Then, Now, Next

 Wondering what happens next. Guess I'll find out.

Wondering what happens next. Guess I'll find out.

September 8, 2017.

My eyes were puffy. They stung from where the tears had dried, from where I had rubbed again and again, wiping them away. I was sad, happy, and most of all, confused. What happens next? Will things be the same? No. Things most definitely will not be the same. But maybe things will be better.

Five days spent in the hospital. Five days spent in lockdown. Five days stuck inside a hallway of duplicate rooms with blank white walls. Five days that felt like forever. I was glad to be leaving, as well as extremely terrified. The hospital had routine, consistency. The outside world… not so much. In the hospital I was safe from the harm of others and myself. And though the pain persisted the fear subsided. In that hallway of duplicate rooms with blank white walls, I knew I was safe. I knew a head would pop in through the doorway every fifteen minutes to make sure I was ok. Even though I felt alone, I was not. Everyone else was here for a similar reason and we were all here together, to help and lean on each other throughout our stay. Over the course of five days I had made some of the greatest friends in my life. And leaving pained me, knowing I would likely never see any of them again. But I left. And that was then.

 Me at the time of writing (aka a more stable me).

Me at the time of writing (aka a more stable me).


And this is now.

2017 is coming to a close. It has been about four months since I was released from the hospital. Over those four months I powered through classes, upped my hours at work, gained a promotion, and strengthened my relationships with friends and family. From time to time I felt the hand of depression creeping up on my shoulder, the restless thoughts and paranoia attempting to penetrate my brain. But I fought it off, battling back and forth with my two combative personalities, throwing punches and kicks wildly in my head, my sanity saved by newly prescribed medicine and the calming assurance of a weekly therapy session.

Not only was I surviving, I was also growing. My time in the hospital gave me a new outlook on life, a drive to move forward on dreams and ambitions my depression had held me back from. Now I am moving forward with starting my own business, a small production company to fulfill my creative and business desires. From a young age I had a desire to create, to film and photograph life and stories. It has remained one of two constants in my life, to produce visual images, conveying stories and emotions. The other constant is the want to be my own boss, to make my own rules and break them when and where I see necessary. So starting a production company sounded like a no brainer.

Currently I am simply laying the foundation, planning out marketing strategies, making connections, purchasing equipment, yada yada yada… It’s hard work but for the first time in my life I feel like I am moving forward in some sort of direction, no longer stuck in the mediocrity of day to day life. I have had to make cuts here and there, spending more time working rather than hanging out with friends and spending more money on business purchases opposed to buying items for leisure (and the Nintendo Switch is out so the struggle is real). Some weeks I’m sneaking by with just twenty-two bucks to my name, the rest of my paycheck spent on lights, cameras, and audio equipment. On days when I’m at school I look longingly to all the delicious food options in the cafeteria but instead stick to filling my salad box with the lightest, most weightless vegetables the school has to offer. Sometimes when I being real skimpy my salad weighs in at just three dollars! And though my stomach yells angrily at me in deep, low vibration growls, I feel accomplishment in pursuing my dream. And on this day in late December, I near the end of equipment purchases, being almost fully loaded with everything I need to begin work! The excitement boils inside me, ready to burst when the gears finally begin to turn, and business starts rolling in. At the moment the future seems bright, yet again I find myself asking…

What happens next?

It is the age old question, one I and many countless others have asked ourselves again and again. As human beings we long for knowledge and certainty. It was what made the hospital feel so safe, the consistency of day to day life, knowing what lies ahead. But in the world, outside of that safety net, there is no certainty. There is no knowing what comes next. You can plan, make precise calculations, lay out the groundwork for the future but life will always surprise you. At a moments notice life can throw a curveball your way, sometimes even a wild pitch hitting you square in the gut. Perhaps you get to take a base for free, other times you are kneeled over at home plate, tears dropping into the dirt, you no further from where you began, sometimes being walked back to the dugout to sit and wait for the next opportunity. Just know that it will come.

And there lies my struggle, having to remember that nothing is final. An opportunity missed is not a life derailed, but simply a re-route to a different track. In the past my brain would convince me that life was over, that failure was a dead end. And the thought of finality would lead to final actions, a hopeless attempt at escape from the life of nothing into actual nothingness. A belt and a strong bar are all that is needed to kill the pain. But that's a lie. The truth, nothing is final until I make it final. And I am left with a choice, to choose finality or accept that the next big break will come and another after that and another after that. And now I choose to accept that 2018 will come with many opportunities, perhaps that big break. What will it be? I don't know, but I know that it is coming. 

To answer the age old question of "what happens next?" I answer "it is unknown. There is only hoping for something great. And knowing that it will come." 

Follow my Instagram @merlinmade for more images like those featured in this post

Samuel MerlinPersonalComment