Category Archives: growing up

New York, I Have Arrived!

nyc

 

Somehow. Someway….

It happened.

I’ve finally arrived.

I’m in the land of Joan Didion, Robert De Nero, and Anna Wintour.

And It’s so insanely exciting and cool and terrifying and thrilling and wonderful and stressful.

I mean, people, listen to me, I am currently writing in a cafe in Manhattan, surrounded by brownstones with iron fire escapes, and the sounds of honking and all the rest of those very New Yorkish things.

nyc1

 

And obviously that sensory overload is good and bad. Sensory overload can lead to anxiety. And I’ll be honest, I’m getting a tad of it.

It seems like too much has gone right. I mean, who lands a good job in New York, finds an amazing apartment at a great price in a wonderful neighborhood, has good roommates, and…. is actually happy?

Does anyone else out there feel like happiness is one of those things that other people get, but the we don’t?

It’s like I’m waiting for the floor to drop at any moment.

Like, maybe this job will fall through. Or the owner of the apartment will sell, and I’ll have to move….or worse, what if I can’t find a place afterwards? And then I have to leave because the stress has caused me to have a mental breakdown and lose my job? It seems like I’m so used to pain and misery that I no longer have the ability to even believe that a good life exists.

It seems that whenever something good starts to happen, a hurricane alarm goes off deep within me. Some old sailor starts screaming, “Batten down the hatches!” I start to brace for the bad to begin again.

perfectstorm

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

THAT FUCKING SUCKS AND IS UNFAIR.

 

And you know what else? I’m really fucking over it. Done. (Or for all you eighteen-year-olds out there, I’m #done).

 

It isn’t fair that I have to live a life convinced that I don’t deserve good things. Or think that I’ll never be happy.

Fuck that. 

And Fuck all the people out there who have conditioned me to be this way. 

Fuck all the kids from my grade school who called me faggot.

Fuck all the kids in high school who spat on me, and who told me they’d beat me up if they ever saw me in the bathroom.

Fuck the teachers who stood and did nothing.

But double fuck the teachers who made comments themselves. I’m looking at you freshman year health teacher who told me I’ll die of AIDS simply for being gay.

And also to my old German teacher who was openly homophobic. 

Not to mention EVERY SINGLE religion teacher I ever had, who told me I would go to hell. 

Fuck my old boss at Aeropostale who made fun of me for having depression and anxiety. Im sorry that you’re a grown 37-year-old woman who’s life has amounted to working in a bumfuck mall in a cornfield in Ohio selling cheap clothing to little girls that fall apart after a month. 

Fuck everyone in Ohio who discouraged me from dreaming big. Who told me the world would eat me alive. Who told me I’d never be good enough. Who told me I was stupid. Who told me I was ugly. 

FUCK ALL OF YOU. 

CUZ GUESS WHAT MOTHERFUCKERS, 

I live in Manhattan now. And I just got a job in television. And I’m finishing up my Master’s where I’m putting together a book full of my essays. 

So, here’s my cock. suck it.

nyc2

Werk.

 

I’m ready to embrace a life of meaning. A life where maybe I can even help change other people’s lives. A life where I’m happy and fulfilled. And I’m done even remembering what a bunch of boondock Ohioans tried telling me about life.

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

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What Is It That We Want?

face

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

I want to find true happiness in life, but what is true happiness?

For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the combination of 2 things:

The Personal Life

and

The Meaningful Life

 

 

First off, we have the personal life. This is you and your family, friends, loved ones, romantic interests, and so on. It’s the social connections that keep us as humans from losing our fucking minds. Think this isn’t true?

Well, here’s some news articles for you on the topic:

BBC

New Republic

Science

I learned that social isolation destroys you the hard way… I was socially isolated.

Growing up gay in Ohio, with parents who were homophobic (and trust me, I love my parents, I understand they were just a product of their time. I hold no resentment towards them). Anyways, with everyone avoiding you like some kind of untouchable, and then not even being able to tell your own family about how wrong everything is, you go a little insane.

