How This Plague Will Save Us

People are saying, "This virus is ripping us apart, it's creating gaps in our relationships, it's dividing us as families, as a people. We can't let it do that, we can't enforce quarantine, we can't stop living our lives or it wins!" But in reality, this virus is forcing us to unite, it is forcing us to help one another, forcing us to make sacrifices for the good of our neighbours. Because suddenly--suddenly our neighbours' wellbeings will directly, drastically affect ours! Suddenly, what happens to them needs to matter to us! Suddenly, I need to want the best for my neighbour, because that's the best chance I have at staying well, myself.

We are now required to undue our selfishishness if we want to see our mothers live, if we want to see our children grow, if we want our dads to not have to die in quarantine, far away from any familiar face!

Since when would we have set aside anything we wanted to do for the benefit of anyone else other than ourselves? Since when would you have cancelled an exciting dinner date, because you have your grandmother in mind? Your brother in mind? You wouldn't of. You wouldn't. It wouldn't of ever happened!

Everything you used to do, you did with your pleasure in mind. Everything you used to plan, you planned with your pleasure in mind. When would you have ever inconvenienced yourself for the benefit of someone else? You wouldn't of. Not until this virus came!

This virus arrives and now our own pleasure is dependent on the pleasure of those around us! This virus arrives, and now, for the first time, our lives are intricately woven into each other. Of course, it was always that way, it was always like that; but it took an invisible master artisan to pull upon the threads that weave us together, so we would feel the tug of those threads and realise that they're actually there! We are actually interwoven, we are actually intertwined, we are actually connected. We never noticed it before. I mean, we'd say so and we'd write poems about, but it never really meant what it does mean. Just words. Just empty words.

But now it means life or death.

I don't want anyone I love dying without being able to hold my hand.

I need to keep your mother alive if I want mine to stay alive. I need to keep your sister alive if I want my sister to see her next birthday. Suddenly, this is our reality. Thanks to this virus.

Yeah we used to go to family dinners--Christmas and whatevers. It was always for the instagram. Wasn't it? It was always for the My Story. Wasn't it? It wasn't even about mom or pop. It wasn't even about grams or grandad. It was about "the gram".

A lot changes when you think of someone you love dying without being able to see the faces of anyone they cherish. A lot changes when you think about someone you love dying without being able to hold your hand. They can't even be buried.

Now? Now, thanks to this virus, we are human once again. We feel once again, we see once again. Now we can save ourselves! Now we have to save ourselves, we have to save each other.

This virus is the spider that weaves the silken webs which hold us together as one. It will depart when we are able to weave these webs by ourselves. This is what it's here for. It is not our Demon, it is our Angel. We defeat it as we would defeat an enemy because that is exactly why it's here, that is exactly its mission.

C. JoyBell C., Fri, March 13, 2020

📸📸 Mystic Worlds by Marcos Møller Bitsch

So You Think Fear is The Enemy Here

     As someone who is responsible for producing some of the most quoted aphorisms on FEAR, I also feel it is my responsibility to correct current misconceptions about it (about fear).
     I could list them all down here, but, chances are if you are reading this then you can also do a quick google search. A quick google search of "C. JoyBell C. + fear" will render you with quite the array of words!
     I believe that humankind is currently at the extreme opposite end of the pendulum, where you have turned fear into the enemy, something to be shunned at all costs. This is ignorant and unwise.
     I suffered for many years from a myriad of irrational phobias. From clowns, to trees! From wide open spaces, to the dark! I was a phobia-ridden person who overcame each and every phobia with the power of words. And those are exactly the aphorisms, the pieces, that you get to read from me today.
     However, I swing to no extremes. I am always at the middle of the pendulum. I feel it is my duty to warn you about the extreme stance you have now taken.

