Greetings, Thursdayliens and guests of all stripes. You last heard from me several Thursdays ago. This post is only marginally about Thursday Tales the exercise; it’s more about the community. Kind of.

First of all, I apologize for going off the grid again. It’s such a horrible habit and it’s hard to come back when it happens. Why does it happen?

I call it the “shame spiral”. I got caught up, and was going to end up posting late. I hadn’t had a chance to read all the stories yet or write the blurbs for the previous ones. I was failing on two fronts. That’s really all it takes. It doesn’t just happen here. It’s part of a lifelong pattern of withdrawing and shutting down in the face of “messing up”. It’s why I don’t write as much as I used to. Doing it wrong, not planning and executing it perfectly the first time, making a mistake, being even a little bit late are all the same in my eyes as blowing everything up, so I might as well, right?

A few of you know this already, but maybe others have suspected (idk, I’m just guessing here) that I was suffering, for many years, from untreated mental illness. The ones who know (<3) have encouraged me for a long time to get help, and I finally have earlier this year. Things are going okay, but I thought that I should try to “get back into things” and while I always have the best and grandest of intentions, at the time I posted the other week, I was not ready to deal with the very simple fact that something was going to make me late. Looking back at it, that’s not even a huge deal. I could have just posted that I’d be late and get on with the roll call/roundup but that’s not how my mind works. My failure to control this life event, and the really minor effect it had on my day led to one conclusion: just stop, hide at home, and don’t talk to anyone, because I’m a failure.

Obviously that’s ridiculous but that’s clear now after some chats with my therapist, who gently encouraged me to maybe not be such a perfectionist that I would rather scorch the earth than deal with the vagaries of life in a less extreme manner. I can’t get better if I don’t exercise my...whatevers. So I’m exercising my whatevers here.

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If not for this community, I would probably be a lot more isolated and troubled. Despite my many, many (many) failures in the past, you guys keep me going because you’re not judgey. At least not openly, and that’s great because I feel like when I mess up I can always come back eventually. Probably immediately and probably I don’t even have to leave but my shame is a thing I’m grappling with and it is what it is. It would help me immensely, however, if I could just stop feeling so horrible about everything all the time so all of this meandering blabla was just to let you guys know that I’m in a process and if you guys can stand some minor fluctuations in schedule while I try to pull myself together then I’ll be able to stop leaving you guys in suspense about where I suddenly went in the middle of doing something. I guess really this doesn’t need any action on your parts, but for my own sake I’m coming clean about this because I love this community. I don’t want to keep letting you guys down and all of that. I’m in therapy, I’m on medication, and I’m very slowly unraveling a lot of years of bullshit beliefs that have ruined everything I’ve ever tried to do (nearly ruined WHSO).

Sooo, I guess that’s it. I haven’t even looked at TT since the last time I posted, because the shame of having been unreliable about it is strong, and is best friends with all the other kinds of shame I’ve got.

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All that said, through the month of November it is National Novel Writing Month, now known around these parts as NinerWriMo. Unlike last November, I plan to be around making encouraging posts and whatnot for the whole month so I’m not going to try any regular posts until after November is up. I welcome any posts that you guys want to write. It’s a bit of a soft start but my method of dealing with pressure has led to this horrible rambling post so I hope babby steps will be helpful.

If you made it this far, you are a saint. Please enjoy these cute fuzzballs.