The Artist’s Self-Portrait

Withdrawal is a bitch. There’s no other appropriate, or inappropriate, way to put it. Due to a screw-up on the part of my physician, the anti-depressant that I’ve been on for almost two years was not refilled on time. It has been almost a week since my last dose. There were about four days where I was nauseous, achy, had vertigo so bad I could barely stand, and a bit of a headache.

It’s evened out now, and I’ve actually never been this stable without medication since I was in middle school. (which was a while ago, to my horror as I reflect.)

I’ve never been quite in this good of a place to not be on an anti-depressant.

My family and I are…struggling. Specifically, my parents and I have quite ceased to see eye-to-eye on everything from my haircut to my boyfriend. But I have such good friends that have happily stepped in and behaved as family.

I currently have a better relationship with my boyfriend’s mom than my own. Isn’t that a twist of fate!

But other than that niggling stress, I’m quite happy. I’m moving/moved here now, and don’t necessarily see myself leaving in the foreseeable future. I’ve got an endless stream of coffeeshop visiting and Netflix binging set up for my summer. I’m rather excited about the friends I have, and the fun I can have this summer. Though I will have to work plenty, it won’t be nearly as much as this past year–50 hour weeks no more!

About 10 publishers are looking at my poetry. I’d never considered publishing before, so just the chutzpah to submit some of my writing came slow. I’ve received three rejections so far, but I’m so un-distressed by that. Poetry is like wine, I think. It improves with age; the more life I live, the better it will become. Just because my poetry does not get published now does not mean it never will.

I journal several times a week now, for the first time in my life. I just am doing so many things, and learning so much about myself and about life that I can’t keep track without writing it down. I feel that some day I will look back at what I’m writing now with some kind of amusement. But so much is happening so quickly that I scrawl it down illegibly and move on to my next adventure.

It’s not just my relationship either. (which, by the way, is fantastic. this man waited for months for me to realize that he was genuinely interested in me, and when I didn’t, finally just stopped me in my tracks and told me in the face of my shock. he has an endless well of patience, fortunately for me, because I test it at every turn through sheer ignorance and incompetence. {and i love him, and he loves me} and somehow we are opposites in the strangest ways but still manage to slot together like puzzle pieces, and balance each other perfectly.)

But no, it’s not just that. Honestly, who would want to date someone that wasn’t a complete, growing, dynamic person in and of themselves? Which I’d like to say I am. A bit of distance from who I was all growing up, some space from those preconceptions and expectations has been wonderful.

In the absence of knowing my name, people describe me as the tall girl with the rings. I wear four, generally. Middle and ring fingers of both hands. Most of them change, but one of them is always a golden, green-eyed snake whose nose stabs at my knuckled if I move my hand wrong.

I’ve been described by my scarf collection. I’m the girl with the hipster glasses, the woman with the pixie cut, the lady with the bright purple or pink lipstick. The one that always has a coffee cup, the one that talks with her hands, the one that wears all the different outfits and manages to pull them off.

I’m an odd picture of a person–an impish smile, bright lipstick, dark eyeshadow, short hair still brassy red from a theater-mandated dye job gone bad. I toss back my head when I laugh, and people notice. The necklace I always wear was my great-grandmother’s. I gesture wildly when I talk about things I’m passionate about, which is everything from Marvel’s latest movies to laws regarding the parental rights of rapists (which, incidentally, exist and are horrifying.)

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I’m like a VanGogh painting–brilliant and sweeping and hiding an aching pain that is sometimes worse than others. Even on the days I don’t necessarily get out of bed promptly, or function well, there is still some beauty in it. Needing anti-depressants never defined anyone– anyway I’d rather be appreciated for my scarves, or lipstick, or whatever. One doesn’t cancel out the other, though. I’m a bit of both; strange juxtaposition of the dark and light that sweeps around, and hides hurts under eyeshadow and a bright blue blazer.

But even though my body wonders where my prescription is, even though my hands are trembling from it, even though I’ve got concealer under my eyes to hide the purple, this is beautiful in the ways spring is. When everything grows back, the flowers bloom, and there are thunderstorms and mud, and annoying geese laying eggs and defending them viciously, so it’s the good mingled with the bad, and you choose which you focus on.

 

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