I’d always intended to post “Life Support Systems” online, sometime after the journal was published, and finally figured it was a good time to do it, well, a couple weeks before it went live, I guess.
I was not in a frame of mind where I particularly wanted to reread it, and have all that fluffy nice uplifting stuff in my face, and after putting myself on the schedule, I got into a frame of mind even LESS wanting to reread it, and thought about cancelling posting it completely. Or putting it off for some future time, because I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to agree with any kind comments someone might leave. “Yeah, once upon a time I thought that was great, too, but now I kind of want to set it on fire. I don’t even recognize the person who wrote that. UGH.”
I didn’t have a very good time of things this past winter, and the thought of attempting to take my own advice was impossible (or Theirs, though They largely didn’t repeat any of the “focus on the good things” stuff this time; I was also very much not wanting to talk to Them, and things went very awfully several times when I tried). I didn’t even want to try to take that advice, that’s how angry and/or depressed I was.
It’s still lingering, but even awful moods don’t last forever, and we’ve had some unseasonably hot and very sunny weather, and that’s helped lift my mood up substantially (in some regards; I think some of this is going to hang around for months, because I’m still really bitter about how things went), but I still feel like I’m only just barely starting to emerge from winter.
I’ve also had some more reminders recently that yeah, it’s been right about 2 years now since Loki did the thing where I had that major breakthrough/breakdown regarding my ex-husband/his abuse, and hey maybe I’m still dealing with the results of that . . . two years on, for fuck’s sake (of course I know I’m still dealing with the results of the relationship). The massive wall got blown to bits, but I’m still tripping over the rubble, two years on, and what is there to do about the foundations? How long does it take to “recover” from that sort of catharsis anyway? I don’t know. How much is even from that and how much is just more awareness of crap I’d been carrying for many more years? (How much is job situation exhaustion on top of everything else? Fuck everything, that’s how much.)
A few posts and essays crossed my path, one I’ve read before but found a very needed re-read, about C-PTSD. I don’t know if I’d ever be diagnosed, but an awful lot of what people describe when they write about it sounds a little too familiar, so it’s useful to read and keep in mind. Helps remind me that this does take time, and maybe I should stop being surprised and confused that I feel so easily exhausted.
I haven’t felt much like writing much of anything here for a while (obviously); it all felt like too much effort. But I’ve been composing this stupid post in my head for like, a week or more, and now it isn’t behaving and staying brief or in the order I originally had in mind.
Anyway. I had a plan for this, and it was a good plan, it made sense! It flowed!! But I never could get up the energy to draft it up and so HERE WE ARE.
Since my original perfect segue is lost due to memory failure, one of the other things I wanted to bring up was a little bit more about writing at G&R, because that’s what started this whole post off, right?
Over the last several months, I’ve seen multiple people in different places who seem to have some misperceptions about how writing gets done there, and how much the 40-or-so different writers agree with each other.
There is no group decision about what specific topics get written about. Essays do not get approved in advance by the other writers or by Rhyd or the board or anyone – unless someone wants someone else to review a piece in progress, but I don’t even know how often that happens. The process for the regular writers is basically this: you want to write a thing? Okay, pick a date, put your name on the schedule, then write the thing and schedule the post to go live for that date. If you think you’ll miss the deadline, contact the people who are acting as editors so they can see about moving someone else’s piece to your date.
We’re not a hive mind. There’s something like 40 people who write there; I’d be shocked if any two of them agree with each other 100% of the time. I don’t know if I’ve read anything there that I was 100% in agreement with, or could find nothing in it to critique, and hilariously, that includes some of my own essays.
I don’t feel much need to engage in public disagreement in comments, however, or write my own posts disagreeing with someone else. That’s pretty much a general operating rule for me, not specific to G&R writers. I have to think things through pretty seriously before I will do that, decide if it’s likely to be beneficial or necessary or will help clarify something – and sometimes, I need time to careful compose (and rewrite) what I want to say so that I’m sure I’m communicating what I really mean to instead of just having an emotional reaction at someone (and often, by the time I get to that point, I no longer feel a need to express anything, or I’ve decided it probably just isn’t worth it, too much time has passed, something).
There is a lot I could disagree with, publicly – I’ve seen a lot of writing where I’m not sure the ideas stated really flow well, or make the case well, or [various and sundry other flaws] . . . it’s always been easy for me to see those things in writing, and I used to spend a lot more time pointing them out and arguing with people about it, especially if it was about something I really cared about.
But gods, I got tired. I got so tired of fighting, so tired of trying to express my perspective and have it be acknowledged instead of dismissed or invalidated or told (one way or another) that it wasn’t acceptable for me to have that view and anyway, the audience sure as fuck wasn’t interested in changing based on what I said, and he always found some way to be “right” no matter what I had to say (oh ex-husband baggage, I wish I could just lose you in an airport). I kept it up for years after I was tired of it, because part of me will always be that critic, and part of me will always want to point these things out, and while I slowed down a lot, I hadn’t decided to just give it up.
I got even more fatigued with standing up for things I believed in while part of a (non-religious) community I was involved with back in Boston. It was important then, to say what I felt was the best way for the group to handle certain things (there was physical space involved), because this would have very real, tangible impacts on me and everyone else. There were some fundamental differences in worldview between the “management” and management’s closest allies/working companions, and me and what felt like a tiny minority. (I think most people simply didn’t care about some of the hot-button issues.)
I don’t regret it; it did make a difference, but it was so tiring. Even though they didn’t go with some of the worst policy decisions, it really felt like they never really understood, or wanted to understand, why we-in-opposition cared about it. (Possibly they felt similarly about us. Like I said, there were fundamental differences in worldviews.)
So when I see the people I hang around these days talk about the importance of community, and building community, and I start to think about getting more actively involved in pagan/polytheist/whatever community, my first reaction is to recoil in horror and think “fuck everything about community, leave me alone with my plants and gods and stuff.” That’s not how I really feel about having community, but gods, I got burnt and burnt out, and there are a lot of people skills I’ve never had, doing the nicey-nice people stuff isn’t one of my strengths, and I didn’t get the right “girl training” to have developed it despite myself.
And since two years ago, I am way, way more sensitive to dealing with conflict than I ever was before. Sometimes a short conversation with a coworker, explaining simply how what they did didn’t follow process, and creates unnecessary work for me, please don’t do it again, leaves me shaking, even if they’re responding in a neutral or even positive way. And those are the simple “conflicts,” where nothing about it is personal, and I don’t expect anyone to gaslight me or invalidate anything I’m saying. (Though I have had some bad experiences where a coworker seemed to take the worst possible interpretation of my advice, and that’s been a set back. But I have to tell them sometimes. I hate doing that. I especially hate telling the same people the same things. . . I hate my job.)
Now on the other hand, if someone asked me what I thought about what someone wrote, and we could have that conversation one-on-one, I’d probably be willing to engage, because then I’d know they were interested in what I thought, so they’d be likely to be open to hearing an opinion that might be different from their own. Otherwise, that path of disagreement too often brings on a level of fear that I’m not interested in trying to push past unless I feel really strongly compelled.
And I’m just so tired.