You go inwards. You start to live in your own world because the one around you doesn’t want you in it. For me, I had a savior. I had what I thought would fix everything. I had the dream of…

LA

LOS ANGELES

 

I told myself that LA would change everything. There, I’d find where I belonged. The people in California would be different. They would love me. And I’d go into the film industry because what’s more accepting of differences than Hollywood? (Rimshot please!)

But again, I was alone. I had nobody to tell me otherwise. I had nobody to guide me. I had nobody to make see how shallow and horrible LA is, especially for someone as socially retarded as me.

So, from the very first day I arrived in LA after high school, everything collapsed. I didn’t know how to connect with anyone. I had never drank, or smoked, or been to a party, or a concert, or stayed over at a friends house, or anything.

I’d try to connect and make friends, and it would instantly fall apart. Actually, it wouldn’t fall apart because it never got to the point where there was anything to fall apart. People just looked at me like I was this strange mutant from bumfuck nowhere…which, let’s be honest, I kind of was, and then they’d keep walking, making sure to keep their distance.

And thus, depression and anxiety crept into my life. My dream. My salvation. The cure-all that I always thought LA would be for my life…wasn’t. My only bit of hope was crushed and gone, and there was no longer anything to hold me together.

LA1

I remember Bruce Vilanch once said something like, “Ah yes! LA, where the palm trees are filled with crows.”

Well, I had started to see the crows.

 

 

But on the flip side, focusing simply on your social life also kills you. I learned this in Melbourne.

mel

 

I somehow managed to finish college in LA. And sure, there was that whole part where I dropped out because I lost my mind and wound up on the streets having sex for rent money, and there was that last year in LA where the depression was so bad that I’d collapse everywhere I went, but ya know, how time flies….

And so, I found myself with a Work and Holiday visa in Melbourne, Australia. SURELY GOOD PEOPLE EXISTED DOWN UNDER RIGHT? 

I went to Melbourne with one goal: It was time for me to be the dumb kid I wasn’t able to be in high school. My goals were to make good friends, fuck hot Aussie boys, get a boyfriend, and live it up!

And soon after I arrived I did find a friend group, and got a job at LUSH. But nothing seemed to get better… I was going out to bars with my friends (even though I don’t drink). I was going to food festivals with them. I was going to comedy shows. More bars. Clubs… bars… and more clubs and bars… OMG normal humans are so obsessed with bars and clubs, what the fuck is with that?????

And I just found myself bored. They would talk about their day, and the friends they knew, and gossip about others, and share memories of their past, and I would sit there, staring off into space, realizing something was wrong; I NEEDED A PURPOSE. I would go to work at LUSH, and be bored, because it’s retail and retail isn’t mentally stimulating. Then, I’d go to some bar and listen to these shallow people talk about shallow things, and I’d still be bored…even though I thought I had what I wanted.

I WAS SITTING WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS!!!! It was everything I would have dreamed to have when I was 15. But now that I had it, I realized life isn’t just about sitting in a bar with friends. If that was enough for me then I should have just stayed in Ohio like everyone else… But life needs to have meaning. I wanted a career. Something I could be furiously happy about. Something I could invest myself in that would change the damn world! I didn’t care that Leon got a hot girl’s number, or that his ex-girlfriend wanted to get back with him, or about how excited he was to try shrooms for the first time.  I wanted to bash my head into the wall.

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So, despite my naive intentions, Melbourne was a bust. (Oh, and also, I go so miserable and destitute that my depression and anxiety burst into agoraphobia… what fun…)

 

 

And, just to really make sure that I knew what I was talking about, I made the mistake again! I went home broke, because I lost all my money paying for therapy, had to get a job in retail in my hometown to re-save up money, then I ran away again to Auckland…JUST TO WORK IN RETAIL! What the fuck was I thinking?????? 

auk

 

And so that was two more wasted years of my life….

