Tennessee Williams, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway. What do all these people have in common other than the fact that they were all amazing writers? They each had their own mental illness to deal with. Three out of the four mentioned died from suicide.
I think about the tropes of writers that I fit into, the cliches I refuse to embrace, and the ideas I’ve never gave any thought.
I know for a fact that I am a writer because…
I’m gay. I’ve dealt with depression. I’ve tried killing myself. I’ve been through therapy numerous times. I’ve dealt with unrequited romance. I’m no social butterfly. I have people living inside my head. I carry conversations with characters. I escape from reality. I feel the entire spectrum of human emotions. And I’m quirky as Hell. Oh yeah and I love coffee. Coffee is on the same ranking with good dick. It is my friend for life.
I have never done drugs a day in my life. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m no grammar nazi. I am not the biggest fan of classic literature. I hate cats. I don’t like working at a cluttered desk or room. I don’t smoke because I happen to enjoy the act of breathing. I’m not some counter culturing hippie dipshitter like Jack Kerouac, whom by the way I believe was really full of shit.
But lately I’ve been thinking about…
Adopting a polyamorous lifestyle. Getting a tattoo. Traveling the world. Experiencing the things that are worth writing about. How I wish I were a bit more sophisticated and able contribute to intelligent conversation as opposed to the mind numbing, stomach churning, ear drum stabbing chit chat that I take part of on a daily basis.
When I think about stuff like this I can’t help feeling that I’m a walking mass of contradictions. Part of me still believes that I’m too much of a boring person in real life to be a good writer. But then there’s the other part of me that wants to dropkick the next person who says “YOLO” and offer me a joint or an 8-ball of coke.
I’m not naive enough to think that I have to embrace stereotypes to cement myself as a writer or anything else. Besides things should be decided under my own terms, not because it’s expected of me.
Oh but I’m definitely just as nutty as all the others.
Earlier today I made a post about keeping things going forward. But then after my second class I decided to go back. I don’t know why, but I felt this urgent need to get back home. As if my brain was screaming at me, “Retreat!!”
So now I’m typing away in the safety of my bedroom and planning to drink pomegranate tea later to further calm my nerves while trying to write something else that will “vanquish” the inner demons I talk so much of. Otherwise I would be beating myself up for turning chickenshit. At least I have a choice to either play “victim” or whatever else I want to be and I reject the former.
Plus things could be so much worse. I’m not entirely happy about my tactical retreat, but hey at least my pulse is still beating. I call that a win. I can make up for this. Things didn’t go as well as I had planned. So I have to look at this as sort of glass half full day.
I’d have loved to go one day without any neuroses acting up whatsoever. Or meet the man of my dreams in a classic rom-com fashion. Or to have my friends with me. Or for anything to be easy for me.
Not everyday is a good day for me. But not everyday is a nightmare either. I’m not drinking myself to death, I’m not stuffing my head in a hot oven, choking on a plastic cap (seriously what a dumb way to die Williams).
I try to lead a better life without having my depression and anxiety ruling over me. I always referred to it as the “Nightmare Syndrome” like it was some sort of curse that had been cast over me. I talk about my struggles like I’m literally fighting monsters and demons on a daily basis, like the characters I create in my stories. I piss, moan, and bitch about it, but…
It’s made me into the person that I am now. I’m not talking about the neurotic one who risks being labeled an attention whore or the eternal emo. It’s made a warrior out of me. It taught me about how powerful thoughts and emotions can be, good or bad. It’s given me direction.
There was a time when I didn’t know what I wanted out of life. I didn’t know if I was worthy of love, of happiness, or even living. It taught me that I’m different from others in a lot of ways, but different doesn’t mean bad. And I’ve had to embrace my crazy to get me to this point.
This is another part where I feel I contradict myself. My worst fear was going insane when under my depressive episodes. And then that insanity would lead to suicidal thoughts. That’s how it worked the first time years ago.
This part might not make a whole lot of sense, but in the end it seems like in order to move on with my life and achieve my goals I have to trust my madness.
I have to trust my madness, but also be sure that I don’t meet the same tragic fate as Hemingway, Plath, and Woolf.