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  • Amanda Stockton

On Balance and Bullshit

This was supposed to be an Instagram post...It ran away.


***


What I want to do every day is typically overshadowed by a lot of mess. Literally and figuratively.


When your life is undergoing a massive shift and you're constantly in the center of the chaos--no office to go to--that chaos intertwines with all of your wires and tosses your focus. So you stumble more, you struggle more, and you fail at goals you would have been able to complete had your mind been in the right place for any stretch of time on a regular basis. So yeah hi. My name is Amanda, and I failed the poetry book release date thing.


Mostly because of my chaotic bullshit. But then, also because I kept running into a thick-walled chamber of fear and depression.


I should have been able to finish this. It is currently close to ready. I've just been more or less paralyzed with bullshit and lack of balance.


I have--I don't think--ever been so off-key in my life.


Attaining the proper balance between self-care, work, play, idle Netflix binging, and loved ones is...daunting at best. Something--or someone--always feels to be neglected.


I don’t know how to do it. More. I don’t know how to start. It comes with habit I suppose. The dreaded schedule.


What I do know is I’m off balance. My body is screaming for movement, my mind for stimulation, and my heart is practically breaking glass with its desire to create.


Sometimes, you're being pulled in so many directions all at once that you stay stagnant. Still. In one place, but vibrating under the tension of those tow-lines. Maybe you're outwardly silent but internally screaming with such a ferocity that you can't hear anything else. Except, maybe on occasion, someone notices your struggle. They come up to you, cup your face in their hands, and say all the words you need to hear. They may dry your tears, or let them run because they know you need the release. And this allows the screaming to calm, even for a moment, and you can hear yourself think again.


The trick to progress of movement, is getting all of those things to work together and not separately. So they aren't pulling you in opposing directions, tearing you apart.


Baby steps are the best way of forming new habits. Small changes and small decisions every day build-up over time. Like when I was basically a vegan and did not miss anything because it came with small change—you know...until I got pregnant the second time and only wanted to devour bbq cheeseburgers.


Ugh. Time. Process. Waiting. I hate waiting. And I’m waiting on a lot right now.


But that’s ok. Thanos demands balance. And that’s what I should be focusing on.


So today, I’m going outside. Small child in tow. And perhaps the stars will align and I will find my focus again. My body will be happy with the movement I’ll give it. And I can progress Starlight and move on to another project.


I’ve been spending so much time in literal hiding, just trying to avoid awkward confrontations in my life that I’ve literally locked myself away like the fucking Count of Monte Cristo. Just tallying the days on the walls of the prison I’ve built around me, plotting my great revenge.

That revenge being, of course, become a successful independent fucking artist/human and living my goddamn life how I want. Sounds simple enough. *She cry-laughed into a glass of water she wished was wine*


Look, the truth about the independent creative industries is that you have to be constantly creating content in order to have some kind of reliable success. Crank that output volume up to eleven. And I put out so very little—due to life and stress and a series of depressive episodes—that finding that success feels impossible. Which then cues the next round of depressive episodes. The cycle continues. Working through the muck is the part that I need to be working up toward.


I have the ideas. I have *it.* I just keep getting in my own way.


Backlists and portfolios. Constant sharing on social media. Create create create. Endlessly. Slice open your life and let the masses bathe in your blood…I’m pretty sure that is the recipe for artistic success.


I have seen it. I see it. I’ve been following the journeys of a few artists for awhile now. And I see that the grind—just like any other job—is where the secret lies. And I also see how it breaks some of them. It wears them down. It’s a job, after all, and we all need days off. We need vacation time. But as an indie…you are the business. You are the company. You are the boss. You are HR. You are customer service. You are every moving part of the machine.


There’s freedom in that. There’s also less room for one of those cogs to stop working. Balance thrown. The machine breaks.


I have to continue working to build the machine. To craft all the wheels and cogs, and housings, and the damned bolts.


We all do. Because, frankly, just as soon as you start to get it all figured out, things put into place…the market shifts, new things are in, new tools, new devices, colors, images, genres, sounds, new new new new new. But. I think, once you have figured out the machine. Once you have run it. Once you have made those habits. Those small changes have created you too. You become something more capable of adapting to the change. Because you have already embraced the constant turning of the wheel.


You just have to start somewhere. You have to maintain balance. It can’t be all work all the time. That’s how you set fire to the machine…and not in a good way. But in a burnt-out-dead-and-failed way.


So today, I’m going outside. Moving my body. Laughing with my kids. Then I’ll come home and stare at the computer screen some more and Starlight will be a little more clear.



Morning Mess of a Human
Morning Mess of a Human

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