Hey, I started this entry some five six months ago, left it hanging in my draft posts and just wandered away. In all the shuffling and fixing and getting ready to pull the plug on this site, I came across it again. I think it’s an important enough bit of my personal narrative to warrant hitting ‘publish’ on it. Maybe it’s a post that will stir discussion, because I have seen evidence in the past several weeks that I am not the only voyeurnaller who feels this way. Your comments are always welcome here –dissenting ones included– and I’m pretty sure I’ve made that clear from the time I installed a commenting system back in late two-thousand or thereabouts. On this post in particular I would ask that the lurkers, too, step out of the shadows and talk with me about their perspective on this.
Okay, so, you know when you have that invisible iron band at the top of your throat, and it’s cinched up just enough to remind you it’s there? And then, when you swallow, it’s like your tonsils become two branding irons that send shocks of bonfire heat all around the insides of that most tender of all the neckmeat? And good LORD, the itch! It is way down deep there in your ears and you’re praying that it signifies that something is a-going and not a-coming because that impending ER bill from several nights ago is going to SUCK and you can’t visit any healthcare-type facility again (save the one where you yourself are employed) until February at the very soonest, April at the outside. But April is your birthday month and it just wouldn’t be right for the Everything That Is to allow you to come to harm throughout the month that signifies your arrival on the planet, selah and amen.
That kind of maddening but vague-ish tonsilly-glandy-flarey throat pain that could mean you are getting better but also could mean that the strep dint get kilt fer shore dead?
You know that kind of discomfort, yeah? So you know, also, of how cranky it can make you in a sort of ‘let’s not be doing any fucking around, okay? I expect us to dig all the way to bone tonight’ fashion.
So, my throat hurts. And it is that kind of hurt. A no-nonsense kind of hurt, not bent on being crippling in nature but not wanting you to forget its presence, either.
My throat hurts and I’m back to square one with my ability to tolerate utter bullshit. Pain will do that to you: It will make you instinctual in nature, a person not prone to frippery like patience for your fellow man, no matter how stupid (or insulting) (or tedious) (or shallow) (or ridiculously, ridiculously self-absorbed) he may be, thusly earning him a pass on the basis of your most excellent home training and Southerin mannerliness. There will be no “Well, bless his heart“-ing done, dig? Your throat is on fire, and that supercedes tact, damnit!
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Did you know that the Willow Ptarmigan is the only species of grouse whose males take responsibility over their young….most specifically, the protection of those offspring? They will distract much larger foes (BEARS) by way of attack to ensure the well-being of their babies. Willow Ptarmigans may be little in comparison to a grizzly, but their desire to go unfucked-with is greater than the bear’s ample curiosity and orneriness. And also greater than that physically imposing stature business.
I think that is just about the fucking neatest thing ever, Fellow Internet Bastards.
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A little over a month ago the box in my head where I go to be happy was sluiced over with some sort of crazy mud that was cloying and uncomfortable to hang around in, so I was forced into other parts of my brain where things are maybe hazier and not very well-lit. Sometimes I wonder if I oughtta just stick around in the mud –in that sunny, airy room there– to see what happens, because the curtains still shimmy gleefully as they glance off breezes and the wallpaper never gets boring. But (and here is the thing that seals this wonky little deal) even the dark corners and the sundown lanes that trail off into nowhere smell sweeter altogether than that nasty mud. Though its surface is shiny and without blemish, I just know there are things in there, in that mud, rotting things that are just playing possum until I grow complacent. Were such a thing to happen, they would then lace themselves together elegantly and drag me down to the floor, planting my face solidly in four inches of my head sludge with no hope of coming up for air.
You can see, of course, why I would choose the ‘Wander Aimlessly Around Head’ door.
Okay, so I ended up in this mostly-unfamiliar spot that found me all butthurt about the most ridiculous of things, most of which resided right out here in the ether between my interface and those that belong to what I have loosely labelled as All The Rest Of You.
It was a weird state to try on for size, this Total Butthurtedness, and one to which I am mostly unaccustomed, owing to my habit of keeping my heart in my mouth rather than on my sleeve. I was swirled up in drama that was only known to my heart, asking stupid shit like, ‘Why is that person taking a swipe at me’ and ‘How can so-and-so leave me hanging like that’ and ‘Oh my gaaahhhhd, when will I ever just be able to be who I am without inciting fury’.
Said questions, of course, brought forth Total Butthurtedness’ maudlin (yet much calmer!) twin, Embarrassed Mortification. Embarrassed Mortification always goes over –with a fine-toothed comb– the ground that Total Butthurtedness flopped around on, finding every fragment of every thing that will enable her to hammer the fuck away at whatever aspects of you that Total Butthurtedness was kind enough to allow to hang around.
Are you still with me?
So at some point I began to get my bearings (and my medication, bahDUMpum!) and got really mad that I let Cyberia actually affect me this way. It’s not really ever been an issue before, and I began to root around for the source of why it all of the sudden was one.
