When I say I’m on the precipice of change in my life, I mean I am literally dangling off a cliff into a deep expanse, all of whose air molecules all have the structure of a question mark. I blinked, and suddenly it’s April, and it’s getting harder and harder to hold on. Everything is doubt: worry about losing the meager things I get here, mixed with a tiny sense of relief that I’m gaining a few more things by leaving this particular situation.
So this is what I learned this week: There is a cottage industry of “meta-blogs” that seem to be the online equivalent of Best Week Ever. The lizard part of my brain that loves reality TV spent an embarrassing amount of time reading them this week; the part of me that was looking forward to once again having a non-locked-down blog got really scared. And I must admit that rationally, it would be awfully ego-stroking to finally inspire online Internet haters, but I do anticipate a readership of approximately 4.
The advent of finally restarting a public blog was leaving my career, insofar as I had a career. For too many years, the fear of hegemonic institutions finding my writing scared me too much to do anything publicly, even though many of my peers and superiors all had public, visible blogs. But everything felt like it had to be whitewashed and identity-managed to the point of utter banality. Nothing that felt like I could possibly write about it felt real or honest in the way my old (2000, baby!) blogger did. Nothing felt like it could be relevant or useful in a clearly over saturated blogosphere. I’m glad Safari knows that word, by the way, and isn’t red-underlining it. For instance, it always changes “cupholders” (as in: “Yay, my new car has cupholders!” to “upholders,” presumably as in: “My new car features upholders of liquids!”).
In a month and change, everything changes, and every time I feel positive or motivated, something sets me back so far financially that I feel even more of a prisoner now than I did for the past four years.
Helen Rose Fubachs’ book has been really helpful for me as I shed this identity and try to move forward. Every time I say it, or “write it!” it feels a little easier and more real, like a chapter of my life – an incredibly, incredibly painful one – I’m just leaving behind. It’s less like a significant part of my identity has been viscerally ripped from my body, somewhere between my spleen and liver, and more like a horrible pain and emptiness.
That’s progress, right? Certainly, it is melodrama.
Of course, that doesn’t pay my bills. It doesn’t get me a steady job. It doesn’t bring back the last 4 years of my life. I woke up this morning inexplicably unable to shake the image of the past 4 years as having flushed my life away down a toilet.
For a while, I tried to think of a clever (well, relatively so) haiku to summarize this awful chapter in my life. Because if you can’t be quirky and self-deprecating on your shiny new blog on the shiny Internet (accessed via a shiny new computer, in a moderately shiny chain bookstore, which you got to via a shiny, new-to-you car… said car and computer, for the record purchased as emergency replacements for items needing emergency replacing. Bookstore needs no replacing)… where can you?
So let’s try:
moved to the Midwest
wanted to be a doctor
lost near everything
Well, that’s a start. But not really. For instance, don’t hold your breath; it was a doctor of philosophy. Ha!
Hmm, this is more self-pitying and descriptive:
moved to the Midwest
lost cat, car, mind, and much more!
Now, rebuild: Westwards!
Eh. Non-haiku but brutally short version: Moved to the Midwest for grad school. Suffered horrible personal loss in first semester; had no support system to deal with it (in fact, was harassed and bullied for it); had income only 10 months of the year and that was insufficient to both live on and maintain the standard of professionalism required; began freelancing; partner cheated on me, lied to me, left, and then came back only to vandalize my car on Christmas Eve; the people in charge of me iced me out* so I finally decided to cut my losses and do something with my life that involves less abuse and a lot more positivity; hoping to move to the West Coast and continue the things I love, which are: working for myself, tutoring kids whose first language is not English, tutoring and consulting for adults who want to come to the US to study, write.
Over and over, since 2008, well-meaning people who really care about me have told me over and over “You have the worst luck of anyone I’ve ever heard of!” or some variations. Sometimes “fucking” is used to modify “luck.” I hear it all the time. I vacillate between wanting to sit in a corner and cry, because I can only imagine a few ways in which the past few years could have been worse, and most of them involve fire, and realizing that I basically consider myself a hollow shell of a person now, because I have been so brutalized for the past four years.
Once upon a time, someone I loved dearly said, “But writing about literature is still writing.” I’d put “still writing” in italics, because he said it like that, but that’s too precious. There’s already way too many italics in this blog entry. Ever since J.D. Salinger, I have not been able to think about italics the same way. What the man did to italics, Booth did to Lincoln.
Anyway, all I ever wanted to do was write, and until I was about 23, that’s really all I did do, because I managed to convince myself that this well-meaning friend was absolutely right about writing (I had to retype that about 4 times just now due to miswriting and mis-righting. Ugh, I know).
But now I am trying to write more, and to write more in a way that helps me (instead of a faceless organization). And that brings me to the question: What type of blog do I want this to be? Is “Stay at home CAT mom!” a blog genre?
* to put it mildly, and I’m still too afraid to write anything about it publicly here. God. Footnoted a blog. And used italics. Is that not the Holy Trifecta of Blogging Annoyingness?