Sunday, May 25, 2008

Write, Post, Release

There’s nothing essentially wrong with being sad, except when your sadness wedges itself between you and everyone else. I’d be perfectly content with sitting in my room alone listening to Sufjan Stevens and alternating between crying and getting stoned, but everyone around me would make me feel like such shit for not being happy 24/7 that it honestly wouldn’t be worth it.

Things around here are not great right now, but I will leave it at that because I actually may have learned something from Emily Gould. I went home this weekend and my Dad brought up the article: “There’s an article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that you’re going to LOVE!” Unfortunately I had to burst his bubble by responding, “Oh the one about Emily Gould? I’ve already read the article and all analyses of it, and also blogged about it... twice.” He asked me what I thought her main thesis was. The trouble with Emily’s writing is that there’s rarely a clear-cut thesis. The point is that my Dad used her story as a way to say he’s still pissed about the post I penned about him for this blog and refused to take down. I used the word “cathartic” about five times in my attempted explanation to him. It was garbled and confusing. I’m not sure why I wrote about him in such a cutting way. I’m not sure why I put it on the internet for all to see. But it made me feel better than any conversation with him ever could.

My mom and I had a long talk today about why I can’t use her as an outlet the way I can my writing. Well, besides the fact that she’s my mom, and I feel weird talking to her about things much deeper than my grades and my boyfriends, it made me realize that I have trouble talking to anyone about these things, especially my family. Really, I’d rather tell strangers about my problems than any one of my family or friends. It’s always been a point of contention in my relationships. I could blame the inherent distrust I possess for my family on the divorce, the lies, the secrets. But the fact remains that a lot of it has to do with me. When things get hard I crawl into myself and wait for them to get better. I am so proactive and pragmatic when it comes to most things in my life, but when I have to face issues that reek of emotionality and intensity, I immediately run.

Maybe I’m becoming like all of the boys I’ve dated and berated for being unable to open up.
Maybe I’m becoming them because I don’t know how to be anything else.

The problem is that I’d rather write this and put it out there for god knows who to read than confront my problems head on. It makes me feel better that I’m writing this now than it would for me to call my Stepmom and resolve all the issues we’re currently going through. Is that a brand of selfishness, or should it simply be accepted as the way I operate, a flaw to be forgiven like all of the other things wrong with me I ask the people I care about to neatly tuck away?

I was born a journalist and I’m afraid I’ll die one. My curiosity for other peoples’ lives completely trumps my desire to investigate my own. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me you know I ask a million questions because I need to know everything. But, as a close friend, if you turn the tables on me I will barely allow you to graze the surface.

I’m afraid of revealing what’s inside because it’s ugly and angry and unfair. It’s unfair because my life is actually not so bad, but for some reason my brain is chemically wired to believe that it is. “There are children starving in Africa!” people say. I know, and I’m so sorry for them, but I just can’t get my shit together enough to put my head up above water and recognize that my life does not suck because my family and I are engaged in a temporary tiff, or because I’m still begrudgingly reeling from a recent breakup, or because my job consists of talking to assholes on the phone for seven hours. People have it so much worse than me, so revealing how ugly I can be on the inside feels like a total crime.

Emotion is ugly and scary and I don’t know how to wade my way through it. There are so many concepts I can easily grasp, and I pride myself on being able to tell what people are going through and perceive how they’re feeling and what their motives are just by looking at them. I feel everything so specifically. But I am tired of dividing and naming my emotions based on dictionary definitions. I am tired of constantly having to respond “I’m good” when people ask how I am, when in fact I’m doing fucking horribly. My sadness is my ugliness, and so I don’t want to show it to anyone, not to my family or my friends, not even to myself. So I take a pill every morning and I go running every evening and I try to read less Kundera but I still feel like I’m stuck in the gears, because my home is not my home anymore, and I can’t even let the people who care about me the most know who I really am.

So yeah, I do get why Emily Gould blogs about her personal life. It’s a mature form of escapism. Write, post, release.



Michael said...

I used to have a blog I wrote pretty consistently on. I felt really proud of the entries I posted. Then my aunt (who apparently has a fetish for googling her family) found my blog and inevitably shared the link with my mother. My mom read all of my entries, tried to use them as conversation fodder almost every day and continually asked me when I was going to post next and what about. I felt so invaded. Even though anyone could read it, my blog was an intensely personal thing. It’s because if somebody found my blog and began reading it and didn’t like it, they would move on and never think about it again. But if somebody found it and liked it, then they would continue to read it because they felt some kind of connection. For me it was escapism from isolation. When my mom found my blog, she slammed the door shut on the world and padlocked it with every word she read. She cheapened the connections with people I imagined I had made because her enjoyment was obligatory. She was family and therefore had to give a shit about what I was saying even though she wouldn’t even take a second glance at my blog if we weren’t related.

I let it go. I stopped posting and eventually deleted it.

I don’t know if that makes sense or means anything to you but your post just resonated with me.

Jess and Josh said...

Michael, I know exactly how you feel. My mom read my journal when I was in high school and it made it impossible for me to write about anything real. That's why I made my parents swear not to read this blog. I want to share things with people, but I have a mental cap on how much I want my parents to know. Is that a symptom of parent-child relationships, or is it something worse?