Peaks and Valleys
I grew up in Kansas...known for being flat, right? "THE PLAINS!" (Hear that with a really epic voice in your head?...ok good) Even in the plains there are some "peaks" of hills and some valleys. When I was younger, I traveled to and from Wichita, KS passing through what is known as "The Flint Hills." I remember when I was about ten or so thinking "man, those hills are huge!"-as they certainly were bigger than any of the hills around KC where I grew up.
When I was a little older, I traveled beyond the boarders of KS to Colorado...I think most people know where this is going...the Flint Hills are truly just plains in comparison to the Rocky Mountains.
Later on, I saw the Grand Canyon.
Now, that is a big hole in the ground...or a "valley." But seriously, wow, incredible, majestic.
In light of that beauty, there is complete power and danger lurking. For me, I had a particularly scary realization at the Grand Canyon--that's a long way down.
Confession time: sometimes heights make me feel...wiggy. A little extra energy in my toes that tells me I'm about to jump off. When I was a kid I stood on one of those observation towers at Six Flags over Texas. It was then that I acknowledged the possibility that this "chainlink fence feeling thing" that I was standing on, could fail, and I would most certainly fall to my death. That seed of fear came alive in me...so fast forward:
I'm almost 23 years old at the Grand Canyon exploring around with my best friend (who is pretty fearless) and we come to a portion of our hike near what is known as the Angel's Window on the northern rim. As you can see in the picture, you can walk out above the gap, and, I dunno, look down at beauty of the canyon/your demise. So here I am before going out onto the ledge, it wasn't hard when looking at the ledge from a distance.
But we head out on top of the window. For a while I'm playing it cool, enjoying the beauty, looking around, but eventually it became too much for me. I had to sit down. After a few minutes, she came over, giggling to herself, took my hand and we went on.
But before we went, she had to prove a point, and it wasn't just that she's way more flexible than me...
Now part of the reason this gal is my best friend, is because she helps me up when I'm not able to stand. She holds my hand. She doesn't stop there, she encourages me to face my fears and try again:
So "proving a point" sounds harsh...she playfully incited me to going further than I thought I could...going to where she knew I could go. I might have felt a little nauseous still after doing that, but also a great sense of accomplishment. Luckily, her fears and my fears usually don't line up--that's what makes us a good team.
"So Adler, why are you writing about this random trip you had back in 2015...????"
I was prompted by a goalcast video on Facebook that I saw today with Jim Carrey talking about his battle with depression and why he chose to stop taking medication for it. (I'm am only speaking of Jim Carrey with the limited knowledge that he's struggled with depression--the subsequent thoughts are broad generalizations).
The video is on my Facebook page, so sorry for the redirect:
It is not a question if every person has struggles, insecurity, challenges, and hurts; the question really is how we deal with them. Sometimes they are overwhelming and can lead to depression. Depression can be a chemical thing that some people are at heightened disadvantaged for that battle.
Being an actor, I live in a world filled with rejection and criticism. Sometimes the way we express as actors comes from a very core place of "who we are." Constant evaluation of what we look like, what we think, how we sound, the amount of skill or talent we possess--these can all be determining factors to whether or not we book the job--which all too often gives actors "value." But really...those elements are in any given area of the workplace or social structure of life. It is a struggle; having a mindset of preparation for a difficult journey can immensely help during the climb.
The elevation change and effort that it takes to get to the peak of the mountain for that incredible high is just as difficult as the effort that it takes to get out of the daunting valley. It can be very hard. People have gone through circumstances I can't even begin to imagine. Deep valleys you never thought you'd be in, and sometimes you can't do it alone. I'm thankful to have a handful of people that I trust who are positive energies in my life. I highly recommend surrounding yourself with these types of people, and cast off the ones who are holding you back. You have to be on level ground to be able to help others out of their valleys, otherwise you run the risk of being stuck down there together. Seek out professional counseling if available to you. You are investing in your life! In some of my darkest, hardest moments, I had some real life, truthful, hard conversations with a couple professional folks who helped me move on and out of the valley. There is no shame in needing help. Also, in light of what Jim was talking about, there is no shame in using medication, but if it's preventing you from a fuller life, I would encourage you to take the risk to potentially see the Rockies and not just the Flint Hills, even if it as the risk of taking a detour to the Grand Canyon first. Prepare, plan, persevere. You can do it.
Here are two other videos with Jim talking that I found to be inspiring.
"You know what my favorite thing is..."
"No, Adler, what's that?..."