My Blog is Caked in Dust, but Despair Didn’t Win.
I haven’t written a blog post since October of 2015, a few months shy of two years. That was only one of two posts I wrote in 2015. They weren’t about anything too substantial, but they were important to me.
I haven’t written anything of any consequence since January of this year. It was one chapter in a new novel project that I’ve been attempting for ages. Prior to that, I hadn’t written a thing since around this time in 2015.
My Twitter account, and my Facebook, have been a deserted land where I occasionally tweeted to a business that provided poor service. Truth be told, I am not sure the last time I was on Twitter. And those that know anything about me, know that I was on Twitter a lot.
Now I preface with all this information in preparation to defend myself as to why I have not been writing. The very reason that I feel the need to defend myself it the very reason things got this far out of hand. What I realized was that I don’t need to defend myself. Quite frankly, I could have just started up with a random blog post and been done.
I watched this video on YouTube the other day. I’ll link to it if I can remember how to do that after so long away. I’m not one of those people that spends hours a day watching YouTube, but I do have a couple of folks that I must see all their videos. One of those people is Meg Turney.
This video, where she talks about her “weird” days, was an amazing gut check to me. Meg is great in that she refuses to label it, she just hasn’t been herself lately. I respect that, in fact it is what made it speak to me even more.
Labels tend to throw off people and even cause people to shy away from facing facts. When someone says, “That sounds like depression.” Or, “That sounds like anxiety.” Or, really any other “that sounds like…”, my first reaction is to say… “I’m not depressed.”
It doesn’t matter if I know that I am. This need to defend myself, as if I have been accused of stealing a co-worker’s lunch, takes over my thought process. I don’t know why. I think it is the label itself. Why does society feel the need to label people? Labels are a method of classification, and if you don’t fit it the boxes laid before you, you’ve got some explaining to do.
Meg didn’t bother to label. Read the video comments though. You’ll see that people immediately took to the need to label what she described. Some did it under the idea that they were helping, others did it just because she asked them not to, and others did it because it made them feel smart. And who knows, some just wanted the attention of someone as awesome as Meg.
I’m digressing from the point here. So back to the gut check. Meg, a role-model of sorts to me, described some of what I have felt since early 2016. Just not myself. But furthermore, she didn’t defend herself. She just explained herself. And I thought to myself, I need to do that.
I don’t have to make a blog post that defends why I just couldn’t bring myself to write. I was scared of that. I was scared to break through the problem and start doing what I love again. I was worried I’d somehow need to defend myself to someone.
Of course, I don’t have a ton of fans like Meg does. I have a hard-enough time getting my friends to read my work. But I digress again. The lack of fans didn’t make the need to defend any less dominate. But after seeing that video, I decided I wouldn’t defend.
But I felt like I still owed some type of explanation. And while that may seem like a sort of defense, and maybe it is, I still feel the need to say something.
In late 2015, my wife shared some news with me that spiraled me into a sense of being lost. I didn’t know what was real anymore. I had a lot of doubt and I just felt hurt. I didn’t really know where to go or how to approach this. One friend essentially vanished from my life during the period of time. Another friend told me to be glad it wasn’t worse. It was sort of a “shit happens” response.
The goal of this post isn’t to get into great detail, but it took a good four to six months to really start any type of recovery. The only reason that recovery has since hit was because I met my best friend. She is an amazing human who seemed to know what to say to help me, a big difference from knowing what I want to hear. I’m grateful for that, and I am certain she saved me.
During that time, I had no choice but to close Plasma Frequency Magazine. At this point I just wanted to hide. I’d let a lot of people down, twice. First with the initial closing and then with the second closing. So, I hid. Now, that does sound like I am heading down the path of defense. But let me say that I was lost without the magazine. I was the first time, and again this time. I was devastated. Publishing that magazine was extremely important to me. Add that to the blows in my personal life, and I just couldn’t face anything publishing.
Next, I fell behind on the mortgage. While I was able to save the house, I felt like failure.
The company I worked for constantly told me they’d be lost without me, but then didn’t appreciate me. This particular division has grown too much and has lost the company way. So, I changed departments. After all, I love the company. Even better, I was now going to work with my best friend. Great, right?
Well my old boss is a lying little… person. He praised and then snapped. He pitted supervisors against each other to get information. He made false promises, including raises and such, then didn’t deliver. My friend and I knew well enough to just talk to each other and I laid low and did my job. But I got frustrated that he was one way with me and another with her. And one day he really ticked me off, so I started looking at job boards. After all, as they say, people quit managers not jobs.
That was how I wound up at the job I have now. This job pays me more, I have more responsibility, and I am well respected there. I absolutely love it. Accept for one problem, I now feel like I’m losing a friend. We don’t talk much, at least not vocally. Texts here and there, but no calls and not hanging out. When you go from daily lunches with someone to the occasional text, it is hard not to plummet a bit into doubt.
But now I here, finally blogging again. Finally putting some words on paper. And if I can “explain” why I stopped, I damn well better explain how I started.
So, think of this feeling of despair as a pit. I fell into a very dark pit when my wife and I started having some trouble. The world was continuing to say, “Fuck you, Richard.” The word was throwing more dirt in the hole, trying to bury me alive.
Many days I thought, what’s the use. Many times, I thought about writing again and thought, no one cares if I write again or not. At the time, I did not realize this, but the dirt was filling up the hole but I could use the little positives in life to climb on top of that dirt and get closer to the top. Crap, I sound like a really shitty Facebook meme.
I had a best friend who dove into the hole after me, before we were even remotely close. She makes little comments, as if she knows how to deal with my feelings, that help me battle the demons I face. When I put up my shield and say, “Sorry to bother you, but…” She says, “You never bother me.” So many other people ignore my defensive lines, and she catches every one and tells me it is fine in her own way. She isn’t afraid to call me out, but also knows when it is just fine to make it clear she knows what I mean. I mentioned I broke the writing stalemate in January of this year, and that was due to a thoughtful Christmas gift from her.
Despite the hard times with money, I took the time to use the dirt to figure out a way to be successful. Until yesterday, I did not have internet in my house for nearly a year. I still don’t have trash service, instead we take our trash to a free disposal place. And I made it a point to bring a week’s worth of lunches to work to resist the urge to eat out.
I had a toxic boss and so I used the chance to find an even more amazing job. I found a job that pays considerably more, has better benefits, and the management is amazing.
And now, at this point I was just out of reach from exiting this pit of despair. But I couldn’t get there. I just couldn’t. I get these feelings that no one loves me, even though I know that has to be false. I get this feeling that my best friend doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. And I get this feeling like I am a burden. No matter how much I knew these things are not true, the feelings still come.
All these things just kept me from pulling myself up and out of the ditch. I’d planned to give up on writing. I really did.
And then Meg Turney decides to share her video and her experience. It didn’t matter that her experience was a few days and mine was almost two years. It spoke to me and lifted me that extra foot I needed to grab the edge and pull myself out.
Am I cured? Fuck no. I won’t ever be. But I’m out of that pit and that means that I can face some of these spots in my life a little easier. I can make myself do what I need to do. And now, here I am writing a blog post for all of you.
So, thank you Meg for that last push.
Thank you KN for knowing what I need to hear and for knowing how to translate the guarded Flores language. I hope someday you cut back on the work and increase your time for friends, I’d hate for us to drift apart.
Thank you to my wife.
Thank you to my fans who did message me and ask about Illusion of Victory. I am sorry, I’ll make it happen soon.
I know this is long winded and dry, but if I can speak to just one person the way Meg spoke to me, it will be worth it.
I’ll blog again soon, for now I have some novels to write.