Thoughts about Lee Thompson Young, and suicide.

TW: I will briefly be discussing suicide in this post

I had noticed that I received some new messages after I left the gym with my mom this morning. Upon leaving the gym, we ran an errand, and then I got a phone call from my best friend. She asked me if I’d been on the internet today. “No”, I replied. Then she said “Well, Lee Thompson Young is dead.” I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. “No” I replied. I refused to believe it. It couldn’t be true. He wasn’t even 30 years old yet. I got home, and immediately looked on my computer. I saw posts everywhere, left and right saying that Lee had passed. I found the official statement saying that he was found in his apartment, after not showing up for work this morning. He had taken his own life.

I am still in shock right now. Everything hurts. Why? I keep asking myself. I haven’t changed out of my workout clothes. I am just sitting here in a haze. I can’t believe it. I want to scream, break something. I want to hug Angie, and comfort her. I know everyone else is  hurting on the show, but he played Angie’s partner on the show. Her friend, her co-worker. Gone. Lee must have been in a very dark place. Knowing that makes things worse. Knowing that he felt that this was the only way out, and that he couldn’t talk to someone about things.

If you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide and you feel you just can’t go on, please PLEASE call this number:

1-800-784-2433

If you just need someone to talk to call:

1-800-273-8255

No one is ever alone. If anyone needs to talk, I am here. Send me a tweet, or a private message. Anything. Just know that you don’t have to suffer alone, in silence. You are important. Know that.

 

600full-lee-thompson-young

 

 

Rest in peace babe.
Rest in peace babe.

 

 

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Thoughts of the Future and Possibilities

I know I haven’t posted on here in ages. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’ve been wading through my personal thoughts (in my journal) and didn’t really feel like sharing online. I did somewhat cheat and get a bit personal on my other blog, and I don’t really use that blog for personal stuff. Anyways, here I am. This is going to be a very long, and open post. Probably more open than I’ve been in others. I am shedding layers of skin that I usually remain hidden under. So, here goes nothing.

For those who don’t know, I am still in this ongoing battle between my future and school. I have told only a few this, but I really don’t like school. The only reason I actually tried at school this year was because of the drama department (which I will coming back to later on). I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, and I keep making the mistake of comparing myself to those around me. Mainly my friends who will be graduating this upcoming school year. I should be starting my senior year of college but I really only have two years down and no idea what I want to do with my life. I’ve seen people “make it” without a college degree, but it was all by luck, or who they knew, what experience they had, etc. I am a minority, and I fear that if I do not have a degree then I will not get taken seriously. But I hate school so much. I see other people my age out in the world, working and doing the things that I want to do and I am still in Confusion Land, teetering back and forth between things. I hate it.

I used to (used to as in a few days ago) make jokes about me not having any life goals. It’s not really a laughing matter. I do have things that I would like to do, but I am too embarrassed or scared.

I hate to tell people that I want to work in film and television. My current major is Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising. All of the things I am good at have to do with the arts. I know that it is hard to do anything art-related and have a stable life. Of course, I get the same speech every day about how we must do things that we don’t like so we can do the things we want to do. Every time I’ve considered art as a future career path, I’ve always shied away from it, because “artists don’t have real jobs”, and “I would live from paycheck to paycheck.” And then I saw this, a speech Amanda Palmer gave. This got me thinking. The speech is excellent, and deals with the realization that one is an artist, and connecting with your audience and what not. I realized that one of the main things she said was something I had been saying my whole life. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but it has been simmering for a while (now that school is out and I have free time to veg out behind the computer). I got to thinking about this again after meeting someone yesterday. We were at the home of a relative of my mom’s good childhood friend. One of the relatives at the house was telling us about her older son, and how he is in Broadway plays. Of course, I tried to act like I wasn’t listening, my ears burning with jealousy over a young adult having a successful career in the arts. She told us about how he dropped out of school, and then eventually ended up in New York teaching a boys choir. He loved music and started helping students prepare for auditions. One day a student asked him why he didn’t audition for something, which led him to audition. When he did, he got the lead role and has never stepped back inside of a classroom since.

