It’s almost as if admitting to fighting apathy right now made it stronger. Maybe it just meant I didn’t have to pretend as much right now. For all that I want to Keep It Real, I also try to make my writing positive, or uplifting, or cheerleady. I’m trying really, really hard to be the change I want to see in the world, and so while I like to Keep It Real, I also really want to build up rather than tear down. I want to cheer people on rather than dig into them. I don’t ever want to be another voice telling you why you’re doing it wrong or why your path is invalid.
I wanted to make this post especially way more happy and upbeat than it’s going to be. I wanted to celebrate the people whose existence makes my existence easier to commit to, whose presence — even if it’s only from a distance — remind me that I want to be in this world, and that I want to keep feeling the feelings. I am not okay at the present moment. It’ll pass; I work hard to not get invested in my emotions when sink below my baseline blue. Today is a day of “There’s no point to doing anything at all,” and “Every time I open my mouth I’m misunderstood, so why do I even bother?” and “I desperately do not want to be alone, but even when I’m in a room with others I feel isolated, rejected, unwanted, and unworthy.” Being convinced that I have no worth makes that gap between myself and others ever larger than it would otherwise be. I can’t even write today — I’m trying to finish up the book for real for reals and I spent two hours writing one paragraph and I’m not sure why I keep coming back to writing. Except, of course, I know exactly why, and this is what I mean by not being too invested in the feelings. I know much of them are bullshit. But they’re so easy to get stuck in. I know, objectively, that I’m exhausted and stressed out. I don’t know if I’m tired because I’m stressed out, or if I’m tired because I’m fighting off a cold, or if I’m tired because whatever else. I do know that when I’m exhausted my ability to cope goes entirely away. After trying to write for a few hours, I had to go to bed. Not to nap or rest or anything productive like that, but to be in bed with the dog pressed against me (Hero Dog super-powers activate!) and focus on not letting myself become invested in this numbness. When I felt like I could maybe face some more time out of bed, I got up and put some tea water on. When I forgot about my steeping tea for too long, making a new mug of it was not possible. I can’t even make tea correctly. There’s no point to trying to do anything at all, and so I went back to bed, instead.
This time without a hero dog.
So, I’m not in a good place right now. It’ll pass. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, all of the things that are the reasons why I deserve to be alone and misunderstood and unwanted and unworthy will return to just being quirks of life, too many loved ones spread across time zones and filled with busy lives. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that I’ll remember and be able to believe that people are generally good, often self-involved (as they should be!) and just because some one does not understand where I might be coming from does not mean they’re saying I’m wrong or unworthy or unwanted. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, I’ll be back to being okay. In the mean time, I am not deleting all my social media (because no one would notice anyway) and I’m not going to take down my blog (because what good is it really doing?) and I’m not deleting all my books and stories (because I’m a useless hack who is only playing at being a writer). I am not, as much as I want to — and today I really, really want to. Today, I want the world to forget I exist, so maybe I can pretend that I don’t.
Keeping it real. Why the hell would I want to keep it real when real looks like this?
Even today, as I’m caught in hopelessness and bleakness, there are people whose presence in the world makes the world a more live-able place. I can’t say I’m happy to be in the world right now, but these people (in no particular order, and this is by no means a complete list) remind me that it’s not all horrible, and maybe, sometimes, it’s even good.
Beth. Maybe this is obvious? Maybe not? Beth is amazing. Not only does she put up with my dark periods (and has managed to learn how to navigate them even!) but . .. well, actually, that’s reason enough. I don’t know that there would be anyone else who would allow me to live so fully as myself, without judgment, with love and support. I worry sometimes that I’ve had a negative impact in how she tolerates others, but really I think our highly selective when socializing with other humans trait compliments each others’, and we’re well matched. Unlike me, she has this insane drive to keep pushing herself when things get tough (I’m more of a take my toys and go home person) and that’s a constant inspiration.
