Do I have anything at all worth saying to write this morning? I did just take a few seconds pause before I bothered typing out the question that was in my mind to watch a yellow leaf fluttering on a breeze outside the window until it dropped out of sight. So maybe no. Or maybe procrastination is just a sign that I do not want to expose the thoughts that are currently occupying my mind and filling my body with a feeling that, if I have to name it, I would describe as a mingling of dread and sadness.
If you are just a stranger reading these introspective rambles, it probably seems unlikely, but my ruling tone in communication is humor, which is an excellent way to keep people wanting to be around you and deflect attention from any raw emotions or darker topics, whether you simply don’t want to share those things, or you don’t want to drive people away. Not many people want to hang out for the bad shit, and of those who do, in my experience, some have really messed up motivations for doing so. Some predatory, some parasitic. Some, not all. There are a few incredibly decent human beings out there who just genuinely care about other people, who know how to hold space and allow pain to be expressed, and don’t treat other people’s suffering as a threat to their own happiness or good fortune, or as an opportunity to do harm to or feel a sense of power over a person in a vulnerable state, or as a source of entertaining “drama.”
I don’t feel particularly share-y, and being honest about what is painful or undesirable is a weird territory.
Some people long to have the ugly parts of life discussed, and if they are not among the weirdos mentioned above with messed up motivations, it tends to come from the entirely normal human impulse of the social animal we are, to want to see our experiences and emotions reflected in another person. Being alone with pain is antithetical to healthy human function.
Some people don’t want any mention of unfortunate topics, whether because they are in denial about their own pain and the mention strikes a nerve, or because they are among the lucky few whose lives are filled with good fortune who don’t like hearing things that might harsh their good feelings, or some other reason or excuse. Some people go absolutely apeshit when anyone mentions a misfortune online, resorting to played-out jibes about “looking for attention,” which is exceptionally irrational to comment on social media. The act of participating is seeking attention, unless you have a totally private account only you can access and you never post anything visible by anyone else. It is an attention-seeking medium. And the attention of others of our species is necessary to our survival and our happiness, not something pathological.
(Negative attention seeking, on the other hand, like abusing strangers for having the courage to speak honestly and allow themselves to be vulnerable…kind of pathological. The kind of pathology that presumably comes from the misfortune of having been falsely taught that your normal, healthy feelings, and the need to have those feelings acknowledged, and commiserated with, are wrong and bad, or unimportant. If you get ignored or berated for healthy emotional expression, and you can vent those feelings or get someone to notice you, even if it isn’t positive, well…attention is a human need. Being alone is a survival threat, being ignored can make us feel scared or crazy or nonexistent.
What is this ramble within a ramble about? If you got taught or learned or experienced fucked-up things that created self-loathing or insecurity about having feelings and wanting to be cared about, or resulted in a way of behaving that is never going to get you the things you really want: I am sorry that happened to you; that does not negate or excuse the harm you do to other people; and you can change. It might not feel easy, it might take time and effort, but you can change. And it is worth it, because every person deserves to live a life with some peace and happiness in it.
Even if you don’t get exactly what you want in every way, if you learn to love yourself, you will still have one thing virtually every person wants: you will be loved. And in the most important way, because if you don’t love yourself, then even if someone else loves you, really loves you, and shows it, and treats you like it…you still will never believe it, because self-loathing and a belief the self is inherently unlovable are two sides of the same fucked-up coin.
Was this a super long aside that further degrades the coherence of this ramble? Maybe. But fuck it, I don’t care, because I think that was a ramble worth rambling. People who are in pain who express that pain destructively are among the people least likely to ever get empathy or the human compassion and positive attention human beings need. I am not advocating taking abuse, but I am all for never denying a person’s humanity. And for acknowledging that any person who learned negative behavior and self-hatred can learn positive behavior and self-love. We are people, and we are malleable. Our personalities and behaviors are not set in stone.)
I am not even going to pretend this is a fully coherent piece of writing. It feels somewhere between stream-of-consciousness and emotional evasion to me. Which is a fair enough summary, I suppose. I am trying to make a point of doing this every day if I have the time, because sometimes making up structure and building a new habit has good results; if nothing else, it will improve my skills over time, and if I look back over it, show me where I am still falling short of what I think makes for good writing. Which brings me back to the ramble-at-hand – one of those things is the willingness to just put it all out there, unreservedly, to create something without holding back. Writing in your own voice while biting your tongue, so to speak, kind of makes for a garbled mess.
If I were an optimistic type, looking for the silver lining, I could consider that being at odds with yourself, and feeling a tension in wanting to do something and wanting to hold back, is in itself relatable enough. But being not so much of that worldview, I mostly wonder, if I randomly read something in this vein, if I would just feel like my time was being wasted while nothing was being said. Being in the space of tension of opposites, I don’t feel I have a good perspective on this, one way or the other. I am typing words, so I am technically meeting that part of my goal, but I would be an utterly disingenuous asshole if I pretended I don’t want to write something that is enjoyable or useful to other people. Frankly, if I was in that don’t-give-a-fuck zone, this might not be enjoyable or useful to anyone else, but it also probably wouldn’t be so stilted in the writing and quite possibly stilted in the reading.
(But I totally stand by my long parenthetical aside, coherence be damned.)