I Wrote a Song! and other news

Good evening, readers!

It’s an exciting day today. My friend just sent me the finished song that I wrote and recorded with him! The good news? I’m going to let you listen to it!

Normally I would be petrified to share anything like this with you; but this song is very special to me and I’m going to set aside my fears today because I want to share this piece of music with you. Unlike many things I do, I am very proud of this.

My dear friend, Skyler Garn, co-wrote and recorded this for me. I couldn’t have done this without him.

You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-376535138/independent-lady 

 

PS- I’m planning on starting a Perfectionist Group on Facebook! This group will aim to help squelch those pesky perfectionistic thoughts by encouraging posts of projects/artwork/writing/chores/etc. etc. etc. that may not be 100% perfect in your eyes. The group is meant to be encouraging and nonjudgmental. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of it!

PPS- A lot of people have been asking me how my move to Nashville went and how it feels being back home with my parents. The move was long but good, and I am happy to be home! I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I won’t be returning to LA anytime soon, but at the same time I’ve already done a lot of thinking about my career and the steps I will be able to make towards figuring out what it is I want to do! So far I’m excited and a bit nervous and anxious. However, I am extremely happy to be with my family and my doggo. A more detailed post is forthcoming.

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!

 

 

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

Being a Multipotentialite: The Intimidation Factor

Recently, I came across a TEDx Talk called “Why Some of us Don’t Have One True Calling.” In it, Emilie Wapnick discusses the notion that there are individuals out there who bounce from one interest to another, and why doing that is not necessarily a bad thing.

She calls them “multipotentialites,” aka people with many interests and creative pursuits. I fall under the multipotentialite category. In fact, I am specifically a “mixed-style multipotentialite,” meaning I fall more into the right-brain side, and am happiest when I have a few different projects on my plate, but I get overwhelmed when I have too much variety. Sometimes I go through periods where I am working on many different projects, and others where I am deeply invested in one single thing.

I enjoy being a multipotentialite, even though some people don’t fully understand it. Some think I’m just being indecisive, or that I’m impressionable. Emilie taught me that being a multipod actually means I have superpowers that others don’t have. Some of those include the ability to wear many hats, fast skill acquisition, and idea synthesis. My love of many different things has provided me with an exploratory mind; one that I have used to my advantage when applying for jobs or getting projects done at work.

Now, I get to the tough part. There are many things that interest me, and there are things that I want to learn how to do, such as playing the bass, writing poetry, or doing portrait photography. I also am an activist who wants to get involved (usually in some creative way) in many different issues; mental health awareness, anti-rape and sexual assault advocacy, domestic violence prevention, ending human trafficking, eating disorder education, and more.

The reason all of these things is so tough to have rolling around in my head, is because my social anxiety tells me that I shouldn’t try new things because I won’t be good at them and I’ll just embarrass myself. I get intimidated because there are always people who will be better at playing the bass, have more poetry books published, know more about the efforts to end human trafficking, etc. etc. and I wonder why I should try if I’m only going to make a fool of myself?

My anxiety challenges the multipod in me. I have the desire to explore so much of what the world has to offer, and yet I feel hindered in doing so.

My depression also limits me as a multipotentialite. I have a very difficult time focusing, my memory is not very good, and it’s hard for me to stay motivated on the projects that excite me. And, of course, depression’s number one symptom is the lack of enjoyment in things you once enjoyed. So, when I have a number of projects that I had started that suddenly become uninteresting to me, it drags my motivation down further.

I hesitated writing this for a long time. I didn’t want to out myself as an unproductive multipotentialite. But I wouldn’t be staying true to the blog if I didn’t write about my experience with my mental health and how it affects me day-to-day.

I am still exploring how to fight this depression and anxiety, through various therapy modalities and medications. My meds were helping for a time, but now I’m back in the funk I have been in all my life. Unmotivated, unwilling, hopeless.

However, I am not completely without hope! I have been exploring Emilie’s website, Puttylike, and I’m seeing a new psychiatrist soon who will hopefully get me on meds that will make me feel like more of a functioning human. I want to be the full-blown multipotentialite that I know is lying dormant inside of me. I want to be the most productive bass-playing, photograph-taking, poetic activist that ever was! I know I can get there. I just can’t allow myself to get discouraged by the journey my anxiety and depression take me on every once in a while.

Demi Lovato: Not Just Another Overdose

I just learned of Demi Lovato’s overdose.

For those who are unaware, this is very personal and upsetting news to hear; not long ago, I almost lost a friend to an overdose. I saw the immediate effects of substance abuse when I was with them in the hospital. I watched them have seizure after seizure until they had to be so heavily medicated they couldn’t breathe on their own. Witnessing that is one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for their family.

I first heard of Demi’s overdose as the punchline of a joke. I thought it was fake, just someone trying to be funny in poor taste. But then I saw stories of her in magazines and knew it had to be true. My heart broke for her and her friends and family.

I just want to say, mental illness is no joke. I’m sure most of you reading this post have been affected at one point or another by substances, and maybe you don’t understand addiction. I can tell you that my friend did not want to die. But the substances made them think they did. Overdosing is not a joke. I’m actually surprised I just typed that sentence out…

If you are struggling with an addiction, please know there is no shame in reaching out. I know it’s hard. My eating disorder was an addiction in and of itself, and it took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t just going to get better on my own. My disorder prevented me from living the best life I could. I know in the moment it doesn’t feel like there’s hope for recovery, but I promise you there is. My friend is living proof.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 24-hour treatment referral hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit Findtreatment.samhsa.gov for free and confidential help. In the case of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Allowing Failure

“You become a writer by writing, there is no other way. So, do it. Do it more. Do it better. Fail. Fail better.” -Margaret Atwood

I haven’t been blogging for a while because I’m working on a larger project in my free time. It’s time I put myself out there and allow myself to fail.

