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What are you on?

 

Hi, hello, little PSA, mental health is a dire problem in our society and NO ONE seems to be talking about. ESPECIALLY our government and EXTRA especially NOT my mom on Thanksgiving. So often when a mental health travesty affects a community, that loss is not brought on with the same remorse of cancer or some other disease, which are also horrible. These losses are brought with phrases like “oh what a shame”, or “you never know what’s going on in a person’s life”. We could know though, that seems to me like a pretty simple fix. Rather than hiding my depression and anxiety behind handles of karkov my first two years of college I could have just owned up to the fact that my brain was not producing enough dopamine, that it is a genetic condition, and it’s something that could be helped. LIKE UM HELLO.

Earlier this year when I went and saw Chris Gethard (the man, the myth, my dad) in Career Suicide, I was so inspired by his transparency when it comes to mental health I came home and wrote my own show about my struggle with mental health. Did I do anything with it? No. Did I tell anyone? No. All because I was afraid of how I would be judged. SO LAME. I have vowed so often to be more transparent about mental health, but I have not held myself to any standard.

Mental health is an epidemic. The fact that young kids are trying to figure out what cocktail of pills is right for them, doing electro-therapy (yes this was recommended to me), and dying from their diseases, is horrific. But if these kids are brought up in a world where it is not safe to talk about these things, how will we move forward.?

I’ve been in therapy on and off for ten years, and I’ve been taking medicine for it on and off for four. I spent six years unmedicated for a disease that was making my life a living hell. That’s not right. Then I was put on a medicine that made me gain almost fifty pounds (WHAT WHO DID THIS), and then another that made me feel like a zombie. Then I found a way to manage my hyperactive and manic tendencies (moving to New York is the cure for all with high functioning anxiety disorders), and now BY SOME MIRACLE, I’m fine. I am so lucky. I am so damn fortunate that in a few years I went from a depressive paralysis to slightly anxious. I would love to know how much is delusion, and how much is chemical. But I haven’t slept with the TV on in nine months, and that’s the first time in my life I haven’t been afraid of closing my eyes.

I don’t know why I’m better, or how long it’ll last, but all I know is that I am sick and tired of having my friends and people I love die from a disease that should not be life threatening. It breaks my heart that there in people in my life, in all of our lives who are pretending to be ok when they’re not. So, let’s take responsibility for the shit place in which we live, and make it at least a little bit better for everyone by admitting we’re all a little fucked in the head.

Amen.

Conversations with Someone

Twelve years of Catholic education and four years of ELCA Lutheran college has left me completely abandoned to the idea of something greater. My life has become a comedic series of half-hearted prayers while I sit in my bed crying, covered in marinara sauce. My view of religion has become more romantic, more idyllic than the fire and brimstone that Johnathan Edwards so enthusiastically proposed. I like to look for signs; the belief that serendipity is God’s work, and Jesus is John Cusack. My husband and I will meet in a cinematic way that we will tell our children about, and when I see a red cardinal it’s my favorite high school teacher saying hi. Deep down I believe that these moments are true prophecies of what is to come. However, when I see a man throw a cup of his own urine without regard to the people around him, it makes these beliefs much more difficult to sustain.

A lot is changing in our twenties, and it’s very easy to take a back seat and say that “God” will take care of it “God” has a plan. And maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. I am certain he does not give a shit about the scene I just did where I’m at 10 year old on coke, or the sketch I wrote about a guy masturbating to rare birds (I’m so sorry mom & Patrick Clair). And I don’t think God looks at that and says, hmmm she is on the path I set for her. People are on God’s path, and I see it everyday with people I know and love. I’m just not, and maybe it was a sliding doors situation. I just hope I’m on the path that hurts less, causes less heart ache, and will leave me looking like Gwyneth Paltrow.

