Tag Archives: happiness

Visiting Home After Being Gone a While

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So, I’m back in Ohio right now visiting home, and it’s been very pleasant. The memories of how people treated me here are finally fading away as I get older, and I have to admit…I think that now that I finally feel successful…whatever anyone here thinks of me no longer matters.

For example- If someone here wants to hate me for being gay, well… I get paid to travel the world and write stories about it… Tell me Mr. white trash Ohioan, what do you do? Now that I’m happy and now that I feel worthwhile, ignorant trash suddenly seems like nothing more than, well, ignorant trash.

 

Dolly Parton has a song called Home (a very good song in fact)

 

And so much of it makes sense now. There really is no place like home. For better or for worse, there is only town where you grow up (unless you move). But for most of us, there’s only one town where you experience grade school and high school, and all the crap that comes along with it. And whether your experience sucked like mine, or was great like the some prom queen, it leaves a mark inside of you that shapes who you are.

There’s always something powerful about coming back. For me, it’s two-fold. Part of it makes me remember why I ran so far away. This town just isn’t me. It never was. I always wanted the world, I wanted to devote my life to a passion. And that just isn’t how most Ohioans feel. But at the same time, I also appreciate the things here that I can’t have in Manhattan. I love all the tree-lined streets, the quiet nights, the fireflies, the large nearby parks with wandering riverbeds and deers and foxes and squirrels and frogs. I love nature. And that love of nature is a big part of what spurred my love of travel. Coming home is always nice because it refuels my natural side. The side I lose in New York.

In a few weeks I take my next trip for work. I’m off to London!

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I’m very excited! But London is big and sprawling and crowded. It’s the opposite of my hometown (and that will partly make me love it) But, it’s also encouraging me to suck up as much Ohio as I can right now.

I’m going to walk the family dog, ride my bike, sleep with my windows open, and embrace everything Ohio is. Everything I left behind.  Everything I hate. And Everything I still love.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was… 60% proofread?)

 

 

 

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What Is It That We Want?

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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.

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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.

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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

Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place

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So the past few weeks I was visiting home in Ohio and about 3 hours ago I arrived back here in Melbourne and I hate to say it, Im actually really sad.   I actually really enjoyed the comfort and safety of home.  Being able to be back in my own room, in the neighborhood I grew up in, having trees and parks everywhere.  Everything seemed more real. 

 

Like here in Melbourne Ive been battling the panic and anxiety so badly.  And I thought I was making such great progress because I was getting through the day without having massive breakdowns…..

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But when I was back home all the panic and anxiety practically vanished completely.   I couldn’t believe it.  And with my mind not focused on panic and anxiety all the time, it started opening up again.   Opening to things I hadn’t felt for a long time.  Things I wanted before the big breakdown, like adventure, and love, and friends, and a job that will change this world, and…. I don’t know, I just had this spirit I haven’t had in a long time.

 

But here’s the problem…. I still hate the people in my hometown.  They are still trash and small minded.  So I know that my hometown has no long-term value in my life

 

So where to go from here?

Anyone else having some big decisions to make in their lives right now?

The Dark Horse

~ This was totally not proofread 

ROSWELL , Or How A Crappy 90’s Show Is Making Me Love Life Again

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So yes, I have just started watching this is cheesy ass show that used to be on the WB and was later moved to UPN (the true resting ground for any form of entertainment worth watching).  But anyhow, Ive fallen deeply and madly in love with the show.

Fo starters, Its everything I want.  its this normal girl who lives in Roswell, NM.  Her life is changed forever when a fight breaks out at the cafe she works at and she is shot.  Suddenly this guy (who she’s secretly always liked and who has secretly always liked her) comes over and magically heals her.   She discovers he is actually an alien and she gets involved in a larger-than-life situation involving government secrets, epic chases, love, loss, and discovering there is more to the world than Roswell.

Ok, so why do I love this show so much?  Lets start with the lead guy, Mr. Jason Behr. 

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Awww…. come on look at that face.  What a cutie!  and there is also this…

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Now here I have a few words to describe him> Humpmuffin, Hunkmonster, or SitOnMyFace will all do.  

He is dreamy and hunky and COME ON!!!!! WE ALL KNOW IT MAKES US MORE MORE INTERESTED IN A SHOW WHEN YOURE CRUSHING ON THE LEAD! 