Typically I’m not an especially insecure person whether on the page or off. In this case I had to remind myself of accomplishments cool digital-type shit owing to this: In the past you have been Instalanched! Kottke has linked you! You have even been cited on WikiFuckingPedia somewhere! It is a great likelihood that Norman Reedus probably read the entry where you praised him and dogged the fuck out of Armand Assante, hear you roarrrr!
….and so on.
I don’t give much of a shit about hits or traffic and have been more than willing to say so on more than one occasion. Let me get one thing straight, though: This is not to say I don’t give a shit about people. I care at the point where people take shape out of these strange and persistently-tabulated digits. ‘Oh, hello, Visitor Number one-hundred thirty-two thousand and nine-hundred, you are, in fact, Angela from Brighton, Colorado? Pleezdameetcha!’
There are a whole mess of women these days who derive their whole self-worth from their blogs; if their hits are high, then so are their spirits. God help us if a few-hundred of those eyeballs fixed on their sites wander away. I am not, in fact, one of those women. I derive a part of my self-worth from my blog, yes, but it is in one specific sense: That sense being that I am completely true to myself in the words that I heartily fling across the page where you now perch.
Also, and my! God! what an also, it has easily saved my husband thousands of dollars in therapy (my first twenty-five or so years on the planet wound me into quite a tight little skein; it took me five years of picking around just to find the thread that would start the unraveling of the damn thing and five more years after that for it to even look like I’d been working on accomplishing something). Let’s not mince any words here: He’d sure as fuck have to pay it, because I just don’t have it and he likes having me around. I know this last bit because he is one of the good ones that never lets me forget it.
(GET READY FOR THE PARAGRAPH THAT IS GONNA PISS SOMEBODY OFF)
And so, in rooting for the cause of my sudden insecurity on these here interwebs, what I worked my way back to was this: I’ve been sort of slumming it in recent months by dancing around the fringes of a group of people who care about shit like how many page impressions equal how many nickels (did I say that right, savvy persons?) and less about the currency of song and soul. People who weigh out quantity of words as more valuable than their quality. I’m no hater; that’s great for them. It is a method, though, that simply does not work for me and always seems to leave me wanting.
Plus? I am leaving the buoyancy of my self-esteem in the hands of people I’ve never even met, ones that sit in front of a little box and type words (sometimes incessantly! how do some people handle things like meals and peeing?) that I’ve attached some sort of weight to, whether or not that expectation is actually something like, I dunno, warranted or even deserved.
Here is where I head in the direction of sounding like a geezer, sonny, because I remember a time when this medium was a whole lot of creative and unbridled joy. Blogger (which still is such an ungainly, misappropriated word, yeah?) was just a euphemism for Rogue Writerly Person. Rogue Writerly People aren’t hampered by things like form and the conventional twisting-together of words. The RWP of this world stomp, Thor-hammered and big-bootsed, through the literary heather, silencing cicadas and bending breezes to their wills. They are dirty, dirty neologists waiting to sully your dictionary, sugar.
I used to spend the bulk of my online time being romanced by the amazingly adept voyeurnals of Bobby and Michael and Alanna and Paul and Rabi, to name a few. These people dug at the words, sometimes so deeply that loam would have to be brushed from them before they could be stacked into a structure that your eyeballs (and shortly thereafter, your brain) could hardly wait to shimmy through.
The internet was totally my boyfriend in those days. I have been madly in love with words the whole of my life; naturally, then, it would follow that I might be completely knee-swept at the notion of being only one page-refresh away from a stream flowing with clickable links to places where words were consistently fresh and completely delectable.
All I had to do was pick.
Somewhere in the noise of the last little while I’d forgotten all about that ‘pick’ part. I found myself just dully following a trail of (fingerquoteythings)big names(/fingerquoteythings) because they were big names and not necessarily mapping carefully what I took into myself. And not really –as I had done before– rooting out new content and gorgeous voices. Look, I like People magazine as a guilty indulgence from time to time, but if you told me that was all I could ever read again then I would likely say, “Okay. I’m pretty much over this whole reading thing.” Or I’d be all, “PASTE! Where is my fucking jug of PASTE?” and cut the People magazines to bits, then reassemble the words in a more pleasing arrangement. Something.
So. I’ve made up my mind to do two things. First, I’m gonna start giving the majority of my online time (which seems to be far less nowadays than it used to be) over to incredible writing by people that are doing it for the sheer joy of it above all else. Second, I’m gonna start remembering who I am in my own writing and occupying that space with the fierceness that I used to.
I’m not gonna worry too much about who or how everybody else is, because I’ll be too occupied with the flow of my own story to let anybody else’s make me feel somehow incomplete. I’m enough. And when I decide that I am not enough anymore, it will be because I have measured what I am at that time against what I want to be in the future and have found myself in need of work.
Those are things that I should in no way be passive about in making decisions. And if you want to know the truth, then you shouldn’t be passive about them either. I own myself and it’s time I started reading the fucking manual.