Where the hell were all these good things when I was depressed?!
May 24th, 2014 → Leave a comment
I was at UC Irvine earlier this week giving a talk about my work. But before that classroom talk, I was on a panel with Al Jazeera!
If you know about freelancing, you know how crippling depression is to the workflow. Well, depression is crippling to everything. But the self-structured schedule of a freelancer can break a lot faster to depression. And when you are depressed, picking up the gigs to give your life meaning feels impossible. It’s a cycle that feeds itself.
I am happy to report that I am the happiest and most productive I’ve ever been in my life. After a decade of not figuring it out, I figured out the work-life balance thing and I wish I was here sooner. I’m glad life really started to kick up in my direction, because I almost gave up and started having kids!
And how am I spending this happiest year of my life? Talking about the years I was depressed! OH THE IRONY.
THINGS THAT UN-DEPRESS ME THIS MONTH!
1. Writing about misery for xoJane and finding a new audience!
A for-profit health website asked me to write an essay for no money about mental health for Mental Health Awareness Month. Because of my show Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I have literally been dragging this dead horse around for for seven years. I resent being “Kristina Wong, who does the depression show”. I have other work and other identities, but none more in demand than “depressed Kristina”. The persona that everyone feels should be giving her time away for free– to fulfill the absence of “diversity” in the mental health dialogue. I’m tired of it. It takes a long time for me to write essays. I have bills just like everyone else.
After hours of excruciating writing, I asked the editor of that health website, “Can you give me $1 at least for this work?” The editor responded with, “No, but we get a of hits and we would love for you to fill the gap in Asian American voices on our site.” I was pissed that not only was I not worth $1, but that they tried to guilt me to fill their “diversity gap” for them for free. So I sold the essay to xoJane.com instead. I am also happy to report that Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-the Film is now a film that you can STILL buy!
2. Writing about being a “Trashy Reality TV star” for CNN!
On CNN: “I jumped into the trashiness of reality TV to raise the profile of Asian Americans”
My work as an artist and my identity as an Asian American is too fringe and odd for scripted TV. So I talk about why I decided that non-union Reality TV on a small cable network was just my thing in my first essay for CNN!
3. Going on Al Jazeera’s “The Stream”
On Al Jazeera earlier this week The Stream talking about the “Model Minority Myth.”
Al Jazeera sent a private car to my house to get me to the UCI campus and back because my talk at UC Irvine was an hour after this talk show. It was kind of awesome to step out of a town car onto the campus wearing a backpack!
4. Getting really badass mentions by other writers in their essays!
1. Did a Q&A with Afro Girl Talks! Lauren did these great doodles of me and restores my faith in millenials (she’s only 18!)
5. I’m giving a the graduation speech at UCLA in a few weeks!
In 2008, I was invited by the Department of English to be their commencement speaker. James Franco was in the graduating class, and well… the rest is tabloid history. I just got another invitation to give the graduation speech at UCLA June 15. This time it will be for the Asian Pacific Islander Graduation Ceremony on June 15! I’m feeling older and wiser and ready! And I’m so honored that people who will be making way more than I have made in my life as an artist, understand the value I might bring to their table.
6. My episode of “I am Asian American and…” is the most watched of the series!
According to MYX TV, my episode of “I’m Asian American and…” is the most watched of all the episodes!
Being a shameless cut and paste freak pays off!