One time, I wrote a blog entry.
It was just me being honest, as my parents, my therapists-past, my boyfriend, and the overarching cultural message(s) tell me to be every day. I was being funny, as I always try to be, though I know for a fact I fail more often than I succeed.
The entry got a really weird comment from a stranger, which caused a pretty visceral reaction in me. I have had many a comment in my years of blogging that didn’t sit well, but this one… this one I couldn’t walk off after five minutes. It was the first time in my blogging history that I had ever felt my brain so shaken, my feelings so hurt, and my identity as a whole so misunderstood. In response, I genuinely implored the person to get to know me. I never heard anything, and I figured out that was okay with me in the light of a new day.
I had a sort of breakdown afterward. (Which, I want to point out, is not this anon’s fault.) My nagging asshole of a mental illness simply took advantage of the comment, then promptly took advantage of me. I actually spiraled for quite some time, only calming myself enough to sleep once I found some herbal tea to induce it. And when the dark spot o’ depression/anxiety hadn’t alleviated upon my awakening in the dark hours of the early morning, I decided I needed to call someone immediately. I was going to get it sorted, as well as take some time to heal, medicate (legally, obv), and take control of it before it took ANOTHER full day of work/life away as it used to, almost daily, many years ago.
And even though it still hurt after that phone call, even though I was still in some dark mind room I DIDN’T REMEMBER RSVP’ING TO, LIKE, EVER… I decided to think my way through the muck until my brain-fixer appointment. I started thinking about a lot: my patterns of behavior (negative), my writing (sarcastic, sometimes to a fault), my humor (mayhaps too dark), my honest nature (blunt = not always better), and most importantly, how and why this nameless person could hurt me so much to the core.
And that’s when I remembered, once upon a time, I wrote this OTHER blog entry.
That blog was me being honest, too. I was sharing what brought me the most joy in life, but more importantly, what made me feel loved and safe. I mentioned how much I wanted to find/be with my people, but most of all, how when we’d finally sought each other out, I wanted us to feel like we had shelter somewhere. I didn’t want us to feel like a place we THOUGHT was safe (say, for instance, our blogs?) to turn out to be a terror of some kind.
But then I realized, hey, maybe that commenter didn’t know that about me. Maybe they didn’t know anything else about me, either. Perhaps they didn’t know what I’d been through, what I loved, what I hated, what I laughed and cried about? How could they? I thought about that, and it lessened the sting.
Quickly after, I remembered this blog entry.
I remembered making that card, preaching about all of us walking with troubles invisible to others, minding to tread lightly with our words and actions. And then I thought how maybe I, a person who admittedly wrote extremely sarcastic, very dark, and mostly dirty material, had probably broken my own rule far too often. I realized I wouldn’t ever mean to, before quickly realizing almost everyone else who offended in their own material most likely hadn’t meant to, either. (You know, unless we’re talking about some jackhole who makes a living off of insulting people intentionally. At them, we throw our tomatoes!)
I realized that as hurtful as that anonymous comment was, my entry might have been, too. And though I wasn’t sorry for writing it, I was sorry for its impact on people it wasn’t supposed to hurt. I wasn’t sorry for being honest, but I was sorry for not being more clear about exactly what I meant and exactly who I was talking to.
I realized that, much like myself, other little snowflakes might not think they’re unique at all. I realized we all might be struggling with mental health issues that make us feel less-than, personal issues that make us feel hopeless, and societal responsibilities that are, unfortunately, NOT a choice but a method of survival.
I decided to retreat to my safe place after all that thought: here, writing – being honest, being myself, blogging about what I choose. I realized I should try to be mindful of possible offensiveness, knowing I ultimately cannot please all. And I remembered at the end of the day, there shouldn’t be a battle of who’s had more shit happen to them; this isn’t the Struggle Olympics… but we should make an attempt to be kind, to be conscientious, and to get to know someone before we rip apart the perception we have of them.
I vowed to look a little further before I leap. See y’all on the other side?