     Fear, when irrational, ought to be overcome, conquered. But fear in itself is not always a metaphorical, spiritual issue. It is not always a spiritual or an allegorical issue. Fear, primarily, is the chemical named GLUTAMATE which is released into your body from your brain when a threat is perceived. Without GLUTAMATE produced in our brains, human beings would of died off during prehistoric times and none of us would be here right now. Fear is what tells you that you probably shouldn't jump on the sabertooth and you probably shouldn't stand in the middle of the freeway. Fear has kept the human race on this planet since prehistoric times. It's technically called glutamate. Remember that.
     Today, we have everyone believing that glutamate is the enemy and that every sign of glutamate rising should be immediately squashed with a vengeange. My people, this is unwise. Glutamate is responsible for preparing you for events, for providing you with the capacity to gauge a situation. Without it, none of us would exist right now.
     For example, I know a lot of firsthand information from doctors and virologists regarding the COVID19 plague. Because I follow virologists and epidemiologists since this is a virus and viruses are their areas of expertise. Duh. Now, I am also a science writer so I have took it upon me to familiarize myself with science jargon, as I do work with teams of scientists and astronomers. Having information is not the same thing as being afraid. I have information, I share that information, and I am not afraid of that information. Why? Because the glutamate produced by my brain while absorbing that information is put to good use by my body into preparing for a pandemic. Glutamate MOTIVATES me. It does not paralyze me. And it should be doing the same for you too. Except you think it's a spiritual phenomenon rather than an anatomical, biological one.
     The key is to get fear to motivate you and spring you into the right directions and level headed decision making. This is where the management of the glutamate chemical comes into play. Manage it. Turn it into your tool. Not all fears are a question of irrational, spiritual origins. Many times, fears are necessary biological responses designed to keep you alive. The spiritualization of absolutely everything is always harmful.
     Now, if you see the information on COVID19 and this paralyzes you, that is not the fault of the information. That is you not knowing how to manage glutamate in your body. Big facts. Your fear of fear is paralyzing you. That is what's happening. It's not that you are not afraid, in fact, you are so afraid that you cannot even consider the possibility of negative facts being true, being something you'll have to deal with as an adult. You can't look the demon in its face for what it is. Now, you can bury your head in the sand and blame scientists and governments for having a covert agenda to frighten you (because, I don't know, the world is apparently run by a horror film cast and crew, or whatever logic you may be having), or, you can put on your big person underpants and start acting like a responsible grown up person. Prepare.

     This message is coming from someone who learned how to, over a period of many years, manage both rational and irrational fear. Please realise that we are not living in a storybook, fear is not always the unseen monster under your bed, fear is many times your guardian Angel. Your built-in, biological guardian Angel. Prepare yourselves, you have nothing to lose.

Why I Don't Think It's The End of The World

     I am compelled to speak up about "the end of the world". First up: I definitely do not think that "the end is nigh" and here I will elaborate on why we should not be readying ourselves for "the end".
     When we look at all that has been going on since the beginning of this month, we could be forgiven for thinking that we ought to start wrapping ourselves up in blankets and curling up in a corner. It surely does look like "the end". Doesn't it? I don't even need to enumerate all of the reasons why. You know why.
     I'm a history buff, which means that, I am fond of looking at humanity through the lens of past events. The only way we can understand our present day, is by understanding our past. And I can tell you that, humanity has "ended" several times already! And yet, here we are, with our buildings and our wifi and our robots and our pancakes.
     Ice Age is when the end really happened. And yet, we still went from hunting mammoths for breakfast, to squirting maple syrup on our pancakes. And checking Facebook every five minutes. When the entire planet shifts all of its poles and freezes over, that is pretty much the end! And yet, here we are today! Facing another "the end"!
     Since the last World War (which wasn't that long ago at all, by the way), humanity's leaders have been in treatise in a collective noble goal to never allow another one. To never again allow the atrocities of The Holocaust on our collective human soil, to never again engage every continent on Earth in one giant killing spree of a battle. Ever since then, our collective endeavours have been towards progressively overcoming the parts of our human nature that eventually lead us to downfall. All of our collective efforts towards modern day progression, have stemmed from a pivot point at the end of WW2. And we have come so far. And I am so very proud of us!
     Alas, human nature inevitably rears its monstrous head, again, and threatens to do what it has always done: self destruct everything that it has created and built with its own hands! Still, it's not going to be "the end". Not by a long shot. We have been through Ice Age, we have been through the Black Plague, we have been through two World Wars, we have been through the medeival slaughterhouses, we have witnessed the systematic annihilation of six million human beings due to the nature of blood running through their veins, we have seen the fall of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Mayan civilisation, the fall of the legendary home of Gods and humans that once was the great and incomparable Greece, we have been to THE END many, many times before. And it has ended. And we are here today!

