A personal year in review.
by Samantha Rodriguez (playwright)
2015 has been a really turbulent year for a lot of people. It certainly has been for me. I've fallen on my face time after time and, frankly, I'm exhausted. I had a mild nervous breakdown. I graduated school. A lot of people exited my life. I moved back to my hometown. I decided to go to grad school, changed my mind, changed my mind again, and finally decided to hold off. I came out rather publicly. I failed 31/31. I failed NaNoWriMo even harder. I got a part-time retail job in a semi-related field. I started to make new friends. My dog died. I don't have any official job offers on the horizon. No plans to move,
Maybe I'm a whiney millennial (whatever that means) but dammit, it's been a long year and I am tired. I don't know what I'm doing with my life, and it's terrifying, and that's a valid way to feel. I am tired of spending energy apologizing for my emotions instead of just feeling them. And I feel tired.
When I get this anxious about my life I tend to put things into terms I already understand, which is where my acting training really comes in handy. I know my super-objectives: make and share art, experiment, explore. It's the individual tactics I'm unsure of. How do I get to a point where I can vaguely support myself doing what I love? How do I survive the day jobs while I'm trying to make that happen? And before I can even begin to tackle those questions, I have to figure out how to maintain a stable relationship with my creativity and my productivity. I have to form good habits. I have to actually make things.
I don't have any answers. I don't even have any strategies right now. I just know that I feel lost and unsatisfied and very stuck.
All hope is not lost, though: last week, my therapist told me I have nearly all the symptoms of ADD. It's not something I or any of my previous therapists had considered, but in hindsight makes absolute sense. It's actually been a much needed catalyst. Now I have a jumping-off point, and I can start to form strategies for overcoming the hurdles I'm encountering. I'm equipped with a Kindle full of books on the subject (and looking for more!) and plan to spend a good chunk of time and energy studying how my ADD, anxiety, and depression feed each other.
I have spent four years of my life repeating "breakthrough" moments, declaring that I suddenly have a new outlook on life and I completely understand what I need to do. Ultimately, they've all been the same moment, and they never last. It boils down to the fact that I have been refusing to accept myself where I am, pushing myself to whatever stage of my life comes next. Apparently, that doesn't work. Apparently you have to actually deal with whatever mess is in front of you before you can move in all the brand new furniture.
I'm not sure when I decided my current self was inferior to whatever shiny future self was waiting for me, but I'm acutely aware now that this future self is a lie. There is no moment where I will magically figure things out and sail through the rest of my life. There's no reason to constantly trim my current self to fit the future model. I am doing myself a disservice. I am shooting myself in the leg and saying it's for my own good. I am stunting my own growth.
Fuck that. This is it.
Time to start living.
SAMANTHA RODRIGUEZ is a young writer trying to figure out what to do with herself. Currently she's a prose reader for Persephone's Daughters in addition to working on several of her own top-secret projects. So far, her objectives for this next chapter in life include finding her voice as a female writer, reading all the books collecting dust on the bookshelf, and petting a lot of dogs.
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