(they’re) doing alright

A square image of a sunset over the mountains with the text "they're doing alright" in a newspaper clipping font

A few weeks ago, my computer was doing an update. This prevented me from working on my projects, & I wanted to spend family time, so I didn’t use the computer in my bedroom. Bored & without anything better to do while I waited, I decided to go down a rabbit hole of looking up my childhood friends & see what they were up to now.

& it ended up being a very warm, heartwarming experience.

One is an environmental engineer. One came out as nonbinary & queer & became a doula. One who as a kid, I falsely judged to be least likely to be successful, became a successful engineer as well. Another works as a computer programmer. The mom of two childhood friends of mine who helped watch me as a kid is now a website designer.

Then I looked up some of my Dad’s childhood & high school friends. All of the ones I looked up were still alive & doing well. One is a successful lawyer with a nice house & car. One, a drummer who might have played in a band with my dad is still a drummer & now works at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville. One guy who worked as a server alongside my dad now owns his own restaurant. One is still a successful investor & stock broker.

And to see so many people either of us knew when we were younger? To see them thriving in more ways than I ever would have suspected? To see that legitimately every one of them was doing something I’d consider cool & they all seemed to be living uncommon & interesting lives?

It genuinely brought me so much joy & was almost a bit transcendent in a way. They had their place in each of our lives, & now they’ve moved on & are out in the world doing things & seemingly living good lives

And it also put things in perspective that as much as I may feel like I haven’t done enough or that I’m a failure sometimes, it occurred to me that should they ever look me up, & see that I’m an actor & artist & writer & whatnot? That they’d probably feel the same way about me. I may doubt myself often, but people probably think what I do is cool too even when I don’t feel that way about myself.

It gives me hope that things do go right, & people can become what they want to, & that even people who we’ve outgrown but still wish well can thrive ♥ 

2010 vs 2020, & The Things I Wish I Could Tell 16-Year-Old Me

Please don’t give up. One day, you really do find all the things you’re looking for.

(Image Credit: https://picrew.me/image_maker/148413)

I saw this trend of comparing where you were 10 years ago & where you are now &……HOOOOOOO BOY A LOT HAS CHANGED & I HAVE COME SUPER FAR FROM WHERE I WAS BACK THEN.

And for that, I am really, really proud of myself.

(TW: depression, mention of suicidal thoughts)

10 years ago I was 16 & struggling with severe depression as the result of my undiagnosed & untreated mental illnesses, including bipolar & BPD.

I had literally ZERO friends as a result of my social difficulties & the fact I didn’t have a job nor go to school (I was homeschooled), & my family was too poor to afford any extra activities, so I was at home all the time except for shopping trips for YEARS.

I felt utterly invisible & almost constantly hopeless about my future, & I suffered from frequent intrusive & suicidal thoughts as well as intense anxiety.

I also was struggling with a lot of guilt, anxiety, & shame about my gender & sexuality.

I was terrified & hopeless over the fact I didn’t think I would ever have real friends or actually be happy. Getting through every day was a struggle, & because of stigma against mental illness in my family, I literally had NO ONE I could tell about my feelings except venting to strangers on the internet.

When I turned 25, I realized that 16-year-old me hadn’t really expected they’d even MAKE it to 25, & that makes me sad now because since then, things have become SO SO GOOD.

It really DID get better, ESPECIALLY over the past year. I have an amazing group of friends which every day I’m just so grateful I’ve got these folks in my life, I’m making new friends all the time, I’m out as a bisexual & aromantic demiboy to most of the people I know including my family & I’m accepted for it, I’m working on getting low-dose testosterone, I have an amazing job that I love, I’m ACTUALLY a professional actor & artist who’s working on so MANY exciting projects, I don’t feel invisible usually anymore & I have SO MUCH HOPE for my future, I finally started going to therapy, & I’m finally finding the mental health meds that are making a huge difference in how I feel.

I feel so loved & supported by everyone in my life, & I’m so, SO glad to be where I am today ❤️.

Things really did get better, & if I could go back in time & tell my 16-year-old self something, more than anything I’d just really like them to know that all the things they think they’re never gonna have? A job they love? Amazing friends? Acceptance from my family? Treatment for my mental illnesses? True happiness?

They find ALL of that & then some, & it’s so so much better than they imagined it would be.

…Because you see, they don’t just grow up & make it & survive.

