What I’ve been listening to + reading (Shoutout Saturday!)

The 12:37 | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts

The 12:37

The 12:37 is one of those podcasts I got recommended to me at some point, and so then I added to my library on Spotify–but just never really got around to until a few weeks ago, when I finally got up to date with The Penumbra Podcast and was looking for something new to listen to. But I’m so glad I did.

It follows Nora, a twentysomething girl who accidentally boards a time-travelling train on her way home from work. But there’s a larger plan afoot, and also yet another evil corporation who is actually manipulating everyone, which I’m totally here for. There’s found family, and a really cute romance, and it’s just so good.

I really appreciate how depression is handled about, as well as taking medication for it. You can tell that there was a lot of care put into the way they wrote it, and as someone who takes meds, and experiences depression, it hits home. Also, the representation is amazing, and it makes me so happy! If you’re looking for diverse media, you really can’t beat podcasts.

Death by Dying | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts

Death by Dying

I’ve probably said this before, but I love how you can listen to podcasts while doing other things. With a book or TV show, you have to pencil out a whole part of your day to watch/read, but podcasts can conveniently be listened to while I’m working, or while I’m on the bus, or doing schoolwork, or whatever. I listened to the entire first season of Death by Dying while I was doing some gardening for a client, and got ridiculously emotional as soon as I went home.

Death By Dying follows the tired obituary writer of Crestfall, Idaho, as he tells the stories of the recently departed, and investigates their lives. It has a similar vibe to Welcome to Night Vale, since they both take place in these absurd small towns–which, as someone who lives in an absurd small town, I am absolutely here for–but it’s also completely different? It’s quiet and mournful, it’s funny and ridiculous, it’s terrifying at times, and also, the sound design is gorgeous.

I don’t know–as someone who’s spent a lot of her life observing death from a distance… this show just hits different.

Wolf 359 (podcast) - Wikipedia

Wolf 359

Okay. So, this podcast isn’t in any way a new find for me; I spent most ninth grade absolutely losing my mind over it, because it’s such a good show. I have the whole thing downloaded on my phone, and I guess I never bothered to remove the episodes after I finished them. So, while I was working, I realized I didn’t have anything else downloaded, and so I decided to reslisten to it, and I have no regrets because it’s amazing, and I love this show so so much. It’s particularly nice to listen to while I do things I don’t want to–because hey, I may have a massive pile of dishes to do, and also my cat threw up on the carpet, but at least I don’t work for Goddard Futuristics.

Wolf 359 follows Doug Eiffel, a tired, kind of obnoxious communications officer, aboard the USS Hephaestus. It starts out as a workplace comedy, but about ten episodes in, does a super cool genre switch, and suddenly, yep, guess what, there’s another evil corporation manipulating everyone. (What can I say, art reflects life.) It’s one part comedy, one part tragedy, and one part cosmic horror, and honestly feels concerning relatable after having spent a fair amount of time alone, in close quarters with two other people for an indeterminate amount of time myself when we were in quarantine. The soundtrack is amazing, the writing is just so good, and the sound design is beautifully done, and, I don’t know, it’s probably one of my favourite podcasts out there–so go give it a listen.

Here in the Real World: Pennypacker, Sara: 9780062698957: Books - Amazon.ca

Here in the Real World

I’ve had this book sitting on my nightstand for a while, but recently, I finally got around to reading it. And I am so glad that I did. This book just hit way too close to home for me, and I think pretty much any other creative person would feel the same.

Here in the Real World is about Ware, an 11-year-old boy whose mom sends him off to summer camp, so she can help his sick grandmother. He’s surrounded by people who see his introversion as a problem, and are constantly trying to get him to interact with other children in a different way. So, after a few days of the camp, he drops out, and goes wandering into the forest, where he finds this abandoned lot, with an old church on it. It’s there he meets Jolene, who’s been turning the lot into a garden, and the two set out to make it into something beautiful, and completely new.

This book is heartwrenching, and beautiful. It made me remember what it felt like to be a little kid, figuring yourself out, and trying to find your place in the world–to not be so tired and cynical. And honestly, I really needed that.

