Pentax 110 Surprise

I’m back and I have news.

As I discussed here, I was impatiently awaiting the return of a roll of 110 film I shot through an old Pentax 110 Auto that I bought from a guy who came in to the camera shop I used to work for and wanted us to buy it for $250.00.

That got shot down real quick, obviously.

But, I wanted that thing so I gave him fifty bucks.

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Film was no longer manufactured for it, and even if you could get your hands on the film, no one developed it.

Or so I thought.

Enter thedarkroom.com.

 

I shot a test roll through it about a month ago and I got nothing.  I was sad, but it wasn’t unexpected.  I busied myself studying the little guy and I found the batteries.  BATTERIES?  I guess I should have known it would have an electronic shutter, but I guess without actually seeing a battery door, I thought maybe this thing was all mechanical apart from the light meter (which I decided I could probably work around, obviously that was incorrect).

So, I invested seven more bucks for batteries, and another ten bucks for another roll of film, and yet another fifteen bucks to develop the film, and lo and behold, the little bugger works.  Most of the shots were a wee bit underexposed, and some of them ended up being double exposed, but hell, I like an adventure and a happy accident once in a while and I am thoroughly in love with the little guy.  I’m gonna have fun with this over the winter!

 

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{All imgs copyright Melissa S Jeffrey}

The moral of the story?

Don’t count a thing out because it’s old and you don’t fully understand it.

 

Until next,

Deuces silly gooses!

XO Melicious XO

 

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RicohFlex Model VIIM 1954

Every so often, I find myself wandering in to the local camera shop. On this particular occasion, I was dropping off a roll of film I knew I wouldn’t have time to develop myself. I was there with my fiance, Chris, and I know he would rather be doing about a million other things versus watching me walk around the camera shop and drooling over all the things I want, but he’s a good sport with my photo nerddom, so there we were.

Having handled the film drop off, we wandered around a bit and found ourselves standing outside the used case.  I saw a RicohFlex VIIM sitting there for only fifty dollars! The salesman had no idea if it would work, but he assured me that I could return it if I ran a roll through and it didn’t (but I already knew that if it didn’t work, it would end up in my “old cameras collection” with all the others that I’ve acquired that don’t work).

There were pieces missing, so I had to improvise a bit, and on my first outing, my roll was disappointing.  It seemed that the extent of the missing pieces went beyond what I thought I needed, so there were big blank holes in the center of each negative.  Eh, it was a learning experience.  No big deal.  In to the “misfit cameras” collection it would go.

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Ain’t he handsome?

But we both know that I wouldn’t be writing this blog post (since I am such a blog spaz as it is) if that were the end of the Ricoh story.

(TL;DR, I have a lot of old cameras, now you can skip the next paragraph if you want)

I have a few cameras in the “Misfits” collection.  I have a Canon AE-1 with a busted light meter.  I have a Mamiya that you can’t focus through the viewfinder.  I have a Canon Rebel G that had batteries corrode in it so many times I’m not sure how the camera itself hasn’t turned to a steaming puddle of melted plastic (the buggar still works, though).  There’s a rangefinder that chews the sprockets off of the film, a couple of Polaroid Land cameras, one that works beautifully and one that really doesn’t.  There’s a Polaroid One Step that works but has a broken handle.  There’s a Brownie disc camera that may or may not work, I don’t have film to test it.  A Canon original Digital Rebel that I can’t use because the rubber on the handle is melting off so it’s sticky like tar (works otherwise, though).  Then there’s the Kodak KB10 point and shoot with the broken counter so you never know how many photos you’ve shot.  There’s a Minolta and a Canon 35mm point and shoot that belonged to my Grandpa that still worked the last time I ran film through (a looooong time ago).  I’ve got my grandpa’s old 110 point and shoot that I haven’t tried out yet.  Then there’s a Pentax 110 SLR spy camera that I am REALLY hoping still works, but I won’t know until my roll of film comes back from the lab next week. I currently use a Canon Elan II 35mm camera, a Canon 30D digital (old school, I know), and a Canon T6 for SLRs, and a wee Fuji F20 for a digital point and shoot.  So, you can say that I have a bit of a collection.

