Praise and Depression
Ohhhh my. Well I started writing this at 7:55 pm on Tuesday, realizing that I never got around to writing and sending this week’s email. Though, we could consider the email I sent on Sunday, where I announced that I turned two paywalled posts into free posts, this week’s email:
But, besides those two extra posts, I’ll just give an update on where my head is and some epiphanies I’ve been having recently.
I’m Depressed… haha.
I’ve been joking with my friends (who don’t live near me) that I’m depressed, but like… I am. And it’s not horribly serious, so I’m not worried and you don’t need to be either. It’s just… my life is pretty lame right now. And I am not where I want to be. And I can’t keep operating the way I have been, if I want things to be different.
The only time in my life that I’ve felt quite like this, was before The F*ck It Diet. I remember I was watching Friday Night Lights in the morning, not knowing what I wanted, not having any direction, not knowing what my job was, about to quit acting and embark on healing my relationship with food, and I was … depressed. It was a fact. (I talk about this in Tired as F*ck). But then I went on my crazy healing journey, and it ended up shaking everything up, and improving my life a million fold.
Then of course, five years later I had a new crisis, I wasn’t depressed but I was burnt out. So I went on a new journey. Now here I am 5ish years later, and it’s here again: a new crisis, a new opportunity to figure out how to get back on the path I need to be on. Or… something like that.
Now, I don’t want people to think: Oh what’s the point then? Why improve your life if you’re just going to end up in a crisis again in 10 years?! WELL! At least I’m not stressing about food and hating my body during this new, fresh crisis! At least I’m not exhausted as hell or having liver pain and constant low-grade fevers like I was 5 years ago!
It’s like… a new level of healing for me. A new level of figuring out what is real and important to me. I spent the last ten years enjoying a lot. I had a lot of fun. I had a LOT of joy. I did cool things. …Acting again. Writing two books. Becoming small-time instagram famous. It’s all very cool and impressive looking on paper, isn’t it? I look very impressive from the outside with my little blue checkmark I cared about getting so much, and my two published books. And my 200K+ instagram followers… before I realized it was a trap and a cage, and all of a sudden I found myself having to say things on a script or be ousted and called a terrible person. So, after teetering on the edge of the abyss for a year, I chose to be ousted over a pandering fake who can’t sleep at night.
And now I am asking big big questions like… ok, what is important to me? And what do I want? And what am I willing to do to get what I want? To be honest, I wanted to be rich, by writing books that I loved to write, that millions of people read.
But that didn’t happen. Which is fine, that is life. Enough people like my books, sure, and that’s amazing. And I’ve supported myself for a few years with writing, which is also amazing. But I am constantly on the verge of never making money again. It’s not a dire situation, it’s just not… without stress and concern over how I’ll be making money in the next year or two.
But more importantly… am I happy? Is this what I thought it would be like? Is this what I want? …Living in a suburban house, by myself, at 34, spending too much time on instagram convincing myself it’s essential and part of my job, with the pressure of figuring out what neatly packaged next BOOK I can write (for the book advance money… and the project to focus on), now that I think things that you’re not allowed to think, but also, even worse, I don’t even really KNOW what exactly I think, and I especially don’t know how to package any of that up with a neat little bow and sell it to a publisher? And even if I knew what I wanted it to be… does my agent even want to represent whatever that book would be? All terrifying questions with possibly terrifying answers. And so…. I worry. And I wait for clarity. And I ask for epiphanies. And the epiphanies have started to come.
But I’ve also started realizing I have to change things up if I want to … change things up. I went off my weed edibles for sleep, which feels like a good step to feel more ALIVE, because I was becoming dependent on them and took them early enough to spend toooo much of my nights like a zombie. I barely watch tv anymore (I just don’t… want to. It’s so odd. And it’s been this way for months.), and I just took a nice instagram break for a few days, and plan to take more, often. I’m back on hinge, which, I do hate, but also had no time or energy for when I was on instagram nonstop and high every night… and…. I don’t know… nothing has changed yet, but it feels like good starts.
