Filled with Caveats
So I started writing a Survival Guide after the ina…inaug…I just can’t. You know what I’m talking about. And since more and more we weirdos need to help each other, I'm gonna put it out on this little blog of mine with the hope that it contributes something positive.
If you read something that you’d like to share, feel free. That’d be awesome! Even more awesome is if you’ll also remember to credit who wrote it (that’d be me). Thank you!!
Today: Introduction and Installment #1: Many Path of Weird.
We just had an election and I’m not handling it well. Right now, the 45th president of the United States is in office and the executive ordering of the constitution has gone…oh who am I kidding, it’s batshit off the charts new territory frightening and maddening and sickening. I’m exhausted and in a state of whatthefuck but I know the only way I will get through, and thus be of any help to the rest of humanity, is to get my own oxygen mask on and my subversive, creative ass moving, even if it drags.
This booklet bubbled up just trying to figure out how to survive this new situation. Not how to make it comfortable because that ain’t gonna happen, but how to protect my internal resources so that I’m any good at all – which I want to be and have to be in this small and sometimes even beautiful world. I don’t want to strive for comfort. I finally know myself enough to realize who (gawddammit Mary, it’s whom) I want to face in the mirror. And I’m learning how to do that while being mindful of my needs so that what I have to offer the world has a chance of being worth more than a burned-out piece of crap. Lovely visual, I know.
Yup, I need this. If I actually get through writing these tips and ideas, weird theories and rambling nuggets of arguable wisdom as an exercise slash testimonial slash so I don’t slash my own arteries, then it’s a win-win. And road-tested. Seriously, I can only cry and feel useless for so long, just as a diet of hemp smoothies and hoarded chocolate can only go so far. Time to level up, or at least recognize the need for say, celery, now and then. A big part of this discussion is realizing that doing something, anything, that refills your well is worth doing. If only for that reason. It really is like putting your oxygen mask on first, so that you can be, oh I don’t know, ALIVE. If, say, you end up with a book, a new blue dress, and an interview on Stephen Colbert*, then life’s a bowl of cherries and you scored. If on the other hand, you end up with a cat painting hanging in your bathroom because that’s where there’s wall space and you’re committed to saying YES to your creativity, that’s a major score, too. This is for real. It is about survival. Trying to maintain a life you weren’t meant to live is a recipe for disaster, frustration, and a neverending feeling of uselessness. So stop, assess, be brave and reboot in your correct operating system – and we all might have a chance.
This is for us weirdos. The world needs us here, even if they don’t know it. Let’s be strong and brave and productive and annoying!
*Okay, maybe that’s my fantasy.
MANY PATHS OF WEIRD
My particular brand of weird involves Oversensitivity. And touchy, dramatic, moody, mercurial, crazy, angry, bipolar, borderline, weird, challenging, excitable, awkward, confusing...
Empathetic, aware, creative, sensitive, thoughtful, resourceful, smart, funny, weird, challenging, excitable, awkward and trying really, really hard! Yeah, I like that better.
The first fifty years of my journey found me down a path of, sheesh, all sorts of mental health professionals. Medical ones too, but they usually sent me back to the brain diggers. That is, people who make their money off mental health care consumers. That is, some good and some not so good (aka, kind of a joke). I learned from them all, eventually. Hate to admit that and never to the duds, but there you go. That, Grasshopper, is irony. Or shit, is it? All I know is I learned one of my most important lessons as soon as I quit a group therapy class and haven’t regretted possibly being an asshole about it. But that’s a whiskey discussion. The lesson? Embrace your asshole. Let me rephrase. Sometimes you get to be the asshole, and that’s okay. My aim is to be the asshole I was meant to be, and to help you find yours. Maybe I should just move on, eh?
Anywhoodles poodles, I’ve come up with a list of helps and hindrances to navigating a world that’s making less and less, oh who am I kidding? one that never has made a whole lot of sense. I’ve backed into a lot of these “discoveries” simply trying to stay alive for my loved ones (yes, sometimes it gets down to that). It’s funny how that inner survivor kept pushing me toward answers despite being also really good at ignoring or negating them. I called myself a stupid loser or worse for years, while at the same time developed a theory that I wouldn’t realize until I started writing comedy and it squirted out in hidden ways like only brilliant(ly clueless and lucky) writing does. And, being astute, it took strangers from the audience to tell me what my own sketches were about before I noticed that I might be on to something. It’s true. Comedy is therapy.
My theory? Thank you for asking. I like to think about how we’re all made out of the same stardust. The way my brain makes connections it would then follow that somewhere in us we have all the knowledge of the universe. No biggee, right? Maybe that’s why man had to come up with an omniscient Other. That’s a lot of power inside a bunch of weirdos. Let’s make ‘em believe it has to do with someone else, maybe a very confusing old man who lives in the sky. Yup, that makes more sense. So what if this little star theory works better for me? Hang on, there’s more.
How does one access this smartypants cosmic dust? I think it’s reached when we can connect with the time we were our most pure. Whatever age you can remember being assured of your perfection, before the world started telling you otherwise. That kid felt very little space between the world and herself. I was that kid until I started first grade and somehow learned that to read a room and adjust my behavior was a good thing. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. Okay, I am saying it’s bad for a five-year old’s biggest concern (and for the next 45 or so years) to be what everyone else on the planet thinks of her to the extent that she tries to hide every aspect deemed questionable. And those things I couldn’t hide I learned to twist into something that would make people laugh. At me. Oh, I mean with me. I felt hilarious, but hollow. <cue violins>
What’s amazing is how fast I found her when I acknowledged, or discovered, not who I think the world thinks I should be, but who I really am. That’s when I stopped trying to figure out what was wrong with me and started remembering all that’s right. The day the neurodivergent piece fell into place was like a keystone dropping into the arch I’ve been trying my whole life to hold together with fart jokes and anger. It wasn’t a missing piece; it was simply the hidden stepping forward. After spending I don’t know how long crying on my kitchen floor, I phoenixed up my newly loved ass and began Life.
That’s my theory. Sorry I ramble. In a nutshell, we’re all just trying to find our way back to our best kid, who’s kind of a knowitall.