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My Kingdom

Tuesday wasn’t a great day for me. The anxiety, depression, and loneliness I wrote about, combined with the stress of some adulty things I need to get done, hit me hard in the morning and I hate a wee freakout. I mood my swung around all day, feeling good about myself, feeling terrible about myself, feeling good about myself, feeling terrible about myself…I was a yo-yo man, always up and down.

And then, that evening, I put on my primary go-to song for bolstering my self-esteem, “The Game” by Echo & the Bunnymen. It’s not a fist-pumping rock anthem, more pop poetry, wide-eyed whimsy and dreamy determination. It’s not even from the Bunnymen’s best (or my favorite) album. (In fact, I’d go so far as saying it’s one of their worst, filled mostly with overproduced songs that aren’t the bands usual caliber. But even their worst album is better than most other bands’ work.) and “The Game” has always been magical to me, especially the lyrics of proud defiance. Listening to it again brought back feelings of confidence, hope, boldness, and a lack of concern for what naysayers tell me. (The biggest naysayer is, of course, my own low self-esteem, and the anxiety and depression that egg it on.) I felt more like the Josh I want to be. I felt like I’d…come home.

I moved a lot growing up. From grade school through high school, I went to eight different schools in six different states and two countries. I moved again to go to college and moved frequently after college. I’ve lived in Kansas City more than any other place, but that’s not all at one time, moving away and coming back a number of times. And even with all the time spent here, I still don’t feel like Kansas City is my home. I don’t feel like any place in the world is my home. There are places I feel particularly comfortable, places I feel drawn to, but there’s no one place I feel I have roots buried in. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but for me, home is a state of mind, a place within myself where I feel…not just comfortable, but centered, confident, so full of wonder, hope, enthusiasm, and magic I might burst. That’s where my roots are.

Lately I’ve been feeling so lost, overwhelmed by a lot of life stress, summer depression, social anxiety. I’ve looked at photographs of myself when I was younger and wondered what happened to that dream-eyed boy who was still dealing with loads of messy head stuff but still managed to stumble through life with a sense of “this is who I am and I’m good this way.” I miss living in that mental space and I’ve felt cut off from it. But there are songs and albums, movies and TV show episodes, comics and books that help bring me back to there, where I’m walking out in bluer skies. So there’s hope.

There’s always hope.