The Cycle is this: I get motivated to start writing again and churn out posts and drafts in rapid succession. The drafts pile up; I’d always rather write something fresh than go back and edit something (ding ding ding here’s an alarm bell!). Eventually I get motivated to go through all my drafts and see what I’ll finish, become embarrassed by how childish they are, and erase the lot. After that I may or may not go on to delete all my published posts as well.
I’ve raised this concern many times in the past. Friends pat me on the back and say my writing isn’t childish at all! I believe them, because that’s an opinion I can definitely live with, but I’m finally at a point that I’m not willing to accept good enough for a blog anymore. I’d like to write something I’m proud of some day and I’m not getting any younger. Even better, I’d like to write a lot of things that I’m proud of. Maybe a blog isn’t the best vehicle for that; the allure of instant gratification is difficult for a child of absent parents to ignore. Even now, when I net an average of a whopping 3 views per post, it feels intensely better than zero.
My career as a cringe artist dates back to my teens. My generation pioneered the use of oversharing in front of complete strangers. Early social media prototypes like Livejournal and Myspace were riddled with the cynical groupthink circle jerks that bore today’s nihilistic anti-movements such as BLM1 and Neo-Marxism. We used defensive, Google-educated liberal sarcasm to transform Facebook from a promising college networking service to the toxic boomer-ridden hellscape that it is today. Very few of us, even today, are willing to accept that wearing a permanent smirk and insulting people for the sin of not using an Oxford Comma wasn’t the best thing for civilization’s mental health.
By the time Twitter rolled around, those of us with any sense were just about finished with social media and “connections”. Even users of long-lived platforms like Facebook have retreated into smaller social webs of people they already know or at best are friends of friends. The days of talking to random people simply because you want to talk to them / fuck them are long gone. Apps such as Discord attempted to bring conversation back recently; I don’t know if you’ve ever used it but holy shit is it an eye opening experience! I feel completely safe in asserting that everybody with a Discord account is a raging alcoholic. It doesn’t prompt conversations as much as it prompts chapters-long tirades about politics, how great your life is compared to everyone elses2, and how video game publisher X has personally ruined your life. In my experience, the formula is that after a deafening silence on the server that can last hours or days, someone will say something about their day and then thirty people will completely ignore everyone else and talk about their own lives until they realize nobody is listening to them and it goes dead again.
DIFFICULTY EXPRESSING EMOTIONS
(EXCEPT FOR THE ONES THAT DEMAND PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION TO YOU AND LIKE YOU)
I’ve started to narrow down the cause of my participation in this shit for so many years, which is why this post is on my mind today. I read a couple articles earlier today about unavailable parents and it reminded me what I am and how irrevocable my spiritual condition is. Articles and books about this topic often mention children of absent parents find it nearly impossible to express their emotions and that confused me for a long time because I express plenty of childish, attention-seeking emotions. Perhaps they should have written that children of unavailable parents have difficulty expressing adult emotions in a mature and open manner. Even then, “difficulty” wouldn’t be the right word… it’s quite impossible.
For example let’s look at the simple act of saying “no” to somebody. I don’t know about other people who had parents like I do, but I can’t do it. I can refuse to do something, but I can’t just say no. There are a few practices I’ve developed throughout my life in my methodology for not wanting to do the damn thing that follow:
- Agree to do it but lie to get out of it at the last minute.
- Agree to do it but… just… don’t.
- Make excuses for why I can’t do it.
- Give a soft “no” and follow it with an encyclopedic volume of justifications for my “no”.
- Do it and resent the person while I’m doing it.
Responses one and two are far, far less frequent now that I’m sober. I actually can’t remember the time I consciously lied to somebody (and of course we all unconsciously do it several times a day, it’s an inescapable reality). Four and five are the most common reactions I have… five more so with my family members which isn’t surprising given the amount of emotional blackmail coursing through a family like mine3.
CUT THE CORD
It took me a couple days to write this post and I hope my regular reader(s) can tell I actually edited it (which I never do). Between starting it and now, when I will post it, I’ve deleted almost all of my social media accounts4. Prior to doing so I reached out to a few people and gave them my phone number but there’s a part of me that hopes most of them never text me. I have very, very few real friends… but at least I’m starting to figure out why.
I’ve always been a people-pleaser. Since beginning sobriety several years ago, I’ve slowly been learning that pleasing everyone isn’t a good way to live your life. You only attract people who need to be pleased all the time (read: narcissists and codependent bitches). I’m not able to make better friends yet because as much as I’ve been told I need boundaries, nobody can actually teach me how to make them, but at least not having toxic people who use me for sympathy around will allow me to breathe. I’ll still have my family, unfortunately. I can deal with that for another year.
1 Even though advocates of ideas such as this are fully indoctrinated in their bullshit ideology and thus immune to critical discussion (for example, I’ve actually read “White Fragility” unlike most of the people who claim it’s the greatest book ever written. It is, objectively, dogshit), I feel it’s such a hot-button topic that I should clarify my position: Obviously anyone who says black lives don’t matter is an idiot, as are the people who say “all lives matter” in response. My issue isn’t with the idea that black people are disproportionately harassed/killed by police, it’s with all of the additional, unrelated neoliberal garbage that has become associated with it such as “white privilege”, “my truth”, and so on.
2 Always a telltale sign that someone’s life is, in fact, quite grim.
3 Which also has a formula… something akin to “I fucked up my life but since we’re related you’re going to fix it for me or I’m going to bring up every time you let me down from now until when you were an infant”.
4 I still can’t delete Facebook even though the friend I was keeping it to stay in touch with has basically abandoned me. I own an Oculus Quest 2 and you can’t use it without having a Facebook account. I’m going to try to sell it for a reasonable price and if there are any takers I’ll be able to get rid of Facebook then. It’s too new of a purchase for me to just say “fuck it” and turn it into a $500 paperweight.