Sunday, July 22, 2007

Messy Life

Sometimes I want to just post everything on this blog. I have already shared so much. So what would writing about almost everything else matter? I'm learning for the first time what it feels like, regret in writing. I regret I ever revealed my mental illness or alcoholism. Because, I believe, it has alienated me from so many readers and friends over the years. I'm learning what to keep to myself, and I've never felt this before. Before, I believed putting everything out there was brave, novel, and unique. I was going to break from social norms and carve this interesting little niche out for myself in the blogging world. It is actually not brave, or novel. It is young, naïve, and embarrassing. Because when I open my life that much, it leaves me open to more criticism, not of my writing, but in judgment. And humans are rife with judgment. My life has been messy enough.

34 comments:

Martha said...

I think people in general, just because they're human, will judge others for the sake of judging, for the sake of feeling superior. I also think that for the most part, the individuals who come to your blog are reading your words and fascinated by the life you lead, because it seems so extraordinary and simple at the same time. I've been reading regularly, and I haven't read anything that makes me cringe or think I shouldn't keep reading. You can think you're naive for posting some of the things you do, or you can look at the way a lot of other folks do--you're just being completely honest. That honesty is what keeps me coming back!

Mary said...

Ditto Martha's comments. Well said. I feel the same.

echokrns said...

I disagree with your thought that you should not have revealed the nature of your "mental" health. That is one of the things that so caught my interest in your stories. To know that there are people in this world who ALSO have had to over come trials and tribulations in this world. Isn't lif just a type of school after all...learning lessons and living as best as one can? You are not alone in this world and neither am I. It is wonderful to know that we all have overcome or are trying to overcome some adversity. I THANK YOU for your honesty. Please never regret it, ya?

shy_smiley said...

I concur with other comments. Go a little easier on yourself, Andrew. Your honesty is refreshing.

amelia said...

Keep up the good work, block your critics!

Melanie said...

it may alienate you from some people, but in the end, those who are left are the ones you can truly be yourself with. being open is more than just a freedom, it's also a litmus test for those who enter your life.

~Melanie, who spent her childhood keeping other people's secrets, and doesn't like to hide things anymore.

bean said...

I don't think I can say it any better than anyone else. I find it amazing that you are so open about yourself. It is comforting to know that you are out there, telling your truth.

Maria Bee Killer said...

I just happened upon your blog while clicking the "next blog" button. I was touched by your stories and your writing style. It seems like this blog is also a long time companion and friend to you and you are touching people with your life in a way that could not happen without the blog. Not everyone will understand your path, but they don't have to walk it, do they?

fiwa said...

Ditto what everyone above has said. You have helped a lot of people by being candid about your illness. Hardly a day seems to go by without someone saying that. If you open an email and you can tell it contains negativity, don't read it, just close it and delete it.

Hope you can work through whatever is bothering you about blogging right now.

happy sunday -
fiwa

PipeTobacco said...

Sir:

I am not sure who or what has caused you to doubt yourself, but hell, I think they are wrong completely. Writing is an art that allows us to express our own MIND. All of the great authors have done what you do (or at least did... if you decide to now cloister yourself away). Think of Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Pirsig, or Skinner. They all WROTE WHAT THEY KNEW... THEY WROTE OF THEMSELVES... the good, the not so good, the mundane, and the extraordinary. To give yourself into the art of writing is to reveal yourself.

Now, it can of course be somewhat cloaked and disguised (like a novelist does or like you have done with using alternate names etc).... that is not a problem... but writing to please an audience, writing to write what you think THEY might want to hear is balderdash and nonsense.

I would urge you to write ever so more intimately (albeit in disguise) so as to flex your artistic muscles and become the true author you have within you.

PipeTobacco

Summer said...

Extraordinary yet simple, flex your artistic muscles. Brilliant! Don't stop!

M said...