The story kept rolling around in my head all night and all day today. I hate sharing my “dream job(s)” with people because I feel stupid for sitting around daydreaming about things that only happen for one in a million. When I was younger, I used to want to be on screen, acting, as well as dabble in fine arts (drawing, painting, etc.). Did I tell my parents this? No. I still am not to quick to share this with people. Just this school year, I actually got active in the drama department and took classes, and had some minor roles in two of the three productions they put on. That is nothing compared to what some have done (most of the people in the productions with me had been acting since high school). I was just glad to be there. But the most fun I had was performing a monologue. I love being crazy, and pretending to be different people. That was fun to me. I didn’t know that I had subconsciously been pushing aside this hobby for the past 11 years. I had and still have negative tapes playing in my head that hindered me from action. I get so scared thinking about actually getting “out there” and doing something big, but the idea excites me. I want to go to the sets of some of the shows I like and just watch them film. I just want to be there. I don’t care if they are filming the same scene all day.

Thinking about all of this scares me. I am not financially independent. I personally know people who have tried their hand in the entertainment industry and have heard their tales of rejection, starvation, and destitution. It is not an easy career choice, regardless of if you are on the business or talent side of things. I had a silly dream to be on both sides. I used to just tell people that I wanted to work on the business side of things because I was embarrassed and ashamed of my lack of experience on stage. Now, I don’t really say anything. I fear the ridicule of those who know what it takes to “make it”. I fear that I don’t have the “it” factor, or enough balls to get out and do things. I just have this obsession with film and television (mainly television). I want to be there making stories, or helping create them, behind the scenes.

Maybe I need to shadow some people and find out what I really want to do. Sitting at home all day makes me mad. I want to go see things, but I am afraid that I will be wasting the little money I do have chasing empty dreams. I just hate that I hate school, and that I can’t make up my mind. I have to get to the place where I’m enthusiastic when someone asks me what I’m doing with my life. I can’t keep mumbling out of the side of my mouth and looking around nervously. I need a specific goal. Something I love. Something I can be passionate about.

The Existential Adolescent.

I had a dream last night/this morning. It was strange

I was doing backstage work at some show somewhere (the details are murky), and all I remember is a big stage, a large crowd, and lots of lights. It was a big deal. I was late to my call and I rushed backstage to sit on one of the props that wasn’t being used and do my job (I don’t know what it was, just know that I was required backstage). Then, I looked at the two performers sitting next to me, preparing to go on stage. They were both pre-teen girls, in matching, sparkly outfits. I looked over and didn’t recognize the first one, but when I looked at the other, I recognized her. She was Tash, Tori Amos’ daughter. How strange, I thought. I had a small moment of she looks familiar which then turned into Oh my god it’s Tash! I didn’t say anything, though. Then came the weird part. As she went out on stage, Tori entered the backstage area and was walking towards the edge of the curtain (as if to watch Tash perform) and I stopped her on the way. I yelled “Tori Tori Tori!” as quietly as I could and then she came over and sat next to me on the prop with a grin on her face. I then put my hands over my heart and said “You have changed my life. Thank you.” Then she smiled and put her hands over mine where they rested on my heart. 

I woke up thinking that’s weird. I don’t remember what Dream Tori said in response to telling her that she had changed my life, but I remember her being very sincere. It was so weird. Then I remember thinking in my head (while still asleep). Would Tori’s music, and Imogen’s, and everybody else’s music have made as big as an impact as it did if I didn’t suffer a loss in my family? See, in my dream, my dad was still alive. Sometimes people who I miss or who have passed away make appearances in my dreams, even if I wasn’t thinking about them. They usually have nice things to say, or things that make me think. Would I have discovered Tori’s music if my dad lived? Would I have made the deeper connection to her music and Immi’s if I didn’t have the understanding of going through something like that? It made me wonder. I used to just listen to the music, just liking the tune, or listening. Then things started happening in my life, and the words started taking on a whole new meaning. And then in the past two years, I discovered a whole slew of fantastic musicians (insert Charlotte Martin and Amanda Palmer’s solo work here) who give me all of the feelings, some of which I am not ready to deal with.

