Tom Kuegler’s piece, “I’m Tired of Being A Sellout Blogger” published in The Startup (the morning that I wrote this draft but couldn’t figure out a way to change it without being hella awkard) really struck a chord with me.
Thank you Tom, that helped pinpoint the exact reason I’ve been struggling with writing/not writing all while working terrible jobs that left me permanently ill, broke AF and struggling with residual trauma from psychological abuse, sexual harassment etc from these delightful workplace environments.
Everything can be an environment. Even hell. Doesn’t mean it’s healthy or sustainable, I mean come on now.
Must quit being a sellout. *DEEP BREATH*
So in the deep dark gooety parts that aretruly me, well, I swear a lot. And its equisite both in its descriptiveness and my utter delight in cooking up creative phrases that could curl your nose hairs.
I talk about sex, political control, divorce and the awkard stuff that feels like squeaky cheese in the brain but really needs to be said.
That worked out fine until people started coming down harshly on it. Like when you mention the iciness of your parent’s marrige to Dad’s new girlfriend. It does not go over well.
There’s a lot of pressure to be proper, quiet, not rock the boat in the conservative Christian culture. That pressure, it adds up and starts beating you down. After a lot of lashback, I began to shut up.
Sometimes it’s in your own best interest when someone has economic, sexual & reputational power over you.
The women are just a bad as the men in this regard, I’ll have you know. In fact, in some ways, they are worse. Women slither in and find the tenderest weak spots to punch in you. Men tend to use anger, (sexual) harassment & intimidation. Which makes more sense since the male gender of any species is often more physically imposing.
The psychological pressure trickled down to my writing starting very early on. Mother dug through my drawers until she found my hidden diary, read it and punished me for being honest about my thoughts. Over and over again, it went.
I started to play it really safe and the words turned into this dishonest, bland junk that wasn’t interesting or true.
It was this protective fake reflection that I used to keep myself safe from those close to me with an agenda of keeping the conversation plastic & “polite”.
Healing from lifelong abuse, I have to say there is nothing more terrifying than an angry person who feels that they will be exposed by some non-committal thing that you said. Which of course their hurt feelings justify that you be silenced and destroyed as quickly as possible.
This has kept me back from writing. From really writing. I don’t want my family to tell me how disgusting and perverted I am from writing about sex, divorce, abuse or digging into the thorny issues of life, at large. These discussions are especially difficult when you know that there probably is no firm answer.
What boggles my mind is how stupid “polite” conversation expectations/pressures are. These are issues we are dealing with every day! And if it correlates with abuse in any way, the trauma shapes your entire reality.
Even if you’ve since escaped from the traumatic situation, your brain experiences permanent physical alteration just as if you’ve had a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
Throwing a pat “answer” to complicated emotions is bad. Throwing shame masquerading as advice is even worse.
“Just don’t even think those thoughts. You have to smash them, never acknowledge them or you’re a horrible person.” ~ Family emotional advice
Perhaps that’s part of the reason that we, as a nation are so ill. It takes crazy ingenuity to survive under the insane costs of housing, crushing student loan debt, catastrophic medical treatment costs or just the costs of monthly medical premiums, everything is out to get us except the Cookie Monster etc.
Life is hard. Why do we insist on making it harder through emotional stuffing which stresses the human body out beyond all measure?
I can list all of these issues and bring up your stress level but take comfort in this — there are a billion and one problems in the world that you probably feel responsible for fixing. However, the only problems that you are responsible for are yours.
Yourself, your family, your home, your community, your world. In that order.
I have been stumbling along to learn about the things that I can take care of. Myself. My dog. The family home. And now, writing.
We must fight for the courage to speak the truth even through the discomfort, the defensive anger and pain threaten us. Because the wearing, tedious boredom and indomitable pressure of polite silence and mealy mouthed half lies can only be silenced with the truth.
The uncomfortable, painful, freeing truth.
I can encourage you, but preaching “do as I say, not as I do” is everything that I don’t want to be.
So here we go, writing. Honestly. For real. Despite backlash and people’s insecurities and hate and family pressure and failure and trying things that suck.
It’s not writer’s block, it’s selling out. And I’m not going to be a sell-out any longer.
Thank you for reading! And tell me below if you don’t want to be a sellout anymore. We’re in this together :)