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(insert here: emoji with heart-eyes)

 

But, back to our Ricoh.

I fiddled with it for a while, determined to figure out why the hell there would be a perfect round hole in every negative.  I started to piece the puzzle together, realizing that the pressure plate was missing from the 35mm holder, a part that didn’t come standard with that camera (it’s a 120mm body), so the wee little round window that you’re supposed to use to see the leader on a roll of 120 was leaking light in to the body.  An easy enough fix, I figured.  And, it was.

So, now, with a little bit of thinking outside the box, I have a working Ricoh, a camera that was manufactured in 1954, and I LOVE IT.

 

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Stay tuned to see if my Pentax spy cam produces any photos!

Shameless plug for Lomography.com for carrying the 110 film I used to test the Pentax, and also to TheDarkroom.com for processing it!  Fingers crossed!

 

Deuces silly gooses!

Happy shooting!

-MELICIOUS-

Abstractions.

I’m such a blog spaz.

 

Walp, I have decided that my decision to spend some money on a microscope (not a top-of-the-line microscope, but his name is Jed and we’re friends, so try to be nice, okay) to take abstract photos was a win. I haven’t done -a lot- of shooting with it, as I don’t like to touch most of the things I would have to touch to put on old Jed, but I’m getting there. Anyway, abstracts:

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Antennae

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Thorax

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Prayer

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Antennae

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exoskeleton

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Sight for sore eyes

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belly

 

 

Meanwhile … Later …

*Kudos if you got the Earthworm Jim reference in the title.  We can be friends.

Have not been doing much in the way of *new* shooting so that I can concentrate on learning more about surrealism and compositing because, let’s face it, if I want to be able to communicate what my brain is doing, it has to be as far away from reality as humanly possible.

So, here’s what I did, I parked my abundant and growing ass in a chair and I practiced on some old shots.

Here’s them:

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*Edit* The bird and the amorphous blob/photo transfer are new.  The birds at the feeder in my yard bring me exponential calm, so I like to pop off a few frames when I see them (and the squirrels and chipmunks) scurrying around in the yard.  The amorphous blob was highly experimental and definitely a happy accident.

 

More to come.  I got an inkling to pull out the old “movie makeup” techniques last weekend, but I didn’t have time to process those shots yet.  In due time.

That’s it for now, this one was a short one.

Follow my abundant and growing ass on Instagram, by the way, where all these shots usually end up when I forget that I have a blog…

@immortal_reveries

XOXO

 

Glitch

Last night was a bad night.

If you know me well enough, then you know that Memorial Day weekend in 2009 was the first time I seriously considered taking my life. A slew of doctor visits and therapy sessions later, I was feeling just okay again, but it was enough to keep me going until my “glitch switch” turned back to “Happy” and I stopped having the ideations or “death pictures” as I call them.
Let me tell you how these things work for me, since I realize it is different for everyone. 
The first one happened as I was talking to my best friend. We work together, and we were joking around about whatever we joke about. I was genuinely smiling for the first time in a couple of days. I looked down at my arm, which I had resting on the desk, and my brain showed me my arm on the desk, but covered in blood. It is almost like a flashback in a movie, where your protagonist sees an image that isn’t there. 

The next time it happened, I was talking to my mom. She was talking about the campground she was packing the car for, and my brain showed me myself hanging from the ceiling, much like I would imagine she would see if she were the one to find me.

The next time, I was sitting with Gizmo the cat, watching cartoons. I wasn’t thinking about anything (finally!), my mind was completely numbed by the animation flashing in front of me on the screen, the next thing I knew, my mind was telling me to kill myself. I shook it off (as I always do) and ten minutes later, there was the voice again. “It will be better once you’re gone.” 

“You are worthless. It won’t matter.”

“You are a failure.”

“No one will miss you.”