But Auckland is where the change happened. I was in therapy one day, and I was just like, “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!! WHAT AM I DOING?” I had a midlife crisis at the age of 25. I was like, “HOLY FUCKBALLS! IM GOING TO BE STUCK IN THIS CYCLE FOREVER UNLESS I CHANGE IT RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!!!!”

And thus, the plan was formed. I decided to apply for grad school. There, I could gain more experience, find mentors, meet other determined people, and reboot my life.

And that’s when I got into a program at Harvard, and the rest is history… Now, I’m getting ready to make the move to New York City with a great job offer that I’m so excited and proud to have.

 

And that’s why I think that life needs both. You need your social half, but you also need your meaningful half. It’s a tough tightrope to walk, finding both. And lord knows I’ve fallen off that rope many a time… But, I think for lasting joy, and true fulfillment, that’s how it’s done.

 

Keep up the dream!

~ The Dark Horse

You’re Never Too Old, And I Have Proof.

wise

 

So, I’m home right now.  I got back from China last week and decided to have a little time in my hometown before I go back to school in a few weeks.  I visited with my grandma the other day and she told me a story that I loved and that I wanted to share:

 

She told me about her friend. Her friend is 93 years old, and still walks, talks, and even drives! Apparently, her friend’s grandson owns a tattoo parlor, which I find really funny because my grandma is a “church lady”, and the friend she was telling me about is someone who she puts on church events with. So the idea that this little old church lady has a tatted up grandson makes me smile.

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And apparently, her grandson does more than just own a tattoo parlor… he’s a straight-up tattoo enthusiast. One of those types who’s covered head-to-toe and believes that everyone on Earth should have at least one tattoo.

So, he bugged her, telling her that he would give her a tattoo at some point.  But of course, being the little old church lady that she is, she said no.

For her 70th birthday, she said no.

For her 80th birthday, she said no.

But finally, on her 90th birthday she said, “What the hell, I’m 90.”

 

And, at 90 years old, she got her first tattoo, drawn on by her grandson. It was a butterfly.

wise3

 

When she told me that story, I couldn’t help but smile uncontrollably. I always fell like my life still hasn’t begun, and I fear that I’m going to die before I ever accomplish anything or before I’m ever happy.  So, to know that people are out there having new experiences at 90 years old makes me feel really good.  It makes me feel like maybe my life isn’t over yet. Like maybe there are still some new experiences down the road for me.

Also, it kind of puts things into perspective.  I’m 28. And I’m sure that if I were to talk to this 93-year-old-tatted-up-rockstar-church-lady, and told her that I feel like what should have been the best years of my life are behind me and have been wasted, she’d probably laugh. She’s probably done a lot in her life between the ages of 28 and 93. Hell, she probably did a lot between the ages of 50 and 93, or even 70 and 93!

 

I guess I liked this story so much because it showed me that it’s never too late to do things. You’re never actually too old or too whatever you excuse is. We all have the chance to be our best and have fun everyday. Regardless of age.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was maybe 10% proofread, and I’ll admit, I proofread while sipping tea so I had a giant mug covering most of my view of the screen…but hey, it was a great cup of tea!)

Learning New Things: Or, Learning To Soar And Never Giving Up

 

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So, I’m picking up some hobbies. I’ve grown tired of feeling stale and boring. When people ask what I do in my spare time, I’m like… “I read, write, go to the gym, drink tea at cafes as read and write…and I eat….and stuff?”   And then I sit there and I’m like… my god, I sound like I’m 90.

 

I need a little more magic in my life. I need something that takes me away from the constant cycle of “reading and writing”. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love to read and write…but sometimes I just need something else.  Anything else, really.  I love writing and It’s a great creative outlet. But it’s so silent, so isolated. I want something performative and exciting!

