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Contributing Blogger – Jen’s Turn

March 1, 2010

Forward by Heather

I’m posting something my friend Jen wrote for us last night. Remember according to another friend’s observation this is a Seinfeld Blog, about nothing (and about everything). I know some of you have followed my ebb and flow of emotions and since we are all human beings we probably can recognize when others are going through something and just to be present to that can help. I’ve literally received a little short Tweet with small advice that made all the difference in the world. I didn’t need a big lecture or much more attention on things than I received. Just writing is so therapeutic. I also relate to her world of isolation, and bringing yourself back out into the world…even on line is a step. She has a lot of passion …. and I support that. She’ll find her way….I have.

Jen’s Turn

Wow.  So today has been full of friends for me, even though I never left the house and nobody came over.  Started with Eun calling and that was nice, except for how it ended.  I feel like I bummed out her universe.  I started to cry.  I was finally talking to someone about Punky, then she had to go and I was too distraught to even ask her what she was doing, even though I was thinking it and she asked me what I was going to do. 

I don’t want to be this self-absorbed person, but this is what happens when you spend 4 years isolating yourself from mutually beneficial friendships.  You end up deficient.  I sooo need to talk to a counselor, but out in the boonies with my insurance plan, my quest has left me empty-handed.  Can you believe that I actually left messages both Mondays and Fridays for THREE WEEKS on one psychiatrist’s voice mail and never got a call back?  Last September when I was in the ER for a migraine I said, “I need a psych consult.  My brain wants to crawl out of my head.  Give me a 72 hour hold if you have to.  I’m voluntarily committing myself.  I can’t take the side effects of these migraine meds (Zoloft) anymore.  I can’t sleep.  Do something!  They make me want to drive into oncoming traffic.”  They said they have no psychiatrist in town and couldn’t help me.  Can you believe there are ER’s that you can say, “LOCK ME UP!  BLBL#BL@L%BLAh  I’M CRAZY.”  And they will send you on your way. 

I am just so uncomfortable with being on the other end of this.  It was always fine for me to be the one everyone leaned on, the one who was never bothered by anything.  But really, I was bothered, I just relied on myself and never let anybody know I was suffering.  Then there became too much bothering me to hide it anymore, so instead I hid myself.  I blogged for two years of that 4 year period and spewed my troubles out on the internet, making some new friends, many whom I have never physically met, but there were many negative results as well.  MY PRIVATE BUSINESS WAS OUT THERE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE and some people used this info against me, to prey on me or to bash me publically.  But I know that I did something important, not just for my own development but also for other people, for them to feel connected and not alone in their own struggles. 

Before blogging, I did not share my pain.  There was a major issue at art school because of this.  My art had a kitch factor that really bothered my mentors.  It was cute and funny and fashionable, but where was the real, raw passion of the suffering soul that I was/am?   My instructors reamed me for not baring myself and taking enough risks, yet other students could get away with a landscape, pet art or a pretty flower.  Trying to break through this life-long block was a brutal process for me.  At one point, I tried putting the text of my secret poetry in some of my work and I scrambled it, making it almost illegible, because nobody had ever read my poetry or my journal before.  I was afraid to be too revealing.  I wanted it to be exceedingly difficult to figure out what I was saying. 

Finally, I did a piece that was just text layered and collaged and it was humiliating to me.  I might as well have been standing there naked in front of 45 people.  That would have been easier.  This time I got a different reaction from my instructor:  a very long pause of silence.  At last, he said it was gut wrenching and gave him a feeling of complete and utter despair.  My first reaction was that it was bad, but that’s exactly how I felt and I had done it: directly portrayed a real, raw, and extremely unpleasant emotion and I didn’t beat around the bush. 

After I finished school and my health completely tanked, I began to blog as an exercise AND an outlet.  I wanted to get comfortable with baring my soul to the world.  How can an artist truly create poignant work if they are afraid to let anyone know their true feelings?  Therefore, I had to break down that fear and desensitize myself to the process of sharing the ugly truth.  At first, it was like rowing a boat through mud, but then it got easier and I began to spew with fervor.  In those two years, I got so good at talking about my most intimate feelings that the words could flow like the Mighty Mississippi. 

Then I met a man through my blog who told me everything I wanted to hear.  He convinced me to marry him in Las Vegas, instead of waiting five more months like we had planned.  He had a list of reasons for rushing this and I fell for his trap.  Things changed the very next day after the Vegas wedding.  He turned out to be an alcoholic and admitted to lying to me about everything in order to get me to marry him, because he said I wouldn’t want to marry the real him.  That is true.  I wouldn’t.  He’s a manipulative, angry, narcissistic, alcoholic who is so accustom to lying he doesn’t even know what the truth is. 

We spent a very short time together, before I decided it was enough yelling, name-calling and all around torture.  I returned home to my mother, refusing to return to him.  His attempts to manipulate me and control my mind have failed.  The effect he did have however was that I stopped blogging, because of his presence on my blog and in that community.  Losing that outlet/coping mechanism has been very unhealthy for me.  Writing in my journal is good, but there is something about posting my thoughts and suffering for the world to read that is so freeing and healing.  It removes the burdens from my psyche when I share it with someone else. 

These last 6 months have been particularly rough and being isolated here, in the middle of nowhere has taken its toll on my mental health.  I lost contact long ago with the supportive friends, because I thought that I had to be perfect and not need support to deserve them.  I was not in the habit of asking anyone for help.  I tried to get support from a sibling and an old local friend, but this attempt just proved to cause me more pain.  Finally, I have decided I can no longer put my energy into one-sided relationships and have been re-gathering all my lost friends around me virtually, through the internet.  Nobody actually lives anywhere near me.  They are scattered across the country now, but I’ve been seeking them out anyway. 

Now here is my issue:  I am so deficient of support, that I feel out of control.  As long as I am joking, or I’m helping with their problems, I’m ok.  I crack as many funnies as I can muster and am good at giving people a fresh perspective on their troubles.  However, when it comes to, “So Jennifer, how are you?  What have you been up to?”  Uugh.  Don’t get me started.  What do I say?  Once I do get started, then it’s just too much.  There are too many hurts, too much stress, too much frustration and it just never stops. 

It’s like somebody shook the champagne bottle and popped the cork and I’m spewing all over the place.  I just can’t seem to pour myself in little glasses – doses that would be tolerable for one person.  If I start to write about the real stuff, I write endlessly long letters.  On the phone, I feel like I take more than my fair share of the conversation and unload weight that’s too heavy for my friend to bear.  I’m so afraid that I’m going to hurt them with my ick, or scare them off, or just make them go, “Ok.  This is more than I can deal with.”  And there is just no way to control it.  It’s like I’m riding a wild horse.  No amount of pulling on the reins slows it down because it hasn’t been broken yet.

So this is the ramble that came out of me tonight and I have no conclusion to it.  It’s too late in the night for me to figure out an answer, or to put some inspirational twist to it.  Perhaps just spewing is enough…finally.  I’m not asking anyone else for answers.  It is what it is and I have shared it with you, and that feels good enough for me to be able to sleep soundly tonight.

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