I take responsibility for about half of what I've been through. I say half because what I've dealt with has been beyond my control, like health and grief. But the other half is my fault.
Do you want to know what almost killed me? Caring way too much about what other people think. Stressing over it. Letting people have that power over me... people who can't wish me a happy birthday or acknowledge my positive points, but will be there to tell me what to do, how to do it, when to do it — people who won't be there in my life for the other qualities. I cared way too much about these people. People who didn't know me when I went through it. People who had nothing to do with me otherwise but would pop up to tell me what's what about my ethics. People who said they cared only to steal from me.
I can confidently say I've learned a lot of lessons in my life. I lost five relatives in one year. I grew up with neurological and epidermis conditions. I knew I was bisexual at ten. I almost lost my life three times. I dealt with these things before social media, before open letter self-help contributor communities, before everyone you knew started seeing a therapist and now they suddenly understand what I was going through all along. ADHD is the little voice in my head, the pop-up angel vs. devil that I'm wedged between. It's left me sitting in a neurologist's office evaluated by a doctor for eight years, berated by teachers for eight years, frequent visits to the councilors and therapists for 10 years; I've artistically symbolized my skin conditions that have been reprimanded as negative while watching people talk about wanting to kill their customers at work that go unnoticed, and I've read articles highlighting opinions made by conspiracy theorists while watching people have the opposite effects of the same drug I took. (FYI: amphetamines are speed for non-ADHDers.)
I think I've always been a confident person deep down, always knowing what I've wanted out of life, but because of all this medical drama I had been surrounded by, it was suppressed. I kept things bottled up, fearing I'd be in deeper shit than I already was. That's one of the things that ended up almost killing me... and caring too much about what others thought. But ever since I started being open about my struggles, specifically through my craft, it has put me in a much better place, a healthier place. I don't think so negatively anymore (though I've slipped a couple of times). I have a healthier view of myself. I have a system in my life and I get asked, "why are you like this?" when people wonder why I do things the way I do (like everyday tasks and routines), and I actually have an answer. I'm not ashamed of the things I discuss, the work I put out. I have the courage to be honest rather than hide who I've been. I've ended up realizing that many people only care about your happiness just to protect their own bubbles. So many people used to tease me as a kid when I'd admire the SNL cast and I wanted to get into show business or some kind of production/creation and no one really believed I'd actually do it. One of the biggest lessons I learned in my twenties, though, was not giving a shit. I learned that lesson after learning the one that goes, "where do you see yourself in five years?" and asking myself, "well, who's going to care in five years? Where are these people going to be in my life in five years?" The only shit I give is if I'm hurting people. Maybe my artwork will hurt my business once or twice but that's a risk I'm willing to take — I'd rather create to my heart's content and speak my truth and feel better than put myself aside for the sake of the perception of temporary people.
2008 was a life changing year for me. My last year as a teenager after feeling imprisoned by my condition for ten years, and now thrust into adulthood while losing my most loved person — it was my darkest period as I witnessed and lived life without medication, my most influential period. I haven't really spoken about it in much detail, especially the October 25-27 part, but 'Dizzy Spells' and 'Out Loud' are two of the greatest pieces I've ever written.
It is my proudest work and will always be... no matter what I do for the rest of my life. It was honest, raw, and emotional. I've surrendered too many things in my life and I'm not doing that anymore.
I have to live with myself the longest in this lifetime I've been given, so I'm going to live it accordingly. This is the healthiest kind of happiness and the most confident and inspired I've been thus far. My artwork doesn't define my all-around attitude, either. You can view it as dark and confusing. I do too and that's exactly what I wanted, but if you spoke to me personally you'd know that I'm genuinely a happy, hardworking, and trusting person, someone who strives for positivity but knows realistically negativity does exist... and I'll embrace both.