Going Through the Motions pt. Deux by Madalyn Rowell

"Are You Depressed or Just an Asshole?" 2017

"Are You Depressed or Just an Asshole?" 2017

Almost a comfort because it’s something familiar, Depression is a part of me that I’ve been “coping” with for years, but as part of the grief process I feel myself regressing sharply into the hopelessly narcissistic void of sad. Depression seriously makes me the most asshole version of myself, seemingly self-involved and full of sabotage to said self. Being around anyone is exhausting for more than 15 minutes, I can’t fully listen because my head looks attached but my mind is a mylar balloon drifting 15, 20, 50 feet away into the sky, a shiny dot that reflects the sun one more time before it burns your eyes and some animal chokes to death on it a few weeks later. ANWAY. I want to be present and enjoy things and people, but trying to remember if I logged out of Facebook before looking at porno sites is work enough (I get paranoid). It’s frustrating when people can’t rely on you anymore, and you are letting them down, but you lack any energy to try harder. Because you’re using all said energy to block out the negative thought cycle, the ones that put a fog on anything enjoyable and scare the fuck out of you.You really stop caring about yourself and your future. "I don’t want to kill myself, BUT if I got run over today that would be fine, IF I slipped and fell onto this knife in my kitchen that would be dope, IF a deranged individual decided to bash my brains in with a rock while I’m on one of my walks I could be in the paper AND also not exist anymore so that’d be a fun 15 minutes of fame". OK I feel like I need to follow this up with some uplifting things so yawl don’t put me on a ‘watch’ so I’ll reassure you that the wind on my face and even just like one weeks worth of attention from a cute, smart guy reminds me that there are so many beautiful, real things in this world that I want to discover and that are not dead. I know I’m not done with this shit yet, this experience yet, this life yet, I know it’s still just the beginning and at the present and I am ok/dealing with this, with only a dash of apathy for the process. But that’s what it’s like to feel Depressed, you can side wash the thoughts and “decide” to think another way but that doesn’t stop them from being a part of you, humbling you, misleading you.

  And while it’s hard to interact with 99.9% of humans in your life when you’re Depressed, if you’re lucky you meet one (or more if u r really lucky) of the few out there who speak the same fucked up language as you. You’re connected in a broken, crooked way that you know isn’t right but you feel comfortable immediately because you never have to explain your thoughts or feelings, you can just exist in the world together and not expect anything. You can both be assholes to each other but never take it personally because you know it comes from a place you both share deep down inside your guts, like a shitty dull gem in a nihilistic version of a Troll doll. You can make the darkest jokes and rather than feel uncomfortable they will laugh with you, at them. But you wonder if this kind of connection is good for either of you, or will you just bring each other down more? Binge drink together more, get too real in the dumb feelings you share? 

And trying to find a balance of being social so I can stay out of my head and be alone so I can recharge my attention is impossible and anxiety inducing. Because I like meeting new people and interacting, and I like being alone with myself, it’s a conflicting cycle of guilt-of-fomo/pleasure-from-others/guilt-from-actually-enjoying-my-own-company and I’m not even Catholic or Jewish so I don’t know where that shit comes from. And it’s hard to be disappointed in anyone else’s behavior, because you know your own is shitty garbage poo-poo-cynic-sad-girl-crap that ricochets from humor to despair and is equally annoying to put up with. And the (IMO) worst part of Grief Depression is that you CAN NOT DISTINGUISH between what is part of “the process" and what are your true feelings that you’ve always had inside. Grief throws everything off and you either can acknowledge that you’re feeling the way you do because you’re confronting your truth OR you’re feeling the way you do because you’re avoiding it and letting dumb, menial things become greater to you than they are. I talked before about how IDGAF anymore and it’s a beautiful thing but also, in contrast, I’m holding feelings too deeply for things/people that I know are fleeting, but, they glimmer a slight ray of hope on the faded VHS copy of Jerry McGuire that is my life. 