The last time this happened, I went to the nursing home to visit Gramma and Pappaps. That is no longer an option. 

By two a.m. I was all set to drive my car to the hospital up the road.  I don’t want to die! I am fucking terrified of death! Why would my brain be so adamantly pro-death?  I thought the heart was the weakling and the brain was the pro-survival powerhouse that kept us all from pulling the proverbial trigger. Or, I guess, the actual literal trigger.
So, I did what my therapist (who now no longer lives/works anywhere near here) always told me to do. Make something. Channel what I am feeling to paper. Get the demon the fuck out of my head. 

The inspiration came from a piece I was working on the night before… and a piece I worked on a month ago. Basically, everything I have been playing with for months brought me to the finished piece, and the voice I gave my emotions last night:

Some Compelling Title Goes Here.

 

I should welcome myself back, but we all know that I post here when my brain is a whirlwind of crap and glitter and that’s never really a good look for me.  So, I guess welcome back to the insanity, brain … and also you.  Welcome back to the shit glitter bomb.

 

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What have I been up to?

I feel as though I am just not good at adulting.  I am trying to balance a job (albeit a job that I need get to at 4:30 in the morning, so I try to go to bed at an absurdly early hour since I don’t sleep well), and a fiance, and I have been studying for certifications (not anything mandatory, I can’t imagine what people who are actually on a school deadline are doing), and *trying* to stay healthy and have a healthy social life, while also publishing my newest endeavor, which is really just a glorified journal in the form of a monthly magazine, Casual Calamity, but at the end of the day, the depression has creeped back in.  I’ve not worked on Calamity like I used to since March, and honestly, it was the only thing that was keeping me creating, which we know I need like I need air.  I wish I could understand that.  I’m not a good photographer, at least I don’t think I am, and I’m not a good painter, I don’t draw well, I’m not a good writer, honestly, all of my endeavors are mediocre.  Everything I do seems like it is halfway to completion and I just stop there.  There is “something missing” on everything that I do that causes it to feel incomplete.  So, I don’t know why my brain is hard-wired that if I am not creating things, I won’t or can’t be happy.  I’m not even good at it.

 

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Sometimes I get a whim to go out into the world and shoot.  As a matter of fact, everything I am sharing here today are things that happened because I had that crackhead “bugs crawling all over my skin” kind of need to get out and capture.  The shot above is a Polaroid image of the last snow we had in Cleveland, which was an odd one because it happened weirdly late in the season and we got dumped on pretty hard, but it was all melted and gone the next morning.  There’s a beautiful metaphor in there somewhere, but I’m too sleepy and anxious to decipher it at the moment.

 

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When I was still a strict film shooter as digital was becoming the mainstream thing, I used to say that digital wasn’t pure.  I was stupid, I know, and the two can exist together in the art world just fine.  Really, I think I was angry that I couldn’t afford a digital camera.  Either way, I have embraced digital these days, and I shoot film for nostalgia, and let’s be honest, it has a “look.”  I am glad to see that film is getting the hipster treatment and is coming back.

The problem with film was that there was never really a way to make images EXACTLY the way I wanted them to look (creepy, scary, gothy, vampy, etc.).  I mean, I guess that’s a lie, there were ways in the darkroom, and with filters and multiple exposures, and etc. but like the above shot, I did all of the dodging and burning and vignette in the computer while my fingers thawed out.  I would have had to shoot this in brackets and multiple exposures … hell, I would probably still be out there shooting.

That was off topic.

The glitter-shitstorm continues.

