…and you’ve all seen how I use commas.
CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of suicidal thoughts. A good deal of cursing.
A message to 2017:
This year is, in my opinion, welcome to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut off a cliff into a Sarlacc pit.
I had a great birthday, by the way. That’s not sarcasm. I got to spend time with my favorite people, drank a lot of Mexican Mules, ate an enormous vegan raspberry mocha birthday cake (that I didn’t even have to bake myself!), and put out a new book that week, so, yay me! I don’t want to downplay the loveliness of all of that, especially since it came in a week that I was a) on my fucking period and b) having some really unpleasant emotional crap.
As soon as the 19th passed, however, my mind immediately went into “OKAY TIME FOR 2018 TO GET HERE BRING ON THE WORKBOOKS AND NEW PLANNERS BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, FUCK THIS YEAR.”
I have zero reason to believe that 2018 will be any better for the world or myself, but at this point, I’m still anxious to get there, because 2018 has one obvious advantage: It isn’t motherfucking 2017.
I’ve been trying to figure out why 2017 was so much worse for me mentally than 2016 (I’m not talking globally – I think we can identify a large, tantrum-throwing, tangerine-tinted reason it’s been bad for the world) even though 2016 was a trip to the special hell for a lot of people (can we please agree to stop holding beers for anybody?), and I think I’ve hit upon at least one thing, a phrase that I feel applies to most of the last 11 months:
Passive suicidal ideation.
Important Clarification: I am not now, nor have I been, planning to kill myself. I swore years ago I would never do that, and my brother’s decision to put a gun to his head in 2004 only solidified that resolve. You’re probably thinking of active ideation, which is what we typically think of when the topic of suicide comes up: Someone wants to die, and that someone has a plan, or is trying to decide on a plan. They intend to take steps – or they’re at least coming up with steps.
Passive ideation is more of a “…what if I just let it happen?” What if I don’t lock the doors? What if I don’t look both ways? What if I don’t get that lump checked out? What if I keep drinking? What if…
What if I just stop trying to take care of my body at all, and keep eating horrible, dairy-and-fat-and-sugar laden food for every meal and not exercising until at some point I have a heart attack or become diabetic and my body gives out on me? How long would that take, I wonder? Would I be able to stop myself in time to avoid permanent damage? Would I even care by the time I got genuinely sick? Or by then would I feel so awful every hour of every day that I’d be looking forward to that MI or stroke?
It’s the ultimate in societally-assisted suicide, isn’t it? The whole world WANTS you to eat shit, and moreover wants you to hate yourself for it. One commercial sells you the 2 pound bacon burger, the next sells you the gym membership. Being “healthy” is considered being morally upright, being fat (regardless of circumstance) and being sick (regardless of circumstance) are considered the just fruits of a slovenly lifestyle. People know what your body karma is just by looking at you, right? Why not just go with it? If you’ve dealt with hate and sneering because of your body your whole life, isn’t there a certain macabre satisfaction in proving them “right?”
If it sounds absurd, well, it is. It’s utter fucking madness. But apparently at some point this year it’s what I decided my fate would be. Years of slowly encroaching body hate that have eaten away at my self-worth like a cancer just sort of took over, and I stopped giving a shit about much of anything. I just sort of…gave up on myself. I was going through the motions of what I thought my life should be, but aside from finishing SHADOW RISING, I didn’t give a damn about life. I was just waiting for something to kill me.
Even better: To me being vegan isn’t just an ethical choice, it’s a spiritual one. It means embracing compassion and kindness; it means honoring what I consider holy, and one of those things is body autonomy. I don’t feel like I have the right to claim ownership over the body of another creature – certainly not to the point to pay someone to torment and kill them just for my own appetites. But the consequence of that is, if I didn’t believe I myself deserved that compassion and kindness, I could never overcome the cognitive dissonance that kept me from being able to stick with my ethical choices. Either my beliefs apply to all animals, including this one, or they are incomplete at best and hypocritical at worst.
So I embraced another kind of hypocrisy: Say one thing but do another. Fuck the consequences. It’s practically the goddamn American Way.
Actually I think the appropriate term is “passive-aggressive suicidal ideation.”
This is all especially galling when you consider I LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK ON THIS SHIT.
But it just goes to show you that the messages and beliefs we receive don’t just go away because we do the work of self-acceptance; they can sneak back in, chip away at all that effort, until you’re back where you started. Loving yourself is both a practical and spiritual practice that you have to continually adapt and renew to reflect who you are and where you are. The world is constantly battering at your defenses looking for weak spots. If you want to protect your heart without walling yourself off from the good stuff, you have to be fucking relentless at gatekeeping.
Do as I say, not as I do.
I can’t say for sure what brought me to the realization of what I was doing to myself; I haven’t taken any real steps to change course, but I’ve become aware of my behavior and am paying attention now, studying myself like both an autoanthropologist and a shaman, trying to read my own bones. If I am nothing else, I am excellent at uncovering a character’s inner workings, and what protagonist better to delve into than the one of my own life?
A number of Large Realizations have hit me since my birth-week and I think they’re good ones; I’ve decided to bring some things back into my life that have been sorely missed, which I’ll talk about more later, but overall I’m taking things slowly, as the energy of the year’s end dictates. You can’t spend months and months fucking something up and then instantly un-fuck it.
The waning months of the year have definitely lived up to their symbolism. I have a huge pile of figurative crap I’ve been carrying around all year, so heavy it literally makes me go to bed and sleep and sleep. I have years of disappointments, sadness, anger, fear, past accomplishments and failures, judgments, triumphs, tragedies, and those obnoxious little hopes I can’t seem to shake clinging to my back.
This time of year we decide what’s worth holding onto.
I am worth holding onto, goddamn it.
This time of year is the time to decide what lives and what dies.
There are a lot of things I want to let die.
But I am not one of them.
It’s time I started fucking acting like it.
NOTE: I’m turning of comments here because this sort of post usually attracts lots of diet talk and wellness-evangelizing, and I’m not in the mood for either. I’m glad giving up gluten revolutionized your whatever and that ketogenic bone broth vagina steaming changed your life, but the internet is full of places for that kind of discussion and this is not one of them.Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!