 

I tried to avoid my birthday this May because last year Jono proposed to me on my bday, and also 29 is a bullshit age so who cares. And even though I pretended it wasn’t my “big day”, my wonderful coworkers made me a beautiful, delicious cake and they all sang “Happy Birthday" and I held back tears because I felt with so much certainty “I don’t deserve this, I’ve been such a selfish asshole lately, this is so fucked”. But I appreciated the fuck out of it. And then just a few days ago it would have been Jono’s 30th birthday, and that I couldn’t avoid. It happened to fall in the midst of me moving out of our apartment, which I chose to stay in through our lease being up. Sooooooooooo many people asked me how I could stay there after everything that went down (and honestly I don’t blame them at all, because from an outsider’s perspective, that would seem so weird and sad), but to me I was able to push that aside and found comfort in staying in the place we built together, so I could still hold on and pretend my life was on track. But it’s time for me to move on, and this has proven a more difficult process that even though I “prepared” myself with, in anticipation of, I was still caught off guard by how much it fucked me up. I played a show the day I got the keys to my new place and moved all my books in (priorities! I have a book-nook now so at least there’s that) and fell apart halfway through the set. I mean, I still played OK but I can usually turn my shit off and have fun. Not this time though, I half-heartedly finished the set and then quickly scooped up my gear and RAN out of the venue, hot garbage tears boiling in my eyes until I made it to the solace of my Scion (bars) and let it all out. What upset me is how it’s all real now, this life I have to start over, on my own. A fuck ton of change in a few days time will really mess with your head. And stuff like giving away the clothing of your lost love to Goodwill takes an emotional toll that even watching Homeward Bound can’t match. So, I’m sorry to all the employees of the Griggs Street Goodwill that had to awkwardly help me load his clothes into the bins, while tears streamed down my face and they attempted to give a hysterical women her a coupon for the donation. It felt like I was just throwing away this person I love/loved (I literally never know what pretense to refer to him/us/our/we/were as), even though I waited until his clothes didn’t smell like him anymore. I can’t tell you how many times I sat in that closet just inhaling his lingering fragrance like that would bring back a lost memory I needed to desperately remember at that moment in time. But this is all part of the shitty process I have to deal with, and as much as I love and appreciate everyone’s pleas to help me, I have to do this alone. I have to be a big girl and Deal or no Deal with these things. 

"I Don’t Need Tinder, Tinder Needs Me (I Have Nothing 2 Give RN EXPLICIT Version)" 2017

"I Don’t Need Tinder, Tinder Needs Me (I Have Nothing 2 Give RN EXPLICIT Version)" 2017

I guess this phase I’m in now is just like, just Taking. Taking from others with nothing to give in return. And that sucks donkey dick. I love being a listener and my friend’s go-to for help/advice/jokes. But now people are like “(complains about something in their life)...oh, but I mean what I’m dealing with is NOTHING compared to what you’ve been through”. Hey, thanks for reminding me! Let’s just fucking compare tragedies and I’ll always win, thank you for gifting me a trophy for the most fucked up life, does it come in gold and red? ‘Cuz that would totally match my mantel perfectly. Ok, that’s pretty mean, and I know when people say stuff like that it comes from a genuine place BUT PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP. I hate that my friends feel like they can’t complain to me, because I’m usually the problem solver/savior/2 cent therapist and I need that still, especially now so I can avoid my own shit, DUH. And don’t be upset if I don’t open up to you completely, it’s really, really hard for me. I’m just now, after a few months, able to look my therapist IN THE EYES and not talk about my theories on Furries the whole session, so good thing I’m paying $50 a week for that (jk though therapy is dope and everyone should probably get some for a little at least once in their lifetime 'cuz we vain ass individuals and sometimes it’s better to pay for that shit rather than put it on those around us). But on the flip side, I am ridiculously grateful for everyone who has stuck by me in this time of selfish grief, because grief is selfish as hell. I can hear myself talking too much about me, and not listening to you, and from the third person perspective I can sometimes disassociate from, I am so mad at myself. And mostly what I bitch about is really baseline, dumb shit like boys and not the real shit I really feel-‘cuz it’s still too fresh and real and raw. 

When I moved I ended up only having one friend help me (s/o to Erin for being just an amazing human overall but also putting up with my ridiculousness), and it’s not because people didn’t offer but because I’m a stubborn asshat of a human and I’m like “I CAN DO IT ALL BY ME-SELF, I DON’T NEED YOU” . But I do, I need most of you. And I know I’m doing such a shit job of showing it. I never got around to sending those Thank You cards after Jono’s funeral (although I still stand behind my initial thought that this is a stupid expectation of someone who is grieving, in particular a slacker of a human such as myself). And I probably haven’t answered your text or email or voicemail and it’s because doing those things is really, really hard right now, and I hate that it’s so hard. Trying to balance daily life activities is draining in a way I can’t explain and even though I “have this excuse” it still doesn’t make me feel any less shitty about it.  

