A Top Five List, Some Resolutions, and The Usual
First, my Top Five Happies for the Week. To prove I can rejoice in the phenomenal goodness in my life. I will be doing my best to post this feature regularly. Not because I believe in RightThink or the power of positive thinking, no. The inventory changes nothing. It's a list, not a magic spell.
Counting my blessings does ground me in clean emotional soil and gives me a solid foundation for creative focus. Tidying up the mind by putting the trophies on a shelf opens up space for other thoughts and feelings. Call it clearing the deck. Here are my big five this week:
5. I wake up every day with 3/5's of my Mazlow's hierarchy covered plus a little. That is more than I ever dreamed of achieving at multiple points in my life. It's amazing, and I am infinitely thankful.
3. Three lovely reviews went up for Novices from people who have no personal investment in pleasing or placating me. Three people went to the effort of casting a vote of confidence in me. That will never stop astonishing and humbling me.
2. A blogger posted a rave review for Controlled Descent and gave me interview exposure--again, this comes from someone who knows me only from my words. Yes, that makes a difference in the emotional weight it carries. Affirmation is always best served on a bed of cool objectivity.
1. Surprise outreach & deeply meaningful gifts on my birthday from peers and fans. I don't want lawyers breathing down my neck, so I won't post the picture of Spiderman reading my novel, but it's my screen wallpaper now. Anything that can displace Tony Stark...well. That's special.
The Pundits Who Advise The World On Everything say I should stop there and only show the happy side of myself. "Curate your image online," they counsel. Catch readers with honey, not vinegar. Think Happy Thoughts.
|Me. All knotty 'n stuff.|
Not going to happen. I can hold gratitude and frustration together in my two hands at once. I feel joy and sorrow together more often than not. I refuse to cram my emotions and experiences onto some cosmic balancing scale. They are more complex than weights and measures. The "good" and the "bad" in my life are intertwined, knotted and inextricable, changing with every breath and beat of existence. I refuse to pretend otherwise.
I am a demanding, intense, expressive, assertive force of creation, and I will not be confined by nice. When it comes to online interaction, I am not feeling love, and it's time to deal with that issue.
Some people make New Year's Resolutions. I make mine at Midsummer. Last year I resolved to commit completely to the path I started the previous autumn. I determined to make this writing gig a Real Thing. To embrace writer as my identity, make myself visible as one online and in the real world, and see how deep the rabbit hole went.
It goes to the center of the earth and beyond. The internet takes and gives and holds everything within its electronic embrace. I have discovered incredible people here (and far fewer jerks than I expected. So far...) Still and all, everything online is amplified and aggravated, and a year has been enough. Too much, really. I have words to write that won't get written if I continue to hope for support from the inhabitants of this smoke & mirrors world. I will starve on a diet of hypocritical hype and no-effort enthusiasm.
It's too easy to get sucked into believing that people care when they don't. I'm not equipped for nuance. I can function in a world of graduated meanings, but translating from my native binary is exhausting and stressful. All in, or out of the game. That's how my brain is wired, and it's one reason I have so few friends. I wear them out.
Online the distancing process has been faster. Real-life friends take years give up. Online it's only taken months. I have (as usual) exhausted goodwill by not playing nice, by not putting others before myself, by craving attention at inconvenient times and demanding unreasonable efforts, and overall for "not understanding that people have lives." (Odd, how my life is never discussed
when others need me...)
I am labeled an asshole because I don't accept what I don't want "with good grace." I am stamped with the Scarlet N because I don't have the energy to put on a happy shell. I am never sufficiently grateful for crumbs of attention tossed to me without sincere interest. My courtesies are lacking.
And of course it won't hurt me to call me asshole, shun me, or take me to task because I must be strong or I wouldn't act that way. (That's a comforting myth for the self-righteous, but it's a lie.)
It's my own fault for interacting with shadows and mistaking reflections for reality. My unhappiness also in no way diminishes my deep gratitude to the people who are supportive. The ones who save their coffee cash, and write reviews and push my books on friends because that's what real friends of authors do? All fifteen or so of you? You are my pillars of happy in a sea of grump.
I will avoid ultimatums because I know my bitterness always washes away at every tiny hint of outreach or concern. I am grateful for crumbs. It's how I'm built, how my scars have shaped me. It's also why I need to push away more, this coming year. If you can't handle being nipped, steer clear. I have teeth, and I will be using them more often, with less guilt.
Gonna be interesting, yeah.