"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Ernest Hemingway said that or something like it, or at least that's what the internet claims.
And for a long time that's what I did here. This was fun and this was journaling my life but this was therapy, too. It's hard to explain but the sitting down and bleeding is where it's really at with writing; I write all day long some days, content marketing pieces and catalog blurbs and other people's bios, without feeling like I've written anything at all.
It's the emotional release. The letting the blood of your feelings drip onto (what is now virtual) paper, like how medieval physicians drained bad humors through blood letting. It doesn't actually help at all, but it allows me to feel like I've done something and relieves me of a few ounces of emotion.
The surprising part about this particular medium is that other people stop to look at the wound, and often share the scar they have from a similar one, or a story about how they're bandaged up in the same way right now, or sometimes they just say, "Well, you do bleed beautifully, though," or they email me and tell me their innermost fears and secrets and dreams and I think, "Oh my god, me too, me too, and we'll be okay."
Hemingway needed some of that in his own life probably.
And then, as with all good things, it got complicated. The blog got popular. Work nudged me to do it under my own name. Local people began recognizing me from my newspaper column. The kids got older. The stories I wanted to tell weren't always my own.
So I slipped into the funny girl role, my mask online and off, when I can muster the energy to show up at all. Just a little louder, a little sillier, a little "no, not at me, look over there" instead. The autopilot, non-authentic, neutral while over-the-top, less conflicted or confrontational me with a hint of self-deprecating darkness.
Boring as fuck. Sorry about her.
There's this thing about motherhood -- womanhood? -- life? I don't know since I'm all of those things. But this thing where you're constantly giving stuff up for the sake of others. Little things like the last cookie and big things like small dreams. I'm down with that, that's the work and that's the job, but there's a realization that I've given up my voice and some of my part in my own story and I don't really know that it's a necessary sacrifice.
So. Breaking news. I'm a human being. A seriously flawed one, from the evidence I've been gathering. I guess the fear is that my children or reputation will somehow be tarnished if I'm honest about the extent of that (let's pretend we don't have years where I've already revealed it for the sake of this conversation, okay?) or maybe no one will love me.
That's pretty dumb though. So I'm going to just get that out of the way now -- I suck at all kinds of stuff. Even more lately. Like, you'd think I'd just get better and better at everything but that's not the case at all. I mean, I don't think I've played it off like I'm the non-prison version of Martha Stewart or anything and I think I admit that I suck often enough for you to believe it, but I just want a full on disclaimer from this point on that anything I say or do should not reflect badly on anyone else.
Unless I specifically tell you that person is at fault/to be blamed. Then you do it without question because whose friend are you anyway?
Anyway. That was a long and convoluted intro to announce the separation of my marriage. And writing about it right now is a dick move because I haven't even told some of our closest friends and don't know which family members know.
I am unable to communicate, really. But I need to bleed. Please don't take it personally. I probably would, but I'm asking you not to.
After 19 years of being together, I am working on finding a new way in the world. It is utterly, hilariously, horrifically, exhaustingly, chaotically, mathematically impossible in a way that makes me laugh, cry, shrug, shriek, sob, scheme and sigh all day long. From SWAT teams showing up next door at 2am, to frozen pizzas melting onto the oven heating element, to flu and pink eye and co-pays and failed job interviews, learning the pool pump and investigating the water heater and remembering trash day and wondering how grills work. The other night I had a headache and stayed awake until 3am wondering if the cats would start eating me before the kids woke up if I died overnight.
I challenge the children to rap battles and dance offs in the kitchen and then go cry on the bathroom rug while praying to a God I'm really reluctant to believe in. I help with homework I don't understand at the exact same time I'm sending out my constantly revised resume, while the frozen pizza is melting onto the oven element. I burn all the food, all the time. I have way too many cats and I could not live without them. I bought myself gummy bears the other night and lost a crown on the third one in. I also lost 10 pounds, which should be great but my clothes don't fit and motherfuckers keep telling me to eat a sandwich.
Don't tell people to eat a sandwich, maybe just make them a sandwich.
My personal mantra went from "You are strong. You are smart. You are sweet" (all things I don't quite believe) to "Just keep swimming" to "You're not dying" (and sometimes that fact makes me mad).
I mourn my marriage and fear my future.
AND IT'S FINE. I'M FINE.
That's the crazy part. I have literally no reason to have any hope at all, and I'm still dumb enough to do it. It's amazing.
I'm so human and that's so wonderful, even in the moments I wish it would stop. Life is an incredible mess, and I mean incredible in the good sense of the word. It's fine. It really is.
One day it will be.
So. That's where we are right now. I don't know where we're going. There's an excellent chance we might burn the house down while trying to get there. People may starve along the way. I could end up homeless, which would be an exciting plot twist as long as I had wifi. Our journey will be more Oregon Trail and less Eat. Pray. Love.
Eat. Pray. Love was some bullshit anyway.
But I might need to bleed all over the place while we work this out and I need the world to know that I need you right now even if I'm still laughing too loudly sometimes. Thank you in advance for loving me anyway.