The other day I was awoken by an email from USC, the top program I applied to in my journey to become Judd Apatow. It was maybe 7am, the sun was shining into my room straight to my vision board. I winked at the Judd quote I have on there, put my glasses on to make sure I winked at the right thing, and caught the gaze of my New Testament and Psalms that sits next to my bed (next to my succulents and “I’m a Fucking Lady” poster for good taste). All of my high school teachers underlined their favorite passage, and I often turned to it hard times in college. I thought to myself that this is it, that moment of pause, of reflection of adversity in my academic journey is culminating right now as I open my letter from USC. In a shocking turn of events, I was rejected, but encouraged to reapply in the fall, which honestly isn’t the worst thing since Iowa was just like NOPE, bold, underline, middle finger, fart noise.

I thought that the stars had aligned, and for the first time in seven months I was going to catch a break. I didn’t, and I probably won’t for quite sometime. Even after that happened my pleading with the unknown continued. Maybe it’s just because of the people I’m around but so many people are firm in their faith, or lack there of, but the conversation of “what the fuck is going on? I believe in ghosts, but how do they get there?” is so rarely had. Not that I really want to have that conversation, because my faith right now is explained in the quotation above. I think that we’re all reeling, searching, and hoping to grab onto something stable, or a stable if your a badass horse girl, neigh neigh. Most of us are sad and broken and not sure what comes next, if anything will come next. But we keep talking into nothingness, hoping that it’ll give us answers.

The Plight of Midwestern Exceptionalism

When I moved out to New York I thought I was hot shit. I came from a high school that told me I was the greatest, and college that told me that I was even better than that. Then I did the scary thing. The road less travelled by became the chip on my shoulder, as I flippantly dismissed my friends moving in together after college. “OH ME??” I would exclaim with the false modesty of Mrs. Bennet, “Well, as for me, I’m moving to New York”. I’m different, I’m brave, I’m an asshole. Why did no one slap me across the face?¬†After the mediocrity of moving across the country with no connections, absolutely no money, and barely a semblence of passion in my improv classes, I chose to do the next hardest thing in my mind. I applied to all the best grad schools, and patted myself on the back continuing with my montra of, why go if you’re not going to the best schools.

My lifetime of private education afforded me the luxury of being around high achieving people. The weird cyclical (mostly fucked up) universe that our parents were exceptional in some way, so we play together at private school and tennis lessons and country clubs, then we too must create a path to our own exceptionality. We formed these small circles of the best of the best and we stayed within them. At Gustavus the same circle of people got everything. Maybe that’s because only those people wanted those things, and we did, but maybe it’s because the people who weren’t there, who didn’t get there, simply gave up. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard for every accolade on my resume (except for the privilege being a white, hetero, affluent female), but I’m not sure how deserved everything was.

What I have appreciated most about my move to New York is the earnestness. Being a Midwesterner has become one of my own punchlines, rather than a sense of wholeness, of retreat, to what is familiar. Maybe this is what happens when you grow up, but I am finding that I define myself less and less from the accolades that I gleaned over the past twenty-two years, and more from the hardships that I have earned over the past seven months. What my Midwestern Exceptionalism has given me is a false sense of confidence. What it has failed it give me is resiliency. I am immediately defeated by tasks that others acknowledge and then move on with their days. The idea that I could do everything, and be everything, that feeding my parent’s ego was the post important task, must be surrendered, otherwise life is going to be so hard.

When I got rejected from the top writer’s program in the country last week (THANKS IOWA), I wasn’t surprised, but I was defeated. I Regina George’d the letter and wrote “MAKE THEM REGRET THIS”, in a non-murdery way, and taped it too my door so I see it every damn day. My resilience has become the antithesis to my exceptionalism. I am not good enough for the best program in the country, and yes there are a million other arguments as to why I am not going there in the fall, but this is the cold hard truth . The idyllic nature of my Midwestern upbringing is what is keeping me from setting that letter on fire and moving back home with my parents. I was told that I would do something great, we all were, and I still believe that. I also believe that when my book gets published and it says some other school under my bio, or no school at all, Iowa is going to know that they missed out. Young people of the Midwest heed my warning, a lot more people are going to say no to you when you get out of there, than say yes, and that is something that you’re going to have to get used to. You’re going to cry yourself to sleep everyday for a month, and you’ll be tired as hell, but you’ll get through it. And at the end of the day you can remember that we let Donald Trump be our President, and there is no shittier feeling than that.