     THE END is never really the end. It is only a new doorway, a new beginning. There will be a new beginning and we are teeter tottering at the edge of this new door right now. Whatever it is. It could be a planetary collision, it could be Ice Age all over again, it could be another World War, another Black Plague... but we will rise again and write new holy books, as we have done many times before; we will rise again and we will find love and have children, as we have done many times before; WE WILL RISE AGAIN and we will reform and restructure the future of humankind. It will be anew. It will be like nothing we have ever seen before. We are at just another end, but, the beginnings are always new. The beginnings are always something we have never seen before.
     You may say that now it is different due to climate change, and I'll ask you, "What do you think Ice Age was? You don't think that was CLIMATE CHANGE"? You may say that now it is different due to AI robots, and I'll tell you, "If there were nothing different at all, then that would mean we have not progressed at all, since the Ice Age, so I am pretty darn happy that now we have AI robots!"
     Authors and evangelists are dangerous right now, as they will spew messages that feed into their need for attention, their need for audience. But they genuinely do believe their messages, so it's not like I am saying that they are consciously misleading people. But I am saying that those who will die are going to be those who expect to die. And those who will live, are going to be those who understand that, just like countless times in our past, we have ended and then we have stood up. We have ended and we have risen again. We have ended and we have gone on to write poetry, ballads, film. This is our legacy as a human race. And it always will be.

Surnames, Great-grandfathers, And Why London Doesn't Look The Same Anymore

     It is remarkably easy to feel confused about your enthnoreligious area of belonging in this current era that we partake in. Borders no longer exist and ethnicity is no longer nationality. Religion is no longer ethnic. Spirituality is no longer religion. We currently are partaking in an era wherein the nuts and bolts of a thing are cracked down on and we get to examine the gist of a person and his/her wires, at a level previously unheard of. Some individuals even need therapy to address ethnoreligious identity crises, and that does not even surprise me in the least. Today, one may have blonde hair, blue eyes, and be a Muslim. One may be Pacific Islander and be a British national. One may be Nordic through and through but be Jewish. A person can be African and Protestant.
     Catholicism is a renegade form of Judaism that was created by the Romans, from which Protentantism was formed; the English Bible is a direct translation of the Hebrew Torah; but you surely do not need to be Italian to be Catholic and you surely do not need to know what Hebrew is, to pick up a Bible. In fact, lots of Catholics and Protestants don't even know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and spoke and wrote Hebrew because he was a Jew.
     In 1980, one could expect to show up in Norway or in London and see white people. When I was in Norway and in London not so long ago, every third person I saw was Middle Eastern. Some people in London didn't even speak English!
     The world we live in is different now and it will never go back to being what it once was, it just will not. This is the new paradigm that we now live in.

