale. But sentences formed and iced coffee was slurped. I know that it’s not first date etiquette to tell your life story’s darkest details and while, I had a nice time, I’m pretty sure that he’ll never call me back. Why did I divulge so much to that person, a random man who was looking for something else, more physical, instead? I don’t have an answer for that. However, I’m sorry that I let him into my heart rather than into my pants and I walked home from the date, feeling even more discouraged. It wasn’t the fact that I shared my story- it was the fact that I’m sure that he didn’t listen.

What is your story? What life secrets do you hide behind your smile? And why do you hide these certain truths from people who may understand your pain and your sorrows, your hopes and dreams? Who do you share your story with? Who is that one person you run to in order to word vomit your daily accounts? Do you have someone like that to share things with this? If not, what’s keeping you from finding this person? And what about you- are you the person that someone comes to when they need advice, support or just to be someone that listens- truly listens with an open heart and pair of ears? Questions upon questions, I know but one must ask them. We learn from each other’s stories. They’re engraved with life lessons and bits of hope, things that we all can identify with. As I person who is still trying to find her small place in the world, let alone New York City, I’m learning to keep things open and wait for the whispers that the wind carries down the cobbled streets and along the skyscrapers. Words have power and stories contain vital information- they are waiting for you to listen.

This is Your Anti-Depressant

“It is a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you truly happy…” -Lucille Ball

They call this the “NYC experience;“ you spend close to eight hours every day, in front of your laptop, job hunting. While most of the positions require a certain amount of years working somewhere note-worthy in Manhattan, the only experience New York newbies get is frustration of receiving no call-backs. Pounding the pavement not only hurts your feet; it also it crushes your soul. For the past two weeks, I’ve been sitting at the Bedford Hills Coffee Bar, drinking Arnold Palmers and applying for jobs online. Each day passes by without a bite as I comb through Craigslist, Monster and different city employment agencies, searching for any work that will allow me to keep on the heaven sent AC in the middle of the night. Sure, I was offered a small writing job. But after picking up the paycheck, I realized that fifty dollars wasn’t even going to pay my phone bill. And I thought the economy was picking itself back up…

At the end of each day, after chugging four lemonade and iced tea combos, I go home and sink into my bed, feeling a cocktail of emotions: stupidly foolish, incredibly scared, topped off with a bad case of depression. It’s the depression that hits you hard. Yes, that’s the catch phrase to the Zoloft commercial (the one with the cute oval headed characters with matchstick bodies) but it’s the truth. It’s a nasty disease that countless of people have. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, reported cases of depression in twentysomethings are steadily on the rise (and these statistics say that only about a third of the cases are being reported/treated). Within that age group, one in every five people suffers from its symptoms, with the majority being women. I’ve been depressed most of my life. My dad used to tell me childhoods stories of when I would bang my head against the wall with aggravation. In high school, it was my rockabilly friend, Lori, that noticed my constant sadness and was the first in my circle to say something about it. During college, I spent a good chunk of days crying for reasons I no longer remember. Two years ago, I committed myself to a mental facility. That hospital stay ended up saving my life and taught me great coping skills but lately, I don’t feel like those are enough. Telling yourself reasons why you’re more fortunate that the most of the world isn’t magically going to put the much needed funds in my bank account.

Everyone tells me that something is going to come up soon. I try to be nice and listen to their words but they don’t soothe the frenzy going on in my head. Having a good sense of faith that counteracts against my depression isn’t something I’m going to find at the bodega around the corner. Maybe this is the part of me (who was once penniless and homeless) who is just trying to stay in check with reality. As happy-go-lucky I appear to be scoping out cute boys on bicycles while walking my new Yorkie BFF around my block, I’m hurting on the inside. While there’s this stigma about depression (and crazy myths on why people my age refuse to seriously discuss about it), I’m not afraid to say that I’m blue and I’m not afraid to talk about my condition and my feelings. Asking for help maybe one thing my pride is desperately trying to avoid (I know that I will cave, though), yet I recognize what I’m feeling and I am trying to fix it, trying to bring my frown upside-down and permanently stay there. As a constant reminder I tell myself (and others), la vie est belle. Life is beautiful and life is worth it. Depression may slow me down but I won’t let it bring me down. Besides, you can’t see the rainbow without a little rain.