I also realized recently… that not only did I spend my entire childhood, teens, and twenties getting constant praise for being such a great singer, and so extremely talented, (which I turned on myself in intense pressure to live up to some impossible ridiculous version of what I thought that had to be) but then when I quit, I just replaced all of that with constant praise for The F*ck It Diet and writing. You changed my life. You are my favorite person on instagram. You are so funny. I mean.. it’s amazing to get messages like that, but whattttt… tell me whatttt does that do to someone’s brain? What has that done to my brain? Now, in the last year, since trying to be honest about what is going through my head, half of the people who followed me have told me I’m a horrible insufferable selfish person who they don’t recognize, as if they ever knew me, and the other half… or maybe less than half, have praised me even more for not bending to this strange and oppressive cultural oddness. So, more praise. Mixed with tons of hate.
I think that kind of barrage of hate is hard for anyone… but it’s just all so odd. Like … how does one cope? How does one look at themselves and their life? After all that praise? And then all that hate? And then all that praise again? To be honest… I actually think I’m relatively well-adjusted all things considered, which shocks me constantly. Not to say it hasn’t affected me, I’m sure it has. And maybe I AM totally deluded and don’t see the truth and I really am some insane narcissistic insufferable attention whore. I don’t know. What is one supposed to do when their inclination is to sing and act and then write? Not do it? I DON’T KNOW. I don’t even know how I got myself into this position, writing this email to 36K people? I don’t even know if half of these people are just hate reading my emails now. I DON’T KNOW.
I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.
Praise-wise, please don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to get good feedback. It’s WONDERFUL to be appreciated. I love when people share with me that they love my writing, because I do doubt. And if I didn’t get good feedback, I may not continue. Because… I can’t say it’s been a cake-walk, especially the last few years. I’d probably still write for myself because I do love it. But I’d probably stop sharing publicly.
I doubt what I’m doing all the time. Like… what? I can just WRITE what I am thinking and people read it and LIKE it? WHY DO they? Am I deluded? It made sense with The F*ck It Diet because I was helping. I had real info to share about real things that could help people.
But now I’m like THE SKY IS FALLING! PEOPLE HATE ME! I AM DEPRESSED! THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO KILL US! I DON’T PUT MY PRONOUNS IN MY BIO (actually I’ve never talked about that yet…) and some people still say: please keep writing.
It’s crazy. I don’t know.
I had another epiphany the other day, while I was driving and singing something from Bridges of Madison County, which, if you know it, and know musical theater, is very mixy soprano-y singing. And it felt great, because I don’t sing very often anymore, and it was easy and sounded good. I have always sounded like Kelli O’Hara, if you know who she is. Every director/casting director/agent always told me: you are one of the only people I’ve heard who sounds just like Kelli O’Hara. And it was a compliment, but also, that meant I had to be little and pretty like my little pretty voice, PLUS: that kind of singing wasn’t exactly good enough for most roles in 2010 Broadway. I had to be more MODERN. More BELTY. I’m not really a belter, I kind of can… but it’s not my strength. My strength is this very pretty, sweet thing, that I felt like people didn’t really want or need. I don’t even know if that’s TRUE or if that was just a story I told myself. I don’t even know. It may have just been a story I told myself: eh, I’m good but not good ENOUGH.
But as I sang the other day it hit me in a new and very sad way… oh my god... I… was so good. And all I felt was stressed that I wasn’t good like those belter people. And so I beat myself up: how can I be more like them.
Hi, I’m sorry, I’m here to audition, I’m good-ish I guess, but I’m sorry I’m not more like them.
And… I think I’m still doing that with my writing. Hi I’m sorry I’m not like them. Hi I’m sorry I’m not Glennon Doyle. Hi I’m sorry I’m not still wanting to talk about anti-diet stuff nonstop. Hi I’m sorry that I don’t agree with what I’m supposed to agree with. Hi I’m sorry that if I have to think about branding and packaging my beliefs up into a book proposal again, and tying it all up with a little bow, I will THROW UP.
So… maybe I should just sing my little soprano songs in my car, that I sing really fucking well, and write my little posts… and let the chips fall where they may. And if worse comes to worst I’ll… get a job in a hardware store or something.
Anyway. All of this to say… thank you for reading. Ha! Even if you think I’m going insane. My life is very strange. I mean, I’m sure ALL of our lives are very strange, especially right now, and especially if we can tell how truly strange these times are. But my job is also very strange and I’m not even sure what it is, or how I got here.
So, thanks for reading, as always.
I’ll update more about my circumstantial depression and crisis and epiphanies in time.
More next week, probably the second installment of Parasites (and I haven’t decided if it’s going to be free or paywalled yet.)
Happy almost full moon, and happy 10:13 PM.
Agh, I have to go to bed.
Problematic is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.