May 5, 2018

open letter to jenny lawson the bloggess

First of all, it's 5:03 a.m., which is probably why this is happening.  I should not be awake and the outer fringes of Lunesta are clinging to my brain and the aardvarks haven't quite retired for the evening.  They're sitting around smoking little aardvark ciggies after a hard night's work entertaining me in dreams, and about to pack it up and head wherever home is.  They're talking total shit about me in their smoky lounge.  I'm usually soundly asleep and miss this part.  Caught you, little fuckers.  Get a real job.

I have questions for you.  Questions about things like how you deal with receiving between 53 and 687 accolades in the comments about every word you say, how funny and wonderful a writer you are, how relatable, and whether it all starts blending together and sounding impossible and insincere or whether knowing all that love out there is real and it buoys you, instead of just making you laugh.  Does it make a difference when you're in the darkest places or wanting to draw blood from your scalp?  Can you even hear any of the love or the funny or the empathy at that point?  I can never hear those things, only the punishment voice.  I want to know if you have learned to hear them, if they see you through, and how you learned.

You have amazing boundaries and I'm jealous as all hell of that.

I recently realized that I end up mentioning you, your book, and things you have said in my own just-born-last-year blog rather a lot.  So much resonates.  "Jenny says depression lies."  I haven't even gone through and read the last eight years of content on The Bloggess, and I've ordered one of your books and have the other sitting around for the times when I allow myself to crack it open and savor exactly one chapter.  So this isn't creepy because I haven't spent hours and hours poring through every scrap of information about you and completing a portfolio and I'm not on my way to Texas to stand outside of your house and worship you.  Just telling you this because it's important to know these things.

I didn't model my "Random Shit" category after your "Random Crap", I swear it.  It was my very first category.  Who doesn't need a catch-all for weirdness?

But back to the blood:  This is the way in which you have most helped me, because I self-injure, and when that happens I have a fleeting thought wherein I consider doing it your way, hidden by hair, but I opt instead for relieving that horrible pressure, the one that builds up that you can't explain to somebody else who doesn't do it, by smacking myself repeatedly or clawing my arm to bloody shreds with my fingernails.  It's never really shreds; it just looks like a bunch of fingernail marks that make a pattern, like a kind of sick art.  I usually do the latter in the middle of July and have to go around for two weeks afterward wearing long sleeves and cardigan sweaters when it's 100 degrees and people ask me why and I say I'm cold and they ask my why I'm sweating and I say I'm not and they stop arguing because I'm too weird to converse with at that point.

It works out, but I am sweating and making sure they can't see my left arm.  It's still better than hitting because I gave myself a black eye once and you can't hide that unless you start wearing a niqab one day and everyone in my life knows I'm an atheist so they'd ask if it was an early Halloween costume, which is totally disrespectful to the concept of hijab.  Even I have standards.

No, really, back to the blood:  You helped me, and still help me, because I feel slightly less like a freak who is the only person in the world who has felt this and done this, and the incongruity between those rare moments and the comparatively normal, functional rest of my life doesn't seem as strange, because you experience that, too.  Even knowing there is one other person out there casts it in such a different light.  I can keep going, even with broken parts.  I'm a fucking Toyota.  It helps my wife, too, knowing there are others who care for us.  She isn't isolated.

The aardvarks would like for me to stop talking about blood now and are mashing out their ciggie stubs and wishing I'd empty the ash trays once in a while.  I am so tired of apathetic aardvarks who can't keep their own god-damned lounge tidy.  Is there a union I can report this to?  Hey, do you have a taxidermied aardvark?  I imagine they're kind of large but that wouldn't stop you and the Victorian costume could be really elaborate because of the size.  Just cover all four ankles.

Jenny, thank you for putting yourself out there raw and exquisitely expressive.  You might have started years ago by saying, "If this helps one person ..." because that is how I started my blog, which is more whining about therapy and really is my therapy and the more I read back through it the more boring it sounds, but if it helps one ... just one ... and you've helped many thousands know they're not alone.  I don't know about their lives, but I know about mine, and I'm grateful.  Mission accomplished, amigo.

Not-the-weird-kind-of love,

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