All posts in Personal

  • For Your Reading Pleasure

    I doubt this is much of a revelation for anyone, but I’ve been neglecting this space. Badly. And badly is perhaps the largest understatement I’ve made all year. It’s been over a year. I’m too embarrassed to actually check, and I’m not going to put in some note for me to fix this post later with a more accurate length of time.

    So what happened?

    Well, to be blunt, I got a Job. A real, grownup big person job with health insurance and a pension and all the other things that make a job a Job. And having that Job made me want to die.

    We aren’t supposed to talk about that. I can hear my mother already hissing into my ear about how You can’t say that on the internet! What if you need some other Job in the future? What if they reeeaaad what you said? Which, I suppose that could happen. But does it really matter?

    I had a Job. And having that Job made me want to die. That is not an understatement, nor is it hyperbole. The Job that I had seriously made me consider taking my own life. It made me feel trapped and discouraged and like the person I am didn’t matter.

    I’m doubly not supposed to say that because that Job was teaching. Like, little kids. Like, this is how you multiply numbers together and why you might want to read for pleasure. I’m triply not supposed to say that because, despite everything, I like teaching. I might even want to do it again someday.

    But my teaching Job made me want to die.

    I have struggled with depression for more years than someone who is only 28 should. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle. Suicidal ideation is as novel to me as eating cereal for breakfast.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    Yes, what if they read what I said. What if someone finds out that I struggle with depression. That I have pondered the various ways I could end my life, both in absurdly creative manners and in ones so cliche they’re boring. What if they read what I said and realize I dare want to be around children. Around people. Around life.

    To which I say: that’s exactly the fucking problem.

    We live in the era of social media. We are to curate our lives into this rosy, perfect package. We project our best selves. We are eternally successful and happy and doing exactly what we’re meant to do.

    But what happens when you suddenly find yourself not living your best life? It’s not enough to curl under the blankets because it is just too much to get out of bed. You cannot just hide. You must disappear.

    And so I did.

    I carefully stopped talking about myself anywhere. I neglected this blog. I let my business venture die. I stopped responding to email. I ceased updating Facebook. If anyone asked, I said I was happier living my life than documenting. Never mind that I was barely breathing, let alone living.

    Saying ‘I am depressed’ is the unspeakable secret. I’m not living the best life. I’m not doing okay. It’s not so much that I want to die, I just wish I didn’t exist.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    I think being a grownup with an important Job is the loneliest I have ever felt. It brought me the furthest I have ever been from myself. The depression that settled over me was unlike the depression I have come to call ‘normal life.’ It sucked every ounce of desire from my body. I no longer cared I hated my life. I no longer cared the artist in me was choking. I no longer cared to be seen. I made myself smaller. I stripped away everything, including the thing that has always been my greatest asset: my voice.

    And fuck that.

    What if they reeeaaad what you said?

    Fuck all of this bullshit. I don’t want to be silent anymore. I don’t want to sit here, biting my fingernails, worrying about what if someone reads something I wrote.

    Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that the whole goddamn point?

    In case you’re wondering, I feel a lot better now. Now that my Job is not my job. I am slowly finding my way back to a place where I can confidently say my name and say I am a writer.

    Mom, you don’t understand. I am not ashamed of myself anymore. I want them to read what I said.

  • Hallelujah, Summer is HERE!

    By far, the single greatest perk to working in the public school system is the temporary unemployment we call Summer. After a particularly brutal winter, (and I say this as someone who spent three beyond-brutal Februarys in Northern Michigan), it has often felt like this day would never come. But my backyard is full of greenery, and my Summer Non-negotiable is in the mail.

    I made the decision back in April that summer without a hammock would be a total failure. By this time next week, I should be lounging under the trees. Hammocks have always been my favorite. When we were in Key West three years ago, we spent more time in the hammock at our B&B than doing anything anything else. Since my schedule with Second City (oh right, I’m doing some writing workshops with Second City this year, heyo!) precludes any real summer trips for us, I decided investing in a hammock could bring the serenity of travel to us.

