Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why is it...?

Why is it that whenever something slightly good happens to me, that I recoil and go to such a deep, dark, negative place, I end up thinking everyone is making fun of me and hating me? I wrote a poem recently sorta about this. I've been editing it. It's not done. But this is the original, raw version.

Through Myself Darkly

When you reflect my doubts,
I wish you would turn the mirror
of my self-hatred away,
instead, let me see in the looking glass 
of your eyes, what it is in me
that you love and cherish, 
despite, or maybe even because of,
my many blemishes.

I am my own worst enemy. If anyone is going to destroy me, it will be me, myself, and I. Some good things have happened to me lately in regard to my writing. And I'm going to list them here, despite all the angry voices in my head telling me that doing so is bad, wrong, self-centered, and maybe worst of all, futile. So here's some public bloodletting.

In no particular or chronologic order, and with commentary:

~ Last month I gave a poetry reading. I was one of four poets on the program. By luck of last name, I went last. It went well. I guess. People said nice things. See, there's this thing inside me that gets angry whenever I "brag." I have a hunch that it comes from places back in my childhood, and they're not all sun-shiny and pretty.

~ I sent someone my self-published chapbook (right now I'm not sure why), and she said "These are fabulous, Robin! I love their simplicity and their depth." I've never met her, I have no reason to believe she'd be "just saying that." Where does that voice come from? "Just saying that."

~ While writing this, just now, a friend wrote back to me, in response to some of my typical self-tortured musings; "I don't know what you need to do, and at this point in my life, I wouldn't presume to even suggest a course of action (since I'd almost certainly be wrong), but there probably is something that you should be doing. For all I know it might be misunderstanding friends, getting upset, and then finding out that your friends love and respect you after all, despite any doubts and self-recriminations on your part. If that's true, you are doing exactly the right thing (and who is to say you're not?). Sometimes I wonder why I have such good friends.

~ Yesterday, Emerald had something very nice to say about one of my poems. I was kinda flabbergasted. Why? Oh, I can be gracious about accepting praise, on the outside, but inside something wants to deflate any sense of "wow, I did that!" (or I wrote that). Interesting. Yeah, a bit of self-therapy here.

~ I was asked to co-feature with Jeremy Edwards at the Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia on Nov. 16.  He announced it on his blog. I knew I was wanting to hear him read from his new book and I thought it would be fun to get on the open mike list. That's all. And while I'm thrilled I finally get to read  some poems I don't have the nerve to read locally, I also feel bad that I will be taking time away from what would have been just Jeremy's feature.

~ In November I have another reading that I'm doing. That makes two in one month. Why do I think that's "wrong?" I should be proud and excited and all that, right? And I am. That's the thing. The little-kid excitement is there right along with the grown-up admonition to "get over it."

A couple of times recently people have mentioned that they haven't seen me wear my Fuck Shame necklace lately. And yeah, they're right. Because lately I think I've let the shame get an upper hand. Maybe because of all the changes I'm going through, I've been doing a lot of self-examination, and I don't always like what I see. I'm selfish and self-centered much of the time. At least it seems that way to me. And so the spiral begins.

I do this. All the time. This bungeeing, this spiraling. I think I've mentioned it before when I did something that I still sometimes am surprised I did. Should I be proud of that? Ashamed? Neutral? All of the above? I don't know.

Last weekend I was looking at some pictures with a friend, pictures that are up on Facebook. In one, taken a couple of years ago, there are two friends who are no longer with us. And it is because of the tangle of emotions I have around their absence that I keep going, despite everything in me that says "stop writing and be a regular person."

Early this morning in an email to someone who I misunderstood, I wrote "We all write because we like picking scabs. That's all it is. Some of us are better at it than others, that's all." And in the course of the morning, through many tears, I realized, that is my truth. I pick scabs. Because somehow I believe that if I can get deep enough, I can somehow get to new, unblemished skin.


Anonymous said...

yeah you have a serious problem
what you do is GOOD ! don't trample your own feet!!

there is more power in the blood as a pulse than the blood as a dried spot on an arm. pick UP, don't pick AT.

giving you about twenty hugs next i see you.

Danielle said...

ah robin..that was a fascinating made me sad for you...i dunno..i told you already a hundred times you are awsome..but i know it means nothing to someone until the person findes out herslef how awsome she really is...all i can say is..keep on doing what you do,..they way youn do..until youn discover yourself...the way you are

Jo said...

Oh, I have a couple little things for you. Bear with me, it will take me a bit to gather them.

I know I suffer from this disease too. Not so much the not liking what I create, because I tend to like that a lot, and if other people like it it's like icecream and sunshine to me.

But it doesn't really matter, how good the work is or not. If you don't do it it will never grow and change and improve, and sadly I suppose the same can be said for sitting on your arse wallowing in fears and self loathing. Sigh.

Nikki Magennis said...

How interesting, Robin. And brave to post here, too.

First of all, I have to say that I have very much enjoyed your poems. They call for rereading and have such a lovely clarity and movement within them. Also, I've never given praise that I've not meant. I'm a bit of an arse about it, in fact. ; )

Last of all, I think it's interesting what happens when we start to realise our dreams. It's terrifying. I fell apart when my first novel was published. I'm still coming to terms with it!

I can't offer much in the way of wisdom, but practical advice may be of some use? Walk outside, take good care of yourself, meditate.

Those voices in your head are trying to help, somehow. I don't think they should be rejected or suppressed, but maybe respectfully listened to. Maybe with help, though. These things are hard to do alone.

spamword: dinquest - ask about the noises? ; )

with best wishes x

Craig Sorensen said...

I believe you have a wonderful gift. I love your poetry, and I am not one who hands out praise easily.

I know someone dear to me who suffers from this same thing, always looking for what will go wrong. It seems that the looking is always worse than the eventuality, because these doubts linger.

I wish I had an easy solution, but the best I can do is offer my friendship and support.

Anonymous said...

I get it. All of it.
There is always something that puts us back in our place and God forbid that we might actually accept praise, not just accept it but embrace it and wear it, feel it, be with it, intimately.
Get right down and dirty with praise.
You are good. You are fantastic. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some of the best writers, that I've seen or read or heard of, are tortured artist types and basically have that darkness that is lamented.
Your past, it will keep coming back because it is who you are. It became who you were as it all happened, and fall doesn't help matters any. The weather and time of year, for me anyhow, seems to be that time when the sinking and spiraling begins, though writing from this tortured space inside of me seems to always be the most powerful, real and raw.
I do not think you are selfish, or self-absorbed, you are living out your dream, doing what you are built to do. And writing, writing happens because you have to write, it is not some choice that you make, it is who you are, you're a writer. You'd be severing a limb if you quit writing because it is very much who you are and you write because of this.
I am thinking of you, am in a similar place, sort of... just struggling period.
I am here, with you.
Love you!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Dear Robin, please don't feel the slightest itsy bitsy (spidery) bit negative about sharing the Salon evening with me! First of all, I think your featured time comes out of what would have otherwise been part of the (vey generous) open-mike time, not my designated time. Second and third and nth of all... I'm nothing but delighted to have you aboard. Ahoy!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Oops, that's very, not vey. Oy vey!

Erobintica said...

thanks everyone