Girl. Pensive. Ocean.

The inner world of depression is one dealing with deep truths. We think of depression as something bad–something we don’t want to happen. But I have always felt if we go visit the dark ocean on our own volition, then the dark ocean will not overflow and come swallow us up.

(Well, if all we had to worry about was ourselves, anyway.)

Dive deep. Look inward. Eyes open wide so the salt can sting you.

Dark Ocean

It will make you stronger.


Safety Bubble

B7 safety bubble

If I had to give a point to this picture, I’d say it’s the reason we need to keep art in schools. The substitute Art teacher, who we called Leprechaun Abe Lincoln, had asked me to draw the room as I saw it.

Some things that seem like abstractions are actually quite literal. The images floating behind my head were painted ceiling tiles. Every year, the graduating seniors would paint a ceiling tile, and they’d go up in the classroom. Eventually my class would get to do the same.

Every day, I came in the room, I was graced with the inspirations and ruminations of the students that came before me. It wasn’t just pretty pictures, it was that notion that causes one to create a work of art. What made each of them chose the image they painted? One was just a foot in black and white. This was what I loved to think about.

The horse and the backless chair are also objects that we treasured from the class.

Outside the bubble are anxieties I had, problems I was dealing with. I did this a lot at that time, drew these collages of everything that was bothering me. The art room made me feel safe. It was a haven for all of us. A place where we felt welcome, and where we could be honest, where we were free not only from the dangers of the world but also from the bullshit, which was the greatest danger of all. And as artists we try to cut through that bullshit.

I finally half-way graduated and got my own ceiling tile. Mine was so silly though.

I wasn’t a good painter, so I figured I’d go with sarcasm. I painted a weird cartoon person biting the earth, as though it were a beach ball. It said “The real world is going to bite you in the ass” on the top, with “Not if I bite it first” on the bottom.

I hope that strength and brass sticks with me forever. I hope I wasn’t wrong. Adulting has definitely bit me in the ass. It sucks .Maybe now I’d say “The real world bites us all in the ass. But some of us like it.” EAT THE PAIN. Haha jk. I have to pretend I’m strong, or, like that old ceiling tile that now sits in my room since the school got torn down, I’ll crumble to dust.


Through Her Eyes


I have to post this picture first, and then I will explain. This girl had big dreams. Well, she still does.

My intent today was to discuss how people who suffer with depression and anxiety need to share their experiences. I, personally, have always been skeptical of our healthcare systems and institutions, so I’ve never seen a psychiatrist or taken any kind of psych meds. I’m not here to say that’s the correct path for anyone, including myself, but here I am.

So I thought, hey, I’ll start posting stories about various experiences on my blog.

And! A big part of this blog is to share my art. As you see in the photo above, I have all these books full of sketches that very few people have seen. I should mention that this sketch doesn’t show my technical skill, and I know it’s kind of fuzzy, but the subject matter is appropriate.

E3 through her eyes

But, in planning this blog post, I unearthed something else–a deeper story. A prologue, if you will.

Digging for the sketch was its own walk down memory lane. Once I found it, I prepared it and took a photo with my digital camera. And, once that was done, I put the SD card in my computer to save it and edit it. Now it was time to decide where to file it away. I was vaguely aware that I had an art folder which already contained some pictures of sketches, and found it quickly.

And then I saw this photo of me. I had forgotten about this picture–hadn’t looked at this whole folder for ages. (My sketches, both digitally and physically, have moved from house to house over the years, always tucked away for later.) The date shows it was taken in 2007. In one of those typical flood-of-memories moments, I remembered having this exact same intent–to start posting my sketches online–all those years ago. I had intended to use this photo for my first post, the file was even named “opener.” And there would be a tag line: Time to unpack all this crap! Something along those lines. A very ERMAGERD style photo.

Well, with that bizarre realization out of the way, I was trying to decide how to label and organize my sketches.

Then I realized, looking at the thumbprints, that I had also already taken a picture of this sketch. I had taken a picture of every single sketch from four different sketch books, and labeled them so that the cover of the book and all the pages within would have the same name. It was like I was repeating myself, and I felt like I had let myself down. Like I wasted all this time.


What happened all those years ago? I had done all this work… but I never put my stuff out there.

Well, I have to admit some things about myself. This still happens when I approach a new venture or a way of expressing myself. First there are the normal, expected reactions of anxiety, trepidation, doubt. Then there’s the over-analyzing; wanting my work to be portrayed in a certain way, a way that is always too ambitious and then I give up. And then… beyond all that… is the very foolish and embarrassing part.

I always wanted to be famous. I mean, don’t we all? Most of us? It’s not just any kind of fame though. I have always wanted to make an impact. Make a difference. Not anonymously, though–look I’m a little neurotic, ok?

So, when I considered taking on a new project of any kind, I would weigh it against the possibility of… you know… becoming a BIG DEAL. And I would become paranoid that this was not the path that led to being a BIG DEAL. It would overcome my mind, rattle my common sense, until all these scenarios were spinning me in circles and I had to retreat.

It took until I was 30 to get past this notion. It took until today. These obsessions and delusions got me through hard times when I was younger. I built castles in the sky so that I would never give up hope. And now I am picking apart what was true and what wasn’t–about everything. About myself, the world, the nature of existence, my purpose, my future, my concept of success. In a way we are all going through that process. Hopefully I made a little progress today.

So I want to close out with a mantra. If you want to try something, anything, don’t over-analyze what might or might not happen. Don’t let the scenarios play out until they drive you crazy. I mean, use some common sense, of course, but too much is too much. Don’t cripple yourself like I did. Right now, instead of running scenarios, I am just looking at that open door.

So that’s the mantra. Just focus on the open door.

E3 curtains