the problem with being a writer is that people think what you write is the whole story.
it's like social media, where everyone is beautiful and fully made-up and only shot from their best angles and always eating yummy looking things. and you think, wow, they have really got it together! she is my hero! he always eats 10 gourmet burritos every day and never gains weight! her hair is always so shiny whilst i'm a horrible hag!
that is not how i want to be here. even though this is a blog and even though it's public and even though (presumably) a person or two occasionally reads it who doesn't know me.
as a writer, i feel like there's a writer-reader contract in which honesty is assumed. as a southerner, i want everyone to generally feel good about himself/herself. and as a person from my family, i'm totally willing to expose myself to make that happen.
this involves showing the bones of things, the underlying guts. because of my well-publicized morbid fascinations with cemeteries and taxidermies and violence, yes, but also so that if i ever do wind up accomplishing anything, we can all of us- because you are in this with me- sit back in our rockers on that veranda and sigh as we sip our mint julips and say, well, hot damn, didn't THAT take forEVAH.
to that end, i try to be honest about the fact that i am, most always, flailing. towards something, yes (debtor's prison, we know; a book, we hope), but flailing nonetheless. because to flail is to live, i say. and, yes, you can put that on a pillow.
all of that gets us- somewhat sloppily- to here: i've written before about depression. not always directly, but it's been there, at the edges (here and here and, most directly, here). what i've not written about is the times that aren't depression. the times that are something altogether else.
there've not been a lot. maybe a handful in my whole life. but they're there.
truthbomb: this past july was off-and-on awful. like, really really really a whole world of bad.
the problem is you can't write that as it's happening. at least, not well. at least, i can't.
which isn't to say that i didn't have fun. that i didn't go out and do things and see people and hang out and write stuff down and have interesting conversations and eat really yummy meals and get royal baby fever and cultivate a nice tan and have one incredibly spectacular hair day during which, sadly, i didn't see anyone i knew.
all of that happened. all of that was really lovely.
and yet still, if asked to describe the month of july, i would say it was an emotional exorcism.
because there were these days.
and they weren't even sequential. there would be one day and then the next day, i'd go hang out with c.smartt and we'd have vap and two bottles of wine on her rooftop and go to brixton and eat ethiopian at 1 a.m. and then- wide awake- i'd walk home through the empty city streets at 6 a.m., proud to have had such an adventure and to have finally ridden a bus. and then the next day, i'd sleep. and then the day after that?
the day after that it would feel like invisible pieces of my self were being dipped in acid.
for no reason.
yeah, there was grief. yes, there continues to be grief. and yes, this was precipitated by the probing of that grief in therapy week after week. but it wasn't about grief.
it was an electrical problem.
a problem of wires, of charges, of currents, that occasionally surfaces within. it is a place. a nothing, a blip, an inconsequentially small misfiring of something somewhere that somehow becomes a physically felt pain. a physically felt agony. for an hour, a day, a moment here and there and then it's gone and forgotten until eight years later it comes along again out of nowhere, necessitating a sifting through of the earlier memories to recall: oh yes, sometimes my self does this. even though such an admission feels deeply unfair, a traitorous resignation to something that shouldn't be and yet, unstoppably, irrefutably, is.
maybe everybody has had moments of this? maybe we're just not talking about it? maybe this is what you love to talk about or want to talk about and i've been a bitch and not listened? maybe this is what your blog would be all about if you had a blog or maybe you have a blog i don't read and it is all about this? or maybe this is just me and you're throwing up STOP WHERE YOU ARE hands because i have talked about it? i don't know. i don't where we all are.
but- as gilbert blythe told anne shirley- you write what you know.
i know that it's a slippery business. emotional states. well-being. balance. writing. and i know we don't make it any easier by pretending it isn't there.