"The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit."

I've seen this quote around the interwebs a lot recently, and couldn't rival it with a better metaphor for the patience that growth asks of you if I tried. If you had told me this time last year, or honestly even like a few months ago, that I'd be feeling the way I do right in this moment, I'd have rolled my eyes into the back of my head. But what a difference a year makes, as they say.

Typically when we think of a year, we think of calendar years or the space between birthdays. But sometimes periods in our lives are so critical we don't realize it until we've had twelve months of living past them to reflect back on. Today being a year since I deleted my Twitter, I can't help but be reminded of the day I planted the seed. Of how virtually fucked everything felt in that moment. How depressed, ashamed, hopeless, and worthless I felt. How sure I was that I'd never experience a love that didn't come with a side of pain. How convinced I was that I'd never make connections with people I didn't feel obligated to perform for. Positive it was too late for me to begin realizing any of my dreams. Just completely and utterly out of faith in any and everything.

I've not been given many reasons to write about or think of love in a positive light. Surely, love has evoked positive feelings. Mostly lust, idealism (which I'm not entirely sure is positive), and hope. But typically it's heartbreak that's moved me to express myself. And for that reason, any time that I've felt inspired to speak on love in such a way, to shed light on what it has done for me and how it has saved me and enriched my life, I am quickly restrained by doubt and fear of naivety. 

While it's not the sole reason I'm blooming, so to speak, a healthy relationship has been one of the key ingredients to my healing process. As much as society, and subsequently the internet, may push an independent agenda--rigid with "protecting your energy," often ill-fitting use of the term "self-care," and what is now referred to as "cancel culture"--I cannot stress enough how important healthy companionship and friendship is. I'm fortunate to have found both in one individual, in a way that has (slowly but surely) empowered me. Love and support from the right person is a blessing, and while it's easy to say that I wish I met them sooner, etc. I now have full trust in our timing. I was loved, unconditionally, through one of the toughest periods of my life. I was lifted up higher than I've ever been before, at a time during which I felt repulsive and like I had nothing of value to offer.

And even that was no magic cure. I was loved that way before I could see, understand, or believe it. I was stubborn, skeptical, and self-destructive. This is not about spending the past year in bliss. It's about that moment after weathering a huge storm when you realize that the sky is finally clearing. It's about relief. And about having faith, again.

I have fleeting moments where I obsess over my time here, and what kind of impact I'm making or not making. Moments where I freak myself out about religion, my views on marriage, and daydreams about my family or the career I could have if I actually found some direction. And then I pause and smile to myself, because this time last year, all I could think about was dying. Now my biggest concern is that I'm living enough.

"Every soul has a limit and mine just can't take anymore."

I remember hearing my mom say that when I was about twelve years old. It stuck with me and was something I became hyper-aware of. Though the truth is I've never really been able to figure out what my soul's capacity for suffering actually is. 

And I doubt my mom ever did, either. But I've had moments where I felt despair and like I'd been robbed of my desire to push through, and somehow my soul stretched itself to make space for all the sorrow to get nice and cozy. More and more, squeezing in like a clown car. Until finally, the whole thing just gives. And I break, again. 

I feel that way now. Like I've been hit by a car. Like I've had the wind knocked out of me. Like I'm hovering over my body, watching everyone try to pull me from this terrible accident when in reality, I'm already gone. But there's this small part of me that's clinging to this life. A part that feels guilty about everyone who will be affected if I give up, and worries about everything I'd miss. 

I've known sadness my entire life. I've always been close to it. I think I thought I'd outgrow it eventually, or that someone would someday love me hard enough that I was no longer a good host for these parasitic feelings to live inside me anymore. I didn't think it would last this long--that it could make a home for itself in every cell in my body. 

There's so much I want to do. And see. And feel. It all feels worlds away from me. And the truth is, this isn't really about death in the literal sense. But I think once your soul has reached it's max, you can die and still keep breathing. In fact, I think spending almost every day in a dark, manic state is a slow death. One that seizes the mind before breaking down the body holding it in place. 

I know I'll have good days, again. Today could even take a turn, despite being highly unlikely (it's -11°F with wind-chill and a Monday). I have good people in my life. I have the tools to get myself closer to a better life. But I'm driving with an empty tank. At this point, only faith can get me where I need to go. 
I'm not sure who coined the term "problematic fave" but I hate them a little. It's a term reserved for toxic, messy, and often self-sabotaging individuals (usually women) who are admired, for what appears to be fearlessness, by people who are typically a safe distance from the damage. The Azealia Banks', Lena Dunhams, and Kanye Wests of the world. Another common thread among these folks is typically the presence of some kind of gift or undeniable talent, which is where the "fave" element comes in. It provides this balance of light and dark, allowing us to see past often extreme flaws to remarkable people.

Being problematic is easy to overlook when, as I mentioned, you're a safe distance from the damage. When it's other people's lives being affected. When you're watching it unfold on your Instagram feed and not in your text message inbox. But on a smaller scale, I've learned first hand that problematic people are not anyone's favorite. No matter how promising your talents are, or how much potential you have. Up close, it's a completely different situation when your ever-evolving moods and personal crises are affecting those around you.

That being said, suffering from depression hasn't made it very easy to keep people close. And I don't blame myself, entirely, because the truth is that many of my relationships were/are "problematic fave" collisions. Where our toxicity fostered a feeling of oneness between us. If you are depressed, be wary of people who join you in incessant complaining, comparison, and tearing down of others. These are not the things you want to have in common with people, and I wish I had learned that sooner in life. However there are people who didn't join in these activities, but grew tired of trying to pull me out of my head and away from my affinity for self-destruction. People who didn't have albums of mine to listen to or an HBO series to watch to justify my place in their world. People who eventually only had sad memories of me.

I get it. And I hope if I do ever do some cool shit, the people who love me still hold me accountable when I'm a jackass. There's a very small and special group of people who stick it out through all my mood swings, but I'm able to tell when even their patience is waning. And while I'm absolutely grateful to have such amazing people in my corner, my self-awareness makes it impossible to ignore that the only person who hasn't been in my corner is me. And so even the problematic friends I've lost, I could have possibly helped if I were better at helping myself. And the people who grew tired of dragging me along by my arm might still be around.

But I'm here not to dwell, only to learn. I always revisit the airplane emergency procedure as a metaphor and general guideline for overall survival:
“In case of a cabin pressure emergency, put on your own mask first before assisting others.”