“Very early in my life it was too late.”
“Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.”
“Woman is not born: she is made. In the making, her humanity is destroyed. She becomes symbol of this, symbol of that: mother of the earth, slut of the universe; but she never becomes herself because it is forbidden for her to do so.”
I am killing my blog. Eviscerating it. Splattering its guts for my small amount of readers to see. It has been dying, may even already be dead, but this is the ceremony, the ending ritual. The blood is being spilled.
Since I have written my last blog post, many things have happened. In regards to my soon-to-be-deceased blog, my viewpoints politically, especially within the feminist realm, have changed tremendously.
But onto the more critical aspects of my life at the moment:
I feel that in my writing, I have always been deeply personal, and I think this is important, and should be done, because it highlights the ways in which certain systems, ideologies, etc. can so acutely affect our lives, and these realizations can aid us in navigating the strange and often perverse world we live in. As I began writing more on my blog, it very obviously became more and more personal, the last blog post of which is probably the most honest and excruciating thing I have ever written. It wasn’t written with a cathartic intention, but inevitably did have that effect. However, there is one aspect of my life I have kept under wraps, or at least have attempted to, since I was fairly young.
As close friends know, and probably most people who follow my (also recently killed) Tumblr, I have been struggling for the past three months with “mental health issues”. I put this in quotations because this is almost a euphemism. “Mental health issues” reminds me of those trite depression commercials with bouncing cartoons and wind up dolls who take a pill and are magically cured, whose depression seems like some lightly lamentable period of exhaustion rather than walking through hell. Depression is not just about feeling sad, or lying in bed eating Ben & Jerry’s all day, or thinking that girl on the Internet is prettier than you (things which I do not mean to debase, as I have experienced them as well, and these things can be, are, painful). Depression, as well as I can articulate it, is an extreme sense of doom, of desperate sadness, of an almost tangible Misery, that seems to come so suddenly, that hits you like a truck, that is so blindingly painful you want to die not because you don’t find life enjoyable anymore but because you are already no longer living, and in death you see some glimmer, some possibility, that life will be granted to you once again. This is what I have experienced for the past few months. It is something I faced, and beat—but not without still festering wounds—at the ripe ol’ age of fifteen, and will undoubtedly experience until the day I die, hopefully not by my own hand.
In the United States we often talk about suicide, but suicides that are attributed to external causes. For example, an ugly divorce; for example, cyber bullying; for example, news of a terminal disease; for example, anything in which someone is, was, or feels to be victimized by some outside force. But what about suicide that is caused by something that lives inside of you, when you are both the perpetrator and the victim of your sorrow? When something is caused by your mind but feels so visceral, something that feels like punishment, something that feels real? Something that in fact is real.
People who suffer from mental illness are often dismissed for not being rational, logical, for not seeing “reality” as it is but through some hellish veil that we apparently chose to put on ourselves. As if everyone experiences any sort of reality in the same clean-cut organized way.
You are mistaken, you are seeing things not differently, but incorrectly.
The world and this life are not ugly, horrifying, excruciating. You are creating your own suffering by believing that.
You must try harder, think differently, and you will be cured.
You are not supposed to get through it, but over it.
And no one really gives a shit unless you actually off yourself.
So this post isn’t just about me ending the not-so-long span of my blog’s existence, or even to simply divulge information about my personal life, but to share with the unfortunately large amount of people who either a. dismiss mental illness or b. fetishize mental illness:
you’re all assholes.
But I want my blog to end on a feminist-related, slightly less depressing note:
I have realized in the past three months, of which I have spent ruminating on various subjects as I have an inordinate amount of free time since taking a medical leave of absence, that I have never valued myself as a human being. I have not valued my mind, my creativity, the fact that I can think in certain ways maybe others can’t (which is both a blessing and a curse but mostly the latter). I have not valued the fact that I am alive and healthy (at least physically), that I am loved and am capable of loving.
We must value ourselves as people, which I used to think was standard feminist blithely hopeful bullshit, but now, maybe because I am getting older—and fear aging not because of death, but because my value as a girl, woman, girl-woman I suppose, will gradually deplete as each year goes by—I have realized this is essential for me, both personally and politically, in order to continue my life with less volatile suffering and mind torture. Valuing ourselves not as women but as people has never occurred to me; this may sound like a call for “equality”—we are all people, right?!!—but it is more that I have never seen myself as a person because I have never valued myself as a person. My value has always been as a girl, as a “female”, and this is what has trapped me in a hole of violent self-loathing. Because what does it mean to be valued as a woman? I believe the answer is obvious. As Germaine Greer once said, “Every woman knows that, regardless of all her other achievements, she is a failure if she is not beautiful.” This is a social reality. This placates some people—to be beautiful is ostensibly (note, ostensibly) much easier than being intelligent, creative, imaginative, something Dworkin highlights—imagination—as something that is stolen from girls at an early age. We are robbed of imagination and instilled with preconceived fantasies about our objective selves that were made digestible through various mechanisms. I have decided to reject this as much as I can. I believe this is both radical and will save me in many ways. Of course we are social beings living in the social world with years of conditioning already weighing us down—it is no mean feat to both reject this unbearable weight and to succeed in this rejection. But I will try, and maybe through my efforts I will regain that part of myself, that seed of humanity, that has been smothered since a very early age. Perhaps it will even flower.