Four AM-web

My favorite time of the day.  Four in the morning.  Some of my most creepy shots are shot on my way in to work at four.  Everything at four in the morning can be construed as either deeply sinister or immaculate in its innocence.  There is something thrilling about shooting while listening to the early morning chirps and songs of the birds while constantly looking over your shoulder for bad guys, hungry animals, zombies, vampires, or worse, cops.  The fuzz doesn’t usually understand the artist’s need to trespass at four a.m. to get that shot that will haunt you if you kept on driving.  In this case, my biggest issue was the thirty-second shutter speed and the semis that kept leaving headlight streaks in my shot as they tried to enter the interstate. *angry face*

 

Anyway, apologies for the lack of posts.  I hope to spend more time in the art box, which will hopefully mean more posts, and more Calamity.  Maybe someday I will actually grow a pair and post my Calamitous Creations here for all to read and hate.  God, I do love those hand-made magazines people put out.

 

Until next we meet, my friends,

Mel

The Level Twelve Procrastinator

The Strumpet.

I did not vote for Trump. I do not disrespect those who did.  I’m sure everyone had their reasons for voting for the candidate that they did. That said, yes, I am still appalled at the way he speaks of/treats women, and I am not looking forward to the increase in my health insurance premiums just because I am the proud owner of a pussy.

 

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Pussy. (c) 2017 Melissa S Jeffrey  *Immortal Reveries*

The Life and Times of a Habitual Slacker.

Oh, hi.  Yeah, it’s been a long ass time.  Sorry about that……….

 

…again.

 

On the plus side, I have been creating A LOT of new work, which is always a good thing.  The down side, of course, is that I have only been sharing some of it, and even that “some” is only appearing on Instagram (@immortal_reveries) and on my personal Facebook page, which defeats the purpose of having a dedicated page for this blog altogether.  Right.  These are bad habits that I am working on.

 

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Liar, Liar, teller of tales. June ’16 ©Melissa S Jeffrey

 

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Life ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

I’ve been working on the seemingly never-ending task of digitizing my work from the past 16 years, and I’m not gonna lie.  It’s been fun.  Well, sort of.  My hero, Neil Gaiman, once said that he loves “having written,” and he loves to be “about to write,” but he doesn’t like “writing.”  I understand that.  I love having taken all these photos, and I love when I have an idea bouncing around.  Hell, half the time, I even love “photographing”… I just hate this part of it.  The scanning.  I love the taking and the editing but I hate the scanning.  I’m working on that.  I don’t like to hate.   Besides, this process is like a history lesson.  I get to see all of my disasters leading up to where I am currently.

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Double Exposure ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

I’ve been getting back to my roots, actually.  Hell, I even spent an afternoon in the darkroom!  There aren’t many of us crazy film people left.  That makes me sad.  I’ve been more inspired by alternative processes, as well, and am, as such, creating one on the other computer as I write this… Oh, right… that “other computer” makes it a hell of a lot easier and more fun to work, too…

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The Secret Life of Snails ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

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Shadows ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

So, once again, I apologize for my lack of discipline.  It isn’t as though many people actually look at this blog, so really, I am apologizing to myself.  *wink*

And I just winked at myself.  I’m creepy.

More work to come, peeps.  I promise.

Au revoir mes amis!

~Melicious~

 

 

 

 

Art Journaling and stuff.

I have been struggling for a while with the concept of translating my brain vomit in to art pieces.  This is a concept that seems to elude me for some reason.  I mean, that is the WHOLE POINT in creating art, yeah?

I have been journaling my entire life basically, to some degree or another, so I decided to start MAKING myself channel this brain vomit into art journal pages.  I can write pages upon pages of the things that are bringing me down, what I need to do is practice making those pages VISUAL.  Right?  Right.

 

Enter, Casual Calamity.  I took the idea of art journaling one step further (because I am me, and that is the kind of shit I do) and decided that this would ALSO be a good time to practice my Adobe InDesign skills.  Why not, yeah?  So Casual Calamity is a journal/art/magazine/place to vent/shut up who cares what I do in my spare time/thing that I am currently making.  It’s been fun.

 

Anyway, that said, and since I am also currently battling some kind of brain thing where I am edging up on a depression cycle (again… hooray.) I made a page that combined some of the visual things I have been poking around with with some text that I wrote because old journal habits die hard.

 

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So, yeah.  I am having fun with some new things… I started poking around with watercolor again, and I tried chalk for the first time, so all is good over here.