Okay! I think that’s about it for today! I hope you liked reading me geek out for 1000 words, because I had fun writing this post. 🙂

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

scotch tape and superglue

i remember. goosebumps down my skin. neon colours, and itchy wool sweaters. all that wonderful seventh grade fashion. and i was only twelve years old, but i remember just being really fucking sad.

so i’d read the obituaries. every tuesday, and thursday. memorize these strangers’ names, and cut out their life stories. i think i still have them in lying around today.

i remember the smell of kindling. remember pressing my hands right up to the flame, but the rest of my body still couldn’t stop shivering…

and i’d trace their legacies. out of sheer pity. i’d do my best; i’d complete their dying wishes, because i was twelve. and naive. and i wanted to save everybody.

it’s been almost three years now, since i’ve wondered if anyone would read my obituary. if my mom would ever find the will i wrote on my shitty old computer. because i think it’s still out there, held together with scotch tape and superglue.

but i don’t want to go looking for old demons. i don’t want to remember; living life in third person. paperthin dissociation, and a messy bedroom.

i don’t want to go to your funeral. don’t want to grieve a stranger. because it’s dusty, and cold. because i have a whole life ahead of me. i have places to be, i have things to do.

because it’s not my job to save you.

be patient with me, will you?

i fucked it up. didn’t i?

i threw my last chance away. i let arrogance get the best of me. because i’m tired, and messy, and i never mean what i say. because i make mountains from molehills. because i didn’t exactly… give it my all, today.

because today, i ripped myself to shreds for entertainment. since there wasn’t anything else on the menu. i watched tv until 2am. because that’s what normal, happy people do.

and i set my alarm anyway. i woke up feeling like shit. and so i made myself a coffee. and i cried, a little bit. because i think the world is ending. because i still can’t bring myself to admit… that i’m not your poster child. not your hero.

that i’m tired of playing the adult; when i’m the youngest in the room. i’m tired of overcompensating for other people’s mistakes, i’m tired of staying up late. i’m tired of telling them what to do.

and for all the times these words have been twisted from my throat; clawed hands and messed up jokes, i’m so fucking sorry. from every square inch of my tattered, ragdoll body.

i’m sorry i hurt you. i’m sorry i’m awkward, and confused. i’m sorry, because i’m still learning. how to cradle myself like a little fucking baby. and sing myself to sleep, like my mom used to. it just doesn’t come naturally. but i’m a good learner.

so just… be patient with me, will you?

it has to get better

you are the crash. and you are the burn. you are hypnotic blankets, you are the monochrome sun, watching as the world burns.

you are the snap, and the crackle, and the pop. you’re fine one moment and the next… you’re not.

your heart pounds. and you think you’re giving up. you have wanted nothing more in your life than for this. to. stop.

***

i will wake up to the drone of my alarm. and i will lie in bed, for what could be a few minutes. or what could be hours on end.

i will crawl out onto the floor. scroll through my phone, and always leave wanting more.

i will stare in the mirror, maybe just a little dizzy. i will make a mental list, of all the parts of myself i should probably fix. but i’m busy, busy, busy…

so i will put on a nice dress. i will ignore the dying tulips; the wilting rosemary out back. i will stare out the window on the ride to school. and i will do my best not to notice the crack of lighting down my skull. like a discount heart attack.

but it won’t last forever. right? i mean, it has to it has to it has to get better


This piece is very experimental, and maybe a bit weird, but I was in a pretty weird place when I wrote it. (Around mid-September, I think.) I was going through withdrawal symptoms, as I very poorly went off my meds. (Because apparently you shouldn’t just go cold turkey on a medication you’ve been taking for over a year, after halving your dose for two days. Who would have thought?!)

I’ve never experienced side effects, or any kind of withdrawal from medication. So although I knew it was technically a possibility, I didn’t think it would happen to me. But it did. The symptoms lasted about two weeks, but it was one of the hardest, longest, strangest two weeks I’ve ever had.

It plunged me into depression, for most of that time period. I got dizzy whenever I stood up, my mind was slow and sluggish–which absolutely drove me insane–and about every five seconds, these weird zaps went through my whole body–a bit like shivering, but if you shivered in your brain too, and your heart started pounding. Honestly, the scariest thing was that I couldn’t find good information from a medical professional on what I was supposed to do, or when this would stop–and for a while, I didn’t even realize what it was. Even once I did, I was too ashamed to tell anyone for a bit.