It takes a while, & it’s still not perfect, but they grow up, & make it, & THRIVE.


Obsessed with the Aesthetics of Everything

I Am Obsessed with the Aesthetics of Everything

From Issue 12 of Assemblage.

The way the art looked on the wall when it was winter & pale afternoon sunlight streamed in. The affected manner in which he always spoke. The Zig-zags painted on his face & constantly evolving persona. The way she looked as she stepped off the bus & music was playing. The way fields looked in the summer, or the porch that night we watched the stars & looked forward towards impending change & impending maturity. The way she strolled through the store with red dyed hair & combat boots like nothing could touch her, not even Fear. The feeling I got when I was finally able to say it was truth. The way light streamed in through windows onto the floor making patterns & the way it felt driving down the highway with the windows open listening to The Rolling Stones. The characteristic fedora, the iconic red braids & the flying bicycle, & watching that movie where he modernized Shakespeare. The way it needed to be put in that exact place in that exact time; replicating movie scenes listening to their theme songs in tandem, or the way the moon looked at night riding around with the windows open listening to particular songs. The way the pictures characterized the exact way that I was feeling, & the way that dancing in the moonlight felt on a summer evening, or how they fell in love & lived in the forest together.

Mini-Essays : October 9, 2015

Grass Covering by Ashlee Craft
Mini-essays are going to be a new feature on my blog & I’m so excited! I came up with the idea earlier today & in this feature, I will write a small paragraph about a beautiful minutiae or moment or thing in life, or that I read about, etc.


I awoke, not yet halfway through the short sleep night that I knew I was going to have, & looked around at the darkness of my room, & the sheer lace curtains over my window, illuminated by moonlight. My blankets were too warm; I tried putting one leg in, one leg out, like I did when I was a kid, but it didn’t really help. I tried sleeping everywhere : on the end of my bed, curled into a c-shape, clutching a plush owl & laying on my “weird fish pillow”, as I call it. I thought about the sound of his voice; adrenaline coursing through the shot put athlete preparing to throw; feminism; tender moments between the two of us; pretending that he was there, brushing my hair back from my face to comfort me to sleep; funny TV shows, & the deep cloud that was hanging above me. Still, sleep would not come, & the assumed exhaustion followed.


// Goodbye, Tree

You were there, a steady friend of mine over many lonesome nights when I would stare out my empty window at the lake. “Goodnight, tree.”, I would say, thinking about Anne of Green Gables & how she named plants, so they could be her friends. The moon would shine down over the lake, & the water would sparkle like electricity was jolting through it, & you would be out there, a steady, sure companion of mine. & every morning, your branches outstretched to the sky, you would be greeting the day, ready to embrace it. Steady, rooted, certain. That was how I thought of you. Now you are crumpled & uprooted & lying there dead, & I can no longer say goodnight to you, but rather, farewell. “Goodbye, tree.”


// The Smell of Fresh Sweet Potatoes

They sat in my fruit bowl on the edge of the counter for quite a while – a white organic sweet potato, & a regular sweet potato. I used to use the fruit bowl all the time, but then the fruit in it slowly rotted, & after I washed the bowl, it got shunned to the pantry. I rediscovered it a few weeks ago, & the sweet potatoes ended up in the bowl. In an effort to rotate the fruits & veggies, I decided to cook the sweet potatoes today. It was one of those moods where I feel inspired to do everything, & make everything, & get everything done creatively & productively. I sliced them & made sweet potato chips. As I sliced off the ends, I took an appreciative sniff of raw sweet potato. I’d never actually sniffed one before & realized I didn’t know what they smelled like. It lacked much of the earthy smell of a regular potato, but had a faint hint of regular sweet potato smell. It smelled refreshing, surprisingly.


// Mindfulness, In a Weird Place

Three times it happened, same place, almost the same time. Lost in thought, with the soap on my hands & warm water washing it away. Lost in thoughts about where I was going, & the mere hatred of it all, & every other frustration bearing down upon me. Then, each time, caught up in what wasn’t even real yet, & probably never would be, & maybe wasn’t even important in the scheme of things, I stepped on the same broken acorn on the floor. It crunched under my foot, & the unexpected sound jolted me from my soliloquies, & suddenly I was there, fully & present. It was the alarm clock. WAKE UP. WAKE UP. WAKE UP. Then I felt the paper towels on my hands, & felt the crunch of the paper beneath my fingers. This happened two more times the same night, the exact same way.