I have less than 30 minutes to type up an editorial note.
I’m sure after the bleak tone of my last one you guys have plenty of questions.
Well: I can’t answer all of them today. What I can say, however, is that I’ve been off the radar for a reason. It doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel.
I’m a writer, I’ve always been a writer and I’ll always be a writer. And I’ll always have a passion for and an appreciation for what we’ve been able to do here at SLM and what we can accomplish together in the future. And an artist – not the best artist, but still an artist. I’ve been doing a lot of Spiderman here lately and I’m not mad at it. There is something so inspiring and powerful in a good superhero story.
When I do get back up and running –and I will – I’m not there yet – I will, at the most, feature 2 artists / writers a month.
I’m watching Top Gun. Young Tom Cruise really was pretty hot (please, for the love of God, try and abstain from any angry Tom Cruise rants – I know, I get it, sorry not sorry).
I’ve also been in the throes of rediscovering myself and emerging from some pretty severe isolation and despair. It’s not a journey that’s over by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an ongoing one. One that actually takes a lot of work. Depression, anxiety and PTSD all feel like their own two ton weights pressing on you as you attempt to get out of the damn bed in the morning. Every morning. It got so bad that I was sleeping for 24 hours straight and waking up still tired. I would, on better days, sleep until 4 and 5 p.m. I could not and did not want to get out of bed. So I started going to therapy.
I’m a work in progress. In a way, we all are. We just have unique traits or circumstances that have led us to be where we are right now, in this exact moment.
A pretty cool gal I met recently shared an epithet with me. “If you have one foot in the past and the other foot in the future you’re shitting all over today.”
I digress, but back to therapy. I can’t explain to you how grateful I am for the experience I’ve had in group therapy. It’s truly been a blessing. And I’ve probably needed it for a long time now.
I’ll never forget my first day at my intensive outpatient program for therapy. One of the nurses said to me, “Kelly, one of these days you’re going to smile and it’s going to be a real one.”
Being surrounded by other people who are wounded, who may be at their lowest, or who are also feeling, at times, hopeless or lost makes others (myself included) around them feel less lost. Because we aren’t alone. All of our battles are unique, yes. But there’s that common denominator among us. And the group dynamic that we have is like having a mattress to fall back on when you’re free-falling in a bad dream. When anyone leaves the group it’s sad. I miss the people who leave. I wonder how they’re doing. This group has given me so much more than I EVER imagined it would or could give me. Not just acquaintances, but people I actually trust. And that’s huge considering the place I’ve come from; and the fact that my trust has been betrayed and crushed. I had lost myself for so long that I wasn’t living my life anymore.
Although my first weeks were rough, my argumentative, kicking and screaming mentality not helping me, I’ll never be able to properly express the gratitude that I have for the HOPE and the WILL to live that this program has helped me to rediscover. I’m still on the path, but I want to have those things again. I’m not the person I was before; she wanted to give up completely.
We are not inherently bad. We ALL have intrinsic worth. The biggest irony of all in group is how quick each one of us is to interject during processing in an attempt to boost up that other person — because we see them for what they are. Who they are, as they are. We see the good. And we also don’t want them to feel the pain that they’re in because we know it all too well. We just got lost along the way somewhere and forgot how to do it for ourselves — and it’s not our fault.
I’ve met the best group of people through this experience. The support, the encouragement and the bond between all of us is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or had. I didn’t know it existed.
I’ll never forget this journey; my journey will also not end here. I’ve got a long way to go. But I feel like I’ll always have some truly exceptional people in my corner rooting for me, just like I’m rooting for all of them, even when I’ve discharged and am long gone from here.
Moments might be fleeting, life is short, and we have all undoubtedly faced our own distinct brand of adversity to have landed where we did together, but I feel that there’s beauty in the struggle.
I think the reason there’s no quick fix or ultimate answer, tantamount to a life instruction manual, is to allow for these uncertainties that have sent us down the path of sorrow, but that also allow or could lead to something special, even possibly something great. If we had all the reasons and the answers, then we really would be veritable cogs in a machine, we’d be robots. And we’re not, we’re human.
I’ve made new (and hopefully) long-lasting friendships here. That, in and of itself, gives me hope — hope because everything ISN’T all bad. Hope that I can continue to find my way to a Kelly who doesn’t hate herself. Hopefully I can find a way to talk to the five year old Kelly who’s scared and feels alone — to comfort her and tell her, “You’re okay. It’s okay. You are wonderful. And you did not cause this. It truly is not your fault.”
I used to think I was broken. That I wasn’t worth getting out of bed for. I know the demons that I battle – the demons that I fight with – I will still continue to struggle with them, but that doesn’t make me broken or even crazy. It makes me a human being.
I used to cry to my dad and say, “This isn’t where I wanted to be at 34. This isn’t how I wanted my life to turn out.”
I don’t know that any of us here envisioned ourselves where we are. Consumed by stress, anxiety, depression, by this mountain of problems that happens to be our lives. But, like my therapist talks about (radical acceptance), we ARE here. And this is who we are today, right now. And I think that that’s okay. Within each one of us lies talent, creativity, passion and excellence. It’s getting to the point where we can again recognize that spark within ourselves instead of constantly dismissing it. Being an adult is so complicated — we’ve all fallen, but we’re getting back up. And that’s where the real beauty is.
If you’re reading this right now and if any of what I’m saying resonates with you, then you would probably be a great fit for this magazine. And if you’re still reading, I want you to know how much I appreciate you as a reader here and as a fellow artist, writer, or whatever you want to call yourself. I created this little island of misfit stories in August of 2015 and have gone back and forth on if I wanted to close up shop forever or not. Writing flows in my blood; it’s part of my identity. While, no, I cannot keep up with the pace I was once operating at, I can’t part with the excellence that I’ve been able to showcase here and I can’t part with the art and the beauty in YOUR words and YOUR abilities. We lack creativity already so much in our culture. Let this be your outlet. Let me help you express your artwork. Hell, create a pseudonym and share your stories with me.
I understand that the submissions guidelines are incorrect and that there have been issues with finding the correct email for submissions. For now, without telling you why, I have had to shut down certain emails completely and create new ones and I now have to do this YET again. I am going to do my damnedest to update the site and give you guys a clear idea of what to expect and what I am capable of. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a year to hear what one person thinks about your work. I am not, nor have I ever been, that type of editor. I don’t want to be. But the volume of submissions I receive unfortunately outweighs the readership on here at the moment and I am only one person. For personal safety concerns and privacy reasons, I am going to have to go back to the drawing board a bit on a submissions system.
So, bear with me through this transition and I will keep you posted.
Thanks for reading.