June 25, 2010

Not Only the Light

For a long time now, I've avoided posting anything at all. I've had it beat into my head from so many different directions over the years that if when I open my mouth something other than a goddamn rainbow pours forth, I should just keep my filthy trap shut.

Well, you know what? Fuck that.

If you look around at the shit that's going down, be it locally or globally, and you're not depressed — well, shit, you're just not paying attention, are you? So anybody who wants to lay a "you're so negative" trip on me can just roll the fuck on up the street. Seriously: jog on.

I've talked before about trying to keep this a positive space, about not wanting to turn this joint into Cameron's Tales of Woe. But the more I think about it, the more I come to believe I'm being fundamentally dishonest by only belching forth unreadable rubbish when I've had some small dash of optimism mixed into my feed.

So right this minute — and vacant heaven knows I'm apt to change my mind a few times between now and when I finish typing this sentence — my plan is to simply say to hell with it. If I'm going to keep rambling in public, whether anyone's there to read it or not, I'm going to do a whole lot less self-censoring.

Now, to be clear, I won't air anyone else's dirty laundry. Anybody who's ever shared a secret with me knows that I'll take every last one to my grave. But my own dark corners are fair game.

For a long time I guess part of me bought into the bitter remnant of stoicism that still manipulates the currents beneath everyday life like an invisible second moon. "Put on your happy face," people used to say. It's Marcus Aurelius as filtered through Martha Stewart, and it's specious at best.

That line of vacuous bullshit devolved into the transparently idiotic modern colloquialisms we hear today. "Suck it up," for example. As if getting cancer or losing a loved one is equivalent to pulling a hamstring during the big game. The phrasing changes, but the message is always clear: Whatever it is you're going through, pretend that you're not. Only share the good news. If you can't smile, wear a mask.

But how in the hell are you supposed to find the few remaining people on the planet who haven't given themselves over completely to fashionable apathy if you hide your true face any time you dare to walk in public?

I don't know that anything I write will ever truly resonate with even one other human being. I don't know how much better I would feel about myself if it did. But I do know that what I write is guaranteed not to affect anybody else if I keep it locked in a cupboard to which I alone possess the key. (I know that has the hollow ring of platitude, but goddammit, it's true enough to warrant a change in approach, so just pretend for a moment that you read it in one of those little collections of aphorisms they used to sell at airports back when people actually read books once in a while.)

Maybe I'll post with greater frequency as a result of this line of thinking. Maybe I won't. If nothing else, I've proven that I'm not always the best predictor of my own behavior. But I'm not going to just sit on bad news or keep silent during dark periods because flapping my gums might earn me harsh judgement from the empathy-impaired.

All lives have their share of darkness. Why should it be considered politic to pretend otherwise?

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