Yesterday I had a discussion with one of my friends. I told her how most of the positive memories of my childhood involved Disney and/or Disneyland in some way. I told her I remembered that one time when I was in junior high school, we were at Disneyland and sitting in Tomorrowland. I remember sitting facing the Star Trader store, and watching the neon animated lights depicting an astronaut Mickey Mouse doing a front flip. I remember looking at that thinking, I wonder what I’ll be doing in the future, and where I’ll be when I remember this moment and look back at this sign. I remembered it briefly when I was at the park a few weeks ago. I didn’t think about it seriously until yesterday. When I brought it up, my friend said “What kind of existential child were you?” I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to be. I just wondered about things. I had no idea then that all these different things would take place in my life. I guess that’s why it’s always good to enjoy your life while it is happening and to be happy with what you have. You never know what will or can happen in the future.

5 Photos That Bring Me Immense Joy

So, I decided to stop thinking about taking pictures and just start doing it. Sure, I don’t have a fancy DSLR camera, but I should be proud of my work. 

I was having a discussion with an acquaintance who was upset over the fact that people go out and buy these high-priced cameras just to have it, not really having the eye of an artist. Sure, that sounds really snobby, but for us it is a completely different thing. When you are an artist, classes and objects (fancy cameras in this case) are just tools that aid you. When you have an eye, you can make things out of nothing. This is what I aim to prove. Another friend of mine told me to not worry about what kind of camera I have and just make art. “Camera be damned. You’ll find the perfect camera soon. Just “attract” it. Pull it to you. YOU are a creator. YOU have the power of God inside you…You will find your perfect DSLR camera soon. I know it. It will come to you for free….watch for it”

And that’s what I plan to do.

Perfection

Dandelion

You can see my other photos here.

Dealing With Emotions (that you don’t want to deal with)

I’m no expert on the topic. I can barely stand to be around people who are crying because it makes me so uncomfortable.

I put on a brave face (mask) and try to go about life as normal as possible (which is horrible, but many people including me do this every day).

There are these emotions that we all have that some of us know how to deal with, while others of us have no clue what to do when the show up unexpectedly at our front doors, barging in. I would be one of those who just stands dumbfounded at the door as the emotions barge right in, before realizing what I have done. Then, I immediately shove them right back out and put a double lock on the door. I wasn’t big on emotions when I was younger. I don’t know why, but I felt stupid crying in front of people. I felt like it was an ugly thing that should be done in private if you were over the age of 10. I didn’t know that those views I held (strong views for a child) were unhealthy. Now, I know that crying and showing emotion is healthy, yet my brain and body don’t really act accordingly.

I watch a lot of television. Enormous amounts. If I’m not reading something, or Twitter stalking, then I’m watching television. You probably think “what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?” Well, it has a lot to do with the emotion thing. I started to get involved with theatre this year (which has been an interest I have had but kept getting put on the back burner due to negative tapes inside my head), and I must say that every since my interest was at an all time high (these past 2 years), I have been a super TV addict. I started to feel the emotion of the performances. The shows that I probably have been the most emotional over (crying-wise) have been ER, Downton Abbey, The X-Files, and Law & Order: SVU. I won’t get into specifics now, but when watching these shows, emotions (and tears!!) showed up that I was not ready to deal with. I literally hide my face if I am watching TV with someone else and get emotional. I just don’t know how to deal with them. I also noticed that I feel this onslaught of emotions when I see people give birth (I’ve noticed it when I’ve read natural parenting blogs on the topic) or when I think about adopting kids (which I really want to do), and watching creative marriage proposals. I fear that all of the unreleased feelings are coming out regarding things that aren’t “worthwhile”, as my mother likes to put it (though they are worthwhile to me).

