Do you ever have one of those weeks that you feel just flies by and leaves you feeling like you accomplished absolutely nothing? That was this week for me.
Granted, I did manage to write over 5,000 words, which I feel is pretty decent considering I’m still completely indecisive about some major aspects to this novel. I can feel myself trying to get ahead of myself: I want to write this story more than I’ve ever wanted to write anything in my life, but I’m filled with self-doubt and concern about Getting It Right. On the bright side, that feeling is 100% lined up with how my protagonist feels, so at least I have that going for me.
In other news, I’m going to take a small hiatus from blogging/Twitter for the next week, possibly longer. A while back I cut Facebook out of my life—at least, I deleted the app and stopped checking it constantly throughout the day—and after a few weeks I stopped even thinking about it at all. I realized how much of my self-concept was wrapped up in what other people thought of me, people I was never going to see again, people who have no right to influence my life. Since I started “blogging seriously” the past couple months, I’m constantly trying to balance out the two driving forces of my life online: the deep desire for human connection (which I’m unable to get in my small town IRL) and the even more deeply imbedded hatred I have for myself. This is what Depression does to me: it encourages me to depend on external sources for validation and approval, and then when that approval doesn’t come, it reminds me that I’m invisible, worthless, and I have nothing important to say after all, so I should probably just go back to extreme isolation.
The internet is such a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, living in a small town means I depend on technology for human interaction. On the other hand, no matter where you go on the internet, it revolves around who can be seen/heard, who has the biggest audience, who is “succeeding” the most that day or week or month. That person is and has never been me, and so I’m filled with that feeling I first got in fourth grade when I realized that nobody actually wanted to hang out with me, they were just being nice. My Twitter and WordPress feeds are filled with amazing people who are out there doing the good work, spreading news about problematic books, taking care of each other when someone’s being threatened, sending warm wishes and recommendations and generally spreading love. My feed is also filled with reminders of my privilege—which should be a good thing, but instead reminds me just how little right I have to be depressed at all. That’s what holds me back from reaching out, from trying to befriend all the bloggers I admire and appreciate so much. And that’s why I need to take a break: so I can assess what my role here is and figure out how to be online without contributing to my self-hatred.
I know how all of this sounds. I know that I am self-absorbed and privileged. I know I seem like just another attention-seeking white girl inventing problems for herself. But I think the tweets (which no one read, btw) say it all.
So for the next week, I’m going to post things I’ve already drafted up, but I won’t be around in any sense. I appreciate those of you who do read my posts and share your thoughts with me. For the very few times one of you reaches out, it truly warms my heart, and I don’t want to seem unappreciative. And I know I will be back—I’m not a quitter by nature—and when I return, I promise I will respond to any kind words left behind. As always, thank you for reading.
read this week
Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit – 4 stars
Worth reading for the title essay alone, which talks about what’s now termed mansplaining. Solnit draws connections between microaggressions (like a man explaining to a woman something she already knows, perhaps even better than he does) and the huge problem of gendered violence in America. She connects the silencing of mansplaining to the silencing of violence against women, and it’s a powerful argument.
Lit by Mary Karr – 4 stars
I wrote a really long, gushing review about this book, but suffice to say, Mary Karr is the best memoir writer I’ve read thus far, and her journey from bumbling alcoholic to born-again writer is both enlightening and inspiring, regardless of your religious views.
The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti – 4 stars
In this book, Valenti argues that the cultural obsession with virginity is hurting young women, not just by miseducating them about contraception and abortion, but making them feel dirty when they do have sex outside of marriage—and ostracizing any woman who isn’t a young, white, middle-class virgin.
Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom – 3 stars
This was a frustrating but cute book about a recent high school graduate who longs to be a writer but doesn’t feel she has enough experience. The story follows her through her last summer at home as she first tries to change herself and then learns to accept who she is, flaws and all, and move forward with her life.
Paperweight by Meg Haston
I loved this book from page 1, purely for the beautiful, haunting writing style and the honest depiction of what it’s like being inside the mind of someone who’s suicidally depressed and struggling with an eating disorder. This is already one of those books I have to force myself not to read in one sitting.
from the TBR pile
I’m not trying to predict the future or anything, but I can practically feel a reading slump coming on. I keep reorganizing my immediate TBR list, trying to prioritize books about mental illness but being afraid that I’m going to read them all too fast and then be left wondering where to go. I’ll probably end up re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this coming week so that I can wrap up that series on the blog. Here are some books I’m looking forward to reading at some point in the next few weeks
- 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (I’ve heard good things about not only the depiction of anxiety, but also the f/f romance in this one)
- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (at first I wasn’t interested because I don’t know a whole lot about “geek culture” and conventions and all that, but I’ve heard such rave reviews about the amazing diverse rep in this book, so I’m going to give it a go)
Thanks for reading, for those of you who are still here. I hope you have a great Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!