Honest, Horrible, Humbling Humanity

I keep asking myself why I started a blog. When I read other blogs or Google blog topics, I find a lot of material similar to what I’d expect from magazine articles. You know, DIY projects, health and beauty advice, endless how-to articles: how to take the most inspiring Instagram pic of your microscopic lunch, how to color your cares away in books conveniently for sale now on Amazon, how to disguise self-promoting sales pitches as altruistic advice, how to write the same boring contrived bullshit everyone else writes so you can finally “matter” to the world.  Just remember that blogs aren’t about sharing your diary-style diatribes, because no one gives a crap. Sorry Anne Frank, you’d need to learn about search engine optimization and selfie skills to be read these days.

Ack! I sound so bitter. I’m sorry I brought Anne Frank into my rant. (I love you.) I’m just sick of hearing that the only way people can be heard and “matter” is by buying into the notion that they have to offer practical advice. I get that we’re in America and people are about self-interest and reading something directly applicable to their own lives, but then why do they (well some of them) read novels? Or watch sitcoms, or dramas, or go the movies? And how did Jenny Lawson become one of the most famous bloggers ever?

More than anything, I think I’m angry with myself for believing this notion that you have to sell a skill to be read or to matter. A big reason I haven’t been writing is because I didn’t believe anyone wanted to read the real, honest, no fun daily struggles of another privileged middle class American white chick. And maybe they don’t. Ok. But does that mean I just tuck my tail between my legs and hide away like I’m not overflowing with thoughts and feelings that I’d really like to just let out already?

I can’t really dump all the responsibility on “society” or “norms” because if I’m being totally honest, I don’t like displaying the tough emotions like anger, sadness, or fear. I’m ok sitting on them in silence or steeping them in sarcasm.  I suppose I’ve bought into the popular notion that those emotions betray a weakness that is all too human. Sometimes admitting to being that human seems too damn difficult. Not to mention that exposing my humanity means exposing my flawed self to fun feedback from anonymous strangers or worse, my friends.

I’ll talk about the crap feelings if it is to dispense advice, information, or reactions to the myriad world events that evoke those emotions. But when it comes to my own intimate, personal daily struggles, I run like hell from acknowledging them or discussing them. I run to diaries I can lock away, to music, movies, books, denial, and fantasy worlds. I developed this withdrawal coping mechanism in early childhood and I’ve used it to keep others at a distance as far back as I can remember. I had good reasons to do so for a long time. I’m sure there will always be reasons for all of us to self-protect. I mean, the world we’re in just isn’t safe. But it won’t be safe regardless, so I may as well suck it up and spill some truth beans now and then.

The reason I started blogging was because I express myself most authentically and clearly in writing and because, despite my formidable defenses, I want to be known and understood and heard. Writing that out in the open is terrifying because for so long I have wanted the very opposite. At least I thought I did, or thought I was supposed to want that. But not being seen, not telling my truths, and hiding behind the concocted and unconvincing images of normalcy has become exhausting and alienating. I’m tired of believing I need to be quiet about my past, my story, and myself. So while I will remain reticent regarding stories that are not mine to tell, I will speak my truth. Because Oprah said I could, dammit.

That being said, I’ll answer honestly now the question some have asked in the past few months. “How are you?”

I’m adapting to and enjoying my new job and I’m relieved to have stopped moving and unpacking and to have settled into a new home. But winter is difficult for me. My anxiety and depression symptoms worsened and recently, my antidepressants have stopped working. So I’m now coping with antidepressant discontinuation syndrome as I’m weaning off my Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI).

Breaking up with my medication has been rough. I feel like I’m drunk but without the positive side effects of giggling at everything or deciding I love EVERYONE and needing to proclaim it for the entire world to hear (I’m talking to you random cab driver). No, it’s not so bad. I just feel tired, and nauseous, and dizzy, oh and then suddenly sad and then pissed off, all within ten minutes of waking up. So really, maybe it’s like I’m drunk and pregnant all at once but without the fun buzz or the adorable baby. But luckily for me, this ordeal should only last a month or two, not a better part of a year.

I also didn’t do myself any favors with my reading material this winter. I read some amazing and highly recommended books, but also dark and disturbing books that could have waited until spring or summer when my mood is more manageable. I’ll get back into my book review writing again soon, but for now, I’ll just say I recommend the following books if and only if you’re ready for some traumatic truth bombs: Kindred by Octavia Butler, 1984 by George Orwell, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

That last novel brought up some issues for me because it dealt with a child’s misreading of sexual situations and the strong desire to atone even when the course of events has rendered absolution impossible. For now, I’ll just say it stirred up some forgotten feelings about a friend who I didn’t know I didn’t know. My little eyes were not grown and could not see her as she was before she had to go. But now my eyes are swimming in wide open Oh!s.

See what I mean? Reality blows. I’m going to go stick my nose in a happy fantasy book.

 

Advertisements