Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Words for a Decade

I don't remember any longer if I was still in the midst of this period when I coined it, but in my personal history I'd started to refer to late 2003/much of 2004 as "the shit year."

Difficult events seemed, seemed, almost to gravitate to each other. I lost two grandparents: first my mother's dad Bob, then my father's mom Jean. I got downsized out of a job I'd had for three years. I was letting stress make me have trouble sleeping: after my firing but while I was still covered by that job's health plan, I got checked by a doctor and found that stress was literally the only cause of the problem, and I briefly had a prescription for sleeping pills until I decided I didn't like how the medicine affected me and I worked, as much as I could, to get better sleep other ways. After all, the sleep problems treated by the meds were symptoms, not the overall problem. Which, mostly, I've dealt with.

Meanwhile, that year? I scrambled. I worked odd jobs (ranging from organizing bank printouts to installing dorm room furniture), helped out in at least one family emergency -- family members were having a crisis in another country, which meant an aunt of mine had to leave quickly to help, which meant Mom helped get my aunt over to said country, which meant said aunt needed a house- and dog-sitter at the last minute and that sitter was me -- did A LOT of reading, and tried to be there for people. Be useful and helpful in other ways than through regular work. And deal with the stress and everything else.

Which I dealt with by writing.

Mainly at the now long-gone Caitlin R. Kiernan/Poppy Z. Brite bulletin board, where I'd been a reader since 2002 (reading Kiernan and Brite's work as well) and a participant since 2003. Several of my fellow participants also had their own LiveJournal accounts. Early in 2004 I started visiting those on an ad-hoc basis. I commented, using the Anonymous form but making sure to sign my name. It took until September 22nd, 2004 for me to get around to setting up an account. I can take a while to take care of stuff.

I'm amused that I really did set it up mostly to comment, but I'd been doing a form of blogging for years by then anyway, as family and friends who received my long "blast emails" know. I should have been blogging. And, eventually, I was.

Blogging has helped me break out of the shell in which I sometimes cocoon myself.

Blogging has helped me reach friends literally around the world.

Blogging gave me a chance, several years ago, to have maybe the strongest crush I've had in my life; a crush that, thank everything, I didn't use as an excuse to be stupid to a friend, someone who is still a friend. Opening up to said friend and processing why I felt the way I felt -- and understanding that, for many good reasons, staying friends was the very best outcome -- was a needed growth moment. There were so many ways I could have handled that badly; I handled it OK, because I didn't like the alternative. I like to keep liking myself.

Blogging has led to drama. I've been stupid on this forum; I've been thoughtless; I've reacted badly. Some former friends are former friends because of how I behaved here. I've gotten needed talking-tos because of how I've behaved. I try my best to know when I've done badly, so that later I can do better. I want to add as few regrets to my life as possible.

Blogging has helped me sort out my thoughts on so much, all in an effort to stay interesting and compelling...and, I hope, at times poetic and at times funny.

I've needed this.

I still need this.

I'm all for the power of Twitter -- it's a place online where I find myself getting both looser and weirder, which helps my writing and thinking, plus it gets so eye-widening and compelling when genuine news is happening and those on my feed are processing the news in the moment, from the Arab Spring to the death of Bin Laden to the protests following the death of Michael Brown -- but blogging scratches an itch of mine that Twitter doesn't reach. And Facebook often annoys me; I find it a less thoughtful place, where it's surprisingly easy to let out your inner asshole or pass along group-think ("Share if you agree!"; I promise never to post anything with those words).

I need to think. I'm meant to write. This blog gives me a place to do both. This blog reminds me that I can do both even more.

  • A little truth, at the moment:

    I'm missing my job and I'm missing the airport.

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