As I was looking for a certain writing notebook, I came across an old college sketch book from my Senior year. In it was many journal entries and sketches that I had done as a therapy of sorts for myself at the time. I still practice this ritual to this day, but no one but me has ever read or seen any of the entries, nor shall they ever. Yet, one such entry caught my eye and I felt compelled to share it. I wrote it during a very low point in my life, the causes of which I will not discuss. I had recently read the poem Man in the Mirror by Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr. and it struck a chord with me at that moment in time, more so than it ever had before. Back then I was really struggling with my own identity and bouts of depression. I felt very much alone despite being surrounded by all kinds of students and faculty every day. This sketch book served, along with many paintings, as my way of releasing my anger and my frustrations with myself and others. Being my own worst critic, I often wrote these entries introspectively.
The following entry was written in my dorm room on my futon as I stared disdainfully at myself in the mirrored doors of my closet. Unfortunately for me, most of my best work is created when I am attempting to express the sadness I feel. This is one of those cases.
The Man In The Mirror – Dom Palumbo – Spring 2010
“There are many times when I fear that the man staring back from the mirror is not strong enough to endure these things much longer. I have tried to put others before self, but I find myself losing everything. My only solace and peace comes from a pencil and paper. I wish I would start
listening to what God believing that God has a plan for me. I don’t. I fear my desires…thus far they have all betrayed me. Seeing what two-faced people are in this world; I trust no one anymore. I can depend on no one. I try so hard for everyone else to be happy…helping them has sacrificed my own ability to be happy. Stress and anxiety take over. My man in the mirror needs changing. It will be difficult.”
To this day I still find myself struggling internally. I am constantly thinking about where I am in life and where I want to be. Where I SHOULD be. It is a mental habit that has served me well at times in terms of motivation, but also has caused me great personal anguish and anxiety. Constantly putting pressure on myself to be the very best in whatever it is I am doing, whether it is my design work, my comedy work or my personal relationships have all more often than not led me to some dark and depressing places in the past; most of which reside in the deep recesses of my mind. Scary, right? Can you imagine what goes on in my brain in a given day? No wonder I have trouble sleeping.
Since college, I have come a long way in terms of my own struggles. I have grown in many respects and now know how to cope and handle dealing with certain aspects of life. I have taught myself to harness my thoughts and focus them on what really matters. Some of what I wrote above still holds true. It is sad to read some of the things that were going through my head at the time, but I am glad I wrote it all down. Rereading these old journal entries is just as much of a therapy exercise as writing them was. It is proof to myself that I am no longer constantly in the dark. I have a great support group of friends and family all willing to help me at the drop of a hat. My journey is not over yet though.
My man in the mirror still needs changing. It will continue to be difficult.