My friend Diane. Sure, she’s on my mind because she was just out visiting. Not only was she one of the first pagan type people I’d ever interacted with, but she’s also been a great mentor and friend. I forget, when we’re not talking all that much, how much like me she is and yet how not like me she is. In my mind, all my close friends become introverts by nature, and I don’t know if I can say that about her. I mean, maybe? But she’s also really not. One of her projects is the creation of a class whose name I can’t ever remember but which addresses LGBTQ issues in regards to healthcare and ageing. It’s something she saw a need for and then she created the class. And that pretty much sums up her personality type. “See a need for something, recognize I have enough of a skillset to make it happen, make it happen.” How can a person like that not make the world better, simply by being?
Anni aka Ahneke Greystone over at The Greystone Path.I discovered Anni’s Youtube the same time I discovered the Pagan Perspective (actually, because of having discovered the Pagan Perspective) during the Great Back Injury of 2013. She quickly became a friend and a mentor, and I gained so much through participating in her Journey of the Seeker course. Her love of learning and of exploration nourished me at a point when I was pretty much burned out on pagan interaction. One of the best things about that course for me was her emphasis on honoring our past experiences — acknowledging and accepting what you bring with you. the experiences that have shaped us up to this point in our lives. When we decide to place others into a “newbie” category, especially in spiritual discussions, we’re ignoring and discounting all the experiences they’ve had heretofore. She has helped me shift my ideas about the beginning of any exploration back to a place of wonder and awe.
Silence Maestas, author of Walking the Heart Road — which is my favorite primer on devotional polytheism out there. Also, dear, dear friend. Even when we’re not talking, the fact that Silence exists makes my world better. When we are talking, it’s generally about gods, writing, or cats, and all those things make my world better, too. (Or knitting, or food, or caffeine . . . ) Silence and Diane actually remind me a lot of one another, it terms of “see a need, have skillset, fill the need.” So that’s sorta neat.
My brother. Even though we’ve been playing phone tag (er — sort of? Playing phone tag would mean both people calling, so I guess I’ve just been playing super creeper stalker via phone) for what seems like forever (but is only since the beginning of August), my brother makes the world I live in so much better. Of all my blood family, I think he’s the only one who truly, truly “gets” me. We can go (and have gone) months and months without talking, and I never have to worry that he thinks I’m mad or resentful or some other stupid social game bullshit. I know that he’ll contact me over important things, and he knows I’ll do the same, and it’s all good. I love the way he brains, and I love the way he words, and I feel like we speak the same language (you know, that sarcastic, literal language) I miss him like whoa, but he’s the bestest brother ever — though, admittedly I’m biased.
And because I can’t think about my brother currently without thinking about the Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green — whose presence I even know about at all in part because of my brother and in part because of Silence — and because so many of their videos have been helping to fight off the apathy lately, I have to add the two of them (and maybe the general concept of Nerdfighteria?) to my list of people who make the world a bit better.
Beth and I have been marathon-ing on their vlogbrother videos (we’re almost done 2008). It’s been pretty awesome to watch. Yeah, I feel a wee bit peeping tom-ish over it all, but I don’t care. The growth of such catch-phrases as DFTBA and, my favorite, decreasing world suck and increasing the awesome have been really cool to watch, and the existence of such phrases have added more tools to my dealing with apathy and anxiety toolkit. Being able to see this animal that would become all of the things they’re doing and have touched and have inspired others to start is pretty amazing. Learning about them now and seeing how much they’ve done can be overwhelming; getting to see the humble beginnings is pretty fucking great, and I love the Internet.
(even if when I’m reading stuff now I’m totally hearing John Green reading stuff in my head. A small price to pay for more tools in the toolkit)
So, I’m not okay. I will be, again, and when I am, the fact that these people exist makes the world fucking fabulous. Right now, they make the world something I’m willing to suffer through. Sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for. Right now, that’s enough.
Edited to add: I’m not posting this as a cry for help. I’m not asking my readers or friends to cheer me up or try to make me feel better. I appreciate that this is a normal reaction — I know how helpless I feel when I can’t help my loved ones feel better. I am not suicidal. This numbed, overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless feeling will pass, and knowing that it will is part of why I can stay emotionally uninvested in these feelings. I’ve learned detached compassion — this is my biggest tool in my toolkit. I will be okay again, and knowing my cycles, likely soon. So please don’t worry about me and this. It’s simply how I am.