VK Lynne - My Year of Transformation

by GEM Magazine / Aug 24, 2015 / Comments

This has been the worst year of my life.

Not the sentence I expected to type when I decided to quit my job last year to pursue my dreams full time. I was full of excitement and fire and ready to ‘take on the world’.

However, making the transition from well-paid tutor to unpaid artist proved to be more treacherous than I could have ever anticipated. Although, I got a warning very quickly.

You see, every Fourth of July, my birthday, I watch the fireworks and ask for some insight.

It may sound strange, but for me, it’s the one time in the whole year when I am quiet, and I listen. Last year, I eagerly awaited a ‘pep talk’ or some kind of promise that this new path was the right one.

Instead, I heard only one sentence: ‘This is the last year.’

I felt a sinking feeling; was this the last year of my life? The last year of my career? The last year of what? No answer came.

I tried to shake the foreboding; I put it down to imagination, but deep down… I began to measure in months.

Money grew tighter; but never mind, I believed that would change. I threw myself into writing, finally finishing my first novel and I worked feverishly on the band.

Sew the seeds and reap the rewards, right?

Then my band went on tour. It was an eye-opening experience; I finally found myself nightly doing what I’d worked all my life to do.

Yet, the darkness came, and told me that it was too late. It should have been 15 years ago; now, it’s almost moot. “You’re too old; you only have… 9 more months.”

I came home and didn’t recognize my own house. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize my own face. My thoughts felt foreign; my behavior out of character. I called my mom and cried.

“I don’t know who I am anymore.”

I was frightened of myself and frightened of living.

Without the accountability of students from my previous job, I was left with ample time to spend with myself. And I discovered that I wasn’t a fan of me.

In fact, I didn’t like me at all.

We live in a cultural climate where ‘quotes’ and ‘mantras’ and ‘memes’ abound intended to help buoy us through life, but the reality is that when you’re confronted with real, tangible depression…? Those words aren’t worth the screen they’re typed on.

For the next five months, I woke up every single morning thinking about ending my own life. I wished for a stray bullet to do it for me. I finally told my partner that if I didn’t get some sort of help, I would be dead by my own hand in short order.

It wasn’t an ‘if’, it was a ‘when’.

The task of finding a therapist who was of the same spiritual ilk as myself, and who was also covered under our insurance, was so daunting that I almost gave up. But knowing the stakes, I kept digging and calling, until I found her.

I dove into therapy like a hungry dog into a food bowl; I wanted to get better.

It turns out, I was beleaguered by self-hate… pretty damn deep-rooted. However, those roots didn’t take hold overnight, and this wasn’t going to be a quick fix.

I saw a doctor to get blood work and it discovered that I had a severe vitamin deficiency and a thyroid issue.

I began medication. I started exercising again; not to be thin, but to try to mitigate my moods.

I trudged on. I cried incessantly. I tried my partner's patience to the breaking point. The ones very closest to me began to worry.

I told a close friend that I felt like I had been falling down a hole in the ground all year long, and that I kept trying to grab branches to stop the momentum, but I just kept falling.

However, I kept a level demeanor publicly, because I felt a responsibility to NOT let those who’d supported me professionally see me fall apart.

Young girls message me all the time, telling me that I inspire them and make them want to be strong… how could I let them down?

As THE birthday drew closer, I received a phone call from my spiritual sister. We share a belief that many in our line of work do not, and we’ve supported each other in this throughout our 10 years of friendship. Yet, for some reason, I had not called her in all this time for help. Maybe I was afraid of what she’d say.

Maybe I felt like I just needed to “get over it.”

She left a message saying that she didn’t have any news, she just was ‘dying to talk to me.’ I called her back, and we fell right back into that zone we share.

I vomited the whole year at her, judgment be damned, and waited for her response. With barely a pause, she said, “Oh girl, you are not alone.”

It was a huge turning point. She began rattling off stories of women she knew who were the same age, going through similar experiences.

Mid-life crisis? 20 years working towards a still-distant goal? Depression? She’d seen all of it, and lived a bunch of it.

She suggested a simple prayer. I had been praying my face off for months, but I was willing to try anything. The next morning, I got up early and practiced yoga. I sat cross-legged on the mat and tried out the prayer.

As the week went on, I felt oddly different. Like a dark cloud was lifting. And it’s still lifting.

The birthday passed and I survived. Older, wiser, and a little better.

I am fortunate to have a small but fierce circle of people around me who never gave up hope this year. The fiercest among them is my husband.

I told him the dark and gruesome contents of my brain. And he stayed. He never wavered when I begged him to put a pillow over my face in the night. He was strong when I couldn’t be, and he continued to assure me of all the things I needed to remember. He once said;

“You take risks. You live life. To do that and be the artist that you are, means you are going to take wrong turns and you're going to make mistakes… Be insecure and uncertain. The only people who would judge you for that are the people who wish they were risking and living like you.”

He also pointed out that no one “thing” is THE “thing”. It’s only another “thing”. We tend to make one achievement, or one goal, the holder of our happiness. When in reality… it’s just another step on our journey.

Now, in no way do I believe that I am “cured” or “healed” or what have you. I am a work in progress, and just because I acknowledge that doesn’t mean that it’s sunshine and kittens from here. To use a well-worn expression: “It’s all part of the journey.”

Why am I telling you this?

Well, we tend to show the world the shiny side of our coin, and the happy ending as an inspiring tale. But when I look back on this year, I think that it’s equally important, maybe even more so, to show people that we are ALL the walking wounded.

No one has all the answers. No one has it “all figured out”. No one can tell you how you should walk, when the path is yours.

I think it’s important for people to own their mistakes, yet not be afraid to take risks. To allow themselves to be disappointed or sad when things go wrong, to not feel obligated to be ‘upbeat’ when they need to grieve. To know that life has seasons, and that you can’t rush or skip any of them. They all play a part, and they all need to be honoured.

If I’ve learned these things, and I am here tell my story then…

This has been the best year of my life.

By VK Lynne.

VK Lynne is a writer and musician from Los Angeles. She penned the award-winning web series 'Trading on 15', and is a weekly contributor to literary journal Image Curve. She has authored lyrics for three of her own solo albums and for the bands Vita Nova, stOrk, and The Spider Accomplice. VK has always worked in letters; she has served as a grant proposal editor for The Hilton Fund for Sisters, a freelance editor of novels, essays, and articles, and a private English tutor.


Website - http://www.vklynne.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/vklynneofficial
Twitter - @VKLynne
Instagram - vklynne

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