     Even I have struggled with a small crisis with regards to my ethnoreligious identity. Religion has played an immensely profound role in my life. Immensely profound. It has impacted me deeply. My parents were both Theologians when they met, specializing in the Torah and in the Jewish roots of Christianity. They fell in love while they were both in Israel. My paternal grandmother converted to become a Jew later in her life and she encouraged me to do the same before she passed. I loved her dearly and deeply and immoveably. My mother is currently Jewish-Protestant and I was raised Jewish-Protestant. That means that I was raised in a Protestant church but with a keen awareness of the history and life of Israel and the Israelis, I sang Hebrew songs, I celebrated some of the Jewish holidays.
     My mother's grandfather was a Taoist High Priest in China. The Administrator and Keeper of the Yin and Yang. He was a big deal! The rest of my family does not care for him at all, or care for Taoism at all, as they believe it to be insignificant and inferior to their Protestantism. I, on the other hand, believe this root in my ancestry to be of outstanding worth!
     I am a "roots person". I truly value and truly respect any and all roots that I may have! There is so much magic to be found in the places where my pieces have come from and I appreciate and respect each one of them to the highest possible degree. This is why I gave my son a Hebrew name (his name is entirely Hebrew); because I deeply appreciate the fact that my parents fell in love while they were in Israel. This is why, today, I practice the Jewish holidays, I follow non- orthodox Judaism, because I grew up with a heart close to the songs and the holidays. This is also why, today, I believe in the principles of the Yin and Yang, I believe and respect the many Taoist principles (which are echoed in Judaism very much, by the way).
     I was given a very English name by my parents. And I have probably the most English surname on the planet: "Childs". Literally, this surname was developed in English courts to be given to the young Knights at their knighthood. It doesn't get any more English than that! Since they were Theologians, they initially wanted to name me "Agape" (Greek for "Charity") but then last minute they decided to go with the traditionally very English "Charity", out of respect of my father's Welsh heritage. But then I was born in the USA, so I share the same citizenship with many an immigrant over the hundreds of years.
     I have every right to struggle with ethnoreligious identity. But I honestly know a number of people who have so much more right to battle with this than I do. I know a Malay-Polynesian who is a British National but who is also Muslim by virtue of his grandfather's Nigerian-Muslim heritage. Now that's not easy to wrap your head around. At least with my case, I can easily be categorised as a typical WASP with some religious and ethnic twerks (and that would just sound cute and interesting).
     We have entered into a paradigm wherein our inward struggles have to do with the pieces of us that make us who we are. But then who are we, really? Are we all of these pieces? All of these roots? Or are we just the parts that we pick out and highlight? Or are we responsible for writing our own stories? Are we responsible for refusing to rely on the stories written before us to define us?
     In this new paradigm we are entering into, I hope that we all come to terms with how we want to see and to understand who we really are. I hope this for you and I hope this for me. May self-discovery and self-actualisation take centerstage now. I wish you a Happy New Year and Prosperous New Decade beginning in a few days and with my wishes I send you my warm embrace! Thank you, wonderfuls, for loving me, staying with me, supporting me, and really just never leaving my side! It has been a decade of C. JoyBell C. And look at where we are now! ILY! IRRLY (I Really Really Love You).