Rewind to last night. I was browsing tumblr instead of doing homework (like every good college student), and I came across this video. It is of the performance artist Marina Abramovic performing a piece called The Artist Is Present in the MoMA back in 2010. Now for those of you who are late to the game (like me), Marina was a pretty big deal back in the day. She is known as the “grandmother of performance art” and her and her lover Ulay performed shocking things that caught the attention of many. In this piece for MoMA, she sat in a chair, completely still and people of all walks of life would line up outside to sit in 15 minute intervals in a chair that was across from her. Some people smiled uncomfortably, others cried. Some placed their hands over their hearts, which Marina then copied, the unspoken “thank yous” and “your welcomes” being passed through their subtle gestures. When I watched the video, the first things I felt were “I feel like I need to cry” and this sense of being exposed and just vulnerable in that moment. I wasn’t in the chair across from the beautiful Serbian woman. I was behind a computer screen. Yet I felt these things. I thought to myself “Woah? Where did that come from?”. I don’t know what it is about the art that moved me, but I sure was moved. I felt like this performance could teach me things about myself that I didn’t know.  But these emotions that I am still struggling to decipher are still here. I had to watch the video again several times, because the sheer beauty of the performance

I highly suggest you look this woman up because she is amazing. I am going to order the film that was made about this particular performance and her life in general. I feel like I will learn things about myself and life through her performances. They certainly make you think. (This also is completely unrelated, but Marina is friends with Björk, whom I adore).

So what am I going to do the next time emotions show up that I don’t want to deal with? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll come back to this post and reflect on what I felt at the time of writing this and then compare to see how far I’ve come. Every day I have to struggle to catch my emotional intelligence up to the rest of me. Hopefully I can look back and see changes.

Maybe I’ll just think of Marina and be open and say yes to the emotions (as long as they are beneficial to my well-being).

Good Grades ≠ Amount of Intlligence

I have been going over this in my head for the past couple of weeks. But, I realized that what I have to say needs to be said.

Now, with the exception of those few “4.0” students (who never got less than an A on every assignment in their life), all of us have gotten a grade that could be considered “bad” at some point or the other. I remember my first “bad” grade was a D on a math test in 3rd grade. I didn’t know that much about grades, but what I did gather from books and what not is that A’s were good and anything else was bad. I was home schooled up until halfway through the 3rd grade. Being at home probably helped me more than being in school, in that I didn’t have something or some “standard” to compare my intelligence to. If I messed up on some school work at home, my mom wouldn’t say “You failed!” or “This is bad”, but that I didn’t do it right. In a nice calm manner, she would explain that there was another way to solve the problem and that I needed to try again. I never would have thought of calling myself “stupid” or other terrible names before I entered school. Recently, I have been looking back on those years and have come to the realization that there is a problem with the way schools do things.

Grades are simply the education system’s way of determining if you are competent enough to memorize and regurgitate the information that is presented to you. They are no indicator of intelligence (unless you are in an advanced placement class, or have a learning disability that has gone undiscovered or something). There also isn’t much room to check for the understanding of the materials presented (that’s a whole other post in itself). My grades fluctuated through 6-10th grade. I really didn’t start making solid grades until I sat back and realized all I had to do was the work and make sure I memorized everything for the test. The only areas that I really had trouble with were  math or science stuff, where you had to figure out a problem or go through a step-by-step process. After I got a tutor, things were fine. I know that when it comes to certain topics, the grades can somewhat of an indicator of the knowledge of the material (say chemistry or geometry for example). There have been many times where I got a “bad” grade because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing because I didn’t understand how to do the problem. That didn’t mean I was stupid. I just didn’t take the time to learn about the topic in a way that would make it work for me. To really understand things, we have to understand it, making it something that is personal and that can be applied to life. Memorizing and regurgitating does not help you learn, but rather indicates that you can memorize well.

Aside from those who really don’t care about school, anybody can make “good” grades if they take the time to memorize what was presented to them and make sure they stay on top of the busy work. The real learning happens outside of the classroom, in your everyday life (which is a reason I am so pro-home schooling/unschooling). Think of how many more kids would have higher self-esteem when it comes to school work if they didn’t label themselves and were labeled based off of their grades.

How will schools know if kids are learning if they don’t use grades, you ask? Well that is another conversation for another forum. My goal of this post is to make people realize that they actually are smart, and can achieve great things, regardless of what grades they make. As Amanda Palmer says, “…even if your grades are bad it doesn’t mean you’re failing.”