And then I got an email from a friend I have known, but not heard from in, a long time. It started out like this:
Hey Ranger-So to begin with, I'll concede- that's what I'm up against. The man is not a dummy and he's not even a little dull- and in fact has probably given me some of the sagest wisdom of my life (one piece of which involved, in my post-breakup madness, bourbon, a bath, and eating a steak with my bare hands. Oh hell, hang on. Specifically it involved cooking a steak and eating it with my bare hands while downing a bottle of bourbon in the bath. That's it.) But here's the kicker, that's just the opening of the email. My long-lost part-time, long distance friend then goes on to say:
You've got a new name. Either you got married or you joined the world's worst witness protection program. Congrats/condolences as appropriate.
I was actually reading your blog a few weeks ago. (I'm not a stalker, I happened to be in my inbox here and ran the mouse over your Google+ icon, which made me curious, which led me to your blog, etc.) You're a courageous motherfucker, pouring it all out there like that.Well shucks.
And hell. That had me mulling over a couple of things... at what point, what entry, what period of my life that is written, played, poured out in this blog, did he begin reading? Because honestly, if you begin at certain entries... you're likely to think that I should have been hospitalized... and/or lobotomized. I hardly recognize myself- and the word courageous rarely comes to mind when I look back over the span of this thing.
In fact, had it been left up to me, that sentence would have read something like:
You're a desperate motherfucker, pouring it all out there like that.Because frequently, that's what drives me to do this. To write, to unravel, to unleash all of this language and thought and emotion into the world through this particular vehicle. Not all the time is it a bad desperation. There are many posts that come out of me from a desperation to acknowledge, to educate, to share, to celebrate the world around me and the places I go and see; the people I know and those I meet along the way. And that's not at all bad. Not even a little.
But I suspect the posts he stumbled upon are the bad ones. The ones driven by a madness and a desperation to get some of the toxic self-loathing from which I frequently suffer out of me and onto the page- because it can't hurt me there, right? I suspect he found the ones that are less courageous than they are confrontational and maybe a little cowardly. Because some things don't need to be talked about- or maybe they do need to be talked about, but between the privacy of loved-ones, not here in an open forum. But even then, I think 'but I made a promise. A long time ago. To be honest. Always.' And so that desperation to write and reveal is hounded by a need to be as open as I can be. For myself and for others.
Courage? I'm not sure about it. I am honest. Or I try to be. I am honest about myself, the state of my being, the state of my brain. I am honest about the demons that haunt me and ride in the back of my brain like remoras. It might not be the best policy, but it's the one that keeps me on my toes- and keeps me coming back here.
And until the madness ends or the desperation quiets- and honestly, I hope neither of those things happens- until then.