It Beats Learning How to Cross Stitch

One of the things about depression, for me anyway, is that it comes in waves. Two months where I’m in the utter darkness of solitary confinement, followed by the door suddenly being thrown open, filling the pit with light. I’m learning to try and accomplish as much as I can when the door is open because I have no idea when it will slam shut again. 

I’ve been looking for something meaningful to take on when these periods of lightness occur. The thought being that if I’m doing something constructive, fulfilling, and contemplative, the periods of light will last longer, and the periods of darkness will be shorter. And if I’ve used the times where I’m functional in a satisfying manner, then that will motivate me to pull myself out of the quagmire sooner. 

I recently got the idea of doing a Humans of New York-esque type Facebook page called OaklandHolla! If you’re not a fan of the HONY Facebook page, get your ass over there and like it! His photographs of his subjects are beautiful. He manages to capture humanity with every photo and the subject’s short answer. I’m intrigued by how he took something so simple—walking around with a camera with a set of questions and started approaching people in his community and asking him for their stories—has filled such a gaping need in our world right now. More than ever, we are desperate to feel connected to others as we interact more and more online and less and less in person. 

We’re all so weary of being told we need to hate people from that country or political party or that race or sexual orientation. But even though hate seems to come so easily to us as a species, deep down I think we’re just fucking tired of all the anger and animosity. It’s not in our nature to be forced to hate women in burkas and poverty because their government is a bunch of radical dicks. It’s not right to be told that this race is “a bunch of animals” or those people are “just a bunch of stupid hillbillies.” It takes it toll, for deep down, we know that every time we think these nasty thoughts, we are cheapening humanity, all of it. And in turn, cheapening ourselves. 

And one guy with a camera and a mic gave us something to immerse ourselves in, to understand that people are more than their demographic or their geography, to absorb that these people who are seemingly so different than you have the same dreams for themselves and their children that you do. It’s restorative. 

I’ve been thinking of this more and more since my wife opened her bar and I’ve been interacting with all kinds of different people far outside my usual white, middle-class, college-educated sphere. And thinking how everyone has a story. And how hearing other people’s stories makes them more human and how it helps us feel connected to even strangers. 

So opportunity + good idea + city pride + need to be more connected and less isolated = clearly a great idea. But what’s a great idea when you’re not depressed can suddenly turn into the tool with which you bludgeon yourself during times of despair. “Oh look, there’s yet another great idea I had once that I never followed through on. I’m a fucking lazy-ass loser.” 

Don’t even act like you ain’t been there once or twice. 

Preemptively, I’m thinking of doing a “because I said would” card in regards to starting HollaOakland!, a HONY-esque type page for the people of Oakland. I’m feeling like there’s a way for all of these interests that are popping into my head to converge, and I’m trying to step back and see The Big Picture and tie all the threads together. I feel like there is so much within my grasp right now, but fear, apathy, depression, lack of motivation—all my bestest frenemies—are lying in wait for me, and I just need that little shove over the edge to set things in motion.

I’m just not putting myself out into the world in any real or viable way. And that’s a shitty side effect (or cause of?) of depression—that plodding through life without goals or without a desire to be an active participant in life. It’s so fundamentally counterintuitive to who I’ve always been, and digging myself out of that hole is an ongoing fucking job. What used to be effortless is now a chore, to be added to my daily calendar and checked off. 

Listen, I will explore this idea more, but right now, I’m off on a weekend adventure in a goddamned YURT! Lest you think I’m going full Mongolian though, there is a pool on the property with a swim-up bar so, you know…my kind of weekend. 

Fuckin’ namaste, bitches.