 

Probably.

 

Until next time,

 

~Melicious~

I am standing on a precipice.

*Trigger Warning*

I am standing on a precipice.
I have stood here before.

The circumstances in my life are becoming overwhelming for me. I complain a lot about things and the way they are, but rarely do I tell people how much and to what degree these things affect me. I feel guilty for feeling the way I do about these stupid things… The small things, if you are looking at the grand scheme of life… But they are things that are and have been slowly chipping away at everything that makes me feel whole.

I am starting to see that my fighting the circumstances is becoming a futile, losing game.

How can I complain about these things when people have it so much worse than I do? People have lost people, people are at war, people are homeless, jobless.

My problems are selfish.

My job/living/family/social situations and obligations, however, are preventing me from enjoying the process of creating and learning something new every day. In the grand scheme of things, and considering the hell and torment that others face, I feel guilty for even caring about it, but I do because those things are essential to the core of me. Those things are my very soul. They are my release. They are the only means of exiting my head for a while to find my own brand of happy. They are my drug. Not getting to participate in these activities fully, not being able to emerse myself in the process, but instead only dipping a toe… It has become a problem. A problem that is constant, and it is tugging at me, and I am losing my grip. If I can get out of my mind for a while, and I mean REALLY exit my mind, I can usually delay the process, the cycle. In as much as I have been shooting more, journaling more, trying to problem solve at work more, volunteering for more responsibilities at work more, it has not stopped or slowed the process… Creating, photographing, painting, writing, problem solving, creative thinking, instead of being my source of pleasure, have become a source of stress. This is how I can identify the point of the cycle that I am in right now. Unfortunately, I am passed the point where I can control it.

So, I am selfish. People are dying. People are hungry. People are sold, attacked, raped, murdered, and here I am depressed because I don’t have time to emerse myself in creating. I am selfish, and I am an asshole, and I deserve every second of anguish I am giving myself. Drug therapy would lessen my pain, but I am terrified of drugs and I won’t touch them. My blessing, my curse.

My problem is, without these acts, without the learning, and the challenges, and the creating, I become more depressed. It is as though there is something dying inside of me, a light extinguishing, perhaps. I don’t choose to get depressed from it, it just happens. One day I wake up and I feel a little anxiety and I don’t know where it comes from. Then I wake up the next day and it is still there. I blame the job, or my schedule, and I go about my life, and then it grows. By the time I really start to notice the shift, other people are already noticing it. “Why are you shaking?” “Quit bouncing your leg.” “Why did you cut your nails so short?” “Are you okay?” “How many times are you going to apply antibacterial gel?”… Again, I ignore it.

Next, I will put on a pound or two. I will be eating a second bowl of ice cream, and I will stop and think “God, I am fat.”

I will wake up one night in a panic attack.

And then another.

And then another.

I will start having nightmares (like today… Giant snake devouring kittens. Thanks, brain.)

I will eat an entire bag of potato chips without realizing it.

I will shame myself for the potato chips.

I will gain a few more pounds.

I will eat shitty foods and cry while I do it.

My anxiety levels will begin to skyrocket.

I won’t be able to get through a day without some type of episode.

I will watch my body gain and gain, I will watch all my hard work to get in shape die off as I puff up.

I will begin starving myself, to the point of heart palpitations.

I will grow terrified of the heart palpitations and I will binge.

The palpitations will cause panic. I will associate that panic with foods. I will grow new phobias like the three peanut/cherry/mushroom phobia years. I will begin avoiding foods that have “caused” me to panic.

I will start shouting at people for no reason. I will start drinking more. I will cry without warning.

The last time all this happened, I started dreaming of dying. I stopped wanting to live. I had lost all joy in everything, there was nothing left to live for. I was a burden, and a heavy one at that. I was so convinced that I was going to sleep walk and harm myself or others that I started putting objects in front of my door before I went to bed. I would have such vivid nightmares that I murdered people that I would wake up and check to make sure I hadn’t gotten up out of bed. I would check under my fingernails for blood. I would check my shoes for mud.

