[personal profile] blcwriter

If you’ve followed me at all for any period of time, you know I used to blog pretty often, and then I got into fanfic, and wrote a lot of that, too.  Whether or not I was any good at any of that-- the personal blogging, the fic writing-- is another question.  The fact was, I wrote.

For a while, it felt good.  I had online people who read and commented, who agreed or sympathized with things that I said.  I even met some of those folks in real life, and they were all terrific in their own, separate ways.  When I wrote fictional stories, people liked them.  They thought I was funny, or poignant, or smart.  And I met some of those folks, too, in real life, and they were also terrific in their own, separate ways.

At a certain point, though, I stopped.  Stopped personal blogging.  Stopped fiction writing.  Stopped.


It had nothing to do with my friends from online.  And they were (and still are, despite my shitty job of keeping in touch) my friends.

I think, though, that I stopped writing because people in my “real” life didn’t read what I wrote.  They didn’t believe that what I was saying online was “real” versus pretend.  They decided that what I was writing was not what I actually thought, because it didn’t agree with the vision they had of me.  Or they just couldn’t believe that what I put into words on a screen was the truth.

My mother would take the words I wrote on my blog out of context against me, because if it was true, then it meant she was a bad mother.  (She was.)

My once best-friend told me my fanfiction was silly and that I didn’t really have all the problems with my husband that I was complaining about, and that my changing thoughts about intimacy, sexuality, and my own, personal needs were not mine, but some internet fad I was caught up in because I wasn’t taking care of my mental health-- people apparently didn't put serious things on the internet.  She was mad I was thinking of leaving my husband, because to her, we had an "ideal" marriage.

This was the woman who was lesbophobic in college until all of a sudden she was gay, but to whom my bisexuality was always a problem.  This was the woman who I picked up and packed up when her girlfriend cheated on her, and whom I drove six hours to drop off her stuff somewhere else.  This was the woman whose lesbian quaker wedding to the same cheating girlfriend I catered, and for whom I mediated fights with her wife.  But I couldn't tell her about the women I was dating in law school, because that apparently wasn't real.  This was also the woman who told me I was making a horrific mistake in giving up practicing law, but then, herself, gave up on the "serious" academia she herself had demanded everyone else take so seriously for almost ten years.

My husband did not read my personal blog, the one I kept for five years starting after my bipolar diagnosis, and through which I published good times and bad, began to explore photography to the support of my readers, and published recipes and photos of food that I cooked because nourishing people is important to me.  He wouldn't read my fanfiction despite being bisexual himself, and was not enthusiastic about my getting more into fandom by moderating comms and going to cons-- this despite the fact that he'd stay up until 3AM with his own MMORPG.

This is the man who minimized my feelings, told me I was unreasonable when I got upset or mad, told me I wasn't "really" suicidal when the fact was I was desperate, and repeatedly refused to read any books about supporting your bipolar partner.  He told me he didn't feel comfortable reading about all those feelings and that he thought my blog should be "private," despite many, many conversations where I would say I found that writing let me say things I couldn't articulate overbally, and inviting him to read it whenever.

And then I wrote a story.  I wrote a story about my OTP having problems and separating, and how hard it was to be an adult, make things work, and get out of bed every day. It had an open ending.  Hopeful, but uncertain. It was a great story, except for the part where the hard, raw parts weren’t fiction at all.  All the hurt, depression, and anger I'd poured into my main character was mine, all the desire to be understood, all the desire to be heard and for the words coming out of my mouth to be accepted as true, and not with some ulterior motive.  That all was mine, and I was just putting words in the mouth of someone who wasn't real.

That was the last story I wrote for over three years.  Because I posted it, and re-read it, and thought-- oh.

Not long after I wrote that story (which is still the best I've ever written) and as I was reading all of the comments from lovely internet folk who said how touched they were and how that story related to their own disintegrating or hard relationships, I realized I needed to stop writing and focus on finding my way out.

I left my husband.  I changed jobs, for more pay if eventually not really all that much better conditions.  I gave up on that best friend who never had the time to call me back and who didn't come help me move when my life was (it felt like) falling apart.  I stopped talking to my mother altogether, because she is crazy and toxic and she makes me feel the same.  I dropped out of fandom for more than a while.

The last part there, that was a mistake, but I had gotten so close to these characters while I was avoiding my own reality that I couldn't read or be around them, even in virtual space, for a while.  I felt incredibly foolish for not seeing (when I went back and read all my stories) that what I was writing was a long meta- essay on not being heard, on what forms silencing can take, on what it means to love, but not love enough, or to want and to want far too much than what others can give.

So I silenced myself.

