I just woke out of a dead sleep and realized that I've been at war with imagery lately. Both in that the "happy" or "aspirational" lifestyle photography/portraiture of social media, while beautiful and hope-bringing to many, is cloying and a lie and literally not real (and more accurately psychically damaging) to people like me who ceaselessly compare themselves in a negative way against the (I'll admit it: constantly erroneous) perception of the happiness and "normalcy" of others, but that I haven't done anything to say no to it. My own work lately has been super safe and bland, saying nothing about where I'm at or dealing with my own experience of taking up space in this world and the viciousness of feeling unworthy and inferior because I'm unable to say anything. I've been invalidating myself - I've been too careful about trying not to offend people to the point that I've censored myself and anything that could be helpful or interesting to anyone else. Or to me. It's caused me to feel paralyzed.

Life to me isn't a beautiful portrait in the sunset, it's a navigation of tenderness and violence, love and despair; more the sound of a beautifully sad violin (beautiful! But sad!) than an upbeat dance track with bubbly lyrics.

It's hard to admit to myself that I struggle with serious depression, laughably most of all because I feel like I am letting the people who love me the most down. This leads me not to acknowledge it, which leads to more self-recrimination and self-sabotage, isolation and depression.

In a resolute ending to this 5 AM brain-dump: I will begin to allow my art to be cathartic again, and loud and weird and gritty and imperfect. Some of you might not like it, but if I continue to let the fear of that guide me, then I am invalidating me. So, sorry in advance about anything that might be uncomfortable for you. It'll be uncomfortable for me, too, but at least I'll be doing it, which will make it easier for me to be on this planet.