 

Years and years ago I bought a banjo. A banjo I have hardly touched ever since because when you’re consumed with depression you don’t feel like you have the energy or brain power to do anything. But, I’m better these days. And it’s time for me to start doing all the things I spent so many years not doing. So, I’m gonna’ pick that bitch back up again. I love music and I wish I was better at being able to make it. And then I was like…

Well, I own a fucking instrument!!! Why don’t I do something about it????

banjo.gif

 

I’m working on this huge project right now at school where I’m writing a podcast episode on Drag. And even though I’m gay and have had a few experiences where I’ve seen a drag queen walking down the street or something, I’ve actually never been to a show, nor have I ever watched Drag Race or anything. So I’ve been doing a crash course in Drag lately and have been discovering a whole bunch of really talented people. The crash course is what’s gotten me into the UK Big Brother season that Courtney Act on it (who thank god won, cuz everyone else in that house was a bloody cunt to her)

Anyhoo, there is this drag queen named Trixie Mattel. She sings folk/country/alt/singer-songwriter something type of music or something? I’m not sure how I’d classify her style, but anyways, she’s super talented. She can play instruments and sings really well.

trixie

I had reached out to her for an interview for the podcast episode I’m working on, and she totally blew me off….which kind of sucks….BUT I’M NOT BITTER AT ALL..….WOULD A BITTER PERSON TYPE IN ALL BOLD CAPS????? I DON’T THINK SO!

But anyways, I was like, look: If this sassy cunt has the balls to put on a dress, wig, and makeup and then rock an autoharp on a stage….then god dammit I can learn a fuckin’ banjo!  And so, learn a banjo I shall!

 

 

On top of that, I’ve also started learning Mandarin.

ni

 

I have an internship in Shanghai this summer, and I’ve also been selected to do some travel blogging while I’m there, which is insanely cool!

The internship says I don’t need any experience speaking Mandarin, but fuck that. Goin’ to a foreign country without knowing any of their language is white-fuckin’-trash.   Ok…actually, I take that back. If someone is going to a tourist place for a week, then I can see them not needing to learn the language.  I don’t think anyone going to Cancun for Spring Break would have any need to learn Spanish (however, America is rapidly changing, so learning Spanish is becoming more and more useful in our country and I may argue should be a mandatory secondary language taught in schools).

Anyways…. what the fuck was I saying? … Oh right. So yeah, I’m going to be in China for the summer. And when you settle and live someplace for a while and have a chance to really just get into a groove there, knowing the language and culture is key. Especially since I’m going to be venturing out on my own to explore the city to write these travel pieces on top of the internship.

counting

 

So, I’m doin’ this! 

I’m living my life. I’m done sitting passively as life passes me by. Any of you, go back to my early blog posts. Read some posts from back when I was agoraphobic. It was insane! I literally let my youth slip by as I struggled and fought against the issues I was having. It breaks my heart when I go back and think about my years in California, Australia, and New Zealand. I was running and searching. I was looking for myself. I was trying to find who I was. But I was so hurt from my past and had nobody there to help me move forward, so I just stumbled tumbled and crashed.

But, that’s growth right?  Growth is moving forward and learning from the past so you can become better for the future. I remember a great line from one of my favorite movies, The Time Machine. The main character keeps trying to go back in time to save his girlfriend who dies, but no matter how many times he goes back and tries to change the situation, she always dies in some way. The past is cemented. There’s no changing it.

At one point he says “The only way to go is forward”.

~ The Dark Horse

KANT’S RULES OF HAPPINESS

KANT'S RULES FORHAPPINESS

 

So, I came across this quote the other day,  and I’ll admit, it’s sad that I just found this because I was literally in a philosophy class last semester and we talked about Kant!  Not to mention the fact that I’ve been blogging about depression and my lonely life for 4 fucking years now.

Anyhoo, so Kant has famously said:

Rules for happiness_ something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.

Have you all heard this before?  Because seriously, this is like life changing for me… and yet I’m worried that this quote may be common knowledge for pretty much everyone but me.

 

Anyways, let’s dive into this shit.

 

1.) SOMETHING TO DO

 

For a very, very long time, I lacked this. I mean, even to this very day I’m still pretty weak in this department (But I’m making progress). But I completely agree that this is so true.  When you’re doing things that you hate and that bore you, how the fuck are you supposed to be happy? 