I silenced myself because online friends were all well and good, but I had no money to travel or visit as a result of other good, but impoverishing life decisions.  In any event, our interactions had centered around something now painful, and I didn't know what to say anymore because that thing we had in common was kind of defining my real problems.  I silenced myself because the action of moving into the back bedroom, moving out of the house, changing jobs, ceasing phone calls that went unreturned, refusing a relationship that would never, ever be in any part also about em-- those were actions, and for a while, activity was all that made sense.

I was miserable for a long time.  I still often am.  But separating what was misery caused by other people and what was misery because I was depressed and needed more meds, or because I was depressed because I was self-isolating, or because I was depressed because that's kind of just who I am?  That took longer to parse out and it's a life-long project.  I know that now in my gut, and not just my head.  These days I trust my gut more, but I trust people less.  My decision to leave the husband, my old crappy job, my no-longer best friend-- I am not ashamed to say I was listening to "Ready to Start" in the car and the verse about "I would rather be alone/than pretend everything's alright" hit me like a ton of bricks.  I pulled over, cried for 10 minutes, and then went into work. That night, I applied for new jobs, and moved into the back bedroom.  It was the first time I'd trusted my gut in too long.

All of this is an ongoing project and my acknowledgment that in the end, I can only trust in myself, hasn't been all-around awesome.  I am wary of new friendships, because a part of me knows I'll be let down, even if it's of my own making for expecting too much and not letting people be human.  I am wary of deepening existing relationships, because I don't want to scare people off-- at the same time, I don't want to become someone's primary support because I don't have the energy for it.  I am more private about things that are personal to me, and yet am more angry and vocal about the meta-socio-political bullshit that gets in the way of peoples' success. I’m lonely, but not for my husband or my old IRL BFF.  I miss people who weren’t “real” and I miss our carmaaderie over “fiction,” mostly, because it wasn't ever about the OTP.  It was about a group of smart, funny, passionate woman I never would have met otherwise.

If I hadn't trusted my gut about writing and about believing my feelings are real-- if I'd continued to trust others' opinions?  I don't know where I'd be.  Maybe dead.  My husband would continue to tell me it doesn't make sense to be angry about homophobia and sexism and mental health stigma because at least I knew how to exert myself the right way.  My former best friend would tell me my straight-passing white privilege made me unfit to speak or ally.  My mother would interrupt my rant to tell me about her former glory days as a hippie.  They aren't around to silence me like that any more.

And yet, I stopped writing.

I have written a bit on my blog, but nothing sustained and nothing in over a year.

I have written a bit of fanfic, but not anything substantial in my original fandom, and only slightly (and incompletely, WIPs are my enemy) in another fandom.  I have tumblr'd, but I rarely post original or personal stuff, because when I do, I rarely get substantive replies.  Same thing with twitter.  I went completely off FB, but I don't regret that at all. I have lurked on old friends' blogs and journals and tumblrs because I want to know they're ok-- but I feel like I'd be unwelcome, having dropped off the face of the earth and only intermittently keeping up with their lives.  (And I wouldn't blame anyone for not being interested in rekindling a friendship.  I'm a lot of work.)  Most of the time, I lurk and say nothing, and might as well be a ghost for how unreal my online presence is.

I regret stopping writing.  I regret being a bad online friend, even if I still feel like the histrionic need to exclude myself from my original fandom made its own stupid sense.  I cared and still care about my online friends, and I would love to see them in real life, but I don't know how to talk myself out of believing that those friends aren't really real, or that they only care about the words I put on the screen, and not about me.  I regret letting my depression about people who didn't deserve me get the best of me for too long.  I regret that I am writing this and am worrying about posting it, because I am not sure who, if anyone, will read, much less care.

I regret ever thinking that I only have value if an audience or the people I love are applauding, commenting, cuddling, listening.

We're all human.  If we are lucky, we have brains and hearts to think and feel, sometimes wrongly, sometimes rightly, often too much. We have eyes to see and to read. We have hands to touch and to push away with.  We have mouths and ears to greet, to express, to share.  I regret giving up on advocating for the joys of flawed fictional characters.  I regret giving up on advocating for the joy due to my flawed, imperfect, self.  I regret not believing it when someone else finds me to be a flawed, imperfect character who can bring them some joy.  And I regret not sharing those joys and flaws and imperfections "aloud" in writing, because they mean something, even if it's only to me.  The audience of me is worth writing for.  Anyone else is a bonus, and very much welcome. And real is what you make it.

I'm trying to be real.  And I'm trying to be less silent.  I'm trying to stop being silenced by others and most importantly, me.  I'm trying to stop others from shaming me for being flawed and imperfect and real.  I'm trying.  And I'm going to try to write about it. For real.


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