It's officially autumn, y'all. Vermont's famous leaves have begun to change. Bobby and I drove down to East Burke last night (about 40 minutes south of us; Burke is the Northeast Kingdom's other
ski resort along with Jay Peak) for dinner at an Italian cafe with the very un-Italian name The Foggy Goggle. It was amazing food, and we skirted Lake Willoughby early enough on our way down to see the leaves and then again just after sunset, when the water was still that vivid blue color like it can't quite bear to let go of the daylight.
Tonight, we will have our observance for Equinox, so I have to fit in all my computer stuff during the day. We're also hiking Vermont's worst-named mountain, Mount Hor, which is one of the two mountains that form the famed Willoughby Gap. (We accidentally hiked the other, Mount Pisgah, earlier in the summer.)
I'm not a big sharer of videos and links in this space, but I encountered a few things this week that won't leave me so what the heck.
This article from the Huffington Post
, Why We Need To Talk About High-Functioning Depression
, I felt was important to share in part because I see a lot of myself in this and possibly a lot of other high-achieving women. My mood issues have always been cyclical--soaring highs and crashing lows--but I've always resisted viewing this as anything more than a personal quirk because I'm obviously a high-functioning person, and as a psych major long ago, I was always taught that an inability to function was the most important criterion for psychopathology. For the record, I'm still not convinced that my cycling moods are more than a quirk, but this article was eye-opening because it does
reframe how we view depression and people with depression.
I think it's especially important because people who are high-functioning are ... well, high-functioning! It's natural to equate someone's behavior or presentation with their inner state, as though our emotions are precisely reflected in our actions and don't undergo a lot of emotional and cognitive tinkering before being presented to the work. A good friend once mentioned to me that it was odd to see me talk about feeling insecure about my work because I project such confidence. That made me feel, for a little while, like I wasn't really feeling insecure and was maybe looking for attention or doing that thing we do as women when we try to downplay ourselves. Then I realized that wasn't what she was saying at all. I don't want
to appear insecure in front of a class or when giving a presentation or even as the leader of fandom projects, so it's good that I don't, but what goes on in my head is no less real because it doesn't show to the world. This is the case too with my low moments; they don't stop existing because I can still teach a class or revise a paper (even though I might feel crushed by the end of the day).
The article talks of perfectionism and bitchiness, which often go hand-in-hand and the latter of which is a particular indictment of many accomplished women. (And both of which I am guilty of sometimes myself, although less so on the bitchy count now that we've moved to Vermont and I feel my life and time is much more in my control.)
I've experienced both: an actual major depressive episode in my early 20s where I wasn't
always functioning at my best, and the lows I've had for years (which are payment for the immensely creative and productive highs), which I weather through without, I hope, really showing it on the outside. I wouldn't wish the first on my worst enemy, but the second ain't a picnic either, and it was nice to see my experience reflected somewhat in this article.
The last two things I want to share are both dance videos that are stunning and have not left my head and make me REALLY want to dance, skate, something again! The first is by the famous dancer Sergei Polunin, who was the youngest principal dancer in the British Royal Ballet. The dance was intended as a swan song to end his career in dance (although the response has also inspired him to continue, although not in traditional company ballet). Embedding has been switched off, so I have to link: Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle
The second is a story told in dance of connection and love. I found it while searching short films to use in teaching literary concepts to my students. It's obviously NOT school-appropriate but was mesmerizing, and I couldn't stop watching it. Embedding has also been disabled so another link: Sigur Rós - Valtari | Future Shorts
Go waste some time with these!