When this happened the time before last, I found solace in self-mutilation. I was a cutter, but to hide it from the world, I used pins and needles. Less marking, less scarring, less having to blame my cat for my wounds. Pins and needles look like a paper cut.

So, here I stand, on the edge of another episode. My therapist will tell me that I exhibit all the classic signs of bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias, possibly also facing an eating disorder, and I will stop going to see her. I will blame my insurance, but really, it will be because I don’t want to hear it. She will tell me to see my GP and get put on Ativan and Lexapro, and that will be the day I stop making future appointments. The last “episode” I had right around four months ago, my GP stared at me for a long time before he blurted out “you’re like a caged, frightened animal. Your posture, the shaking voice, the trembling, you are terrified.” He is right. I am. I remained in that state for a week before I just woke up one morning and it was gone, the only remnants was a pounding headache and sore muscles. I can only equate it to the sensation of holding your bladder for 12 hours and then suddenly, using the facilities. I actually felt the anxiety leave me and the next morning, I was normal.

I am fucking normal.

This happens to normal people, too.

Or does it?

Yes, of course it does, because it is happening to me and I AM FUCKING NORMAL.

And then I cry.
Because normal people cry.

I will wonder how long this part of the cycle will last.
I will wonder how many people will throw their hands up and walk away from me this time.
I will wonder how many people think I am faking it.
I will wonder if I will be normal for the rest of my life.
I will wonder if I will ever enjoy life again.

And then I will.
I will wake up one morning in a few weeks, or a few months, or a few years, and I will feel better.
I will feel vibrant.
I will feel like hitting the gym, I will go back to craving healthy foods again. You won’t be able to keep me from running… On a treadmill.
I won’t get angry because I survived another sleep. I will be happy that I get to walk the planet for another day.
I will call all the people I avoided and I will tell them that my work schedule had been so crazy for a while, but I am back now and we can be friends again. Some of them will. Some of them won’t. Some of them will take a while to warm back up to me. Some will tell me that I need prescriptions. Some will tell me how they take prescriptions. Some will tell me to change my diet. Some will tell me to stop being dramatic. Some will tell me that these mental disorders don’t exist. Some will call me a crybaby. Some will post memes to my Facebook making light of these disorders (my favorite is the one about the eighteen year olds storming the beaches of Normandy and nowadays eighteen year olds need a safe place because their feelings are hurt). Some will post inspirational quotes on my Facebook. Some won’t realize anything was wrong. Some will say “but you always seem so happy.” Some will simply roll their eyes.

Some will be in the trenches with me for every moment of it. Some will feel it with me. Some, I will catch taking glimpses at my arms to see if I have fresh cuts.

I don’t want any pity. Please trust that I know who the people are whom I can call upon when I need it the most. This PSA was written more for me than for anyone else, but it will hopefully serve as a warning for those who know me, those who knew me the last time I was like this, and the few that are still in my life from the first time I was like this.

I will cry.
I will scream.
I will avoid.
I will ignore.
I will feel like a giant turd for treating people that way.
I will guilt myself further.
I will make it worse.
I will sleep all day.
I will gain some footing.
I will lose it again.
But I will come back eventually.
I hope I have written all of this and it turns out to be nothing. I hope I wake up tomorrow and all of this is gone. I hope I get my camera out tomorrow and I feel joy in it again instead of stress and loathing.

For those who have to watch it happen again, I am sorry to keep doing this to you. For those who will be seeing it for the first time, I am sorry that I am like this.

I don’t know how to fix it, but if there is one thing I have learned from this, it is that it has made me more compassionate and empathetic the longer I have had to power through it, maybe I will come out on the other side a saint. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know.

All I can ask is that you buckle up and ride it out with me, because I certainly hate to lose people in this process.

I promise you that I will be fighting myself internally exponentially harder than it will appear I am on the outside.

Here we go.