One of my biggest writing flaws from the old days is over explaining. I’ve learned to cut lots of things down or out, condense thoughts, etc. But maybe this is a good day to test drive a little more ‘in depth’, see if I can steer clear of the deeper abysses and keep the thought moving along. Heads up, some of this is autie-spoonie stuff, which quails even licensed professionals.
So the question comes up sometimes- Why do you write everything you do on a blog?
My first thought is to ask questions back:
- Do you talk out loud to people? I don’t.
- Do you talk on the phone to friends? I don’t.
- Do you splat your emotions onto facebook and twitter? I don’t.
- Do you keep your hands busy with hobbies? I don’t.
- Do you browse and shop and sit in salons? I don’t.
I talk to my husband and two children, but I go very long stretches in between actually talking out loud to other people. I don’t last very long chatting without either getting someone upset at me or feeling upset myself, mostly because of Asperger’s. I don’t say howdy to my neighbors when I see them, rarely get into convos around town, and even struggle to talk to nurses in my doctors’ offices. I can fake it, but I come across pretty dorky amazingly fast.
Talking out loud to people is painful for me. I’m kinda notorious for talking prolifically when I get rolling or taking over convos, but that doesn’t mean I have a clue what’s really going on or that I’m enjoying actually talking. I have forced myself over many years to learn the little chitchat stuff that makes us feel emotionally heard and linked with my own husband and kids. I wasn’t very good at this AT ALL while my kids were still here in high school, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of this now that they’re in their own houses and I miss them.
I tried to express some frustrations over the years in letters, emails, and phone calls to other family members and who I thought were good friends, but got absolutely no “you’re doing a good job” back from anyone, and in fact was told I was horrible and mean a few times, which I found utterly perplexing (and extremely hurtful) since I didn’t see myself doing and saying the horrible and mean things I saw other mothers around me doing to husbands and kids. It took me awhile to realize that my dump sessions were very misleading, and yes, I sounded horrible and mean. At any rate, I gave up trying to talk to anyone about my problems. I was too deficit with social etiquette and way too aspienado to understand why that was a problem. After asking myself why they get to dump and I don’t (even using identical verbiage), I arrived at a realization that my hostility sounds way too convincing. I think most people get when other people are just dumping. I take it to a whole other level because I lack social awareness. I genuinely scare people, like I might be one of those hatchet killers or something.
Between being super aspie (verbal autie, not that terribly high functioning if you really look at the dx on my disability papers) and whatever the heck hit my brain in 2004 (virus???), I have a hard time being in the here and now with other people. In my early blogging, I diverted loads of personal frustration to private blogging so I wouldn’t unload so much of that onto my family, and it actually helped. Over time I also realized it is a great way to store memories, and started writing down even more, which I’m very grateful to have now. Living with a very glitchy brain since 2004 has taught me loads of tricks for surviving, faking, and even developing healthy psychological skillz. I may suck at being human, but I can fake through pretty good most of the time nowadays.
Faking doesn’t mean I’m in any way cured of either Asperger’s or this incessant brain fog, and it also does a disservice. I’m living in two worlds. People who read my world are in my head. You guys are only seeing from my POV looking outward. People IRL who don’t read my blogs don’t have a clue what’s in here and only see me bumbling around, and believe me, I do NOT look smart. It’s always funny when the purportedly smart one in the room makes the stupidest mistakes, and I’ve learned to roll with that weird skew, at least on the outside. No one sees my weeping and gnashing of teeth on the inside. My dissonance from what’s really going on is fairly severe, so much so that under extreme stress I can’t tell what is ‘real’ because I feel so disconnected between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’.
I insisted on being psychologically assessed in my 20s because I’ve felt ‘crazy’ since high school. I’ve been assured several times by several professionals through the decades that I’m definitely NOT crazy, and actually quite emotionally healthy for someone with all the stuff I handle on a daily basis. While that sort of reassures me, I still feel crazy, and I’ll be the first in any situation to say out loud I need help with understanding or doing something, even if I actually happen to own the highest IQ in whatever group I’m in and probably even understand the crux of whatever it is. I like group problem-solving. It’s about the only social interaction I truly enjoy, which I think is misunderstood as me enjoying being a problem causer when I point things out. Even if I don’t create the problems, pointing them out kind of looks like that’s what I’m doing in a social context. From there, it’s easy to see why some people might avoid talking to me.
I blog to survive. It’s not a joke. I have lived through soul withering pain and depression like many people do, and blogging is my main survival tool in the arsenal I were dealing with daily life. My social safety net is fairly dismal, full of holes during long days when I’m on my own, so ‘talking to myself’ has become my go-to for sorting all my things out.
I’ve also come clean with my family. I blog ‘out loud’ now so people can see how I’m doing. I no longer hide when I’m struggling. Phones are awesome for a crisis, but lower level anxiousness wears people out, especially when they’re dealing with their own challenges. When I can’t keep my mind occupied otherwise, word flow is a good way for me to let the pressure out of the balloon before it pops, as it were.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog (like a new year resolution kind of thing), or keep starting and stopping, it helps to make a statement defining why you’re blogging. I find that daily blogging is good discipline for lining up thoughts, sorting out feelings, sharing neat stuff, containing a dump zone, whatever you need. Do it for YOU. Get to know your own head. Learn to step back and see yourself. Stop using feelings and problems to bait for attention- get your own attention. Pay attention to who you really are.
It’s weird to think that maybe the most important feedback we might need would be our own. Critical thinking about myself objectively has helped me through several emotional logjams and watching my head unfold like origami has been like doing a psychological autopsy. I can see what’s really bugging me underneath the top layer of what I *think* is bugging me. The upper crust of emotions covers up what we don’t like looking at in ourselves. Peeling a few flakes off here and there over time helped make seeing myself less scary. It’s excruciatingly hard, to be honest with ourselves sometimes, and we wrap ourselves in all kinds of excuses and outward judgmentalism to stave off seeing the dark parts of our own souls.
It’s kind of faddish to talk about embracing our darker selves nowadays, and we see it in entertainment and shopping all around us, but there really are places ye dare not go. Blogging has a way of going there, whether you mean to or not. Sooner or later, you start to vomit out that poison you try not to let everyone see. And then you’re covered in your own puke and either panic and hit the delete button, or just walk away and stop blogging. I’ve seen so many people do that.
Owning our own pain is the toughest thing we go through on this earth. Letting go of blame and guilt and self-pity is about the toughest marathon anyone faces, and through the centuries writers have compared it to climbing mountains, falling into abysses, being swept away in raging waters, even falling off the earth itself into a yawning void of hopelessness and despair. Until you own your despair, you will always be its slave. It may lurk and mock while you desperately ignore it, but coming out and owning it absolutely turns all the hard stuff into gold. And this is the secret of the spindle- you must prick your finger and bleed out the words in order to spin the straw into gold.
It’s not a law that you have to do this. You can mommy blog or movie blog or pet blog or garden blog or hobby blog or shopping blog or rant blog- whatever your thing is. Blogging is like painting and sculpting ideas out of thoughts, and the medium is usually words and/or graphics. If you blog, you are as much an artist as a musician or painter, as much an athlete as a sports player, as much a thinker as any philosopher. You are one of all of us. Sharing your own point of view is very human, and very natural. Whatever you do with blogging, to thine own self be true, and you will succeed and feel very satisfied with it.
Blogging is work, yes. Even a short sentence on a simple theme styled blog is actual work. It won’t spring to life without YOU. It won’t magically appear and write itself until you pour a little soul into it. A blog is your creation, your work, your blaze of “I was here”.
I blog because I AM HERE.
Originally posted on 12-18-16.