writer conundrum.

image via Brian Andreas, storypeople.com

I was just told something I said in a recent blog entry really hurt someone’s feelings a lot. I didn’t mean for it to, and I promise I wasn’t writing about anyone in particular when I wrote what I did. So can I make a request to readers I know and love personally? If I ever write something here that hurts your feelings or makes you wonder: “Is she writing about me??”, will you PLEASE promise me that you’ll call, email, text, DM, or PM me and ask about it? Because I’m in a space – and have been in a space – for almost a year where I swing between anger, okayness, peace, happy, anger, sad, reeling grief, okayness, peace, happy…etc and so forth. And so I get my ick out here, but I promise (PROMISE) I’m usually not writing about anyone in particular. If I do write about someone in particular, I usually use that person’s initials. And if I know you personally – like we’ve had dinner together and you are on my private Facebook page – know I would never ever want to say or do anything that would make you think I don’t love you a lot. I’m probably not writing specifically about you, particularly when I write about groups of people. In general, I don’t write about specific people…well, okay, fine. I have written about ONE person in particular quite a lot, but we’ll deal with that in a minute.

I get a lot of emails from my mom about the contents of this blog, by the way. Corrections, assertions, stop-being-so-hyperbolic-Amys. (Love you, mom! *heart smiley face*)

This is a conundrum of a writer, I think. Right now, I’m just writing crap on a little, obscure blog in a tiny corner of the ginormous, LOUD Interwebs. Nobody cares (well, except my mom and a good handful of people who love me and I love back). I am often thankful I’m not in the public eye, with a lot of complete strangers on the Internet who can be such asswipes. (I mean, have you ever read the comments below a news article on Facebook? If not, please don’t start…you will weep for us as a species.) I’ve also been having a hard time writing here lately – coming up with things to write about, rather. The things I want to write about are sometimes too raw, and I’m still dealing with emotional fallout from being stalked/harassed/abused but I don’t want my stalker to turn into my muse here or anywhere else for that matter.

But what do you write, if not the things that have happened to you? So you can process these things, and also maybe help someone out there not writing about them but going through them as well to process them?

I am trying to grow a thicker skin so I can emotionally extract myself from the rawness of a situation in order to write about it in a more clinical way. Though clinical isn’t really me, I’ll confess – I wear my heart on my sleeve and my feelings on my face, and if you hurt me I will probably tell the world of it in a really really dramatic way but turn it into a personal essay or fictionalized tale. Hazards of knowing a storyteller. (Anne Lamott says if people don’t want you to write bad things about them, they should have behaved better.) I will tell you my skin is way thicker than it was, say, a year ago. I mean, you get called names like icy, narcissist, witch, evil by someone who you once trusted and thought you knew who turns out to be this nasty little online twerp with a deep need to be right and to lie and it tends to do this to you (I’ve found). It also turns you angry and bitter and…well, effed up. It effs you up. It makes you overly sensitive, and really really effs you up. Like you hop on Google and start teaching yourself all about narcissism to make sure you don’t have it (I learned we all have it, to varying degrees…some of us just have it way more. And those who have it more tend to flip the switch, turn themselves into the victim while victimizing their victims with projection and gaslighting, and well. They’re such funster people, aren’t they?).

Being verbally abused over and over makes you doubt who you are – you’ve always been TOO nice, a bit of a doormat, really. You’ve always forgiven people, well beyond their expiration date. In fact, you forgave this person saying these reprehensible things about you; you tried to work on the friendship knowing they weren’t being honest with you about their true hopes and intentions, until the day you realized you needed a really really really BIG break from that but if you told them that, you knew what they’d do – they’d lose their shit on you. Telling them or just yanking the plug, either way, they’d lose their shit. And lose their shit they did. But holy god, you never thought they’d lose their shit like THAT. For MONTHS. And you’d have to call the police on them. And now here’s this person you let in, you cared about once telling you that you are a fake, an evil mean woman who doesn’t deserve happiness. You are not kind, you are a bad friend, you are not worthy of love. If that’s not psychic abuse, I don’t know what is then. You can hit someone with your fists, or you can hit them with your words. You can be abusive to someone’s face, or you can hide behind a fake avatar and a screen name. It doesn’t matter how you do it; the person you do it to feels the effects and gets the bruises just the same.