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  • 2014 First Quarter Update

    Oh man. Sometimes you blink and suddenly the year is almost a quarter of the way through. How did that happen? No seriously, how?

    In my attempt to be more organized and more adult-like, I think I’m going to start regularly summarizing all the good things that have been happening to increase gratitude, and take stock of all the challenges I’ve overcome to feel awesome about doing stuff. Because I’m beginning to realize I’m a lot more capable than I give myself credit for. So here we go. Read more

  • 2013 in Review

    It seems like this is the obligatory end-of-year review. Everyone’s doing them, so maybe I should do. After all, 2013 was a pretty big year for me, with a lot of ups and a few downs.

    I could do a month-by-month breakdown, but that feels little too organized for me. It also, I think, detracts from some of my accomplishments. So here we are, a good old-fashioned summary.

    Firstly, 2013 was the year I overcame my fears of looking stupid and went on a local-access reality show. It was fun and kind of a revalation for me. Oh, yeah, and I won, too. Which was a nice little bonus. That’s how I kicked off the year. Well, actually, we kicked it off with our first NYE party in the new house, but that was technically 2012. Read more

  • The Boogeyman

    The first rule of depression, is, well…

    I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’ve had a marvelous past few months. That would be lying. The past few months have been really rough. I’ve battled a life-threatening bacterial infection, had to come to terms with a body that doesn’t always want to cooperate, continue to get sick due to a suppressed immune system from the previously mentioned bacterial infection, and I’ve had to return to my high-stress, low-pay job.

    Looking at that list, I’m ashamed. I feel like I should be coping better than I have been. That shouldn’t be all that it takes to knock me off my even keel. But it was. It did. It has.

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  • On Changing Expectations and Being Sick

    I went on an incredible trip for a month. And I’d really like to talk about it and share some of those experiences with you. Unfortunately, that is not what I’m posting about today. I’m posting about what happens when things don’t go the way you would hope.

    I’m sick. Like, curled up on the couch, delirious, wanting your mom sick. Which has been me, since basically we got back. Scratch that, I was lucky enough to make it the wedding we came back from Kenya for, but not entirely. We left early, so I could go home, and be sick. Which has been me, for over a week. Not writing, not eating, not being a productive member of anything. Laying on the couch, being delirious, and wanting my mom.

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  • My Writing Manifesto or My Cry for Feminism

    I’ve had other posts planned. I was even going to post something yesterday, but I stopped. This post is probably going to be link heavy, and it may offend you or make you upset. If it does? Good. It offends and upsets me too.

    When people talk to me about my writing and ask me what I do (which is strangely a lot lately), I have always been clear. I am a woman writer. I am writer who is a woman. I am not an American Woman Novelist as Wikipedia would have me. I am a writer. I am a feminist writer.

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  • June Countdown

    June is going to be pretty epic. As such, I feel the need to be forthright with everything that is about to happen in case I fall off the map.

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  • But I’m A Nice Guy

    But I’m A Nice Guy from Scott Benson on Vimeo.

    Presented without comment.

  • Let’s Talk About ADHD and Writing

    It may come as a total surprise to you, but I have ADHD. Yes, that old bad hat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a trendy little disorder to have, and having that diagnosis comes with amazing little pills that seem to make everyone smarter. Unfortunately, I actually do have the disorder and the prescription medicine you’ve never heard of that comes with it. And sadly, they don’t make me any smarter. They just help me function like a big fancy adult who does big fancy adult things like laundry. I know, you desperately want to live this glamorous life, too.

    I can’t say what it would be like to not have ADHD. It’s a problem with the brain chemistry and it’s just been that way my whole life. Which actually makes writing about ADHD hard, because I really don’t know how the regular-joe types function. How easy or hard different things are for them. All I can do is extrapolate what I see them doing. So I could be getting this wrong. Terribly wrong.

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