Sunday, August 28, 2011

Being Seen (pt1)

A while back, when my sisters were still fighting (and oh, what a miraculous, fragile peace has somehow bloomed there, and oh, what a frightening and vivid relief it is), one of them found the other's blog. The blog in question was semi-anonymous, in that I knew about it, and her husband and some friends, but she never really said to anybody "Hey: I am writing a blog - Why don't you come check it out?" Well, through some confounding sort of linkage that I am unclear on, the blog was discovered by the sister she was arguing with, and, of course, there were some ... unflattering things posted about her there. Later, in one of my many, futile peace-brokering discussions with her, she brought up something that had been written in the heat of anger, saying "If you can write something like that about someone, can you really love them?"

That discussion has had two clear impacts on my blogging - First, I've become more frightened than ever that some casual linkage, forgotten signout, or dropped conversational hint, will bring my anonymity here at NTE to a close. It's a terrifying thought for me, since I know that as myself, without the slim protection my pseudonym provides, I could never be this honest. Aside from the fact that I've opened up hidden parts of myself and shared a lot of things here that the people in my life would be quite surprised to know, I've also written more than one post in the heat of anger, said some things I would regret if they were read by the person they were written about, and what I've written would be sure to hurt some feelings.

Which brings us to the second impact - that fear of being found (which I know I must be, eventually, and here I am, coming up on 6 years blogging) is acting as a very real barrier to the honest writing I've accomplished and been proud of here. I find that I'm stumped, wanting (as always) to say what I want to say, knowing that it's my truth (even if it's only my truth in that moment, and changes immediately afterwards), but temporarily lacking the courage to accept the consequences that will come about when my anonymous bubble is burst.

The clearest example of this is the sister who already knows about my blog, and has (thankfully, sweetly, fabulously) kept it to herself for however many years she's been reading: I know there are times when I censor myself - what I'm going to talk about or not talk about, how I'm going to say it, whether I add the pros to a piece that started out more as ranting compilation of cons - because I know she's out there, among my proverbial audience. (Even though, in all honesty, I've seen her Google Readers - she has two! - and I'm pretty sure she's a zillion posts behind.... Hi SisterJ: How's January of 2013 treating us? Did we survive the Zombie-pocalypse? ;) )

Between this element of self-censorship - the fear of how others will feel about what I've said about them - and the fact that everything I want to talk about lately is all part of a big sticky, jumbled up mess that my brain just laughs at instead of trying to make sense of, I was pretty sure that I was going to be shutting down the blog - at least for a while, and maybe permanently.

It was not just that, though: It was everything - It was because every time I come I see that the footer banner is 2 years out of date, and I'm sick to death of the color scheme, and I don't have the energy to re-vamp the whole thing right now. It's that I've already said everything that could ever be said about the power of books and the suckiness of living with chronic illnesses, and I have maybe 7 readers, and aren't they sick of listening to me already?

It was a lot of bullshit, really. A lot of excuses I was letting myself get away with, because I was too scared to come here and say I was scared. That I'm stuck: again: Still. (seems like) Always. It's the reason that my last post was the easiest, and most honest thing I've written in months: because the reasons not write, not to post, not to share are always there, and wouldn't it be so much easier if I just gave up on talking to the world-at-large (on my very small scale) and just tucked it all back inside again?

Hells. No.

(But also: Absolutely.)

So I'm afraid: what of it? I'm nearly terrified of pretty much every single thing my adult life has thrown at me thus far - why should this be any different? Maybe the fact that it's getting scarier is a good thing? Because I'm doing things I ordinarily wouldn't do: Putting down truths that are hard to think, let alone write. Taking my time when I need it, even as I feel the rest of the world speeding forward without me. Letting shit go, if it doesn't matter, and not letting shit go, when it does. Being a fucking grown-up, when you come right down to it.

So that's my plan: keep plugging. Don't let the bastards get you down! Lots of cliches about overcoming obstacles!

And one way I'm going to be doing that is by setting very real, publicly posted goals: Not letting myself get away with all the excuses.

Which is one reason I'm excited to be hosting my very first every Disability Blog Carnival, should ya'll be interested in contributing/attending/watching from afar. It's going to be on September 27th, and - since I was always the kid in school who liked a little bit of a framework - I've decided to provide a non-compulsory theme to help out those who feel they want it: Being Seen. It's something I'm struggling to work out for myself, so I figured I'd ask how you all are handling it - How do you want to be seen? How are you seen? Do you feel invisible? What aren't people seeing that they need to see? Are you looking for a way to get noticed, or are you hoping that nobody will?

Please don't feel like you have to stick to my theme, though: if you've got something to say, I will find a way to make sure it's included. Since I don't tweet, and my FB is obviously off-limits because of anonymity, you can either leave a comment here with your e-mail or a link, or you can send it to my e-mail (link above). Looking forward to all the entries, and on being back here, in my space, saying what I need to say.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I stopped writing because ...

I stopped writing because everyone I know is having babies, and I'm not. Because all of my friends first children are in school now, and I'm not even their teacher. Because I've spent eleven years raising nephews and nieces, and there will be nobody to raise come September.