 

But seriously, the real reason is that is gives me hope that there is more to life.  I hate how boring my life is and how much…well… how much NOTHING I tend to do. I Work, I graduated school, and I try to hang with friends… but seriously, what has that done for me? What is that doing for me?  I feel bored.  Bored and unfulfilled everyday.  

LIKE I KNOW THERE IS MORE OUT THERE FOR ME SOMEWHERE AND SOMEHOW 

And all that boredom and that pent up frustration and that feeling wasting of away leads me down into the depression and the panic and the anxiety.  

I was reading this book called “Role Models” by John Waters and he was talking about how he’s always loved people and wanted to e people who lived “extreme lives”.  He admitted that they weren’t all the easiest lives, or the most stable.  But That an extreme life gives you something.  And I agree.

In Spiderman we all know the quote, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”.  And I fully believe that, but i also believe that 

WITH EXTREME RISK COMES EXTREME PAYOFFS

 For example, getting up, going to your 9 to 5 desk job.  Having the weekend off and going to the bars with your friends.  Sure, you can feel stuff.  You can have fun and feel pain and find love.  

But think about a famous singer, or an astronaut or something.  Think of how nervous, and excited, and scared, and jubilant you would feel all at the same time right before you go on stage at a concert, or right before you release a new album filled with songs you wrote and hope the world will love.  Or, in the case of the astronaut, think of that moment… you’re looking up at the sky knowing you’re about to be blasted into the absolute abyss of space.   They live on a more extreme level than we do.  THEY FEEL MORE THAN WE DO

And I want that feeling.  I want it so bad.  I want my life to mean something.  I want to be brought to tears and I want to smile and laugh so uncontrollably that people think I’m crazy and I want to feel love and happiness, and YES I know that the capacity to feel great pleasure means you also have the capacity to feel great pain. BUT HELLO BITCHES!  Ive got panic and anxiety and depression.  My life sucks.  Im already feeling extreme pain.  

ITS ABOUT DAMN TIME I FEEL THE EXTREME HAPPINESS 

And yeah so what its stupid and cheesy and whatever, but this show is giving me hope that Ill find the happiness and excitement I’m looking for.  Its making me feel good inside.  Give it a shot, it might make you feel the same 🙂

Steady As The Beating Drum? Not A Chance

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So I watched Pocahontas the other night.  Its such a good movie.  If you haven’t seen it, or if its been years since you’ve seen it, give it  watch again.  Its that good.

So it just got me thinking a lot.  So, I’m sure you all know the story.  Everyone is like “blah blah blah choose the slowest easiest path in life, because thats what you do” and Pocahontas is like…. no. I want adventure and excitement.  

I relate to that a lot, and I think a lot of you might as well.  Like i don’t understand the common person and they don’t understand me.  And neither of us will probably understand each other.  If you come form that mindset of “I just want things to be SIMPLE and EASY and STEADY” then how could you ever understand someone who says “I want my life to have IMMENSE MEANING and ADVENTURE and FEELING”.   

To bring it to modern day, its like the normal person being like, “yay! Ive worked hard all week, and now that its Friday I can’t wait to go to the bars with my friends”

to me, that sounds like a horrible dull and boring and mundane existence.  Id rather struggle and fight and feel pain and be spat on and   get hurt if I knew that it could lead me to a life where i could also feel immense love and passion and excitement.  And my job could be changing the world, and taking me all over the world.   

And just like I can’t comprehend their desires, they probably can’t comprehend mine.  

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But just think, what would have happened if Pocahontas never explored?  What if she never met John Smith?  

What kind of life would she have had?  What would have happened to the village? 

Obviously I know in real life things didn’t play out like it does in the movie, I’m just using the movie as the example.

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Now its time for the lesson for all of us today.  Think of the lyric, “Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest, come taste the sun sweet berries of the Earth! Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth”  

She said this to John Smith because she wanted him to just enjoy life.  Experience all it has to offer and not be consumed by thinking of manmade issues like economic worth, or political importance.  

But I think for us, people with depression and anxiety and panic…. we also need to just enjoy life.  Just experience the wonders around and not fill our minds with dread from the past.  fear of the future, worrying about some imaginary catastrophe thats around the corner.

LETS JUST LIVE !

Deal? awesome, lets do this!

 

~ The Dark Horse