 

But-so-yeah I am really, really sorry but I have nothing to give to you right now. There is no god damn way I could, I have to fix myself before I even attempt to fix you, or at least be there for you. Because try as I might I’m attracted af to broken jokes of a human like myself, and, as stated previously, mostly because I get it and you get it and let’s just lick each other’s wounds like the sad pathetic fucks we are. Oh, you have mild alcoholic tendencies and are self-deprecating with no direction in life but you can mouth-woo me with articulate yet bizarre language? WELL JUST FUCK ME UP BOY! I LUH DAT SHIT! Let me fix u baby pls baby pls. But I don’t really want to do that, I gotta focus on me and my career (which is quickly depleting) and my cats because at least they won’t ghost me. So I need you to be the strong one and leave me the fuck alone, because we both know that I can’t say no to witty repartee and sad, stupid eyes. And maybe it’s ok to just give each other attention sometimes without any expectations, actually that’s perfect and what I need rn, but that’s not really fair to you, or to me, either. I’m not ready, and I won’t be for a long time. And this is so hard, meeting people I have a connection with but knowing it’s not going to end well for either party, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. Because I know pain passes from one to another, Jono got to escape his pain but that’s only trapped me in mine. And I mean I don’t blame him, I know he’d never want me or his mom or his friend’s to be feeling the way we are right now. But that’s how pain works, you hold it inside yourself or you pass it along. 

 

AND ALSO PLEASE DON’T THINK FOR A SECOND YOUR DICK IS GOING TO HEAL MY PSYCHIC PAIN. It blows (haha lol hehe blows) my mind that I even have to say this but there are a few out there who have tried/attempted/joked about this and while yes, that is kind of funny, no dude, no. Just don’t. Not tight. And when it comes from a self-proclaimed “woke" individual who apparently has no sense of irony or shame it becomes all the more pathetic. Shame on you dude, preying on a vulnerable widow like that. “Oh girl I know you’re dealing with a lot right now, but if you just let me eat your asshole all that pain will dissipate” he said, unselfish-ly with nothing to gain on his end (edit-sarcasm). ‘Cuz this is what the chivalrous Disney prince of my childhood dreams would say to me, right? I have never in my adult life received so much attention from penis people (i.e.-cis-gendered people of the penis persuasion, just to clarify) and the timing is fucking odd. It’s gross and I see through it, because my pride supersedes my desperation for that kind of attention, and for once I’m glad I have too much pride. I am not a game (yes this is a Ty Segall reference, you’re welcome) or a prize, I’m a human who is going through a lot and fuck you if you want to put me through more bullshit. Just because I’m Taking right now doesn’t mean I want to take ur dick. This has been a PSA from widows/esses everywhere.

Everything Is Dumber In Texas by Madalyn Rowell

Just kidding, shit was tight! I got the full college grad student experience I never wanted, cheap beer, discussing gnosticism while watching Cabin in the Woods, getting yelled at by under grads ("you're creepy and you're old") and participating in rituals only people afraid to step outside into the real world would undertake. Here look at some pics, all shot on 35mm, a mix of Ektar 100 ISO on my Pentax ME Super and a Kodak Power Flash disposable camera for that real vacation feel baby. 

 

13.

13.

This is my dog Hunny, she lives with Jess and clearly is being neglected hence the cone. (JK Jess you're doing a great job)

This is my dog Hunny, she lives with Jess and clearly is being neglected hence the cone. (JK Jess you're doing a great job)

Oh Brian. Bums me out this didn't turn out well, but I ran into Brian at Kroger around midnight. He was in full Obi Wan gear, buying paper towels, chocolates and tonic water. I still think about Brian a lot.

Oh Brian. Bums me out this didn't turn out well, but I ran into Brian at Kroger around midnight. He was in full Obi Wan gear, buying paper towels, chocolates and tonic water. I still think about Brian a lot.