For example, I’ve spent so many fucking years working in restaurants and in retail. I was bored.  In fact, I was bored to death.  I was so bored that I was horribly depressed, and would break out into panic attacks just thinking about how meaningless my life was.

What made it even worse is that I would try to reach out to people.  I’d try to be like, “I’m so unhappy, I know I can do more with my life…I’m meant for more than this.”

and that was always met with:

“In this economy you should just be thankful you have a job…”

or

“Oh well you know, everyone gets bored with everything they do eventually…”

or

“What other kind of job do you think you could even get???”

 

It’s sad that people don’t try and life you up, they just try and keep you down at their level.  The lesson here is that if you’re doing something and you feel like your stuck and bored and miserable, then switch it up!  Get out of that place!  (Granted this is something that can take time…but don’t let that deter you from doing it!)

 

 

2.) SOMEONE TO LOVE

 

I think it’s pretty obvious that this doesn’t just mean love in a romantic sense.  I think this is more about having people in your life.  Friends, family, and romance.

I’ve talked about this with a lot of people.  I never had anyone there for me growing up, and it totally killed me inside.  Living in social isolation is absolute hell.  And what’s even worse is when bad things happen to you.  In general, most people get through the bad times by being surrounded by those who care about them.  They use the shoulders around them to cry on.

And when you don’t have any shoulders around…when it’s just you vs. the universe, the world is a horribly crushing place.

Having people in your life…people who actually care… is life changing.

In fact, something pretty amazing happened the other night.  I’ve started to make some friends here at Harvard.  We met through a board game club on campus.  And last month it was brought up that when Star Wars came out, we should all go see it.

SW

And sure enough, on Thursday, opening night for The Last Jedi, we all went and saw it.  I was standing in the T, with seven of my friends around me… I looked around and I thought to myself… “Wow, this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve ever gone somewhere with a group of people!” 

I don’t want to sound stupid, but it was a completely profound experience. I, at 27 years old, had finally done something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a kid.  I was hanging out with a group of friends.

We did all the things that people with social lives do.  We were all texting each other about where to meet and stuff, we all sat in a group at the movies, and we even had an issue where the car broke down, so we had to flag someone down to jump the car at 1am… look at that, a night complete with wacky surprises!  This may seem like normal stuff you guys, but for me, this was a totally new experience. It’s crazy how something that seems so meaningless to most people can be so moving to others.

I actually really like how Star Wars has a way of bringing people together.  It’s almost like it’s mankind’s favorite story.  It teaches us to be better people and to never give up.

 

3.) SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR

So, I see this as also meaning something to look forward.  Something that makes you want to keep living.  Something that makes you believe fun and happiness is on the horizon.  That something will better your life. 

And… hmmmm… this is becoming a Star Wars post now.  Because you know, Star Wars is all about HOPE. The entire plot-line of Star Wars is the hope that good will overcome darkness.  That is the rebellion.

And I don’t know if any of you have read some of my earlier posts throughout the years, but there have been times when I literally have had no hope.  There have been times where I was just wishing that I’d die through the night so I wouldn’t have to go on living another day.

But now…things are different.  Since starting at Harvard, it’s like my life has turned around.  I have internships now… I have a sense that I will actually make something of myself… I think I could become a good writer at some point… and I even have friends now (wtf right?  How did all this happen?)

Well…I needed hope.  I needed hope that my life could become better.  I needed hope that things weren’t over yet.  I needed to believe that I could do it.

And now, that small sliver of hope, that small flame in the eternal darkness… It’s lead to more hope.  And now, hopefully this post is bringing about more hope.  Because like Kant says, we all need hope.

 

 

So, what does this mean?  …. good question.  This post was not put together well at all.  My writing professors would be annoyed, but you know what fuck them.  This isn’t being written for a class, this is being written for catharsis.