This is the largest project I’ve ever worked on and it’s pretty daunting and hugely exhilarating. I hope to share it with you eventually.

As always, thanks for reading.

-K

The Passion Spectrum

Good morning, folks!

I recently announced on my private Facebook page that I am moving back up to Los Angeles this summer. For those readers who don’t know me personally, Southern California has been my home for the last few years, and while I live close to LA now, it’s not close enough. I moved out of LA for a job, and now that the job (and treatment) is over, I’m ready to head back. Which, of course, means looking for a new job.

Which brings me to the subject of this post! What happens when your career is part of your identity, but you realize you want to switch careers? I’m currently figuring that out.

Theatre has always been a part of my identity; it’s the only passion and love I’ve ever really had. But lately, I’ve come to the realization that it’s been a long time since I’ve felt fulfilled by theatre. Particularly in a creative way. I think my time in San Diego and in treatment gave me the perfect opportunity to take a step back and take a look at what I truly want to be doing. And right now, as shocking as this realization was to me, that thing is not theatre.

A good friend of mine runs a blog called “Tipsy Theatre Traveler.” A few weeks ago she wrote this post regarding theatre and how it’s often tied to identity, and the relationship between dreams and our idea of failure. Her post really spoke to me because I definitely believe theatre is a part of what makes me me, and that has what made it so difficult to begin pursuing other career options. All my life, I have worked towards a career in theatre. I was a theatre major, I moved to Los Angeles to work in theatre, I moved to San Diego to work in theatre; this will be the first time I won’t be chasing the theatre dream. And I gotta say, it feels incredibly strange.

I don’t know what comes next for me. The last few months have been incredibly overwhelming because I haven’t known where to turn or how to begin searching for a new dream or passion. Theatre feels like all that I am. Recently, I have been starting to formulate a new career goal- which has been exciting- and yet it still feels very foreign and unlike me. Honestly, not feeling fulfilled by theatre feels very unlike me. All because it has been all that I am for most of my life. When people think of me, that’s what they see. And now that I want to change that, it feels disappointing; almost as if I’m letting myself and others down.

As I am discovering other skills and fleshing those skills out into careers that interest me, I am excited for the future. And I am flippin’ terrified. But I am a different person than I was before treatment. Now that I am not so focused on my health, it’s time for me to allow myself permission to explore other careers in a non-perfectionistic way. I am not a failure because I’m shifting gears away from what I know best. Theatre is not all that I am. My dreams are allowed to change.

 

 

 

 

Happy Pride, btw Gender is a Construct

Happy Pride month, to all my beautiful humans!

 

GENDER IS A CONSTRUCT

 

I’ve been ashamed of discussing my fears of expression, mostly because I don’t fully understand them myself. But it’s Pride, so screw the fear! I want to live up to my core value of authenticity. It’s difficult to share my insecurities, and I know that when I do it, I always feel better. And I hope it’s helpful to others, too.

 

I have never felt fully aligned as feminine; I prefer pants and shorts to dresses and skirts. If I can wear Keds instead of heels, I will. I hate carrying a purse, and wished women’s pants had larger pockets. When I can afford it, I will get breast reduction surgery, but in the meantime I bind my breasts. This is how I feel the most comfortable.

While I’ve felt this way for a long time, I’ve recently been able to label those feelings. I feel extensively uncomfortable in my own skin and I don’t feel like I have any sense of personal style. I have been discussing gender fluidity and gender as a spectrum with my therapists and friends lately, which I am finally starting to understand on a level I hadn’t before.

This weekend is LA Pride (so of course I’m sitting in an LA coffee shop in tie dye as I write this) and it will be my first time binding in public. Actually, it will be my first time presenting masculine in public. I’m still very nervous, but I think it’s fitting that my first time presenting this way is during an event that was created to be a safe place to do this exact thing. Yes, it’s scary as shit to suddenly change my look in front of everyone, especially when I worry about folks thinking I’m a “poser” or something like that. And I am so excited to feel comfortable in my own skin and feel like I’m wearing clothes that make me feel like me.

I recently overheard a guy in a coffee shop yelling at his girlfriend who told him she’s cutting her hair. He kept yelling “No! Why?!” Really? Will she be so repulsive with short hair that you won’t want to be with her anymore? Will she not be feminine enough for you? These are the reasons I am afraid of expressing myself in other ways.

Earlier this year I cut my hair pretty short to defy female beauty standards; I was tired of feeling like I would only be attractive if I had long hair. I once wrote a post about my experience working at a pretty high quality restaurant in Beverly Hills when I first moved here (read it here). I hadn’t figured it out yet, but when I would cry on my way to and from work because of the way I had to present myself, I was experiencing this same conflict that I plan on defying tomorrow. This is the beginning of me exploring my own gender presentation. And it doesn’t mean I don’t identify as a woman, because I do, I’m simply wearing the clothes that make me feel like me. This is the start of my journey to figure out what my style is; what helps me feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin.

It’s ok if some days I wear a binder and other days I don’t. I can paint my nails one day, remove it the next. There is no right or wrong in the way I choose to express myself. The bonus: I’m now feeling freedom to discover these things as I am not as focused on eating disorder behaviors.

Love is love is love is love, and my friends will love me no matter what clothes I wear.

Happy Pride, everyone.