if i could i would…

…Play the guitar
…Play the bass
…Take vocal lessons
…Write songs
…Start a band
…Go on tour
…Learn what I can about the music industry
…Be a photographer
…Continue my photo series project
…Start my podcast
…Finish my personal narrative project
…Submit my piece to publications
…Take a UCLA online class on writing

I started this post by making a list of all the things I wish I could accomplish to start becoming the person I want to be (if you remember, I wrote about my desire to do that in my previous post). I wasn’t sure what I was writing, because I haven’t felt very connected to my creative mind lately. But as I wrote I realized that this list is actually pretty achievable.

I was reading an op-ed in the NY Times recently that discussed the reasons people don’t have hobbies. The main point the author made was that people don’t pursue new things is because they are afraid of being bad at them. I often feel that this is why I don’t just head to an open mic and sing just because I love to sing; it’s because I’m terrified of being horrible at it. And I don’t want others to judge me and my hobby. So instead, I stick to singing in my car and when people ask if I sing I give them a hard “no.”

A friend of mine has been inspiring me lately to just start pursuing music if I want to, because that’s exactly what she did. And, not to compare, but she just got back from her band, Blushh’s, first tour. She is still learning about the music industry and how to play guitar, but that’s not stopping her from pursuing what she loves.

I’ve been pouty lately because I’ve felt like my creativity is gone. However, if I really think about it, maybe my creativity isn’t gone, but my drive is. I can’t become who I want to be by snapping my fingers. I have to work at it. And I won’t be perfect right away. Hell, I’m sure I’ll never be perfect at it, and maybe I won’t even be good at it. But I have to at least try, because not trying sounds miserable to me. So I’ll let this post serve as a reminder to myself that I can achieve my goals and explore my creativity in new and different ways, without having the expectation that I have to be perfect at everything I try.

Hospitals, Tours, and Happiness

Hello readers!

My, what a whirlwind it’s been lately. There’s much to say; some good, some not so good, some great.

To start, some sad news. I got a call from my dad a few weeks ago; we thought my aunt was going to die. She is my closest extended relative, so that news hit me hard. Turns out, she’s still alive (yay!), but she’s in bad shape.

After I found out my aunt was in the hospital, I wound up in the hospital again. Everything overwhelmed me, and I could no longer find the will to keep fighting through it. I didn’t necessarily want to die, but I certainly didn’t want to live. I wanted to escape. Run away from it all. I relapsed in self-harm and fell deep into my depressive pit. That’s when I realized I needed to take some time to reset, away from the stressors that were so triggering, and learn to be a functioning adult again.

That said, it’s with sadness and more than a sliver of hope that I announce I am moving back home to Nashville next month.

I am 100% comfortable with my decision and know it’s the right move for right now, however, I am sad to be leaving my favorite city and all of my friends and the job I’ve come to love. But I am ready to get some wins under my belt, and feel confident in moving back to LA as a healthy and stable woman.

I’m also stoked to be headed to Music City and continue exploring my interest in the music industry.

Speaking of which, this past weekend I went on tour with the band tiLLie, selling merch and helping out as I could. It was a short tour- just three days- which was perfect for my first tour. It was just long enough to thoroughly exhaust me while still remaining fulfilling. It reminded me how much I long to be a part of the music industry, and how much music shapes my life. Which brings me to the newest revelation in my crazy mental health journey: I’m finally feeling again!

I saw A Star is Born the other day and wept at how beautiful one of the songs was. (Ok, I wept at many of the other scenes, too.) It’s been a long time since I have been able to express emotion like that. That film did a lot to me. And tour did, as well. It reminded me how much music saves me all the time. Constantly. As well as being a part of something. Remember that scene from Almost Famous when William is watching Stillwater from side stage for the first time? And Kate Hudson takes his pen away so that he can just enjoy the show? That is one of my all-time favorite scenes in a film because it reminds me of the times I’ve felt that way and how much those moments have brought me back to myself and who I am inspired to be. And A Star is Born has that same type of scene with Ally at side stage watching Jack perform. (If you haven’t seen the film yet, fucking run to see it.)

