I’m a natural extrovert, so it doesn’t sit right with me to be quiet. Ever.
I work on it, because I’ve learned a few things in my life and I’m not as enamored with the sound of my own voice as I was when I was younger. I respect people, I like getting to know them and I like drawing them out into real conversation. Being on Twitter allows me to swan about and peacock and get instant dopamine hits for my idle thoughts, so I don’t always feel the need to fill the room out of natural aggression or social anxiety (yes, this does happen to extroverts, it just looks different for us.)
I also learn and process by talking. Often to myself, if no one’s around. This is both helpful and a bit of a wank at times. On one hand, it lets me get a rhythm going if I’m stuck in a feeling, but on the other, it’s easy to overshoot and logic my way out of my feelings and into theory.
This is one of my biggest issues in life: the keen ability to know exactly what my problem is but be unable or just refuse to do anything useful about it. This can range from small stuff – get off your ass and write that article, cabbage – to more important and impactful things, like my temper, resentment or caustic judgmental tendencies. Or, deeper, my keen self-hatred.
Despite this, whatever you want to call it, coping mechanism, combat tactic, protective instinct, I am finding as I get older that I do not actually enjoy trotting out my garbage bag of shit every time something hooks me.
This was not always the case.
My Clowns, My Circus
I spent a lot of years hoarding stuff in that bag of shit as some kind of weird badge like, look at me, I’m fucked up too, aren’t we all fucked up let’s be friends. I used it as bleak social collateral because hey, it’s mine, right? What’s been done to me, what I’ve participated in, the least the world can do is let me fling it around, yes?
I am not here to tell anyone how to handle their lives. At all, ever, period. Do what you need to do, handle stuff on your own time, at your own rate. The only advice I’ll ever offer a fellow meat bag on this planet is to try to do it in a way that doesn’t harm anyone else.
I am circling a particular drain right now, which I’m pretty sure is familiar for a lot of people I know. Yes, it has to do with some things that are happening, and it also has to do with bizarre, liminal gender shit that has nothing to do with it, and a general weariness and disgust and withering optimism that has to do with everything else that’s fucking going on.
I’ve trotted out the bag and, here it is. I unknotted the gnarly old plastic during an intense, week-long process at work and dumped it out all over the damn place. I burned with righteous injustice. I talked. A lot. It did not do a single thing to make me feel anything, really, much less better about any of it.
This circle that I’m in right now, it’s slower for me than some, but I’ve pressure-talked my partner into exhaustion this week and popped off at just about everyone I know. A lot of people have gotten the fast-talking comedy-routine version, which blends rage, pantomime, ancestral hand gestures and a lot of profanity. My partner has gotten frustration and yelling and a lot of bile, bless him, and he’s been very patient about it all.
Who Do I Think I Am, Exactly?
I don’t know. I have a huge ego that’s pretty brittle, and without opening the bag again here I’ll simply say that there is no one on this good, green Earth who likely despises me more than I do.
Or that’s the lie I say to myself to shield me from the idea that hey, someone probably does! And there’s very little I can do about it!
I am at a weird kind of crossroads where I know I can’t really write myself out of my anger issues or my pettiness or a lot of other stuff I have going on. My gender and self-image are mired in some dark shit. I have a combative relationship with my body and I am stuck in gleeful sloth. I am dreaming about ghosts – some truly funny after a decade of distance, and some that still make my skin crawl. I am trumpeting my fiery resistance to the heavens knowing that when shit goes down I still freeze, I still panic, I still feel heat and pressure in my throat.
I don’t think I’ll ever be done trying to entertain or being a clown in a room full of people. I do get joy out of that, as much as it’s a way to get by. But I’m choking on this anger and I’m tired of dragging this fucking bag around and reading the news and climbing back in to fling this stupid shit out of it over and over and over.
I think I’m done talking about it as a performance. I might not be done with the fucking bag, but I’m tired of rummaging in it right now. There’s stuff in there that requires real, honest work, and then there’s some shit that I threw in because I thought I should or I’m too lazy to just take it the fuck out and move on. I think it’s time to sort the trash.
Easier said than done, but that’s that.