But here’s what I can say for you.  If you have people who are bringing you down, well then, you gosta’ slap a bitch.

slap

 

Cuz you got this.  You can do it.  Yes, this world can be unfair, and sure, some of may be missing some or all of Kant’s 3 sources to happiness, but this is the only life we have.  And so we gotta rock shit out.

Go for it.

Never give up.

And may the force be with you.

lightspeed

 

 

Light speed bitches!

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

I Long To Be The Younger Me Again

Feb 2010 Campus Scenes

 

Does anyone else out there look back on their past and wish they were young again?  I mean, I didn’t even like being young.  My life has been a raging shitshow since about age 10

But at the same time, there was the spark back then.  This magic all around me. 

I believed that everything was going to work out.  I thought that one day I’d fly away and be surrounded by people who loved and cared for me.  When I was 20, I was so much more jaded than any other 20 year-old around me, but now, at 27, I’m even more bitter and jaded than I thought humanly possible.

 

This one memory has been popping back into my head for about a month now.

It’s the memory of being twenty years old and being back in undergrad.  Back at a school called Loyola Marymount University.

LMU1

Loyola Marymount is located in sunny Los Angeles and it’s campus is beautiful and pristine.  Being from working class Ohio, I always felt completely out of place surrounded by all the kids from the OC and the Bay who drove their BMWs and Range Rovers around campus.

Back then I hated that school.  I had no friends.  I didn’t connect with the coke-snorting millionaires from Laguna Beach who partied in WeHo rather than did homework like me.   It was so isolating and lonely.  I remember it was so bad that I moved to Westwood to live with UCLA kids.   Then I had about a 2 hour bus commute every day there and back on the Santa Monica 3 bus line.

 

lmu3

 

And yet, these days, I look back and miss those days.  I miss being in undergrad. I miss being that young.  I miss looking out my classroom windows and seeing palm trees and the LA skyline.

But you know, what I really miss is being surrounded by peers.  There is an experience in undergrad that you’ll never get in anything else you ever do in life for as long as you live.  Its you, being young, and being surrounded by a bunch of other young people.  There is just this feeling like a new friend could be around every corner. Maybe a potential boyfriend is sitting next to you in class.   You just always think that something good may be coming.

So that’s what I’m remembering.  I keep thinking of sitting in this history class I had.  There was this really cute straight guy who sat next to me.  I used to sneak looks at him when he wasn’t looking.  And sometimes, he’d catch my looking and I’d smile like as I was just looking around the room and happened to make eye-contact with him.  He’d give me this bro-like “sup” motion with his face.

AudreyMa_LMU_2015_1520

I’ll never have that again.   I’ll never feel like a new friend is around every corner.  I’ll never feel like I’ll fall in love ever again.   I just rot.  I just got older and more isolated and my body crumbles and fades with age.

You’re only young once.   After that it’s all over.  Now, everyone is settling down, getting married, getting fat, plopping into their 9-5 (which in America has quickly turned to the 8-6), and they wash their adulthoods away at bars on the weekends talking about life as “grown ups” as they discuss buying homes and other such bullshits.

I think I actually hate them more now.  At least back when we were 20 and they didn’t have anything in common with me, I could still have some eye candy.  But now, that glow of youth that all the hot guys used to have has been replaced with a growing belly and back hair.   I wonder how they look at themselves in the mirror everyday without wanting to commit suicide.   How far they’ve fallen.

lmu6

But despite how awful life becomes, I will still have my memories.  At nighttime as I sit in my bed unable to fall asleep, I close my eyes, and think about my past.  I replay those days at LMU on loop in my head.  My bedroom provides an escape from my present.  I’d rather be lost a delusional fantasy of what my life used to be, than sit in bed at night and dwell on how it only continues to get worse.

lmu7

Anyways, does anyone else feel that way?  Does anyone else feel like even though life was never good, it was somehow less bad when you were young?

And where do we go from here?

~ The Dark Horse

(This was…perhaps 30% proofread?)