I stopped writing because everything hurts, and there's nowhere that doesn't, and there's no way to bear that, only you have to. Because it never gets better, and only gets worse. Because there's no word for how much it hurts, so nobody understands.

I stopped writing because everything smells, and there's no way to block it out. Because the smells choke me, and gag me, and the words stay plugged up in my brain, with no way to flow out.

I stopped writing because my parents are drinkers, and my sisters embrace or enable chaos, and my cousins live so close to the edge. And because no one in my family can seem to do what's right for themselves without trampling fifteen others on their way. And because being Switzerland is hard work, especially when you can't even have chocolate to balance it all out.

I stopped writing because other people were saying everything I had to say, only better. Wittier, worldlier, wiser.

I stopped writing because of another damn doctor, another damn test, another damn failure. Because for every little nudge forward, there's a giant chasm of backwards to fall into. Because there's new medicines to battle, new insurance issues to curse, new hope that I don't even want to acknowledge. Because there's another tube to lie down in, another unanswered set of questions, another nowhere to start at.

I stopped writing because the dark didn't make sense to me, and the light was too bright. Because there was nothing to share when you are both inundated and empty.

I stopped writing because I can't even depend on the people closest to me, because there's nobody who sees me 100% and nobody I trust enough. I stopped writing because I stopped depending on myself a long time ago, and I don't know if I trust myself enough to try again.

I stopped writing because everybody else started living in my brain, and there was no space left for me to try to craft things - thoughts, words, whatever. Because I forfeited the ground out of self preservation, and when I started to reclaim it, there was more than one protest.

I stopped writing because I sought out distractions, brainless, effortless, Calgon-like distractions, in any form I could find them. I'm lucky that my vices aren't extreme, or punishing, or expensive, but they could be, if I let them. And sometimes I really want to let them.

I stopped wiring because it takes energy to write, and I didn't have any to spare. Because lifting my body into my chair and out again became all that I could manage, and there was still lunch to be made, to eat, to clean up after.

I stopped writing because there were chairs to rock in, people to nurse, hellos and goodbyes to be said. Because there were things to be made, parties to plan, hugs to accept. Because there was no pause button, no matter how much I needed it.

I stopped writing because other people have bigger problems than I do - life threatening illnesses, children they don't know how they'll feed, father in laws that make passes at them - and all of my problems seemed to be both mountains and molehills. Because I felt like complaining, and, at the same time, knew that I was blessed.

I stopped writing because I couldn't find the connection - because I couldn't plug back into whatever conduit there is in my brain that lets the words come out meaning something. Because trying to write when I'm not plugged in is really just typing, and I don't need the extra practice there.

I stopped writing because things gathered up around me, in heaps and in piles, until I couldn't find anything I was looking for and I was forced to attack them back. Because I couldn't find a place to put the words until I could find both paper and a pen, and I knew they had to be at the bottom of the stack I couldn't tackle.

I stopped writing because every last thought was trapped in there, somewhere. Because my brain became a cell, and I couldn't find the key. (It was probably buried in the stack as well.)

I stopped writing because there was a frenzy, and I don't do well in frenzies. Because it's my last defense, and the universe decided I should be defenseless.

Because... honest to god, I don't know why.

And I started writing again because I couldn't not.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where have I been?

I see that it's been nearly a month between postings, and I didn't want you to think I'd forgotten you... nearly everyday I have a "You should say something to the nice blog people" moment, but it isn't accompanied by the energy and effort that's been required. There's a lot of reasons for that - health issues (surprised?), other people's health issues, summer with the kids, life in general. And there was SisterCh's wedding, which was nearly two weeks ago, and I am still recovering from it.

The wedding itself - the whole getting married part - was wonderful and sweet and short and simple, and I couldn't be happier for my sister and new brother in law.

Everything else? The planning and the crafting and the being the peacekeeper and the living in a family of 'always lates'? Was capital K Krazy. It was like drowning in a pool of anxiety for days at a time, and not knowing how to come up for air... as if I had dove into the deep end of an actual pool and someone through the plastic pool cover on while I was floating underwater: It felt like I spent a lot of time frantically clawing at it, digging for a way to surface. I don't exactly know why it was like that - some of it was me, some of it was other people, some of it was those stupid health issues I was talking about, and some of it just falls into the 'holy shit: this is my life?' category - but it was heavy, and - as much as I love my sisters & love to be able to help them out - I am so glad that nobody else is engaged right now. We'll talk about it more later, for sure, since I've been dissecting it in my head ever since, and trying to learn from my mistakes, but I'm too exhausted to go into it in detail tonight.

I am once again in recuperation mode, but there's a lot of unavoidable stresses that are making that pretty difficult. I'm getting there, though, slowly but surely. In the meantime, how about a picture of the happy couple, just so neither of us leaves with the impression that it was a completely horrible experience? (It really wasn't: I need to do a better job explaining soon, so it doesn't seem like it. Promise it won't be a month before I come back!)