If You Want A Good Love: Love A Broken Person

     This year, I have seen an alarming number of social media posts and magazine articles, all of which were poised to convince the viewers/readers that good partners are found by investigating their childhoods and making sure they were properly loved as kids. Because, according to these authors, "Broken people break people" and "Loved people love people."
     I must say, that merely typing this, feels like two hands wringing my heart as they would wring a wet rag. The mere fact that someone can even put those sentences into being, is just sinful, really. What is sin? Saying batshit like this is sin. Telling the world that broken people need to be forsaken, or need to be avoided in the first place, is probably the most heartless lie you can attempt to convince the people on this planet. So what are you trying to do? You're trying to say that if people were broken in their childhoods (mere victims of unavoidable circumstance), they should not be loved today? If sin is a thing, this is what it is!
     Before this year fully comes to a close, I want to set the record straight! Broken people are going to love you with every drop of blood in their veins and with every bit of marrow in their bones. They are going to cling onto you, hold onto you, and make you their world. It's the broken people who do that! The unbroken people don't even know how to do that, because it does not even naturally occur to them as something needful to be done!
     Now, I am talking about the truly broken souls. I am not talking about the people who go around acting like they're broken on the inside, just so that they can add a dark and mysterious storyline to their character inside the novel about themselves they've written down in their heads so that they can get laid more often. I am not talking about these bored minds. No. And believe me when I say, there are a lot of those around! Men and women who were raised loved and pampered and babied and then they grow up and go out and they decide they want to have this mysterious and dark, difficult and rebellious image. It helps them have sex more often. In reality, they have no "devil credits" to add lustre to any of their claims! They are just not broken. No. They'll break your heart and blame it on their "badness", when in fact, they grew up treated like babies until they were 22. Don't believe this type of facade.
     What I'm talking about, are the people who experienced real pain and real loss at an early age. People who have been through things. They have that deeper look in the eyes, they will look you straight in the eyes, straight into your soul, and you'll feel naked. That's the depths dug out by real pain. Pain digs depths into a person that they can show you when they look into your eyes. Pain digs valleys. In valleys there are shadows, there are yearnings for togetherness, for love, for connection. Valleys will give you what mountaintops never can. But don't think that these people don't have mountaintops, because, there is no valley without mountaintops! They are the mountaintops with the valleys. They're not just the tops past the clouds. They go all the way down to the ground! With all of those shadows cast, including all of those aromas one would smell while walking through a valley in between mountains.
     Broken people are not just worth loving, but broken people are the ones who are going to love you in ways you only thought happened in the movies. They're going to love you like it's the only thing that matters in life. And it's going to be either that, or absolutely nothing at all! Don't think you can "friendzone" a broken person! Because LIFE is just too REAL to fake that kind of pretense! Either everything or nothing at all. Because valleys know depths, not shallows.
     If you find a person who was unloved as a child, broken into over and over again, don't you dare toss that person away as a lost cause. You could be missing out on the greatest experience of your life. And honestly, if you do choose to do that, you're the one who's not worth loving, you've saved them a waste of their time!

C. JoyBell C. Conclave

In lieu of my vanishing FB Page, as promised, I have put up a FB Group in its place. Together, we can rebuild what has been lost. 18,900 organically grown followers lost overnight; but we can grow that to an even greater number! You and me together! Please go look up C. JoyBell C. Conclave in FB Groups and rejoin our home! Then invite your friends and share the posts that matter. Interact, make friends, share, bring people home with you. Please get the word out! And thank you. ❤

This Is Why You Can't Find Me on Facebook Anymore

     On Tuesday morning, I received a casual notification on Facebook, there it was amongst the normal notifications (comment alerts, friend requests, somebody liked my photo, etc.) But it was the equivalent of finding a decapitated human head in the grocery aisle on a seemingly normal afternoon: "Your page, "C. JoyBell C. - Writer, has been unpublished". Oh my god. I read it again to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. But it still said the same thing the second time I read it, and the third time, and the fourth time, and the fifth time... then I realised that my worst nightmare was actually materializing in front of my eyes and I began to panic. I sent in an appeal to FB so they'd reconsider what they'd done and take a look back into it. Then I stormed chat rooms and help sections of every blog, everywhere, in hopes of finding a magical cure for this black plague that had found its way at my doorstep!

     I have since tried every quack doctor's recommendation, as well as all of my friends' recommendations, as well as all of Facebook's half assed recommendations, to get my page back. Afterall, I have been there for TEN YEARS, replying to messages daily, FOR A DECADE NOW, building a digital structure where people can freely read what I have to say and receive food for their souls and guidance in real time, FOR A DECADE ALREADY. And I never paid for an add. All 18,900 followers were organically collected. And I know that's not a lot, but, it's a lot when it is entirely built from word-of-mouth.