I agree with Melanie. Anyone who is judgemental is not worth having as a blogfriend.
On the other hand, sometimes people have comments which may seem judgemental but maybe they are just giving their opinion which doesn't agree with your opinion. I always take a deep breath and count to ten when I get a comment which is not nice. I try to give the commenter the benefit of the doubt.

But, truthfully, I don't write everything I could. For example, I don't talk about religion or politics because I don't want to deal with people's reactions.

I say good for you for being so open on your blog.

JustinTime said...

I think you have a full life, Andrew - anyone who is honest will admit that there is messiness in their lives. But messiness isn't something to avoid - it reveals another part of who we are. I value your insights and I am glad to learn new ways to be a better and more sensitive friend by reading here. If you feel the need to put a boundary on revealing your inside life, that is something that I would support in order to keep you from feeling distressed. Thank you!

impromptublogger said...

I stumbled upon your blog many months ago while just surfing and have fallen in love with your writing style. You are a very gifted writer, and instead of being discouraged I hope that someday you will be able to write a book or two - either about your experiences or fiction.

I don't think you're revealing too much - I think you're brave and funny and wonderful. I would like to think you are inspiring others on the road to recovery. Bless you.

Velu said...

Don't let your spirits drop buddy. I wish the best for you.

Regds,
Velu

Barb said...

I would hope that your post, and the comments that are left have a sort of symbiotic relationship. With it, bringing goodness and fulfillment to both. Those that are without thoughts will move past without a comment or thought, but some will stay. As many of us have!!

Blog on Andrew with honesty and style.

Jennifer said...

It is exactly because you share your mental illness and alcoholism that keeps me coming back to read day after day. Just be who you are. Anytime you start filtering that you loose your authenticity. Everyone's life is messy, some just hide it from the world more than others.

Jennifer

Josie Two Shoes said...

Ditto what Jennifer said! I can certainly relate to how painful and embarassing it is to expose yourself on your blog, and then have to endure the harsh judgement of others. I've gone thru a bit of that too lately. It's a miserable experience. But I'm thinking maybe it will help me grow more firm in my personal conviction that I am ok just as I am. What others think of me is NOT the be all and end all of life! Usually the people doing the harshest judging are the ones most unhappy with themselves. I see you as incredibly strong, courageous, and appreciative of the good things in your life. I am aware of those personality characteristics even moreso because you have shared your background with us. I think to omit from your writing the things that play big factors in your life will somehow make your stories come across as superficial, and I"m hoping you won't go that route. It's difficult to find the point of balance between sharing and standing ourselves our there naked, I know!

darla said...

Andrew, the only readers you're alienating are the ones who haven't admitted to themselves, that they, too, have had "skeletons" in their own closets that they've yet to come to terms with. Honesty is always best and real.

Aaron said...

Andrew,

So many people in the world are patting themselves on the back for doing things as mundane as getting through a day at work, or putting up with their relatives. Now, although I won't take anything away from the accomplishments of even mundane tasks, I think that you should be nothing less than proud of who you are and how far you have come.

The fact that your reading audience knows what you have been through gives your present words that much more value. I don't think you should regret that you have shared who you are or what you have been through.

Personally, I would consider it high times to sit on your front porch exchanging stories with you and Rosa while smoking a cigarello while Maggie enjoyed the company of her humans. Where you have been vs. where you are now would make that time mean so much more.

But hey - that's just me!

K.G. said...

I think this is going to come off like a devil's advocate, and am nervous I won't be able to make my point articulately.

I understand (or think I do)when you're talking about complete honesty w/ those around you. Average Joe's aren't generally accustomed to spontaneous bursts of accountability :) It catches them off guard, they don't know how to respond.

Sometimes we offer just a tidbit too much, on too vulnerable a topic, and the other flees. Whether this happens in person or online, the effect is the same.

I like to think of myself, my many personalities, my history, my baggage, my wonderful natural talents, and all the other discreet gems that come with the situation, as a my whimsical deck of cards.

