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April 18, 2012

Because You Can’t Do Anything Else

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:04 am

I’m not writing. I need to be writing. It feels like I haven’t written in days. It’s only been about two days, really, but it feels like longer.

I’m sure I’ve told this story before. It’s one about being in Istanbul with my “closest thing I have to a brother besides my actual brother” Josh and drinking rakı with the eccentric poet couple from Iceland one night in a little Turkish bar. It had been a rough trip. I was finally coming out of a long depression set off by my Winterover in Antarctica. I had spent a lot of nights sitting with Josh at tiny cafe tables, drinking Efes, chain-smoking Camel Lights and crying, while he talked to me about Kierkegaard in ways that would comfort only an incurable existentialist — which, of course, we both were and probably still are.

But this night, while Josh was trying to dodge drunk propositions from Ásmundur Ásmundsson and his companion, I was curled up in the corner of the bar booth by the window scribbling frantically on a napkin or in a notebook or some other available scrap of trees. At some point, in between relaying his astrological sign and reiterating for the third time that he and I were not a couple, he paused to check in with me with a very serious, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I had to forcibly pause to look up and form words, “Yeah. Don’t worry. I’m writing. As long as I’m still writing, it means I’m not going to kill myself.

I realized something this weekend: I write about grief. I write about suffering. I try to share sketches of struggle and pain. I describe feeling unstable, insecure, unhealthy and lost. And I do this because, mostly, I’m not. It’s the same reason I tell people at the Poly Meetup about my relationship problems, about the ways things feel difficult and broken sometimes, about how I’ve been doing this for 15 years and still wonder if I’m crazy for thinking it’s a good idea. I want to share the ways I’m weak with the world because, by and large, people perceive me as strong, grounded and mentally clear. There are people who look up to me. That’s an uncomfortable thing for me to admit. But it’s true and I feel a responsibility to them — a responsibility to be honest. I want them to see that I’m human, complicated and confused. That I have days eaten through with self-doubt. Because I want to show people that, whatever it is they see in me and hope to find in themselves, it’s possible to be that person and be a fucking mess sometimes too.

But this vulnerability is a luxury. I can cry my eyes out in front of strangers because, really, I’m okay.

And I’m trying to put something here right now because I really, really want it to be true that I’m okay.

It’s when I get quiet that you should worry.

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