The Working Tsinay

Today was a bad day. It was fine.

Today was a bad day. It was fine.

It didn’t start that way. I felt okay this morning, or well, maybe not totally okay. Maybe a little under-the-weather mood wise, like the threat of a fever before a fever: small enough to be brushed off. I’m fine. A little cranky, a little sleepy, but fine.

Dysthymia–the name they call my “baby depression”–is a little like if depression were a flu: when you least expect it (when you have no real reason to expect it, actually), it just…shows up. That fact used to bother me so much, to the point that I spent days picking myself apart in frustration: why couldn’t I just be happy? Why couldn’t I just do the work? Why couldn’t I function the way I was supposed to? 

Nowadays, these sudden bouts of sadness just annoy me, this reminder that I am feeble and human. But while I am young and still idiotic the way young people are (let’s be honest; at this age we’re stupid, but only because we have to be. Because this is the season for learning and honestly we learn best when we make our best mistakes.), I’m old enough to know that being feeble and human won’t change. This is yet another in-between, a sort of emotional second puberty, where I transition from boldly proclaiming invincibility towards acceptance of my inadequacies.

It’s not wrong to not always be enough.

Today was a bad day. But it wasn’t a dark one. I don’t like the weight of that word, darkness, as if clouds don’t lift. Like a cold, this heaviness comes and goes, staying for hours or days or weeks or months but eventually–even if only briefly–leaving. There are times you wake up with the flu. There are times I wake up in the morning and find am wary and defensive, consumed by a need to protect myself from some unnameable thing that will inevitably go wrong.

This is not a “place.” These are simply symptoms. I do not need fixing. I am not broken. My brain is simply telling me it has a flu.

There is no cure for the common cold: it just passes. I drink water. I listen to music. I message a friend–one I know won’t romanticize this, won’t let comfort turn maudlin–and we sigh, accept that sometimes people wake up with bad stomachs and worse colds.

I tell him I don’t want to be kind to myself–I would rather nuke this sadness into submission and why haven’t they made a Berrocca for depressive episodes yet!? He tells me, matter of fact, that I’ll need to accept that I have to be kind to myself, someday. Even if that day is not today.

These things do not necessarily make me feel better, but they make it easier to accept that I do not feel better. That this is what today will look like, for now, and that’s fine.

Sometimes I need the bad days, the way they bring out the worst in me, because I’ve gotten so used to pretending I don’t have issues that I risk letting it get to my head. When I’m having a bad day, the pride and prickliness come to fore, and I am reminded that there are still things wrong with me. That people do have to be patient with me. Eating humble pie doesn’t feel good, but then again I already feel bad, so it’s not like things have changed. Maybe this is what it means, accepting your human frailty: admitting that you’ll still have things to work on, and maybe you’ll never be done working on them.

I can’t work. Today wasn’t as productive as I wanted it to be. The heaviness I feel has me dreading tomorrow, dreading the week after, dreading the endless procession of days the way you do when you face the prospect of having to get up and go even if you don’t feel like it. But that’s life, really: not feeling like going and doing the thing but going and doing the thing anyway because you know you have to. Because it matters. Because knowing it matters means, in a sense, that you want to, and isn’t it nice to know that, in some small way, you aren’t completely a slave to how you feel?

Eventually, I will learn to be really kind to myself. Today is not that day. Today was a bad day.

But it was a start.

~aRT~

DISCLAIMER: This blog reflects my personal experience and is in no way an authoritative account on dealing with mental illness, depression, dysthymia, etc. 

 

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[outfit post] Take me to the space station!

Full disclosure: I stayed up last night futzing around with my guitar, so I was super groggy when I woke up this morning. Pulled on half of my default “work uniform” before realizing…I did not feel my uniform today.


My morning face.

Not having enough brainpower to decide on my next steps, I promptly did what any responsible millennial would do in this instance: I called my mum.

Five minutes later, this is what she’d pulled together.

My mum is awesome.

Mum says she rocked schoolgirl chic until her mid-thirties, so I technically shouldn’t feel weird about being twenty-three and dressed like a slightly more modest anime character.

Considering I’m keeping company with Rachel Green and Carrie Bradshaw, I’ll take her word for it.

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Funfact: All my schoolgirl-esque skirts and kilts are inherited from my mother, who has (or had, until I appropriated all of them) quite a dizzying collection considering that both she and I went to ultra-conservative Christian schools where the skirts came down mid-calf.

This one is apparently one of her tennis skirts, and up until relatively recently was too tight for me to wear comfortably. Could it be…I’ve lost weight?

*gasp*

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Also, yes, the title is a Mystic Messenger reference.  I actually picked up this book for songwriting inspo (I like stars and star-related metaphors. It’s a bit of a problem.), but it also felt like a cute shoutout to the 707 fandom.

…even if being in that fandom is kind of awkward considering I’m friends with a guy who acts just like him.

(Explains why I stopped playing.)

Undershirt (collar) and Sweater: Uniqlo
Skirt: Mum’s closet
Tennis shoes: Advan (SM)

Photos by Nike Amistoso.

~aRT~

[outfit post] Who’s That Girl?

I had a pitch today, so technically this wasn’t a “casual Friday.”  The brand, though, was fun and a little girly, so I took that as an excuse to dress up a little.  

I got this Susto The Label dress because the print reminded me, somehow, of Corona (Rapunzel’s kingdom in Tangled), even if it is a darker purple.  With its wide, collared neck and striking color combination, it feels very “vintage,” somehow. Like something you’d find at the bottom of your Mom’s baul from the 70s, the decades giving the psychedelic colors a faded patina. (Attack of the random, pretentious polysyllable!)

It was only after I’d put on my makeup and had my hair done that I realized I looked…oddly familiar.  Like a hipster sitcom character, but which one and from what show I didn’t know.  I guess there’s always someone who dresses like this in shows these days: a high-strung, type-A, manic-pixie twirling in thrift-store skirts the color of a Wes Anderson movie.  Taylor Swift used to dress like this, I think, before her relationship with Calvin Harris started heading for the rocks.  If I had bangs, I might also have passed for the second or third coming of Zooey Deschanel.  

Or Rachel Berry.  

Or Kara Danvers when she’s not being Supergirl. 


Archetypes repeat, I guess.  Much like styles do.  Still, I can’t quite shake the feeling that this look is a face with a name…I’m just not sure what that name is.

Think you can hazard a guess?  Drop me a hint in the comments.

This outfit is proudly 80% local. Both dress and cardigan come from Filipino brands.

Dress: Susto The Label
Cardigan: Piña
Belt: Uniqlo
Shoes: Rubi

~aRT~