Jessica H. Thompson 

Jessica H. Thompson 

Going Through The Motions by Madalyn Rowell

Grief is a hell of a drug, and the so called 5 stages of acceptance are total bullshit. I don't think there's any way to really do this whole thing correctly, and I am certainly no expert or psychologist but I'm going through it and I can only hope that my stupid life can help us all feel "normal" during this bullshit process. 

So here are my personal stages of grief this far, almost 3 months after the death of my fiance, about 89 days since our last kiss, the one where I tried so hard to breathe life back into his body, 2108 hours since our last exchange of "I love you" over the phone, 11 1/2 weeks since I sat in a Catholic church wearing a black veil sobbing as I looked at his urn encased in flowers and a 1990's WWE Ultimate Warrior replica championship belt, laughing through my tears.

 

Holidays Are Dumb, 2016

Holidays Are Dumb, 2016

I'm going to call this phase Shock, which is the best phase and I miss it dearly. When your body is in Shock, you don't feel anything and that is just the best. There is a vice like clamp on your lower intestines at all times and you can just forget about sleep. But there is a blissful ignorance about this phase I long for, nothing could harm me at this stage because the worst had happened and my skin was thicker than ever. I returned to work after a week off, kept going through the motions like it was nothing. The amount of attention I received during this period was, overwhelming. It just happened to be around the holiday craziness so I was never alone. Christmas eve, my parents took me to my uncle's annual family party and it was great for about an hour but then I was just emotionally exhausted. My parent's didn't want me to be alone Christmas eve but I was happy to be dropped off at 9pm that night. I think everyone expected to be a hot mess but I actually relished the alone time, I did laundry and watched White Christmas and Grease 2 (talk shit and I'll fight you about it) and I didn't sleep all night. But as I lay there I remembered all the things Jono and I had done for each other the 5 years of holidays we had together, all the ridiculous Mac Tonight memorabilia we collected on Ebay for each other, the dumb fight we had one year because of family conflicts, the fact that he loved to decorate but also trusted my taste enough to let me take control of the ornaments. So this Christmas eve, my gift from him was that I felt ok alone and happy with the memories that danced like whatever holiday euphemism you want to imagine. 

 

Life is Ok but Bed is Better, 2017

Life is Ok but Bed is Better, 2017

The next stage of my grief process is all about that large, sexy hot piece we all have in our bedroom, the one that calls to us with promises of relief: the bed. And I mean, look at this fucking thing! You have to hop up to get into it so may as well never get out! Cats, bed and tv was how I spent my days outside of the few evening hours I worked, and don't be fooled like 2 of these hours were used for sleep. The rest of the time idly slipped by while the X Files or the Office played in the background as I surfed Reddit for hours. The internet and books make it so easy to stay in bed. I Googled "how long does it take to form bed sores" more than once, because while you're grieving you can forget about focusing or remembering anything. I started drinking frequently so much of the time in bed was spent hung over. Bed phase is very lonely but you don't feel guilty or sad about it yet, Shock is still there but fuzzy around the edges and your situation becomes more real, but you lack the energy to fully comprehend it. Being in bed makes your mind wander but mostly on banal stuff like "when is it too soon to masturbate?" or "is that smell me or my garbage or the litter box or what?" and you still get to avoid/compartmentalize the real shit, the deep feelings just get shoved out of the way by an intense apathy. Also it would be advised to keep a roll of toilet paper next to big sexy bed because even in apathy your going to cry, a lot.

I'm So Wet, 2017

I'm So Wet, 2017

I've never cried this much in my life, at least my conscious life, maybe when I was a baby I cried more but who knows. And this is like, deep, intense euphoric sobs, all the way from my butt hole to the top of eyebrows which throb when hot tears and snot pour out of my face holes. Taking this photo was incredibly difficult because 1.) I was sobbing, and 2.) it felt so ridiculously self-indulgent I really didn't want to take it, like how dare I use my art to feel better, what a bunch of vain bull shit. I want everyone to think I'm a tough ass bitch and this is me at my most vulnerable, which is why I cropped out my eyes, it was too personal. This whole blog is too personal but sometimes you have to make yourself SO UNCOMFORTABLE in order to heal or whatever. ANYWAY this crying phase is so stupid I hate it, and it will never really go away, I took this photo a 6 weeks ago and I had to leave work tonight because I was about to cry all over my customers.