I had no idea when it was going to end, if this was messing up my brain long term, and I just felt so out of control. Eventually, I owned up to the fact I had gone off my meds wrong, and asked my mom to talk to a pharmacist, and a few days after that, I started to feel a little bit better.

So, in conclusion kids: do lots of research, talk to your pharmacist before you go off your meds, not just your family doctor on a phone appointment, in which his cell reception was so bad you could only make out every fifth word. (Although, to be safe, you should probably do that too.)

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

The progress bar

All my homeschool courses come with this little handy-dandy feature–a progress bar. Every time I submit an assignment, the bar turns yellow; and when it’s marked it turns green, and gives me another two or three percent of progress–and calculates the assignment’s impact on my total grade.

I actually love that feature–I can’t imagine how my public school friends survive without being able to keep track of their work like that.

But sometimes, maybe I take it too far.

***

I went into my sophomore year of high school feeling strong, and sturdy, and good. But something has changed since September.

I don’t get as scared as I used to, not to the same degree. Because instead, I just… I don’t care. I have to force myself in the doors, log onto a computer, and make a bar chart about, I don’t know, the logging industry or whatever. Because I’m just so tired, and I don’t know how to believe in things right now. I feel so jaded, and cynical, and cold–and sometimes at the end of the day, I’m so tired, I can barely stand up.

So I plot out my week in my planner. I cross things off as I go. I bite off more than I can chew. But I keep going.

Until I can’t do it anymore. Until I’ve gone two weeks without a proper night of sleep. Until I’m so tired I have to drag myself kicking and screaming into doing schoolwork. Until I don’t put out enough blog posts, until there’s not enough time… and suddenly, I can’t even fit my own rubric of success.

Let alone someone else’s.

The thing is, I thrive off working. I always have. I go insane without something to direct all this crazy anxious energy in my head towards–the same way a little kid goes crazy when they’re stuck inside for too long with nothing left to do. If you don’t get them occupied, pretty soon they’ll be taking a crayon to the walls. Without something to do, I slide into depression. I fixate on meaningless things, I stay up too late… it’s a recipe for disaster.

But at the same time, I can’t just overstimulate my problems away forever. Can’t just overwork myself in an effort to outrun my mental illness, only to eventually burn out and end up in the exact same situation I was so afraid of.

***

Depression, and anxiety; they can’t be battled the same way I handle my school courses, or my weekly tasks. You can’t just power your way through based on sheer determination and logical reasoning. You can’t measure recovery in neat little green and yellow boxes. You can’t suck up to them, you can’t bargain or plea… because they don’t care.

And maybe it’s time to admit, to myself–and to you–that I’m scared. I’m scared of my mind, scared of the place I go when it gets bad; because I don’t know how to fight it–only how to ignore it until it goes away.

I know what my old therapist would say. She’d tell me about taking charge; about showing my brain who’s boss. And I’d try to, for a while. And then I’d stop. Because I’m busy, because life is hard, because those are the excuses I make to get out of everything I don’t want to do, and I really should get better at seeing through myself.

I started a new medication. I don’t know if it’ll work or not, but I’m willing to give it a try. Because I’m desperate. Because I’m scared. Because I don’t know what to do, but I do know that I want to live. I know that deep down, I am not a cold-hearted, cynical person. I cry, and I get ridiculously attached to my plants, and I spend ten minutes psyching myself up to ask the lady at the grocery store where the canned olives are. And I hope. And I care. I care even though it hurts sometimes, even though there are days, or months, or years when all I want to do is quit.

Because I refuse to die. I refuse to back down, in a world that feels… like it doesn’t want me here at all, sometimes. Because that’s who I am.

A fighter.

And maybe today, my small revolution is just… making my bed. Finishing another essay; even if I do get a bad grade on it. Letting go, for just a moment, of that stupid progress bar in my had. Even if that’s futile. Even if tomorrow, I’ll be back on my bullshit again.

But it matters. I have to believe that it matters–that it’s worth it.