A New Low

I am no stranger to mental health. I have long considered myself to be a mental health advocate, always encouraging coworkers, friends, and family to take care of their mental health. Find a therapist, take meds, meditate, read: get your spoons back.

I have also been open with friends and family about my past struggles with anxiety. This was mostly in college as I dealt with coming to terms with being gay, graduating, and moving into the “real world.” I haven’t minded sharing about anxiety attacks or taking SSRIs. For the last several years it’s been easy to talk from a place of peace and safety.

It’s more difficult now to write about my depression and dark night of the soul from the midst of such a terrible moment. I have never had such a crisis in faith as I reevaluate who I am and what I believe. I have never felt more terror as I contemplate death. The unceasing rumination in my head trying to fathom nothing. Trouble falling asleep, waking up to unwelcome thoughts, constant feelings of impending doom. Fatigue, heart palpitations, short breaths, hopelessness.

Honestly I’m not sure if there is nothing or something in death. I haven’t come to any particular conclusion as I sort through things. But I want to write, journal, and catalog more of my thoughts from the eye of the storm rather than in retrospect.

Thoughts, prayers, and good vibes are all welcome.

I have recently restarted my SSRI, am in intensive outpatient therapy, taking a leave from work, and am fortunate to have a decent support system. If you’re going through something, you’re not alone. We’re in this together.

A blog? In 2022?

The blog craze of the early 2000s has come and gone, and yet here I am in 2022 starting a blog. With platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more all still in large use, it might seem odd to start a blog now. Why not publish my thoughts elsewhere?

However, I have my issues with these platforms. Facebook’s algorithm and marketing strategy continuously change my timeline and every fourth post is an ad. Instagram was created and continues to be a platform mostly for images. Twitter has its roots in quick, SMS-style bits of information even after they’ve increased the amount of text per tweet and the ability to create long(er) form threads. And all of them are jumbled mixtures of media: posts, ads, stories, reels (RIP fleets), retweets, collaborations, a share of a share of a share from a page that used to be a like… the list goes on.

I’d like to post with more intention. Recently, I read a book titled How to Do Nothing which was a very thought-provoking read. In it, the author, Jenny Odell, discusses social media and its impact on the world. I appreciated that her solution to social media as it exists was not to tear it down, renounce it, and never look back, but rather to change it. Could we use a decentralized system? Might it be geographically based using larger mesh networks and platforms such as Mastodon?

A WordPress blog isn’t necessarily decentralized, but I do have more control over what people see when they visit, and that’s a step in the right direction. Posts can be long form and I’ll have a chance to edit, delete, elaborate, and review before posting. But the goal with choosing this platform is intentional. And simple. These are just my musings and posts: maybe I’ll post a new cocktail recipe or which book I’ve picked up. The beauty of it though is that it stops there. I don’t have any goals of making money from these pages and posts, no affiliate links or ads.

So feel free to join me and follow along! Add a comment, send me a message, suggest a new recipe. I’m all ears.

Dune Messiah (Dune #2)

Frank Herbert

If I hear a movie or TV show is coming out and it’s based on a book, I always try to read the book first. Dune, by Frank Herbert, was no exception. I will admit that the size of the book was daunting but last year I read Dune in anticipation for the stunning movie.

The movie was so good, in fact, that I watched it twice and after the second time I ordered the second book in the saga, Dune Messiah. I was excited to read the second book because it offered much more to the story. While reading a thread online, I saw some concerns about Dune being a story of a white, male savior coming in to save the day. One commenter on this thread mentioned that this is only the first book of six and that the story progresses to be quite the opposite.

This piqued my interest and so I ordered book two, curious to learn more. I have to agree after reading this that Dune does not end in a happily-ever-after. Herbert wrote this saga to chronicle this universe and all it’s ups and downs.

Prior to starting, I also saw that Dune Messiah was not originally written as a novel, but it was serialized and published in parts in a magazine and later compiled into a book. I could tell where some of the story was broken up but it didn’t detract from the story or interrupt my reading in any way.

If you enjoy the writing style of Herbert in Dune and fell in love with Arrakis, then you’ll enjoy Dune Messiah. Curious to find out what I’m reading next? Check me out on Goodreads!

The Outskirts of Hope

I picked up The Outskirts of Hope: A Memoir of the 1960s Deep South by Jo Ivester during a spontaneous weekend trip to Franklin, Indiana where we visited the Wild Geese Bookshop. The store is located in a gorgeous old home and the books were very well curated.

I finished this book today, March 25, 2022. The further I got into the book, the more I enjoyed it. Ivester interplayed her and her mother’s diaries very well and the story and plot worked well together. As I read, I kept thinking that Aura Kruger was such a lively character that this would make a great movie. In reading the epilogue, it turns out they did! In 1986, a made-for-TV movie titled The George McKenna Story, was released and the story didn’t focus on Aura Kruger, but she was included in this film and portrayed by Barbara Townsend. It appears that it’s on Netflix so I’ll have to go watch it.