And the Internet. Oh, you. You Internet. So many online “spiritual gurus” who don’t know the WHOLE story behind someone. They’re out there reassuring everyone they’re on the path of of enlightenment and doing so! well! …when, in fact, the person is clearly still obsessed and bitter and often says and does things that indicate this. Often within blog entries they’re fucking high fived for, and told what a great human being they’re turning out to be. Listen: abusive men – and women, but my abuser is a man – have these patterns. If somebody wants to apologize, they just go: I was wrong, I’m sorry. THE END. They don’t go: I did a bad thing, but if you hadn’t done XYZ to me I wouldn’t have, and now you won’t even talk to me and let me explain MY side of things and we should reconcile and if you won’t do that then you’re a terrible human being but I’m super fabulous.

FYI: This is what abusive people do, online spiritual gurus. Yeah, yeah, yeah abusers need love too. I’m sure Syria’s Assad just needs a lot of hugs and understanding is all. (My point is: if I’m writing about anti-men anything on the Internet, yeah. That’s probably about THAT guy. And if I’m writing about abusive people and/or stalkers? Definitely THAT guy. And if THAT guy is reading this, yeah, I had a momentary “love everyone” phase and so you’re forgiven but I know your patterns and nope. NO RECONCILIATION. I’m not stupid.)

I am both in love with other human beings, and in despair of them. And 99% of the time, I feel this way because of what I witness on the Internet and, like most things human beings create, social media is both a blessing and a curse.

One time, a girl I’d worked with unfriended me on Facebook. We didn’t work together anymore, and even when we did we weren’t that close. She was just someone I talked to in the halls and in the mail room a lot and she was always lovely. She still IS lovely. A really good human being.

But she was also a raging, arch-right conservative who favored zero gun control laws and wished for the Bible to be law of this land. Obviously, we were on opposite ends of the political spectrum. At this point in the social media game, I try as hard as possible to stay away from politics on my personal Facebook page – I’ve got too many dear friends and family who disagree with me. And also a brother and his best friend who love to make fun of me. So if I have to get something political out of my spleen, I throw that crap onto Twitter because my Twitter is pretty dang quiet these days (and holy god, that feels fabulous – you all don’t even know how crazy drama it got there for awhile). But awhile back, I didn’t. I’d see something, and bam! up it would go on the Facebook page. Ensuing passive aggressive argument with beloved person here. So I’m sure I put something up or wrote something in a now-defunct blog, or wrote something in a status update that showed up in her news feed…something. And she unfriended me. Either because she took it personally or because she just so deeply disagreed with me she decided we didn’t need to be connected anymore.

I didn’t realize she’d unfriended me until, literally, YEARS later (maybe 2-3 years) when I saw something someone said to her and clicked on her profile to see how she was doing and realized: wow, we aren’t Facebook friends anymore. Did I do that? I don’t remember doing that. No, I don’t think I did that, I think she did that. I was sad, but not offended. I kinda got it. And I wasn’t so very connected to her personally that it cut me or anything. I just remember thinking: wow. Look at what politics will do to people in this country – what the hell is going ON, humanity?!

I put up some stuff about Ben Carson earlier this year (in my really really really REALLY angry time) that I thought was funny. I don’t know anything about Ben Carson, really, except that he’s a brain surgeon who seems to say some really dorky, dumb things a lot (I would not hire Ben Carson for my brain surgery). But apparently, he’s a kind and sweet human being with a deep love of Jesus. For the record, I would not hire Ben Carson for brain surgery, but I don’t have anything against anyone with a deep love of Jesus. Seriously, have a deep love of Jesus (I don’t think washing in Jesus’ blood or declaring him my lord and savior is going to make a bit of difference in the long run for me, but I think he’s just awesomesauce and a man of love and that means Jesus is a-okay in my book).

