Bad Moon Rising

March 31st, 2014 by Stephanie Malone

Bad Moon Rising
"I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightnin'. I see bad times today." - Bad Moon Rising, CCR

When I was younger, I embraced anything mystical, magical, spiritual, or supernatural. I was a seeker—constantly searching for meaning in the universe and answers to complex questions about the nature of existence. I'm still searching. But I now embrace science over superstition and natural wonders over supernatural ones. Don’t get me wrong. I still want to believe in something extraordinary. I still daydream and wish upon a star. The only thing that's changed is I no longer put any stock in my wishful thinking. I have a firm grasp of reality. But that doesn't mean I always have to like it.

This week, Sarah, Alissa, and I all wrote about the struggles and stress of living a life under pressure. Sarah wrote about feeling overwhelmed by the chaos of life and too many competing priorities, quoting the forever flawless Gwen Stefani saying, "This sh*t is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!" Alissa references one of my all-time favorite movies, Breakfast At Tiffany's, when she talks about having a case of the mean reds... "Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of.". And I wrote about how hard it is to live in the moment and accept who I am, while riding an emotional roller coaster.

Here we find three very different people at very different points in our lives...all struggling simultaneously with how maddeningly cruel and chaotic life can be. When I followed astrology, I would have assumed we were under a bad moon or planetary influence—a time when the universe aligns to cause mayhem and despair. Now as a seasoned skeptic, I know there's a more reasonable explanation. Life can be complicated, painful, frustrating, and unfair. Bad things happen to good people. Struggles go unrewarded. No good deed goes unpunished. It's at times as bleak as it is beautiful.

In my last post I wrote about feeling a little crazy at times...and how the "crazy" helps fuel my creativity. But lately the crazy is taking a toll. Consumed by overwhelming anxiety, I'm feeling unmotivated and uninspired. The more I have to do, the less I want to do. Fueled in part by my own stress and compounded by my tendency to absorb the stress of others, I'm feeling fragile and under pressure.

In that same post, I wrote about my love for the film and novel It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It's a brilliant portrayal of a troubled teen trying to find his own way and break free from the expectations of his parents, his peers, and society. After a breakdown caused by excessive stress and anxiety, the story's protagonist Craig finds hope (and, ultimately, himself) in the most unlikely of settings—a mental hospital. The author stated the story was mostly based on his own experience and was "85% true."

I relate, all to well, to having a turbulent mind and a troubled soul. Like myself, Craig (and, by extension, Vizzini) is really just a sensitive artist. And life can be especially challenging for us...with life's disappointments especially damaging. What makes us thoughtful and creative can also make us deeply introspective and vulnerable. We don't have the luxury of apathy and thick skins. Life can be exceptionally cruel. And we have a tendency to take it personally.

Sadly, in December of 2013, the brilliant Ned Vizzini took his own life at the age of 32. It's a tragic loss of a remarkable talent who was, by all accounts, a kind soul who was loved by all. He lost his battle with his personal demons. As sweet and optimistic as It's Kind of A Funny Story is, it's also honest. At the end of the story, Craig is released to go home, making sweeping changes in his life to make it better: new school, new girlfriend, new life. However, Craig (as a proxy for the author) explains that you're never cured of this condition. You can only change your behavior and your reactions to painful feelings.

I'm not better, you know. The weight hasn't left my head. I feel how easily I could fall back into it, lie down and not eat, waste my time and curse wasting my time. All of that is still there. The only thing is, it's not an option now. It's just...a possibility...not a very likely possibility.

So maybe it's not a bad moon. Maybe it's just a moment in time that is painful but fleeting—just an unfortunate hurdle on the road to something better. I see bad times today. But tomorrow is another day.

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Stephanie is an award-winning copywriter, marketing director, designer and creative director with over 16 years experience. She lives in Austin, TX and her passions include horror, film, design, comics, blogging, reading, and spending time with her family.

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