What’s the point? What is my purpose? What am I supposed to do for the rest of my life? Should I do what society tells me? Or should I do what I tell myself to do?
When I reached the working age of sixteen, I did what every other teenage does – I got a job at a fast food joint – and that was when I realized something about myself. I really hated working. And not in the aspect of, “Oh man, work sucks.” No. I really hated working. I hated that corporations could demand more of you than just your time. If you’re a man, you’re expected to work all the time, even if it means you never get to be home for birthdays or holidays. If you’re a woman, you’re expected to work through your “inconvenient pregnancy” till your water breaks, which you’ll have to clean before you leave for your two weeks maternity leave. Then it’s right back to work, punching in those hours and getting the company closer to that fucking production quota. That is if they haven’t fired you yet because you took one day off.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 around six years ago and have struggled for a time since before then with how to navigate my life in a world that isn’t suited for those with mental illnesses. And when I say that I am speaking to the daily struggles one with a mental illness can face, such as simply getting out of bed, brushing their hair, dressing themselves, or eating.
Now, I will save the full details about my struggles for a later date, because I would like to focus on the essence of this post. My daily struggles makes it particularly difficult to function like most neuronormative people. I get random surges of energy so intense that I can’t focus its intentions and I wind up with half-started projects all over the apartment, with me passed out from exhaustion under a pile of laundry. When I’m depressed, I can’t be bothered to think of myself, and I certainly don’t think of anyone else. And just to add to it, I also suffer from scoliosis and fibromyalgia. Yay!
Going to school and working a typical job was strenuous to say the least, and I’m honestly quite surprised that I survived as long as I did in the educational field and work force. My grades suffered and I stopped caring about how hard I worked because I didn’t know how long I would be able to physically and mentally withstand the job before I was going to be committed to a mental hospital. And no one should have to go through that ordeal, mental illness or not. The fact that our world is set to a binary code is disheartening. You Do It or You Die. Go Big or Go Home.
Art itself, in all forms, from literature to painting to film, has been a part of a neverending discussion of whether or not it’s vital to our human existence, vital to a productive society. Well, I think it does. Art kept me going even when reality kept trying to take me out, and I’m done having that conversation with the world and myself.
Online self-publishing has opened a burgeoning new avenue for authors who don’t want to go down the route of query letters and hiring PR Managers and negotiating royalties. This doesn’t make us lazy, in fact I think it makes us rather resourceful, and it shouldn’t reflect upon our writing style simply because we didn’t get a legit book deal. Self-publishing allows me the freedom to write what I want, when I want, and how I want. It may sound a little selfish to want to have creative control over my art, and so be it. I deserve to be selfish when it comes to my soul, my heart, and my happiness.