CW: slight mentions of suicidal ideation, anxiety, death and depression
Good evening! Happy first day of April, and the official beginning of the #UltimateBlogChallenge! Today it seems we’re diving right into some personal stuff, but I have my cup of coffee, my dog, and my hair in a bun. (flaunting that suburban mom life, minus the trophy husband and I guess the kids, but hey.)
Growing up, I’ve always had an issue with communication. It was always difficult to explain what I wanted to say and what I meant without it not quite landing right. I struggled to fit in because I was nerdy, quiet, shy and even before I knew it, anxious. Oh, and I guess being blind has something to do with it, too. When confronted with difficulties, I shut down, unable to articulate what exactly I wanted people to understand. So, it’s funny to me years later, when people tell me I’m good with words. I strongly believe that I am not. Instead, I just say what I desperately want people to understand and hope it just lands right.
As I grew older, I turned to music, joining multiple choirs, doing theater, and using other people’s words to pretend those were the words I wanted to tell people. In my teen years, I especially struggled with my identity, becoming aware of how people viewed me and that magnified my anxiety. Knowing what I do now, it’s safe to say I suffered from suicidal ideation, depression, and severe anxiety. (Sorry parentals, but I had to find this truth first.) I eventually grew tired of finding music that was at once my own and not my own because they weren’t my words. So, I turned to songwriting.
I’ll admit, I was terrible at writing music. I dabbled in guitar, I could sing, but the words… just didn’t fit. I hated everything I wrote and repeatedly wrote and rewrote the same lyrics, hoping for that golden moment when things made sense. If you’re one of the few lucky ones, I may let you see my terrible writing. Another truth: I wrote while in Algebra II and Precalculus class. Sorry again, mom.
For years after my foray into songwriting, I wrote blog posts off and on, going so far as to create a Tumblr and several different WordPress accounts in which to try to express myself. It became a constant uphill battle of being consistently overwhelmed and not understanding that my feelings were not for my own dumb brain, (which I often did think it was), but because I could only retain so much information before my anxiety brain was ablaze with too many words; a mix of my own that wanted to get out and the words that wanted to force themselves in. This is how, in 2019, I began planning, writing, advertising, and recording a website/podcast with a group of talented individuals.
We wrote scripts, brainstormed kickstarter ideas, recorded podcasts that never got published. Unfortunately, I was simultaneously bombarded with quite literally the worst personal year of my life. My anxiety peaked, I didn’t pass classes, and it seemed a lot of people I cared about were either dying or facing some adversity I couldn’t help them. So, while trying to juggle this project, my life, and the fact I was barely sleeping for much of the second half of the year, I was on a downhill slope that only got worse before it started eventually got better.
When I eventually returned to my side projects, I was frustrated and yet again overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work I had to do. So… I broke it down. I tore things apart to slowly piece them back together like a 1000-piece puzzle. And that’s how we got here. This site isn’t perfect, but I did most of this rebuild by myself… but that’s still not why I write.
Now that I’m 13 posts into this blog, I’m slowly starting to realize that I write not just for myself, but I write because I’m finally not afraid of my own words. I reserve a lot of my words and my silent but sometimes obvious struggles to express how I feel only to the people closest to me because I will admit, I am kind of blunt, and that doesn’t hit home very well. I’ve slowly started turning my writing that I save for explaining my feelings and my thoughts into words that the public will eventually read. Whether they will understand it is completely up to them, but it’s here. I’m here and I write because I still fail to communicate effectively 100 percent of the time, (even as a communications major), and furthermore, because it just feels like it’s something I should be doing.
The other day, my aunt and I exchanged this text conversation in which she told me to write a book. Here it is:
Me: I wouldn’t know where to start.
Aunty Margie: From the beginning, duh!!!
Aunty Margie: Or from a certain point in your life if it’s hard to start from the beginning.
Aunty M: Why do I know that you are brilliant, but you don’t KNOW you are brilliant?
Me: Uh…. Because insecurities, anxiety, depression, and maybe blindness being the thing people ALWAYS see me for instead of who I am.
Aunty Margie: Not me. I see amazing strength, an academic achiever, an overcomer, and an overall stellar person.
Me: …..
That brief, but impactful text conversation is ultimately why I write. I wish I could say I believe every word of my sweet Aunt’s message has been something repeated to me over the years, and every time I reject it. Every time I hear any of these things, or that I should write a book, I remember everything that it took to get me here and I end up feeling like an exhausted, wrung out sponge that would really just like a nap. But I write so maybe one day I can hear these words and accept them as truth, because right now, I don’t. At the writing of this post, I hope the people close to me who repeatedly are exasperated with me for not believing their words will keep being exasperated a little longer. These affirmations are things I so desperately need because this constant uphill battle makes me feel like my words are worthless.
But who knows? Maybe one day I’ll actually write that book. However, I don’t know if now is the right time. There’s still so much that people won’t know or understand about me until I’ve fully flushed them out, and for now, those who truly care will just have to be patient. I’m ever growing and ever changing. Please give me the grace to do so and forgive me my mistakes in doing so, but ultimately… it’s why I write.