Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.
This week, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Henry Crawford, a.k.a. Small Wonder, talks about his anxiety and a traumatic memory from his past.
make me better. make me strong. make me a Gamelan, every piece set at once, so that all outside influence affects every piece at the same time. let my parts be in tune with the whole
Earlier this week I had a pretty bad anxiety attack, set off by a particularly bad Small Wonder set. Made me feel like the tower of Babel, toppled for it’s own arrogance. I’ve spent the last few days recovering from it. Sometimes I feel good, like when I’m walking my favorite dog at work. Other times I hear someone talk about death and I can feel my heart beat move up my throat until it’s shaking my tongue.
let me be good, let me be loved, let me ease my way through the lonely nights with the memory of those i love
When I was 16 I tried to play off my pre-show panic attacks as an act. I was scared people would think I was wimpy for being scared of the thing I’d devoted my life too. As I’ve grown older I’ve dealt with my depressive nature through distance, usually using stories of my heroes as metaphors in order to distance myself from the people I’m talking to. This succeeds in making me feel safe, but also has prevented me from making any truly close friends since I was 17.
lend me hope, lend me faith, lend me the eyes that see that all things pass into the night
This is the dark that was lifted onto my shoulders by heredity. The same waves of sadness that stop me from getting out of bed in the morning have paralyzed them since I can remember. The shadow that guided my hand through all the glass in my basement when I went through my first real heartbreak is the same shadow that made my dad throw all the pots and pans on the floor when I was 15.
I want to be my heroes, I want to be my friends, I want to be the same day today as I was the day before
When I was small my best friend tried to kill herself. She called me the day after from St. Vincent’s Psych Ward. She told me that she had tried to slit her wrists, sardonically berating herself for “going across the street, rather than down the lane.” After a long conversation I hung up the phone and my mom asked me what was wrong. “Olivia tried to kill herself,” I said and retreated to my room. After a few minutes my Dad came to my room, and silently sat down on my bed next to me. “On my eighteenth birthday my girlfriend jumped off a building and killed herself.” he paused and then put his hand on my back and said, “This kind of thing has always happened, and you’re going to be okay.” He got up and walked out of the room.
show me your love, show me your mercy, show me the road home
I don’t know why I’m writing this. Maybe I wanted to talk about depression in a way that doesn’t feel like some sort of clinical explanation of the real pain that millions of people experience every day. Maybe I’m still mad at the anarchist who told me that depression was a myth created by pharmaceutical companies. Maybe I’m trying to say what I wish the patron saints of artistic sadness (Elliott, Sylvia, Kurt, Virginia) had said to me. Maybe I wanted to tell Olivia, “Even though we haven’t spoken in years, I carry you with me, and I love you, and I’m sorry.” Maybe I just wanted to tell you how I feel.
I don’t know why I need to separate each paragraph with a line of the prayer I’ve been writing all night. Maybe I’m trying to hide the disjointed nature of the way that i think about these things. Maybe I’m scared to show myself without the veneer of poetry. Either way the prayer rings true. One more line.
give me yesterday, give me tomorrow, give me the light that leads out the door into today.
Week 1 | Week 2