Express Yourself

This post is a topic that’s difficult for me to talk about on the internet. It’s difficult, period. This April I went to the Alameda county courthouse with the woman I loved, and we filed a dissolution of marriage.

I’m not ready to describe to the world at large what my last year has been like, what it was like in the time leading up to that day in April. Suffice it to say that in the last year I have gone through a wide range of emotions, and have learned a lot about myself. I went to therapy, wrote in journals, spent many hours and some late nights on the phone with friends, and I started to create new patterns in life. I did these things to try to process what happened, to find some relief, and to begin to move on.

Most of my friends and acquaintances on the internet have seen what I’ve chosen to show- silly quirky posts on Facebook and Instagram, sharing links and thoughts that I think are fun and funny, pictures of a crazy beard that I’ve grown just for the hell of it, a new set of hipster glasses. I’ve been trying to *be* fun and happy and nutty, just faking it until I make it. It’s not the full truth. I didn’t post about how bad I felt.

Maybe the front I’m putting up is really transparent, and everyone has been watching my pain. Maybe the mask is too good, and people at a distance can’t understand why I’m not feeling worse. I haven’t been honestly expressing myself, especially not in crowds or on the internet. As a few of my close friends and family know, I have had many dark days. I’m not posting it on Facebook, but I felt it. Although I spent a long time where I was down more often than up, and nothing seemed like it would ever be OK, I had (and continue to have) amazing support from a few close friends and my family. If that’s you, thank you.

I’m on a journey, and one thing I’m working on is self expression. I’m trying to speak up in the moment and say what’s on my mind. As I get in touch with how I really feel, I’m starting to rediscover the satisfaction of creating art. This week I wanted to create a small but honest glimpse of an emotion I’ve felt, and so I created a photo to do it. Maybe somebody else can identify with what I’m showing here, and maybe if that’s you then you’ll feel a little better knowing that you’re not the only person who’s felt like that. I know that sometimes I feel better when I can identify myself in what somebody else is expressing.

Before I link to the photo, I will say that as of today I am feeling some optimism for the future. It’s not all so dark, and most of the time now I have a light heart and a good attitude. I don’t have a concrete plan for my future in the long term, but I do have plans for the next few months, and creative expression is on the agenda. Things are looking up.

This is a first draft.

After I helped her move out and I began living alone, and after it became clear that we weren’t going to work it out, I looked over at the half of the king sized frame where her side used to be. That gap was the saddest damn thing. It still is. I’d lay there in bed at night and reach out for her, and my arm would stick out into empty space, and flop down against the edge of the mattress box.

It took me a while to see that this could be the subject of a photo, and to figure out that maybe I’d better do it. “Totally should”, right?

Although this is a visual image, I have always felt more moved by music than anything else. Hearing certain songs at the right time (or the wrong time) can make me sing and dance, or cry like a baby. This is mostly true when I’m alone, and I have a hard time sharing it with others. I don’t know why.I wish that I could write music to express these things. When I played, that was a way that I felt safe sharing, expressing- even flaunting any given emotion one-on-one or in a crowd. It was totally cool to go into a fit of rage, or be sad, or manic, or lustful, and to radiate the sound of it to a hundred people at once.

Unfortunately,  I haven’t practiced in about eight years, and a drum set was never a great instrument for this kind of story. I haven’t done the kind of electronic music that would *maybe* have the required range of expression in ten or eleven years, and right now it is too frustrating to try to pick it up again just to try to make my ideas reality. It takes too long, the feelings are too strong.

I am thankful that I traded my drums for something else, and didn’t lose the ability to create. As I continue on this journey, I’ll keep making things.

Addendum- I am done with this idea. There will not be another draft.

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