Well, I have managed to stretch out one free write into a three part-er and that is cool because I didn’t want to write this weekend anyway:
I still don’t know what is going to happen when my original domain expires in June. But onward. I suppose if the last two years have taught me anything, it’s to live with uncertainty and terror over what may happen tomorrow.
What? One tiny political shot and it’s my first in weeks.
Or I could send a quick message to wordpress support and I could know the answer. What an idea!
Things that I like that have come of Nanopoblano: I am thinking more like a writer again. My aunt is fond of saying “Writing is thinking, not thinking written down.” In my brief and unfruitful search to find the source of that quote, I found this article which is kinda kismetty.
Things I do not like: I spend more time staring at my phone again, which is not productive. That habit has helped shape the reactionary loop of outrage/helplessness/sadness/defensive cynicism that has given rise to near paralysis because of the asshole that lives in my head.
I have tried to explain this asshole to non-writers. Don’t ever try to explain your inner voice to a pragmatist. MY GOD. They think “just don’t listen” followed by “just don’t be on the internet” is the right answer.
All writers have an inner creep. Mine is super opportunistic (I hate this personification of my anxiety. The inner asshole is me. But I can’t refer to her as both people in an interaction because it wouldn’t make sense.) She speaks in my voice. She says things that go so far beyond “you aren’t good enough.” She – I – just gets meaner the more I listen.
But here’s the thing – not only does my inner voice tell me I am shit, she creatively interprets the actions of people around me as rejection, which makes me not want to reach out, effectively isolating myself further. It’s a nice little self-perpetuated isolation. The only way to keep that self destructive noise out is to not let anyone in.
It just gets easier and easier to believe.
Getting older is hard. There is a…narrowing of possibility that you always knew was inevitable, but you start to notice that the paths before you, opportunities for change and experience are becoming fewer, narrower, shorter. There’s a whole lot of things that just aren’t going to happen. Sometimes the things that you have done, experienced, accomplished are no help at all as you process that.
I’m only 51. And I’m still pretty goddamn cute.
But, the road ahead is shorter. I know that you never really know how long your string is (Stephen King reference) but as you age, the odds are less in your favor (not a Hunger Games reference).
A little over a year ago, a friend took her own life. I had known her since we were thirteen.
We had quietly parted ways years before, for some reasons that aren’t relevant here. Not much conflict, just an unexpressed, mutual decision to not pursue it anymore.
And I wrote about her, and her death. First in anger and sorrow and grief, then in introspection, and it sits in my draft folder now, waiting for the kind of perspective that makes it worth sharing.
I let a friend read the first draft, and she was supportive and kind.
I let another friend read the second draft, also supportive and kind.
Another friend, third draft. Same.
And I submitted it, and withdrew it. Submitted to another pub, and it was rejected, and I was secretly glad.
But the ugly voice that is always a low hum in the background gained an unexpected foothold and led to an unfair reckoning of the kind of person I was.
Every selfish reason for writing and seeking to publish an essay that involved other people who might read and be hurt by my words, no matter how kind – I feared I was guilty of it. The most compelling story I had to tell hadn’t even happened to me – not only did I not have the right to grieve, to write about it, not only were my friends who read the piece surely afraid to tell me how terrible and selfish I was, but I had just proved I wasn’t even a good enough writer to find a home for a piece that I had no fucking business writing.
And I was done.