Spotlight on Mental Illness

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“Spotlight on Mental Illness b/w Drink Bleach + The Barney Generation.” 4/27/13. Acrylics and ink. 12×12″.

I made this piece on the least successful of my four art-fair-days back in St. Pete. The text on the left says, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go drink bleach.” From the top, it’s a little more sincere.

Embarrassingly so, actually. It says, “I think I’m special and that my artwork is really different and really great. I think my story is really interesting. I don’t know how much of that is self-esteem, how much is pride, and how much can be chalked up to my being a member of the Barney generation. I get really impatient though. I suffer from the same sense of entitlement as the other brats my age.”

Went to the Hexagon last night for the first Dave Strait Fest show. It was cool and it was fun and it was really great getting to see a lot of the people I haven’t seen in the last two years. Everyone was really sweet and supportive and – though it shouldn’t have – it made me a little uncomfortable at times. Not because of anything that anyone said or did, but my own response to it. It’s still hard sometimes for me to receive that kind of support/encouragement/love. I wanna say “thank you” because that’s how I feel – I feel grateful. But at the same time, I still struggle with whether or not I really deserve that kind of love and support so I get kind of awkward and sometimes sort of dismiss it with a shrug and a little self-deprecation. I need to be more cognizant of my behavior in those situations and force myself to respond authentically and gratefully.
I saw Ryan, one of my best friends from when I was living in DC. He invited me to come hang out with him at Extreme Noise today, but we’re staying on the outskirts of the city so I’m not able to get over that way until we all head out for the show tonight. We talked a good deal last night though and, at some point, he mentioned the “Diazepam” painting/blog entry. No one said anything when that went online, but it made me realize that more people probably saw it and were affected by it then I thought. I think I might have alienated some people with that. I think people were/are disappointed in me for that slip. But it happened and I’m glad that I was able to be honest about it, even if it is damaging to people’s impressions of me. I’m not proud of my behavior that day but I’m not upset that it happened either. It is. It’s real. I’m not perfect and while I’d like to be the shining-star-success-story that everyone can be proud of… this is real life. It’s not a narrative in three acts with simple conflict and resolution. Sometimes the path winds, sometimes things get messy.
None of this is to suggest that Ryan made me feel this way. It was just in his bringing it up that I got to thinking about it. Sometimes I’m so caught up in each new day that I forget that I have a past and that certain impressions from different days will last longer than the time between each post to my website. And – let’s be real – I’m talking about something that happened two weeks ago. It may feel like a lifetime to me, but – really, in some ways, it might as well have been two days ago.

I don’t want to take my focus off of myself, but there were two people I saw last night that … sparked different sorts of thought or concern. (A luxury for someone like me, I know). One, a close friend; the other, an acquaintance. I journaled a lot about it last night, but I don’t think there’s any way to share any of that without compromising somebody else’s privacy.

I know I’m not the champion of mental health, but I’ve got a little something and it makes me sad when I can’t give that to someone I care about. I wish there was more that I could do to help. Maybe there is, but I don’t know what it looks like. I might have to risk hurting some feelings for the sake of honesty. That’s being a better friend than keeping my mouth shut and letting someone fall apart without so much as a word. I’m not talking about “calling anyone out” but just genuinely expressing real concern. I need to tell the people that I care about that I care about them.

Anyway, I’m doing well and I’m looking forward to the rest of my day, which has already been nice so far. Andrea, Mike, and I went to the grocery store and brought back a feast of a breakfast, which Pete, Luke, and I then cooked up. Right now, everyone’s just resting up for tonight or doing their own thing. We’re staying at Natalie’s house with Servo and the Lipstick Homicide kids and it’s really nice and relaxed. It’s pleasant. Sometimes, on tour, in someone else’s home, it’s easy (for me anyway) to feel like an imposition or intruder, but Natalie does a great job of making everyone feel welcome and at ease.


Hit me up if you wanna buy this painting (assuming no one else has yet) or a 12×12″ print.

9 thoughts on “Spotlight on Mental Illness”

  1. I’m sure you know from your own experience that it’s your real friends who are willing to piss you off by telling you you need help. Better than being a chickenshit who would let a friend die before risking being uncool. You have a good heart.

    1. My bad. I got a mean-spirited prank call yesterday after one of my posts, so I’m probably a little more defensive than usual. I think I took your anonymity as indicative of similar ill-intent.
      Sorry for not giving you the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Don’t let trolls get to you or you reward their negativity. There are way more of them out there than decent people. Sad that the most creative thing they can think to do is knock someone else’s creativity. Anyone worth responding to is here because they appreciate what you’re doing and saying. That’s all from me for now but I’ll be following. Thanks for your responses by the way.

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