When I was a teenager my mom always said "It's ok to cry, it gets the sad out of you" but I hated that shit and can count on one hand the amount of times I have cried from ages 13-18. I used to relish at how strong I was for not being a lil' cry baby,  but now realize it was immature and I was denying myself my right to feel, so instead I did crazy shit like drugs and shop lifting (sorry mom) to feel something. There are two people in the world I feel the most comfortable calling when I'm crying, my oldest sister Kelly and my best friend Jessica, and thank whatever you believe in that I have them to just listen to me sob and try to make me laugh in between my gasps for air. Thank you ladies for letting me feel comfortable enough to take the defenses down even for just ten minutes and still thinking I'm a strong person. Because that's what everyone tells me, "you're so strong" but they don't have to live in my head everyday, they aren't there when I break down because I keep that as much to myself as possible, but it does happen and more often than I'd like to admit. But even now I can admit, finally, it's ok that it happens, it's ok to feel shit, even the dumb stupid gross stuff. 

 

I Don't Know Who I am Anymore, 2017

I Don't Know Who I am Anymore, 2017

I'm in this phase currently, and it's dumb as hell. I've read all the existential literature and still am not as prepared for these feelings/whatevers as I thought I'd be. I feel that I've always had a strong sense of identity and who I was for (most) of my life, but I'm doing things and feeling shit I've never done before. One plus to this is my courage to finally be direct with people (especially dumb idiot people with penises). Which started out great! I told myself I'd be direct rather than passive about my feelings for once and it has only back fired on me... well, almost every time. But I'm actually really happy with my new found honesty, it's another gift Jono gave me. I hate to think some silly guy was what I needed to feel good about myself, but Jono without a doubt made me feel like I was so capable and talented and encouraged every endeavor I took on (even the ones he was jealous about). So I was in this incredibly warm, comforting soft cushion of a relationship and then suddenly I'm on my own again and all the insecurity bees are stinging me all over whatever bit of confidence I had left. 

Also now that Shock has completely subsided, I'm feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS AT ONCE HOLY SHIT FUCK YES NO AHHHHHH!  Like did you know that grief can make you so horned up you decide hooking up with a guy just for just sex is a good idea? As if you could possibly emotionally detach yourself from anything in this phase? Even though that is so out of character for you but hey who cares you just wanna feeeeel good. And it does feel good (even though he reminds you of one of your exes because he loves Dinosaur Jr. and ass play,  but who cares?). And then he leaves, and the hot snot tears come back, but he still talks to you for a week and you enjoy his company but MAYBE THIS IS ALL A FARCE AND YOU DON'T FEEL SHIT FOR THIS PERSON BUT ARE ONLY PROJECTING LEFT OVER FEELINGS FOR YOUR DEAD FIANCE ONTO THIS POOR BOY. And then he stops talking to you and you remember how shitty dating is and how fucking stupid boys can be and how good you had it and god damnit why did he have to die on me? Why do you ALWAYS get dumped? You are a hot ass queen b, what the fuck is wrong with you that the one relationship that works ends in a horrible ridiculous tragedy? It's probably because of all the bad shit you did as a teenager. Wait no, that's crazy, you did plenty to absolve that. You'd feel better if you started playing guitar again! You love music so much! But what if people just laugh at your music? Or your photos? Or your dumb blog where you're probably being too honest but you're trying so hard to be direct and honest now! Shit now you're crying again. No fuck that, you got this, you got this, I. Got. Dis. 

And this is what happens on the daily now, or at least every few days. I'll be up, up UP then so down my cats are clearly eye balling me, waiting to see if they can start eating my face yet. I'll go out every night and day to shows or band practice or photo shoots or work because you can't feel anything if you're constantly busy! But that's total bullshit, and the feelings come up in the most inconvenient times, like at work or in Target while shopping for toothpaste. So then I'll stay in a few nights with just myself and my guitar, pissing off my neighbors learning the chords to all the Neutral Milk Hotel songs because I'm the saddest sack on the planet right now. And I can't even feel too bad for myself because there are so many people in the world going through way worse shit and I'm being a little baby. But I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who has to just go through the motions, who is also second guessing every action and reaction, because together we are just gunna have to fake it 'til we make it.