I’m masking RIGHT NOW.

Here’s a thing to know: this blog is a mask.

It’s possibly the most authentic mask I have. In writing I can give myself the freedom to be weird or to say the things I censor in conversation. I worry less about making mistakes (e.g., showing my still-persistent internalized ableism, which I’m hoping to talk about in a future post).

But still this is a mask. I find it difficult not to add a breezy veneer of competence and optimism, a women’s-magazine-style reassurance that all this is doable and even possibly easy. That breeziness is sometimes true but mostly it’s a lie that allows me to write at all when in fact I’m not OK, this is not easy overall, and the things that are easy are so easy they’re almost facile.

(It’s like those articles in Seventeen or Cosmo that give you “Six Ways to Lose the Weight Fast!” or whatever, and that just have really easy and obvious advice that certainly everyone reading has already tried, or which fall apart with the most basic scrutiny or effort.)

Breeziness is my fake confidence. As if the consequence of revealing my very real and persistent doubts is that you won’t read this at all… which is a perfectly dumb construct created by the part of me who believed my bullies when they said I’d never be good enough or accomplish anything.

It’s like I’m saying, “See? Breezy! No big deal. I’m fine. You can depend on me.”

When, in fact, you can’t really depend on me if I’m pretending to have my shit together.

I sent a recent post of mine to an acquaintance who was struggling, hoping that there’d be some ideas there to help him. Then I went back and read the post from the perspective of someone who is dealing with burnout and I was deeply embarrassed. I failed to acknowledge that he has been doing this longer than I have, and that whatever seems easy to me is undoubtedly freshman-level stuff. It’s not inappropriate for me to crow about having mastered the self-management equivalent of Freshman Comp and Intro to Calculus, but I need to work on understanding the vast distances I have yet to travel…

…and my gut says that one early step to understanding those distances is to stop masking in my blog. To stop pretending that I’m OK and everything is working out. Or to at least be self-aware and transparent about the struggle.

Because, as I said above, I’m really not OK. Yet. Shit is dark, and that darkness is real. If I’m going to help myself (or anyone else) with this blogging exercise, I need to be real about all that dark shit, too.

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