I think most people living with depression have this burden they shoulder for not being better or more normal at least for the people around them. On one side, you feel guilty for not being okey and feel like a burden on the people who have to bear you as you’re going through your cycles. On the other, you harbor resentment for these very people around you who shoulder you regardless but do not understand you.
You want to be understood but at the same time, if people do understand (or even if they don’t, and they’re there simply to make things light for you) you feel guilty. Like you don’t deserve it.
I have been harboring this guilt of being a burden for as long as I lived in my mother’s house at a time when I could not be what she needed me to be and neither could she. I have written about the burden of being housed when I really just wanted to be on my own and out of people’s ways because I felt like I was never welcome (even when I truly was).
Last year, like all other years, I thought of the moving out issue and asked myself where I am at with plans of doing so. The wise part of me said, not yet. Not just yet, and not for some time either. And that was the end of it.
What has always been happening in past years is that, I begin asking myself that very question, and then start planning for it. When it comes to money, it is clear I cannot afford it, and if I am to afford it, it would mean throwing myself into jobs I care very little for. And when the thought of putting my energies into things I care little for pops up, if any part of me is still seriously considering it, suicide pops up wearing the face of my sixteen year old self.
She stares at me with her deadpan teen eyes and says, “You chose to live this long simply to get to the point of not being able to do what you truly want; because growing up means giving up all things you love if it means getting handed the maturity card? For a fucking maturity card? Seriously?”
And faced with the thought of suicide, I nowadays choose life because I have found things I truly deeply care about and would like to explore further. Choosing life has so far meant throwing myself into my passion projects even when it is just plain crazy to do so. I have days when I have no bus fare for the next day and yet I know to my very bones that I will still get to town to shoot that documentary I’ll be working on for the next two months. Money is no longer a thing that decides what I do and what I don’t.
And given a choice between the grey blues I know too well and the neon orange crazies I’m currently discovering, I find myself feeling more homely with the latter.
Last year ,when my wise self said “Not just yet” to the moving out issue, I finally accepted myself as a burden to my relatives and friends who will have to house me from time to time as I try to make my passion projects pay more than they do.
I am a necessary burden.
Because if I were to dive into a depressive spiral so deep I’d either die, or be hospitalized for it, they are the very people who will have to shoulder that burden whether I (and they too) like it or not. I do not want to be hospitalized, watched and medicated round the clock. I prefer being a free crazy person with a lifespan only as long as quality is assured.
It is weird that accepting myself as a necessary burden to the people I depend on, has not only given me a huge peace of mind; it has also made me better accept other people’s flaws as well as my own. I am not a tidy person; I try sometimes, usually when my organized mess becomes more mess, but I am generally not tidy. Both my sisters are.
And it’s not that I am ungrateful but they know I wouldn’t bend backwards to be tidy just to please them. That is too much to ask of me. They know I try though, if only to make co-habiting as painless as possible, and I think that’s important; to try shifting my weight in ways that won’t wound me further while using the good parts of me to make myself as light a load as possible. Ushikwapo, shikamana. It is one thing to have a wounded leg and need to lean on someone while you walk on the other. It is quite another to be a ball and chain; to know your weight and still drag people into the deep ends of swimming pools and oceans.
I am a necessary burden and that is okay because in truth, so is everyone who call I friend or family. It’s how love and loyalty works.
I do not plan on moving out to my own place anytime soon. This is the truth. Being the nomad I have been these last six months or so, it wouldn’t even make sense considering my emotional and psychological well-being. I find myself more in touch with my family and friends because I am without roots and most free to move around whenever my projects allow. And I find that I like that a lot. Heaven knows how many bridges I’d have burnt if I had my own place by now and didn’t actually need to stay with people. Heaven knows how many cycles of depression I would have undergone alone without people around me to remind me of life’s normalcy even when I’m close to numbness.
I do not have an age limit when I am supposed to have all my shit together and become an independent woman who needs no hand up. Doing art full time has become more important than any maturity card I ever thought worthy.
Maybe I will be nomadic till the time I am 30 and more, if I even live that long. Maybe I will win the lottery next year and forget what financial issues feel like. I don’t know, but I cannot hook my whole life’s essence on maybes and on things as fleeting as financial positions. Throwing myself fully into art is the only thing that has made absolute sense for me since last year and I can no longer go back to even thinking of sacrificing my creation time for things that only bring in money.
If I would go for it were I a billionaire, I should go for it now as well when I have so little. If it will be important to have done and matured in,in ten years or fifty, it is important now. And if it is that important, then it is worth going for with every bit of courage, grit and will if that is all I have.
“If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat even if people think it is grass in the beginning.”- Vincent van Gogh