Bracing for Impact

Anxiety is a motherfucker. From the second my eyes open to the moment they close, I am on high alert. Flying debris from storms now fast asleep, shrapnel from bombs whose deployment echoes can no longer be heard. The disasters are long over, and yet, I am still hugging my body holding tight to my own knobby elbows, still looking in all directions for incoming danger to knock me clear off my feet. 

Somedays it's better than others, but when I write, oh, when I write, it is stronger than ever. I feverishly get the words on the screen, slam closed my laptop and then curl up on my bed.

Bracing for impact. 

I'm ready for the daggers to be thrown. For the witch hunters to jump online and rip me limb from limb. They have before. And they still do. And when I write I am always acutely aware of the consequences, both imaginary and true. And so I cover my head and hold my breath. I close my eyes tight, tighter, and wait for it to all come crashing down. 

Each time I sit to spill truth from my bones, I weigh the potential aftermath against the potential agony of keeping it bottled up, like someone reading the side effects from the sticker label on a new prescription.

Is it worth it? 

The words I shared a few days ago about my feelings around social media struck a nerve. Some people got super defensive and put words in my mouth that do not belong there. I did not say that love and joy is wrong, and we should only share darkness. I did not say that everyone should share all the private secrets in their closets. I could go on but the words I did write are already there and speak for themselves.

My post was about how I feel. I sometimes wish I was someone who thought sharing super posed airbrushed photos of your children were awesome. I swear I do! But I am not. Someone sent me a few screenshots of the accounts whose feathers were extra ruffled and I'm just over here like, "Oh my gosh, OF COURSE these people are pissed off. Duh!" 

Here's the thing. I shared my truth. I shared my feelings. I will continue to do that. You can't tell me I'm wrong because these are my emotions, and my emotions aren't wrong. They are what they are and I am who I am. 

If other people want to share their truths and their feelings, they are fully allowed to! You want to write a blog post about how much you love instagram and how important hashtaging and only sharing the best 1% of your day is? Listen, go for it! I'll high five you the whole way.

But I can only be me. I wish I was you, and you, and you, and especially you with the perfect hair at 8:00am, but I'm not. I will always be more Kelly Cutrone than Marry Poppins. 

I'm sorry if this blog post is choppy and fragmented. I am doing my best to pull together words for things that really don't have linguistic applications. Fear. Guilt. Insecurity. Doubt. Rejection. I'm not sure there is any verbiage that could ever really give them due process. But I'm trying. And here's why. Here is what I want this post to really be about. 

Yesterday, the hate didn't come raining down upon my head. Sure a few people were pissed, but my goodness hundreds and hundreds of people were not. I have never in my life gotten so many emails, and messages, and letters of pure vulnerable beauty. I took the medicine down the hatch and expected the absolute worst, and instead the opposite happened. 

You nodded your heads in agreement. You wrote the kindest words. And even when you disagreed with what I had to say, you were eloquent and well spoken and reflective. And as my bestie (the same one who got me the awesome t-shirt for Christmas) said so beautifully in a text yesterday afternoon, "Girl, you took your sweater off and a whole gigantic tribe wrapped their arms around you to keep you warm." 

And so here I am saying thank you. Here I am because in all honesty Lily is still on school vacation, and I don't have time to shave my armpits or make anything other than cereal for breakfast let alone email all of you back, but I am really grateful and I want you to know that. It's important for me that you know that. 

Every word you have written to me has been read. 

And I also want to share that writing is fucking terrifying for me. Like it's the best and the worst at the exact same time. And I know I'm not alone in that. And so I want to share this tonight to say thanks but to also hopefully grant someone else the courage to spit their truth out there. To let them/you know that even when you think everything is going to crumble and crash, and fuck it even if it does, it is still always, always worth it. 

You won't love everything I have to say. You won't ooh and ahh over every photograph I share. My inbox will not be flooded every time I hit publish. 

But I have the courage to change the things I can, one word/photo/clay bowl/knitted mitten/pot of broth at a time, and next time and the time after that, maybe, thanks to all of your loving support, the looming impact won't seem so fatal. 

Thank you for that. Truly. I am grateful. 

I am clinging to two quotes today. One is from an old scrap of paper from a writing conference I went to in 2003:

Write like a motherfucker. Write like everyone around you is dead.

And the second is by a fabulous poet, John Trudell:

I'm just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human.

Thank you for letting me be human. And for being human in return. And for letting me say the things out loud that I've too long kept silent. 

It never occurred to me that the impact I was bracing for would be an enormous hug. Imagine that.