     Countless souls have told me, through my page, that being there daily had literally saved their lives. Countless souls, countless people. All the time. Now it's gone. It's gone as casually as a nicely poisoned cup of coffee in the morning and you drop dead unexpectedly. The vilest sort of evil.
     The question on everyone's minds has been, "Why? What did you do to deserve it?" Well, the answer to that seems to be the last message I saw sent to me through my page: a message from a guy seeking advice on publishing his own book. I had already replied to him with words of encouragement, but I could no longer reply to him acting like Google. Hey, when I was starting out writing and publishing my own books, I would spend up to eight hours a day on Google, just researching HOW to do what I needed to do. I didn't ask for anyone to sit down and tell me what to do. I researched it. Because other people have lives, that's why. But it's not even that I didn't want to help this person; it's just that it was not physically possible to do so. I don't just have "a life", I have a very occupied life, wherein I have many things to do! I have so many emails to answer! Many of them are critical, I NEED to answer them! So I stopped replying to this person and then he started sending messages asking "where is the real C. JoyBell C." then a few days later-- BAM -- my page has evaporated into thin air! The only direction that Facebook is now pointing me into, is the direction of "WE DO NOT ALLOW IMPOSTOR PAGES ON FACEBOOK." So apparently I am suspect of being an impostor of myself. Great. Now FB wants to give me impostor syndrome just in time for World Mental Health Awareness Day! And right after my provocative post regarding depression, too!

     Ten years and it took one guy accusing me of not being me, who apparently reported me to "the authorities" and all my work is gone, my connections are gone, I can't even let the 18,900 people know what's going on, what happened... are you guys looking for me right now, wondering why you can't message my anymore? Wondering where I've gone? I HAVE NOT ABANDONED YOU! And I AM SO, SO SORRY! I am still in shock, to be honest with you. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, that this has actually really happened!
     I plan to wait a few more days for the results of the appeal I put in, but if the results are negative, I am going to restart our community, over again, in the form of a FACEBOOK GROUP. I believe a group will be healthier for everyone involved. Healthier for myself (I don't need to feel pressure for the count of followers to climb higher, I don't need to feel inadequate for not being given "the verified blue checkmark" beside my name, and etc.); a FB Group would be a round table, a gathering place, people feel they have been invited to dinner rather than been invited to be a spectator. And I believe this feeling of hearth an warmness will greatly reduce the likelihood of people fucking around with me and my work in the future! Hopefully. Dammit, hopefully!
     Dear wonderfuls, we have been through so much over the past TEN YEARS, please do not let go of me now! I really need you right now, as this event has really shaken me more than I know what to do with. I can only hope that this turn of events is something that we, together, will be able to turn into a curb that leads to a better path going forward. Better for C. JoyBell C., better for me as a person, and better for each one of you! Together, our journey moves forward. Hold my hands.

I Really, Really Want To Talk To You About Depression

     I recently had a depressive suicidal episode, during which time, I reached out to my IG followers. It lasted a day and now I want to talk about it because I feel that I have reaped lessons about depression which could help other people reading this.
     I can count on my one hand the episodes of suicidal depression I have experienced in my lifetime thus far. I have always had anxiety, I remember having it as a child. I was a very serene and glowingly peaceful child, but that didn't mean that I was not living alongside anxiety. I wrote the passage: "I must be a creature, for I have two hearts: one is always broken, other is always whole" and these words of mine allude to this fact about me.  I believe that anxiety as a permanent mental condition is something that haunts people who feel and sense a lot more than what the general population of people feel and sense. If you see and understand deeply the conditions surrounding you, it is simply impossible not to develop anxiety, because there are so many people hurting in this world, there is so much uncertainty in our existence, in our futures, so on and so forth. Anxiety is something I lived with even back when I was too short to ride the gigantic swinging contraption at the county fair back in Florida. I was serene, I was constantly peaceful, but then there would be this sinking feeling in my stomach, it would make me throw up.

     But anxiety does not always lead to depression, in my life. It rarely does, and like I said, I can count on one hand the suicidal episodes I have had in my life. The most startling thing about this, is that, they were all during significantly different times in my life that are so unrelated to each other. I had one of these when I was in Florence, Italy. The beautiful Florence in Italy! I was having the time of my life, I was free, I was loaded, I had a luggage dedicated just for me to carry around my shoes! I had expensive perfume, my hair was down to my waist... I was at an all-time high! And then-- BOOM! I wanted to die! A stranger who was staying in the same hotel as myself noticed this and asked if I was okay, and sat there while I cried, she talked me into believing in staying alive (thank you, stranger!)
     Another time I had one of these was when I was thirteen years old and everything just hurt all over. I prayed to the Angel of Death to take me in my sleep. Instead, as I slept, a beautiful Angel came to me on top of a cathedral tower and gave me a gift in a wooden box.
     I've had these when I was supposedly in a steady marriage with a man who took care of my every whim. I saw no hope for life and the inside of me was an "open empty". The kind of horrible open empty that echoes back to you when you say something in the dark.