Being on tour was amazing, but also started off with me feeling like an outsider. I am new to the music community, and I didn’t know the band all that well before we left for tour. I was a fan of tiLLie’s music before I started working for her, and I remained one while on tour. Every night the band would sound check and I would be in the room feeling like this was where I was meant to be. But watching all of the artists in the room, I felt like a loser. In fact, I downright hated myself.

I was texting my partner nightly, explaining how much I wished I were different, that I could fit in with these people. I wanted to be cooler, and instead, I felt like the same kid who was bullied in middle school for being too different. For being ugly. For not fitting in, or standing out. I was boring. And my depression had a blast reminding me of how boring, talentless, and aimless I was while I was on tour.

And it’s true; if I could, I would become who I want to be. And maybe that’s wrong of me, and maybe you’ll comment and tell me to love myself for who I am, but I just can’t. I know there’s someone better inside me, I just need to dig her out. Some things I have no control over. I know that. But the things that I do have control over, I know I can change. The rest, I’m learning to accept. It’s a slow journey. One of the slowest journies, in fact, and I am a very impatient person.

If I could, I would call my aunt and tell her all of these things. But I can’t. So, I’m trying to imagine what she would say. I know it would start with “Oh honey…”- her signature phrase- and would move to a rallying cry of how proud she is of me and how beautiful and talented I am. She is my #1 cheerleader. So, selfishly, I wish I could talk to her about all of this so she could remind me that at least one person thinks I’m special.

But despite all of that, I had a blast on tour and wound up having a great time with the band. And even though my brain keeps telling me how talentless I am, I really do want to start writing again (I never should have stopped) and continue pursuing the things that make me happy.

I’ll find the time to go more into detail about my latest mental health foray, but for now, I’ll leave you on this happy note. Because happiness has been difficult to find lately.

 

PS- Yesterday marked TWO WEEKS with no self-harm! Back on the road to recovery!

 

 

Feeling Depressed on World Suicide Prevention Day

Hello readers,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve published on the blog. I’ve been getting settled in LA, started a new job, and moved in to a new apartment. Life has been a whirlwind. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with some major depression lately. I felt it was appropriate to talk about on World Suicide Prevention Day.

It was my birthday a few days ago, one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I’m officially in my mid-twenties, and I had wild ideas in my head of what this birthday would look like. However, when the day rolled around, I found myself unable to get out of bed other than to eat the breakfast my partner got for me. I had wanted to go to the beach, go out to eat, see friends, and take photos with my new camera…none of which I was able to do. I felt helpless. Worthless. Alone. Despite having someone by my side all day.

Fortunately, my having to go to work that night forced me to get out of bed and use my coping skills, and I ended up having a great evening; I was able to attend and enjoy my friends’ band’s tour kickoff with some of my good friends.

However, the next day I was right back in bed. I’ve slept more than I have in months, getting 12 hours of sleep a night and then taking multiple naps during the day because I can’t find anything better to do. I’m fighting every cell in my body to use the skills I’ve learned in my last couple treatment centers; my parents paid a lot of money for me to have access to these skills, and when I have to fight to use them, I feel like I’m letting them down. Which, of course, adds to the depression.

I’m not saying all of this to gain your pity. I’m doing this to out myself. Remember Sasha? She’s the one that’s been driving the bus lately, and I can’t seem to get her to stop. The only way I seem to know how is to expose her. That’s what I’ve learned about Sasha; she hates the spotlight, the shadows fuel her.

I’ve been in the hospital twice for having suicidal thoughts, both of which were fairly recent. I keep my hospital wristbands visible in my car so that I may be reminded of how glad I am that I am still alive. Even on my worst day, seeing my name on those two bands is a great reminder that I have survived worse, and that I will make it through today. (I plan on doing a separate post, or maybe even a podcast episode, on destigmatizing going to the hospital for suicidal thoughts. There is no shame in doing it.)

