Bowling and Blue Hair

My hands are blue. So is my hair. My parents are going to be thrilled. Luckily for them, the dye will come out in one wash.

I don’t know why I always assume the answers to my problems are external fixes. Blue hair isn’t going to keep me from feeling lonely, even among a crowd of people. Losing weight won’t make me more lovable, happier, or a better person.

Still, I persist.

Another night, another bloody set of bed sheets. I stayed up until 2:00 AM last night in a medicated haze, not really sure of what I was doing. I stared at my computer screen, looking for friends who were online, but all normal people had gone to bed hours ago.

I really don’t know what’s wrong with me. My days are completely unstructured, and even worse, the library is closed until the New Year. I’ve become hopelessly attached to the library, its friendly librarians, and even the old people who don’t know how to silence their flip-phones.

I’ve become increasingly interested in art history, lesbian culture, and how the two intersect. It’s fascinating. I’ve learned about French avant-garde painters who loved other women, 1920’s blues culture, the Beat poets, and so much more.

The shitty part is: no one cares. The accomplishments of these women have largely been overshadowed by men or forgotten entirely.

Even shittier than that, I have no one to talk to about this. I mean, my mom listens to me talk about my research because my mom is awesome and happy to listen to me ramble about any of my creative endeavors, but I wish I were connected to an artistic community who could further direct my studies.

I cannot create entirely in solitude. I’m working on a photoseries with my friend Anna about mental illness. I take self-portraits, and Anna draws on them digitally. Here are a few of them.

While I enjoy this work, I fear it isn’t good enough to do anything other than get a handful of likes on Instagram. Do people even want to see my face?

A few months ago, Rebecca and I went to an art gallery called Arts on Granada, where we met Crystal Dombrosky. She gave me her business card and mentioned something about “artist mentoring.” I promptly lost the business card, but Rebecca had one too, which she unearthed from the depths of her backpack last night and gave to me.

I sent Crystal an email last night, and woke up to a response. She said she remembered me and liked the art I’d included in the email! She invited me to come to her artist mentoring classes in February, which I hope I will be able to attend with my class schedule.

Every time I go to the library, I see fliers for an art class held at the Senior Center. “$10 a Class!” with a number to call. Every time I pass this flier, I pause and consider calling the number and taking an art class with senior citizens, and wonder if it would be fun. I’m a pretty bad painter, but with practice I could improve.

I know it sounds a little pretentious to say that I’m miserable because I don’t have anyone to talk about art history with, but that’s not quite the point.

I’ve always been told I was “different.” Growing up, my parents reinforced the idea that I was smarter than my classmates and friends. Then, I started questioning my sexuality. Never did I see myself reflected in media until I discovered movies and shows like Blue Is the Warmest Color and The L Word, which are neither a remotely accurate representation of any lesbian I’ve ever met, nor of myself.

During all of this, I was battling an eating disorder, developing schizoaffective disorder, and dealing with self-harm. I was incredibly ashamed of my struggles, and because I didn’t talk about them, I didn’t know anyone else who dealt with similar issues.

I’ve been feeling even more isolated lately since I’m neither working nor in school. I feel awkward going into the grocery store where I work because it seems like I’m always getting in trouble at work, and all of my coworkers have been wondering where I am. I can’t exactly explain that I’m waiting to start a new antipsychotic medication that has incredibly dangerous side effects at the register.

A few days ago, some of my friends from AA invited me to come bowling with them after a meeting to celebrate someone’s six-month anniversary. I was thrilled to be invited somewhere. So this is what sober people do for fun, I thought. But when I woke up this morning, I felt more depressed than I had in a long time, and I thought I would hide in my house all day.

My roommate Colette and I are doing a massive whole-house cleaning to prepare for the New Year. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I would like to try and keep up with housework in 2019 so that I can have people over without constantly having to say, “Oh goodness! I’m sorry it’s so messy! It’s not normally like this!” (Even though it totally is.)

So, I did what I’m getting better at every day–I distracted myself. I swept the kitchen floor. I rearranged the bonus room, so now I have a work space that isn’t my bed. I did dishes. I dyed my hair blue. The usual.

By the time the meeting I’d promised my sponsor, “Carly,” I’d meet her at started, I was feeling a lot better. I’d texted her in the morning, wallowing in self-pity, saying I wasn’t sure if I wanted to bowl. My mom had suggested I just drop in and watch, which sounded like a pretty good idea to me. Carly said I didn’t have to look that far ahead, that I should just focus on The Now.

I immediately blew that off as hippie bullshit, but I also know that my way often leads me to harm myself in as many new and exciting ways I can think of, so in the end, I decided Carly’s idea might’ve been worth considering after all.

This evening, Carly and I met at a church meeting. She came in a few minutes after I’d taken my seat, carrying her motorcycle helmet, and sat down next to me. The book that is read from at that particular meeting is called Came to Believe. I’ve mentioned it before. And, as always when I’m reluctant to go to a meeting, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

So, I did decide to go bowling, and I even bowled a game. (I came in dead last with a total of 54 points, but who cares? I had fun!) I just had to get out of my own head and be around people to feel connected. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t good at bowling or that I didn’t know some of the people very well. I’m spending less time grieving the loss of my friends from GSA (they didn’t die or anything, but they might as well have, you feel me?) and more time making connections with new people.

In the words of The Interrupters, “all it takes is a leap of faith.”

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