     I have had suicidal bouts of depression at times so unique in themselves and so different and set apart one from another, which drives home the realization that what we feel on the inside is not always brought about by what is going on around us, on the outside. Sure, there is a trigger point at which we break, but that tipping point is only the top of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg is a collection of battle scars and artillery we have taken into our wars. We fight for a long, long time. We demand for our right to exist, for our right to be loved, for our right to wake up the next morning. Then one day we ask ourselves, "Is my right to exist worth fighting for? Isn't it simply a waste of everyone else's time?" And then "it" happens. We err on the side of not being around anymore, of no longer existing. In our minds, we give up that right. People can ask, "What started it", but that's just not the question to ask. It starts months ago, years ago. It's a war, it's a world war. It's a war between your inner nations.

     Something very significant which I have learned from this most recent experience, which I hope psychotherapists will take serious notice of, is that depression is at its worst when your outer world appears to be at its most peaceful. Read that again. And again. You see a person walking into a room with a sad face, a depressed look, tired skin... the depression is at the surface. Compare that to a person who walks into the room serene, glowing, joyful-- that kind of depression has sunken so deep inside that it can no longer be detected at the surface level! That's the deep level whereat illustrious personalities we so love and admire suddenly take their own lives to the shock of every one of us! They are filming a cooking show one minute, and peacefully committing suicide in their trailer the next minute. They are joyfully slipping from this life into the afterlife! No crying episodes, no outbursts... the depression has sunken into a level so deep in the middle of the chest, that it is no longer expressible, no longer detectable. This is the part where you need to get scared.
     I work with people who are depressed, suicidal, anxious, addicted to drugs, and etc. I know when to get scared. And because I am self-aware, I knew that I needed to get scared at this point. The signs were showing (at least to me), I was becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin but at the same time I was having more and more sinking feelings in my stomach. I couldn't even look at my own cat because I felt like I wasn't good enough for him. "My cat is too good for me, he needs someone so much better than me who can give him so much more than I can." And this was not just a passing feeling nor a passing thought; it was so real that I actually considered hiding from him when I'd see him! That's when I caught myself and said to myself, "Hey, this is not normal."

     It's a culmination of months or weeks or years of battle scars, but the episodes usually last just a day for me (I am a lucky one, or, maybe I am just more equipped than many others, thankfully). Coming out of this one, I am alive (and thank you, thank you), and I feel like the soil of my soul has been tilled and ready for good seeds to be planted. I do not want to romanticize depression; nevertheless, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I feel like when it serves its purpose, it can help you to form yourself into a more evolved person. It whacks at the dry dirt of your soul and leaves behind moistly tilled, garden-ready soil. There is a new depth, a new understanding, a renewed calm. Personally, I even go so far as to say that when I'm entering a suicidal depressive state, it is because I am just about to disrupt my state of existence with a new paradigm, I am about to tear through the fabric of spacetime and become something so much better than I ever was before; the depressive episode is a chemical result of that upcoming disruption that, on a quantum level, sends ripples all throughout the quantum plain of my existence. I really believe this. You don't have to, but I do.

