This is what it comes down to, growing up as a woman, and on top of that growing up in a family that's abusive. You get trained to care for everyone but yourself, and every argument you try to present, every time you try to explain how you feel, gets thrown back in your face, "You don't care for me, look what you're doing to me, you're bringing this on yourself, you're selfish," and on and on and on. Now, the problem with these statements is, they are confusing. When you're a little girl and you feel something and you express it, you're told the purpose of you expressing yourself is not to share the emotions you feel but to adjust to and reflect the emotions of others around you, to suppress what YOU feel in order to sense what THEY feel and to behave accordingly, and if you dare to contradict that and still express yourself, you get blamed for being insensitive and selfish AS THOUGH TO FEEL EMOTIONS IS WRONG.
And so the seed is planted and it grows and gets nurtured by family and then by society, and then we women end up depressed and we don't know why, and it all comes back to our childhood where instead of being allowed to be human, to feel shit when we feel shit, we were told to suppress it in order to feel the emotions of others. This is a clever blame misplacement that we're not even aware of when we grow up, and then it gets solidified and it's often too late to change, or the change is so painful that we opt for silence. We opt for loneliness. And sometimes we opt for suicide. It's easier for us this way, but then even after death we're called selfish, as if taking our life somehow is our final act of hurting those around us JUST BECAUSE WE DID WHAT WE FELT LIKE DOING.
This is, perhaps, the worst wound one can inflict on a human being, impress on them that they are wrong simply for living, because living is feeling, and feeling is being mad and sad and happy and angry and melancholy and high-strung and agitated and dreamy and all kinds of other shades of emotions that we humans are capable of feeling, and every one of them is beautiful, and every one of them is valid, and every one of them is okay to feel, and yet we don't allow it and we squash it and then we wonder why we're unhappy or choose to be single and alone, away from people where we can feel what we feel without fear and shame and guilt, and so we arrive at the vocation of a writer.
Well, some of us do.
We writers are precisely those people who know how to express what we feel in a quiet way, through the written word. I don't know if it's good news. I think maybe it's bad news. I certainly am in infancy when it comes to expressing what I feel, and the more I write the more I see it, and the more horrified I am, and the more I want to shout in anyone's face who tells me I don't care for them.
YES, MOTHERFUCKER, I DON'T CARE FOR YOU.
I HAVE NO SPACE TO CARE FOR YOU.
I WANT TO CARE FOR MYSELF.
I SPENT MY LIFE CARING FOR OTHERS.
ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT.
I don't know how much I have left to live but whatever years are left to me, I want to spend them on me, feeling things, feeling everything there is to feel to the fullest of my ability and expressing it as loud and as uninhibited as I can. This is what's called life. This is what's called living it. This is something that's for centuries has been largely reserved for men while women watched from the sidelines and cheered. We were watching others living life while we provided for that living. The horror of it makes my hair stand on end. The years lost on giving when I could do so much more for myself, when I could start writing young and get scary good by now, when I could choose to be a mother or not, however it suited me, when I could do so many things I denied myself, I denied it to myself in order to to be a good mother, a good wife, a good woman in the eyes of society. My value was in how well I was able to give and how little I left for myself, and I'm still doing it now. The concept of money is simply not well-rooted in my head. I'm giving my ebooks away for free and it never even crossed my mind in the beginning of my writing that my work was worth something, that I was worth being paid for it, and I'm slowly starting to realize where this giving of mine is coming from and how I'm used to denying myself everything for the benefit of others.
Don't worry, I will never stop giving away my ebooks for free. Writing pulled me out of suicide and that is why I want to attach no monetary value to my stories to give them to those who need them and who can't pay, and those who can pay, can pay what they want by donating, but the certainty that my writing is worth money is growing. I'm used to devaluing what I feel and what I do, and so it's hard for me to see that my writing is good, it's very good, in fact. You see, this is a selfish thought. Because I always had a fear to be selfish I'm having a hard time telling people without batting an eye I that I'm good at something BECAUSE I SAID SO. Not because I won some award or was recognized, no. Simply because that's how I feel. What irony! You see how this is keeping us in check? We never even dare to assume we're fucking amazing, and so we stay in the shadows, watch men have fun and decide that we might as well, since there is hardly hope we can be as good as them. (Not all, of course, I'm generalizing.)
This just struck me this morning when we had an argument with Royce. It was something trivial. He was grumpy in the morning because I kicked him out of the bedroom to start writing. I'm used to him being grumpy in the mornings and we joke about it, like he is not human until he has his coffee, but today I stopped and looked at him and thought, "Wait a minute, how come I'm never grumpy in the mornings before I have my coffee?" And the answer is, of course I'm grumpy, only I never show it, and then I was flooded with so much jealousy and bitterness and regret that I couldn't look at him and couldn't talk to him, and he couldn't understand why. I was simply grieving my inability to express myself in such a small thing like being grumpy in the morning, because, you see, I was groomed to take care of everyone else before I was allowed to feel anything or express it, and for that there was never any time as it was eaten up by serving others.
And so slowly, day after day, I'm fighting this emotional prison I've been put in when I was born, and now I keep myself in it without any help from others. It's fucking hard and it makes me feel awful, but then later it makes me feel awesome. Being selfish, even if for a few minutes in the morning, being unapologetically grumpy simply because I haven't had my coffee yet. When I saw Royce later, he said, "Oh hey, I'm sorry about this morning. I was just grumpy." This lightness with which he said it, like it was nothing, just an emotion he felt and expressed and now it was gone! I don't have this ability. Not yet. I hope one day I do.