I don't have to lay all of my cards out upon the table for an audience. Instead, I play a wise hand, take smart chances, and hopefully don't walk away smiling!

On that note, I completely agree with the other comments :)

Creative Wishes,
Krystin Goodsell

KYRIE said...

Andrew,
I love reading ur stuff because it is honest and u are a non-judgemental human being.
Keep on sharing as u do with all of us!
There is nothing embrassing about wht u share. We all as human beings have gone through our own share of mistakes, that is called being human. Even those who judge u probably hv their own skeletons in their closets!
True friends (in the blogosphere n out in the real world) are those who accept u for ur past, present, for who u really are.
See Rosa, Charlie, wanda n a host of bloggies who stick around here for a very long to come are non-judgemental people who truly care n accept u for who u are, which is a good person.
Take care n keep on blogging LIKE U ALWAYS DO!

Mom's Blog said...

Andrew,

Thank you so much for having the courage to be candid about your mental illness. I read your blog daily and if anything it has made me less judgmental. Reading your blog has also helped give me the courage to be myself even when it makes me at risk of being criticized. You are making a difference for good.
Take care.
Sue

Eric said...

I was going to wax philosophical and give the gift of my immense wisdom(jk), then I read all the responses and well, I think you might get the point.

I will simply leave you with the three words that I use to describe you that are the only reasons I keep coming back...HONEST, BRAVE, WRITER(I would throw all kinds of adjectives to enhance the last word, but for me, it says it all)

HAR said...

I know how you feel. Done the same thing on my blog. It leaves you feeling almost naked and exposed.

Don't have any advice that hasn't been shared already. I just understand your feelings.

smokeyrose said...

andrew i have been reading you for some time now and i just love it . i feel like im along for the ride with you , you write so beautifully , please dont stop we all love you and love to hear of your adventures. i will be back soon .

sanityrules said...

You should never ever regret revealing your problems. As far as the readers you feel are alienated because of the revelation, they are probably shallow and self-serving.

Never stop posting what you feel. You have such a wonderful way with words.

Many people who have blogs do not know what to and what not to post. They just go on and on and on.

There is a fine line between opening up and telling every minute detail. You have refined that fine line and your oratories are truly worthwhile reading.

I come and read, but only post when I think I have something worthwhile to contribute to the conversation.

So, while you are only aware of my presence when I comment, I am always here reading.

rfp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Here's a thought to ponder: I don't know if you're religious but I'll share this, there is always this question, when someone makes a change in his life and because I am christian I will use a term some are uncomfortable with, REPENTANCE do I keep those sins to myself or use them to perhaps help some one else. If you believe in the atonement that is if you believe in a Savior of the world who came as his mission to take upon our sins isn't it very wrong not to completely forsake them. as it say's "I will remember them no more" Isn't that what we should also do. I really don't think anyone has been helped in the long run, not short term, by hearing the confessions of another. There is far more power in the idea of a new start a brand new begining and a complete cleansing that should take place. Move forward don't share those things that don't inspire and uplift. Isn't there enough of that in the world. We need to plant "new seeds" of hope and continually move in an upward pattern.

Anonymous said...

Mental illness by the way is not a sin. I was referring to other abuses.

dot al said...

Thank you for being there for my partner when he was going though a bad time, withdrawing from one medication to start a new one.

He also suffers from Schizophrenia and alcoholism. I think he saw himself and it was a real reality check for him.

From now no I will be visiting your site in the hope that through you I will come to understand my partner better, who finds it very hard to explain what is happening to him.

So don't stop please.

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nengaku said...

Yours is the only blog I have bookmarked/subscribed to. If you had not been so open about your mental health struggles I would not have been interested and I would not have been inspired. Please don't give it up. Critics? That's why we have that button marked [Del]
Don't be afraid to use it.
Keep up the good work, man. I so look forward to reading your posts.