Four circus school students

The Cliché Of The Depressed Art Student

after living three days in total motivational paralysis, I’m writing in hopes of ejecting myself out of this self-involved downward spiral or at least understanding why i keep ending up in them and why they keep getting worse and worse. 

for a person who thinks about suicide as much as i do, i found it interesting that in all of my journaling and in all of my description of my creative processes i provide nothing more than passing references to what my friends see as symptoms of severe depression. 

but it’s all too cliched.  the suicidal, depressed, angry, violent, sensitive, misunderstood, lonely, artist.  and cliche, i think, suggests social redundancy, i.e. being a cartoon instead of what we all want to be — the individual. 

so there you go: depression leads to cliche leads to the loss of individualism leads to depression.  unstable equilibrium.  slippery slope.  downward spiral. 

but this is my zone.  depression plants creative seeds.   

an idea for a show i might write over the course of this year.  called “shit that doesn’t make sense,” is an examination of the world’s largest fully self-propagating social hologram, a first-world dictatorship of ignorance, the united states of america.  my country tis of thee i sing. 

and in writing of my number i see now how it can all come together, how i feel right now, sitting in my room not 20 minutes walk away from where i should be training to be superhuman, put on stage in sequins and smoke effects and what?   

there i go again: cliched, self-involved artist.   

why question the depression? why not enjoy it and the situation that permits me to study at one of the premier performing arts institutions in the world?

i never anticipated the psychological impact of focusing wholly on one aspect of your life. focusing as hard as i am on circus arts, atrophies other passions: science, philosophy, music, subtlety in the performing arts, friends, the ability to make meaningful connections with people, caring about things other than those which directly affected me. 

so what are my options then?  do i quit circus school?  it would be the first thing in my life that i ever quit.  a new cliché: the guy who couldn’t cut it in circus school, and went back to a conventional life with a comfortable salary and office flirtations that go nowhere.  i will let people down, the people who donated so that i could be a selfish starving artist in quebec. 

but i can’t forget that circus provides all of the things that i feel are important in a life.  travel, a sense of asceticism, camaraderie, discipline, self-destination. 

but at what expense?  i’m asked to abandon my theatrical instincts.  to ignore the goings-on in the world around me.  i’m asked to accept that my development as an artist and as a professional is in some way more important than actually saying something meaningful about the world around me that won’t be forgotten as soon as the show is over.

i will be 26 or 27 when i leave circus school.  if i tour for a few years at least, i will be 30 by the time i really need to make another decision in my life.  grad school?  another 3-5 years?  what of my desire to have kids one of these days?  how will i afford to offer my children a lifestyle even close to the level that i grew up in?

and more than that, the notion of not having made a real statement in my life by age 35 is a terrifying one.

some people are happy to live working 6 hours a week.  their days are filled with cooking, doing dishes, bathing, listening to music, going to bars, and having sex.

and so what?  Is that better or worse than buying useless crap, going to an office or a lab, making money, eating out, and reading what to believe in the newspapers and on high-speed internet connections?

is that better or worse than being a self-involved whiny artist who has the luxury to study handstands 24 hours a week, cook, and sleep, while fooling himself into believing that there is some sort of ascetic nobility in this lifestyle that makes it all worthwhile?

but if all these lives are worth nothing in the scheme of things what better justification for recurring paralyzing depression?

well there you go.

is anything solved?


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