I am so endlessly grateful to my friends and family who have reached out to me lately to check in and see how I’m doing. You don’t know how much that means to me, even if I can’t fully express it in the moment. So keep reaching out to your loved ones. Continue making yourself available to your Facebook friends, your followers, even to strangers. That is the biggest piece of advice I can give today. Please don’t stay silent. Don’t assume your friends are doing ok. I’d like to think I can mask my depression pretty well, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has that capability. Depression is a terrible illness that is good at sneaking up on you and staying hidden in the shadows. When you reach out, you help shine a light on that depression.

Everyone has the power of helping someone feel a little less alone. Don’t forget that.

 

To those who, like me, are struggling today: I see you. You are not weak for having a mental illness. You are not weak for struggling. You are strong. You are brave. You are not alone, even though it may be the way you feel.

I take comfort in the fact that, while I feel incredibly lonely, I somehow know that I am not the only one who feels that way. Even in loneliness, there is community.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

two years later

jessica,

i’m thinking about you today.
i’m thinking of all the things i never said.
i’m thinking of all the time i let pass before reaching out to you.
i’m thinking about how lonely i feel some days, and i wonder if you felt the same way.

i hope somewhere you are reading this.
i hope someday i will get the chance to talk to you again.
i hope that wherever you are, you are still creating beautiful art.
i hope i won’t ever forget about you and the light and laughter you brought to so many.

i want to give you a hug.
i want to tell you about my art projects.
i want to tell you how much you are loved, even now.
i want to tell you how much you continue to inspire me and push me to be a better artist.

love always,

k

 

IMG_0486.JPG
Photograph by Jessica Hartweg

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EXPOSURES!

Hello beautiful people!

Today was a very big day for me! A lot of people saw I made multiple Instagram Live videos to share some exciting announcements that I’ve got for y’all! I figured folks who don’t have Instagram would want to hear the news, too, so here you go!

First of all, drumroll…

I’m starting a podcast!

Yes, you read that correctly! I’m putting myself out there and am starting a podcast that will also be titled Putting Down the Rope. I plan on branching off of this blog and diving more into mental health and its relationship to art. I will be interviewing guests, accepting stories from folks who would prefer to remain anonymous (and I will read the stories on the podcast), and featuring music/poetry/writing/art in any auditory medium (and will even link to visual art in the description of the podcast).

If you would like to be involved, PLEASE send me an email at PuttingDownTheRope@gmail.com. I will always be available to chat, bounce ideas around, and hear your story. This podcast is about you as much as it is about me.

Now, second of all…

I am raising money to fund my new project that merges mental health awareness with art! You can see the inspiration for my project here.

Basically, I want to show others that art can be used as a coping skill for things like self harm, poor body image, recovery from eating disorders or addictions, and beyond. The concept is that my subjects paint their bodies on parts of themselves they find the most vulnerable, or parts of themselves they struggle with. For me, it was self-harm. I knew using paint would be a more effective skill than actually self harming, and it actually had a better result in the long run.

My overall goal is to show others that they are seen, they are beautiful– because I think folks with mental illnesses often get overlooked or don’t think they’re special or beautiful– and above all, they are not alone. 

The problem is, I currently don’t have the key ingredient to this project: a camera!

So, I started a GoFundMe! My anxiety was very much telling me not to publish that, but here it is. I need help to make this dream a reality. I plan on buying a super cheap DSLR and the lens my friend recommended for portraits. I believe wholeheartedly in this project, and I think it will take off.

I would so appreciate any donation you can give. You can find the link at https://www.gofundme.com/cameraphoto-series.

Thirdly…

I made today’s Instagram live videos an added exposure and I played a song I recorded on live video. Un-flippin’-real.

Those who know me are very aware that I hate singing in public, or in front of anyone, really. Yet, today, I did the thing I have been most terrified of for a many, many years now. And it feels awesome. Just had to share that with the blog. 🙂 #WarriorPrincess

Lastly…

I’ve had some major mental health setbacks lately. And here I am, coming back swinging. I am so excited about life and what life has to offer, and I want to inspire others to find that spark, that zest for life, too!

I’m telling you, when you put down that rope, the world opens up. I can’t wait to share all that will follow.

Endless love to all!

K