“Why can’t you be more positive?”
“Why don’t you write something happy?”
“How come you’re always so negative?”
Because I’m a dark princess, motherfucker. I don’t absorb all the things that happen in the world and vomit out a cloud of pretty technicolor rainbows. It’s just not in me. I take it in and it all congeals inside the hollows of my heart and when it comes out it’s twisted and disgusting. I sit down to write and every word lurches out of me like it’s the last thing I’ll ever do. I’m overwhelmed by memories and emotions and interpretations and sometimes it’s bad enough to render me completely paralyzed. I have to shut down just to exist and it makes me so angry I end up numb.
The problem is, I see things the way they are. I’m aware of peace and beauty and light as concepts but those things are so lacking in my world right now I don’t have the words to describe them. I’ve never been very good at spreading a positive outlook. I’m much better at going on a rant with comedy as a chaser, because if I have to choose between laughing or crying, I’ll take laughter any day. And I’m so fucking afraid. Afraid to breathe, afraid to move, afraid to do anything but lay on the couch in my apartment and stare at my computer screen for hours on end. I have no food in my house because nine times out of ten my anxiety gets the better of me and I can’t bear to leave my apartment. Every social interaction is painful and awkward for me because I fear every person I come in contact with will see right through to the core that rots inside me.
But this is depression talking. This is the voice of rage. I long to be the person who sees beauty in the madness and kindness floating like a lifeboat in a sea of evil. Sometimes I’m very good at pretending to be that person. There’s a line in the short-lived TV show Kings that goes, “Be the knife or be the lamb. Try to be both and you’ll end up slaughtering yourself.” A chill ran down my spine the moment I heard it, because for so long I’ve tried to be both. Light and dark, night and day. And they can’t co-exist in my head anymore because the duality of it is driving me insane. It’s putting my entire life in gridlock because I don’t know which direction to take.
Don’t get me wrong. There is always hope. This isn’t me pointing a gun at myself or punching my thighs until they bruise. I know that things do get better and all you have to do is wade through a ton of mud and shit to get to it. Sometimes it makes me tired, so I lay down and sleep for twelve hours to make up for all the nights I spend tossing and turning because I have no idea who I am or what I want or even how I can begin to get it. I want to be better. I want to be the person I see inside my head when I think about how things COULD be.
I want to write without fear. I don’t want to censor things or mask my truth because I’m afraid I’ll hurt somebody’s feelings. But the reality is, unless I’m writing fiction, someone’s always going to get hurt. It’s a constant guessing game when I’m writing about my past because I never know who’s going to read it. I could write it privately, but that’s too comfortable. The whole point of this exercise is to venture outside of what’s comfortable, take a risk and lay myself bare. I’m taking steps to get out of this horrible funk I’m in but it’s going to take time. And negativity. Because there’s truth in it. When bad shit happens, or has happened, putting a positive spin on it doesn’t always help. Positivity is not synonymous with denial and I refuse to deny the terrible side of life. If I am to get to the other side, where things are clear and lovely and every day (or most days, anyway) is beautiful, then I need to have the freedom to explore the dark paths that led me here. You’ve got to hit rock bottom before you make your way to the top.
If you decide to take this journey with me, then great! I’m happy to have you. If not, no hard feelings. This is something I have to do for myself. I’ll see you on the upside of life.
And for the record, I’d rather be the knife.