The Secret Life of an iCal Addict: The Curse of An Exorbitant Amount of Surfboards and Mixed Metaphors

Beneath sunny skies, the rumble of a wave approached. She turned her head to look back in anticipation and saw the familiar ocean waters swelling behind her rapidly. The cool sea breeze across her face gently blew her hair off her hot face, only to glance at the hazy brownish looking shore ahead. The wave was close now, having grown in size and sound, so she started paddling around her board rhythmically. Gaining momentum, she felt the wave cresting right behind her; she had planned this perfectly! Quickly, she hopped up onto the surfboard, balanced her weight accordingly, and time stopped. That moment, suspended on her board above the water – that was the drug.


I have been pounding the pavement for a job for 20 days. (Well, pounding my keyboard is more accurate. With my fingers. Typing a lot.) It’s also been about 20 degrees outside the last week or so, with a wind chill of – 7,000,000° F. I can’t walk outside without my eyelashes freezing together. Guess who’s been spending way too much time in the apartment of perpetual loneliness? And guess who was specifically told to get out of her apartment every day so she doesn’t go crazy town banana pants? (which is also already the fourth Community reference in this post. [insert comment about TV obsession here]).

I like busy. Usually, I embody the definition of busy. However, I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t always been the right kind of busy. Keeping myself busy and/or occupied was a great way to ignore the elephant(s) in the room and keep pretending I was fine. I developed a need for obsessions – an obsession for obsessions, if you will. Some people get addicted to meth, some people are obsessed with Beanie Babies STILL … I need iCal.

Hi, my name is KJ, and I’m an iCalholic.


The water beneath her feet, around her body, above her head – this was IT! This is what being alive felt like! She knew so well how to ride the amazingly huge wave, whipping back and forth. She couldn’t help but smile and laugh from somewhere way down deep inside of her, even if the back of her mind knew it was all crashing down to an end.


As an artist, I have actively tried to not put my identity into my work. I’ve seen that disaster in other lives, and I know that I am more than art. But what I was exactly – well, that apparently didn’t ever quite get answered. (I’m reeeeeally good at that: thinking through something to the point of overthinking it, but then completely missing the logical point behind it all or a fundamental step in the process, ect. Logic does not come 100% implanted in all of our brains, unfortunately.)

I guess I just kind of thought that one day it would all magically be figured out, like a movie or well-thought out TV show. Well, adulthood came knocking on my door, and let me just tell you: I was not prepared for company. It was a weird place to be, knowing that you needed to grow up but that you were missing vital components to 1UP to the next level of adulthood, and then really having no clue what those components even were. I was Mario without a B button. I was Leia right after her home planet Alderaan blew up right in front of her face. I was clearly supposed to do something, to have something, to be in a different frame of mind – but I wasn’t. I kept coming back to this no-man’s zone in the Battle of Growing Upness, and I was getting pretty shot up. My wounds were becoming more and more apparent. So were the elephants in the room.


She struggled to keep the board afloat in the trembling, unstable waters. The speed of the wave was intoxicating; her heart felt like it was overflowing with trembling feelings and unstable emotions too. Looking out, the shore was much closer than she thought, and she gasped at the sight of it: she could see the details now, the people, the trees, even the indentations in the sand. Suddenly, the waters lapped up over her board and sucked her into the brutal rip current churning below the wave. She gasped for air and got a mouth half-full of salty water as she ricocheted off the ocean floor, powerless to the wave’s demands.


I can’t even tell you how many times I have run away from my problems, brushed them under the rug, or hid them in the closet. I subconsciously had classified myself as a runaway bride of sorts (a la Julia Roberts), rebooting and recalibrating to new lifestyles and an updated version of myself whenever things got sticky. I hate this part of my life. It contains so many regrets, so many missed opportunities, and SO many Oreos. I lose entire night’s sleep battling my own personal demons either created or encouraged during that stage of life, and there are a few in particular I can only pray that one day I will be able to forgive myself for.

I have ridden the manic waves right down to the bottom of the ocean, my friends. I do not even begin to pretend to understand why the universe works the way it does nor why things happen the way they do. But let me tell you this – there is a way back up from the depths. You can get out of the ocean, past the sand, and onto stable grounds. We may see life as chaos and painful at times, but I have learned from personal experience that not only are there different kinds of pain (dying pain versus healing pain), but also an organization behind the chaos that ties it all together.

Yes, okay, the surfboard-wave thing was totally a metaphor to my experience being bipolar riding manic waves over and over and never really caring or wanting to go to the shore. I am finding/remembering how to feel those happy feelings in a healthy, stable place, taking progressive steps to overcome my “monkey-on-my-back” depression, and doing a lot better for it. I have my moments, but I’ve found that falling down doesn’t matter as long as you just get back up again and keep going forward. Leia didn’t know what to do when her home planet/family/BFF’s all blew up while she was a prisoner in the badass planet prison we know as the Death Star, but did she stay underwater and let that asthmatic dude in all black scare her down into submission? No. She didn’t. She probably was coming with some awesome escape plan of her own when life brought her (HER LONG LOST BROTHER) Luke with the tall, grunting rug and Indiana Jones to help bust her out of that joint and into the greatest cinema series known to mankind. Booyah.

I can’t think of a really great way to tie in all the metaphors and analogies and TV/film references I’ve referenced into some grand blog ending, so just know this: I’m doing pretty great. Life takes time, and progress isn’t an overnight kind of deal, and I’m totally okay with that. So I cry once in awhile. Psh. I’m becoming my own Princess Leia with my own awesome story ahead of me, and I’m not going to let a history of terrible surfing incidents stop me.


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