A really sweet, kind lady I didn’t know very well at all but who’s an author of Christian books saw the link and said something to me about it. She wasn’t mean, she wasn’t unkind (most not-crazy Christians aren’t), she just disagreed with the article I’d posted. I knee jerk reacted and unfriended her. And another friend (hi R, I love you), who I do know well and have had dinner with, because that friend also said something. Two Christians going after the lapsed lamb. Is what it felt like to me at the time…NOW, with distance and perspective and I’m not in as bad a place emotionally, I can see I was the asshole. I was a complete, utter asshole. I am sorry to both of those ladies. The one lady I’m too embarrassed at myself to try to make things right with – I did vote for her book to be featured on amazon kindle! I did try to right my karma. The other friend, I love dearly and though we don’t see eye to eye on things of the Spirit, I want to always know her and promise to never ever unfriend her again without asking first. And if there’s an Apocalypse, and all the religious people are scourged from the earth and/or eaten by zombies, I will beg for her to be saved. I promise. We will not be able to talk about religion and stuff while fending for our survival, but the planet will still be a better place because she survived. She is Love, and Love is good. (This is you, R. I love you.)

Social media. Use it for good, not for evil. Is what I think the lesson is here.

So I’m in a conundrum. I have things swirling inside of my brain that I want to write about, because I say this all the time and I will say it till I take my last breath: what I’m going through in my life cannot be unique to me. It just can’t. And so I write about the crap I think, do, and feel as someone who’s separated and getting a divorce. I write about raising a willful, strongly opinionated (sweet of spirit) only child daughter. I write about what being stalked and harassed and verbally abused by a former friend via the Internet feels like. I write about what it feels like to like being alone but also feel lonely. I write about working a high stress job that’s undervalued by the government. I write about needing to lose like 5 billion pounds and wanting to start running again but I keep getting these stupid colds or going through emotional tornadoes and lying on my couch binge-watching The Walking Dead while overeating grapes so I can tell myself at least I’m doing one thing healthy. I write about all that, because maybe a stranger will stumble upon it and connect to it. And maybe that stranger will get in touch with me, and we’ll start talking and – after vetting that stranger and getting to know them some and warning them I am often like a skittish, abused feral cat – I will let them in. And then we’ll be friends. Which takes a very very long time to develop. And don’t become friends with someone who obsessively contacts people all the time, because that’s a really big sign that something is very very off with them and you should probably not get involved.

At any rate, my point is: I’m really sorry if I’ve written anything here over the last few months this blog has been up that has hurt or upset anyone I love. I probably wasn’t writing about you – like, if I write about WHOLE groups of people, I’m usually writing about cult leaders of them in mind. Like Pat Robertson, the cult leader of the crazy Christians. Or Donald Trump, the cult leader of the crazy crazies. And egomaniacs’ cult leader. And the bad hair and orange tans cults’ leader. Donald Trump is the cult leader of so many societal and human atrocities, I really…okay, let’s just establish right now: if I’m writing something negative but not naming anyone in particular? It’s probably about Donald Trump. But if I have your phone number in my phone, you are on my personal private Facebook page, and we are close friends who hang out at least now and then…I try to keep you guys off my blog, I promise. Really, really careful not to write about people I love and are pieces of my heart. Unless it’s to announce to the world that you are a beloved piece of my heart.

So. Will you please promise me to get in touch with me and ask: was this about me? or was this about this thing I said to you the other day? or are you talking about (insert your concern here)? Because I’m in a really weird place emotionally right now – some days are awesome, some days are dark, some days I don’t know how I’m going to move off my couch I just need to focus on breathing, and some days are just really ridiculously amazing (like Mother’s Day on Sunday was like my absolute favorite thing all year…Thanksgiving sucked, Christmas sucked, New Year’s was no fun, don’t even get me started on Valentine’s Day…but Mother’s Day? Kick. Ass.). And so sometimes I’m just writing out the ick, not even thinking. But if I censor myself because I’m worried about what this person will think, or that person might think, or what if this upsets that one…then really this place will just be puppy dogs and rainbows and unicorns throwing up rainbow vomit everywhere and I’m sure there are writers and blog writers out there who have blogs like this, but that is not me. It has never been me, and I don’t anticipate ever wanting to write just happy happy joy joy kind of stuff. If I ever do, I will set myself up a Twitter account with a rainbow as my avatar, and I will begin online counseling crazy people (in 140 characters or less) and telling them how lovely they are, even as they’re acting all crazy. That is what I will do, should the notion to write just rainbows and joy ever strike me.

I dabble in darkness, because being human is hard. But I live – offline – in the light, I do promise. And if I love you, I don’t want to write anything here that makes you think you’re part of my dark. If we are friends, and we know each other really well (aka I’m still talking to you), you are not part of my dark. You are someone who keeps me in the light. Okay?