The Heart of the Matter
At first glance, this is a happy, optimistic, feel-good blog. I admit that its positiveness, the sentimentality, and the mushiness may rival that of a Hallmark card. But I am not a writer of cheesy greeting cards. I aim to unveil reality.
“Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” - I call myself a realist. My glass is not half-empty, and it is not half-full; its contents are half water and half air. It is ignorant and selfish to deny the reality of tragedy and suffering in this world. My view does not claim that the world is perfect, but rather stems from the desire for a better world, and the belief in its possibility. That view is at the heart of this blog’s existence.
There is a long story at the core of all of this, and maybe I will be able to tell it someday. But I will start with the following:
I resent the perfect fantasy produced in greeting cards. Terrible things do happen, and they are a reality no matter how much anyone looks the other way. I used to look the other way - not necessarily at something great, but at anything that would help me ignore the very real pain. But I have changed. I no longer have the choice to look away from the unthinkable, shocking, terrifying, stigmatized, unacceptable, or ugly things. Because they have happened and are still happening to me.
I cannot tell my entire story yet, because even I don’t understand it as well as I would like. But here is a very short summary:
1. My struggles for the past two years have included cancer, depression and suicide, abuse, self-injury, anorexia, Borderline Personality Disorder, an anxiety disorder, and narcolepsy.
2. During this time, I have endured medical tests, surgeries, radiation, emergency room visits, months of outpatient and inpatient treatment, and several hospitalizations.
3. And somehow, after all of this, I am still alive!
So I guess the point is….
My world is not perfect. My world is not even great, or good. It isn’t even okay most of the time. Honestly, things just downright suck most of the time. I have been trapped in a vast darkness for far too long. But I want to find the way out.
This may sound confusing, but the point of finding the way out of the darkness is to be able to go back in. If I had my way, none of this would ever have happened to me, but it did. I wish I could keep other people from getting trapped where I am, but that is impossible. So if I ever get better, if I get stronger, if I am able - I want to go back into that dark place and help other people find their way out. It seems like an impossible idea right now, but it’s there.
The Vision: I have a picture in my mind that I cannot ignore. One little light all alone in an expanse of pitch darkness. After a while, a new light appears next to it, and then another one. One by one, more lights appear, until there are lights as far as the eye can see. That doesn’t make the darkness go away, but at least there is just as much light.
Why This Blog Exists: I first discovered tumblr when I was in the depths of mental illness. A Google search led me to the first tumblelog I ever saw, which belonged to someone I could really relate to. I went back to that blog once in a while, until finally I decided to make my own. I made my own blog and gained some followers, whose blogs were often quite similar to mine. Before I knew it, I was constantly immersed in the worst of depression, suicide, anorexia, bulimia, self-injury, anxiety, insecurity, and self-hatred. I found myself comparing myself to the others and feeling even more worthless and hopeless.
I justified the time I spent doing this by telling myself (and others) that it was healthy for me to vent my feelings on my blog and connect to others to whom I could relate. But any benefit I may have received from following those dark blogs and creating my own was overtaken by the negative impact. I constantly thought about my destructive impulses and actually became more driven to follow them because what I saw in the mirror was not the same as what I saw on tumblr. My self-destructive behaviors were triggered every time I looked at those pages, but the content spoke to me so I kept looking anyway. Soon, I became terrified. These girls were very, very, very sick, and I was scared for them. And then I realized that I was striving for the same things that they were, and became scared for myself. I was afraid for those girls’ lives, and I knew that I myself was walking a very thin line.
After being treated for some of my issues, I am finally able to be angry about the problem. I am angry that those awful things are on the internet for anyone suggestible to accidentally get sucked into. I am not necessarily angry at those who posted them in the first place - I am far more angry because of those who exploit them. Emaciated, desperate girls post their own pictures, and suddenly they are on a pro-anorexia blog, with comments like “I want this.” It was an easy decision: I never posted on my blog again.
So why would I be crazy enough to come back to tumblr and start another blog? Well, remember my “one little light in the darkness” image? I want to be that light. I want to get better, and I want others to get better, too. And I have learned that when people are that entrenched in an illness, you have to go into the darkness yourself in order to reach them.
I won’t seek out danger, and I won’t post provocative or triggering material. I won’t rant about how bad certain blogs or behaviors are, because there is no point in adding negativity to the issue. Nor will I ignore the existence of those issues, and how many people out there are in dire need of help. Rather, I have come back into the dark to guide people to a little light. It’s only one little blog on an internet full of them, but maybe the light can spread. Perhaps I can light someone else’s candle, and they will do the same in turn.
This blog is a sanctuary for anyone who needs it. It is something I wish I could have had when I needed it. I am limited in my ability to provide help, as I am also struggling, but I can provide this place for myself, and others like me, to become safer and stronger.
I am not at war with the darkness; I am merely adding a little light.