So far Thanksgiving is off to a nightmarish start.
I mean that literally.
I barely slept, and when I did, I had nightmares.
Why am I sharing this here?
Why does anyone post anything about their lives on the internet?
Either they are selling things (note the lack of surreptitiously sponsored merch here), or they have no one to share it with elsewhere, and are substituting typing into the data collection pool for human connection.
And while all I am really doing here in this moment is adding to the mass of aggregate data bought by marketers and the government, not experiencing a meaningful human connection that might actually help me in any way, it beats lying in bed and agonizing over all of the reasons I have to worry about my survival that I can’t even share with the void, because of the chance that someone in my actual life who can damage it could read it, take offense, and fuck up my life more than it already is, and my survival is already too tenuous to begin with. So gobble, gobble, turkey day, nothing to see here.
Except now I really do have to ask, unconsciously, what do I get from this? What do any of us get from this? I could type into the void of my hard drive, and in more detail. Granted, my external hard drive has been stolen, and knowing who by has not yet resulted in its return, and even if it hadn’t been, drives can be accessed remotely by assholes with know-how, so the idea of privacy there is semi-bullshit, at best.
Does this seem rambly? Fuck, yeah, it is. No sleep.
Does it matter? Fuck, no, it doesn’t. No one is reading this except me. And if someone else is, I don’t see them reading this far. If you have, hello, fancy meeting you here in the data collection void.
I suppose since I have acknowledged your strictly hypothetical presence, now would be the time to use this ramble for the purpose we all wish or pretend the web is for – human connection.
How are you?
What brings you here?
Are you someone I know who is “lurking”?
I don’t mean to malign, just that is, you know, the slang. If you are someone I know and are here without my knowing, is there a reason you aren’t telling me, aren’t communicating with me directly? Do you have reason to believe I would ignore you? Or is it a control thing? I can’t talk to you, but you can check up on me?
Are you a stranger? What are you looking for? To be entertained? Distracted from your own pain? To be inspired? To learn something?
Whoever you are, I hope you aren’t hurting. I hope you slept well. I hope if either of those isn’t true, you have someone to talk with about it, someone who cares. If you don’t, I hope you find a way to cope, to survive in the hope of getting to better times. That is what I am trying to do. So in that sense, you aren’t alone – you aren’t the only person in some pain and feeling isolated, and struggling through the best you can, and wishing your best was better.
If you are just looking for any old distraction, there are plenty of rambly words and drawings and odd little comic things to be found in the recesses of this blog, if you want to look around. If not, that’s cool.
If you were looking for a little piece of human connection, I hope being addressed directly, even by someone who doesn’t know who you are, helped a little.
I don’t tend to be an upbeat optimist. That might have been me when I was very, very young, but that got literally and figuratively beaten out of me long ago. Some spark of that remains, I suppose. In a life that has so often fallen to a state where the speculative part of my mind, raised in a religion that preaches the existence of hell, muses whether I am there, and part of hell is the not knowing it is hell, I keep hanging on, and keep trying to make it better, somehow. So don’t think I am trying to blow sunshine up your ass with what follows.
I know Thanksgiving can be a depressing holiday if you don’t have a happy family or true friends or some other healthy community where you are welcomed and feel you belong. And the idea of naming what you have to be thankful for when you are alone, when you are in pain, when your existence feels like its sole purpose is to generate new and more varied forms of suffering seems like another cruelty visited upon you by a sadistic universe. But.
But…if you are in that bad a place, there are some people who advocate gratitude as a means of improving your mindset. Some based on psychology, some based on metaphysical whatever. And I am not about to delve into sources or try to shove some philosophy down your throat.
That said, I have tried it, from time to time, writing what I have to grateful for. And I am not pretending it has made my life into something that feels like I am riding a magical unicorn across a rainbow. And maybe your list will feel lame. “I am grateful for this bic pen I found in the gutter that I am writing this list with.” But sometimes, it helps, if only while you are writing. Maybe because, even if it feels forced, even if you don’t have the things to be grateful for that you are painfully lacking and badly want, thinking the words “I am grateful for” instead of “I hate my life” gives your brain a break.
Part of the reason it still occurs to me to do is it is something I used to talk about with someone I loved and lost, and we both tried to get the other to do it when things were bad. She even made me a gratitude journal for the first birthday I had after my dad died. And sometimes it helped.
And admittedly, sometimes the reason it helps now is that it reminds me of a time when I had someone I could call at any hour who I knew would pick up, who I knew would let me talk without even saying what was wrong if I couldn’t bring myself to, and would listen, and talk. She was one of many people over the years who have called me when they needed something, knowing I would answer, even when my own life was a wreck, but she was one of the few who showed up in return, and the only person who consistently showed up for me to the same extent I did for her. And she had her own vast sea of shit to deal with.
I don’t even remember much of what she would say, but I remember her voice. I used to call her at a night a lot in the first years after my dad died, when so much more than that was so wrong. Since then, I have thought of her as my voice in the dark.
I don’t have a person I know I can call like that without her. And there is a lot of darkness in my life. And part of why I can’t bring myself to give up is that the sister I lost wanted to live so badly, in so much more physical pain than I have ever experienced, and for me, it would be spitting on her grave to give up without fighting tooth and nail til the breath leaves my body, when I get to have what she wanted, what she deserved, and what she lost.
If you came here on purpose or stumbled here by chance, and you are in your own darkness, I hope somehow these words typed into the data collection void can be your momentary voice in the dark.
I am grateful for the minute possibility that all the awful I have known might have some value in causing me to reach out where I might connect with some person, however anonymous, who might need a human being to give a damn that they live and that they hurt.
I know what it feels like to need that and not have it.
I give a damn.
I am not saying we would like each other or I am qualified to be a therapist or I will be your bff, but you are a human being, and that you live matters. You have every right to live safely and to know some peace and joy. You have every right to live a life without unnecessary suffering. (Some pain is inevitable, of course; and that you know loss or rejection or failure is not a judgement against you, it is just an unfortunate part of life.) I hope you can find your own reasons to hang on, and keep trying to find ways to get to where you would like to be, and know that even if it is a struggle, you are worth fighting for.
If you are in fact someone I know (within reason, you know, provided you aren’t someone who has injured/harassed/stalked me, or someone I have already cut out of my life and told so in no uncertain terms) and any of this resonates with you, or even if it doesn’t and you want to talk, I hope you will reach out to me. Not knowing who you are, I can’t say I will respond the way you want, but I will try my best to be kind and honest. Even if all I can honestly say is that I don’t feel what you want me to feel, or I will not give what you are asking for, or I don’t want you back in my life again. And there is more than one of you I told I was leaving the door open for who I still love and miss and would be happy to hear from. I hope if you need to talk and you won’t reach out to me, that you will reach out to another someone, if you feel you have someone.
Stranger or acquaintance or someone I know and love, I will end with a reminder that if you don’t have someone you know who you feel you can talk to, there are a lot of hotlines you can call. Also “warm lines.” And while I hope this doesn’t apply to you, if it does, please know in the United States, the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-TALK ) is always there, and they are okay with you calling even if you aren’t actively suicidal, and need someone to talk to. I would imagine at least in part because having someone to talk to can help prevent people spiraling to where they are suicidal.
Take care of yourself.