I love sci-fi movies about deep space journeys. Astronauts sleeping in cryo-coffins, in a state of suspended animation, ageless in perfect frozen protection until new worlds are discovered… fascinate me. One astronaut has to stay out and monitor the machines keeping the frozen people alive. I always felt like that would be my job in the future. That astronaut was never bitter about it, seeming content to preserve their petrified coworkers, and dying much faster than the rest of them. Maintaining that attitude must be the most difficult part of the job and would most likely disqualify me from any deep space travel.
Depression can feel like suspended animation. When all my synapses feel filled with sand, I’ve lost the will to care for myself, and all I can do is stare at a screen because even my dreams have depleted their fuel cells… it feels like I’ve been petrified. The movie Awakenings is about a mysterious “Sleeping Sickness” that plagued many unfortunate people in the early 20th century, which turned them into living statues, conscious the whole time, just unable to move. The film is a true story about a doctor who finds a drug to cure them, if only for a short while. Depression makes me feel like that, except the prison is my mind, rather than my body. I am both the frozen and unfrozen astronauts, drifting through space for eternity.
The only thing that interrupts this inertia is writing about it. Writing gives me the will to live. I need to be reminded that I’m not trapped in a glass coffin, I’m free to make choices which can get me out of here. I didn’t know how trapped I felt in my own depression until I went to jail. I can leave this apartment at any time, but I’m still here, writing my way out. Dragging myself up from this murky hell has been exhausting and I’m still clawing my way up to the light because I don’t want to die down here. I can still live, still evolve, still make positive changes in this world if I just keep writing about it. Writing is all I have left, all I have the will to do, and my only hope for survival.
It’s been hard to accept that going to jail was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. I was arrested and put in jail for three days for sitting on a public sidewalk, tweeting about what was happening. I was doing my job as a writer, telling the truth about what was going on, and I was arrested because the truth was threatening a business. In our capitalist prison system, people with money get treated the best and the impoverished serve to feed the system, not keep us safe.
When I went to court to defend my plea of Not Guilty, I had to sit through a dozen DUI plea deals, a lot of them had been driving with a .08 blood alcohol level, which most people achieve after one drink. Why is it legal to drive with any blood alcohol level then? Because the system is set up so people can keep failing and keep feeding the beast. Most of them took a deal to pay thousands of dollars in court fines for that one drink. I have nothing to lose and no reason to accept a deal. I have to keep fighting this charge, no matter how much it’s killing me.
I don’t want to keep fighting. I still want my ideas heard by the people who locked me up. I refuse to let this experience mar the altruistic reasons I went there in the first place. I will not let all the work I did this summer go to waste by moving on. I’ve never been arrested before. They have tattooed my life and hurt me by misrepresenting my intent. I’ve been so miserable in this depression-stasis over the past week that I’m applying for disability and food stamps. Fighting this battle has left me utterly depressed, but that hasn’t deterred my goals. I see so many hopeless homeless people on the street, wasting away because everyone stopped caring about them until they stopped caring about themselves. I can’t give up on myself or my causes.
There is nothing legally keeping me from calling the business outside which I was arrested, asking them to drop the charges and hear me out. If they feel harassed, they could tell me to stop at any time, and I will. The judge even looked right at me when he denied the “stay away” order. Perhaps they’re leaving the door open as a trap, just like that .08 blood alcohol limit. I choose to believe they will make the right decision. I still want to make Art I love better with my ideas. I have been branded by this experience, shackled to this albatross by outright mistrust for women’s issues. The extreme disappointment I feel in how I was treated has been overshadowing the determination I once felt to accomplish these goals. Keep pushing against an immovable weight, eventually, your muscles get stronger.
I’m afraid this will only get worse for them if this fight continues. I don’t have anything to lose, they have a LOT to lose. I don’t want my favorite shows canceled. The ideas I was presenting could have won them the recognition I felt they always deserved. I could still help accomplish that if my good intentions are believed. The only way for me to move forward is to keep writing about this, keep expressing how I feel, and I can’t worry about protecting the people who hurt me. They made a conscious decision to throw me at the mercy of an unjust system because they didn’t like what I had to say. That is extremely unfortunate because I love the Art they create and I wanted to help make it better. I still do, but for that to happen, I need this charge dropped and an apology. I expected more from a man whose career once hinged on the will of his fans. He could still make it better. I’ve left my door open too.