     You can get so closed down inside of yourself, while fighting your inner world wars, that you get cut off! You can't feel, you can't touch... it's like your sense for life energy just shuts down. The movement of warm blood through your veins just freezes in the pangs of your struggles to grasp for, and hold onto, your right to exist. And what do these struggles look like? It looks like swearing (I keep myself alive and well through swearing), it looks like sarcasm, it looks like hitting the gym seven times a week to numb out the silence in your head (or the noise in your mind). It looks like hooking up for comfort, it looks like bursts of anger, it looks like begging to be taken seriously, to be given affection, to be seen, heard, loved. It looks like so many things for so many different people. But we all are asking for the same thing: we are all asking that you please stop and be still for once and stop trying to protect yourself, for once, for just as long a time it would take for you to recognize what's going on, and say, "Hey, do you want to sit with me right now?" Or, "I got nothing to do, wanna go for a walk?"
     But you can become so frozen from your struggles and your fights, that the suicidal depressive episode acts as a restart button, giving you a newborn chance at life (if you make it to the other side, of course). It's kinda like how the Earth has reset herself so many times before in the history of our planet, which was always "the end of the world" but simultaneously was "the beginning of a new one".

     A suicidal depressive mode is like your continents shifting poles and moving all around and the inner planet that is you just crumbles, rearranges, nothing is held together! Your mind is all over the place! But if you make it to the other side (please do), you'll have a new world with new air and a new sky and new trees and mountains and flowers. I can't promise this, but, this is what happens to me. Maybe it's what happens to you, too, if you just stop to take notice of it.
     Please don't try to remind a suicidal person of all the great things he/she has got going for them. We already know the amazing, fantastic things we've got going on in our lives. But that's the very same thing as saying to a not-so-fabulous individual: "You shouldn't be happy right now because you don't have a job, you're ugly, you're unhealthy, and you basically don't have anything going for you. Why are you still smiling?" Depression does not come about as a result of the lack of awareness of good things going on. Or good things happening. That's why Kate Spade killed herself. That's why Anthony Bourdain killed himself. These people knew what they had going for them; they didn't think they were losers. Knowing good things about yourself doesn't fix yourself on the inside.
     I want you to know that you can talk to me, because I understand. I want psychotherapists and healers to take note of this (everything I have written here), because I believe it will prove very helpful. I want to thank you all, for writing love letters to me over the years, because those are the words that knock at the walls of my mind when I cannot even hear the sound of my own existence, and they remind me (you remind me) that maybe I should stick around. I have so much love in my heart for all of you, thank you.

The Actual Evil

The issue here is that we tend to believe that darkness is the enemy in this world. It's not. The enemy in this world is that extremely blinding light that says, "You are flawed, you have dark patches on your face, you have cuts on your fingers, you have scars on your feet, and look, everyone can see all of that here in this light! There's nowhere to hide any of that here! Everyone can see it! You don't belong here!" A blinding light where there is no place for people to hide. That's the great evil in this world. A useless light, one that does not know that light is only useful when it is placed in the darkness! It's not darkness that is the enemy. We have vilified people's scars, people's wounds, and people's hiding places and we have told them that they don't belong "out here like that." Instead of going in there where they are, lighting a candle, and saying, "thanks for letting me inside".

No More Silver Linings

There is an untapped beauty which lies just below the surface of the face of the ability to strip oneself of all of the veils that one covers himself/herself in before looking into the mirror. I wrote something many years ago, which has to do with the mermaid speaking to the white witch: "I am a mermaid and I know what I am but you are a white witch draped in silver robes"... it was about how people lie to themselves about who they are. They cover themselves in silver linings, in silver veils, in silver robes, while the cauldron they stir comes from hell! This piece that I wrote has since become exceedingly popular and exaggeratedly quoted. But even when we are mermaids, we still need to stop and look into the mirror and remove the silver lining we outline ourselves in, so that we can see who we really are, practice what we really are, thus becoming authentic through-and-through. Because this is the only way that we can reach our full capacities to enliven what we are capable of becoming and being. We often believe that silver linings are what enables us; nevertheless, silver linings often hold us down. Silver is heavy metal. Imagine all you could be, if you could be YOUR ACTUAL SELF. Who are you without your silver paint and paintbrush? It is a very liberating practice, a practice I am most eager to continue cultivating within me. Who are you without all of the adjectives you add to your existence? How do you move? What is that look in your eyes? Does your heartbeat match the pulses of the Sun? You'll never know until you put down your paintbrush.
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