I remember the days when I couldn’t wait to write a blog post. It used to be so much fun to come up with a funny or interesting idea and see where it might lead me. Friends would respond on Facebook and we’d have great conversations and laughs over whatever silly idea I had highlighted. I wonder what happened to those times of lightheartedness when people allowed you to be who you were and didn’t call you names and harass you for your beliefs. It disappeared, and our friendly world changed overnight. I wonder what happened to me. Why does it now feel so hard to put my thoughts out there? When did the fear of the criticism and insults take over and kill my desire? I wonder if we will ever love each other again.
I still go on adventures. I still take pictures of this beautiful place called Michigan. And I still even think of story ideas. I turn them over in my brain while I’m driving and chuckle at some of my thoughts. But I never write them down. A hate-filled person who delights in killing my spirit prodded me, “Who do you think you are that anybody would want to read all that shit?” I tried not to take it to heart. I tried not to listen. But I have to admit it has stuck in my brain and pops out when I’m trying to write. Who do I think I am? Does anyone want to read this? That has been almost five years ago. Those words are still as loud and as hurtful as they were in that moment. I was having fun. And then I was not.
I finally got off Facebook because of the venom and hatefulness. I used to love Facebook. I’d post a call for blog ideas and people would rally to give me ideas on what to write about. It was a great practice for improvisational writing, and it was connected. We had fun hanging out together, and I felt like I was in a community. Now I’m afraid of what snarky comment someone will post or, even worse, what people say behind my back. When did the world get so hateful? What happened to community and having fun with people who may even be a little different.
Now I spend an inordinate amount of time watching YouTube videos on how to make my brows look fuller. What the hell? I spent my 20s and 30s trying to tame those babies and now that they have acquiesced the world has set a new expectation. I hope that I’m alive when the fashion changes again and they are going to have to bushwhack those things back into submission. By then I won’t have any, so it won’t bother me, but it’ll be worth seeing just the same.
I just finished watching “Maid” on Netflix. It is about the reality and the pain of escaping emotional and verbal abuse. As Alex grappled with how to get help when he never HIT her, I was reminded of the power of those hateful words. But the journey out of that hellhole of abuse is not easy. It sounds depressing and maybe it would be for someone who had not experienced it, but to me it was hopeful. Not unexpectedly she is a writer. When words are the evil force that wrecks your days and holds you hostage, is it odd that we would want to harness them and become their master?
I’ve been in a couple of emotionally abusive relationships. I didn’t recognize it as such because it’s so hard to pinpoint. People excuse it as them having a bad day. They didn’t mean it. They tell you not to let it get under your skin. The abuser will say they were trying to be funny. “Don’t be so sensitive,” they add. They turn it on you and all of a sudden your hurt and pain become your own fault. At some point, you become your own abuser hurling those words back at you late at night or when you are at your most vulnerable. It eats away at you. I’ve had to protect myself again from the barrage of words that fly like my bullets at my heart. The walls go up. My words stop coming. I want to write again. I want my power back. I want my life back.