Now you’ve done it. You’re going to have to send a rescue party to Plato’s cave. I hope you’re happy.
Actually, I hope you’ll indulge me while I work through some stuff, in public (because why not) and maybe, perhaps it will help someone.
The proximate causes of this post are two: My younger son has been practicing psychoanalysis without a license. To be fair to him, he only practices it on me. (And it’s facilitated by the fact he’s male clone, so he knows how my mind works.)
This morning, while lying in bed, I realized this entire GoFundMe experience is one of the turning points of my life. Which probably sounds really weird to the rest of you, and is really hard to explain, but I’m going to try.
There are inflection points in life. Things that happen, and after that, you’re never ever the same.
Some of mine are remarkably obvious, of course. Or are they?
There was coming tot he US as an exchange student. There was moving here. There was marrying Dan. There was having the kids….
Except that those are obvious and “things that happened” but not the real inflection points. Those either came earlier or “in the process of” and changed me, so other things COULD happen.
Like, I think the real inflection point while I was an exchange student came while driving past miles and miles of forest in Pennsylvania (they shipped me to my host family in Ohio via Greyhound) and realizing everything the media had fed me about America and the world in general (overpopulated/overpoluted, etc) was wrong. THAT changed me forever.
The inflection point on marrying Dan came earlier, when he proposed, and I realized someone really, really loved me, enough to propose when he hadn’t seen me in person for four years. I mean I was in love with him, but it never occurred to me it was mutual. And that changed my view of myself forever.
The inflection point on coming to America actually came when I went through citizenship ceremony. I’d decided, and gone through the process, but it was ALL intellectual. Then I came home, and went to the mailbox to get the mail. And suddenly it hit me, HARD, that I belonged. I had a country. And it was the first time I realized that for years (probably since adulthood) I hadn’t really thought of myself as Portuguese/belonging in Portugal. The feeling of belonging was strong enough it almost brought me to my knees, and I was drying on the driveway of a suburban house in Charlotte, NC, because I was no longer expatriate.
Think of it as your own, personal highlight reel of “this is your life.” Not what other people see, or would identify, but what you know changed you inside fundamentally.
In the same way, having the boys changed us, over time, in the last 30 years, but the defining moment was holding tiny #1son, blinking at me in the afternoon light (I slept 24 hours after delivering him. Or perhaps was in a comma. It’s hard to tell. And birth was pretty hard on both of us) and suddenly it hit me: this person is mine to look after his every need for the next 18 years. I need to grow up. And my life will never, ever, ever be the same again.
It hit me this morning the GoFundMe was that sort of moment, and I’ll explain.
But first, what younger son has been on me about: He’s been yelling that I need to value my time and my special abilities. Now, maybe this is because I dragged him through hell along with me. (The house is now up for sale, and while I’m not putting a link here, because I don’t want to invite vandals — who would have issues with Marines on either side, anyway, but I don’t want the boog to start in my house — I’ve shown it to friends who have been in the house, and the general reaction is “Dear Lord, you guys REMADE the place from the inside out, didn’t you?) Perhaps this is self-defense. He’s told me from now on I’m retired from the house-remodeling business, and anything (oh, half a dozen, like putting SOME covering on the stairs) that needs to be done in this house besides unpacking I should hire out. He’s also told me that my default position is “this needs doing, I’ll do it” and that needs to change. He says I need to value my time as a writer and my skills as a writer and blogger, and respect those, and learn to pay other people to do things.
He’s not wrong. And he’s probably NOT just trying to get out of doing it, since he’s intending to move out in the next couple of months, which means he won’t be available.
He says it’s a tweak that’s broken in my mind, probably because for years and years my worth to the household was how much I did (physically) to get stuff done that otherwise would cost us money. So stuff like rebuilding the house, but also cooking, cleaning, making curtains, reupholstering furniture, etc. Because you know for years and years no one was buying my writing, so it was obviously — in my head — low value.
As for the blog, well, I started it because a very misguided agent told me I should do it for publicity. It didn’t work that way, because I was deep in the political closet and was traditionally published, which meant I couldn’t talk about how corrupt and messed up the business was, and I had minor children, so I didn’t want to identify them or post their pictures, and– Anyway — it meant I couldn’t talk about any stuff that was important to me.
Oh, I could post “writers’ tips” but blogs for writers are self-limiting in audience. And anyway– So I didn’t write but like two blogs a month. I was told to go to Twitter and FB too, but I found it mostly annoying.
But agent kept insisting I blog every day, which meant I came out of the political closet, and dropped her and– where were we?
Anyway, by the time I dropped the agent, I had this community, and I write mostly for you guys who comment. Some days I go “I wonder what so and so (okay, often, but not always RES…) will say about this thought I had!” And lately I write to say “Okay, I’m hearing such bullshit someone needs to shout sanity, even if no one is listening, or not enough people.”
But I haven’t thought about it as helping others — yes, you guys told me, but I thought you were just being nice — or something worthy of being rewarded, which is why I’ve resisted fundraisers and such. Until I was in trouble and couldn’t see any other way out.
…. It’s going to take a while to process.
I haven’t read the comments yet. I’ll do it this afternoon, after I figure out how to break into my own GFM and get money out (what? Oh, it’s a process, and I just need to prove I’m me, and the account is mine, but you guys have to understand my reaction — normal reaction — to what I’ll call cyberbureaucracy is to run and hide, because I’m so bad at it. Like, upload the wrong thing. Or get such a bad scan of my license they think it’s fake, or — the current panic attack — can’t remember if I have my full legal name on my bank account. So I’ll have to take a deep breath, and brave it. And if I fail, Dan will do it tonight. BUT it’s on the list because otherwise I’ll try to avoid it.) The fact that I’m terrified of hearing nice things — my friends tell me they’re all nice — about myself should tell me something too. I THINK it feels like I’m impersonating someone else. Or like they can’t be really talking about me. Like when you get a birthday gift meant for someone else.
And yes, realizing that place is broken and doesn’t make sense, is the beginning of fixing it. It will take time, because the denial is so absolute.
However, BGE saying he wouldn’t have survived the Covidiocy mentally intact without this blog made my jaw drop.
Look, I’m not discounting blogs in general. I dedicated A Few Good Men to my boss at instapundit for all the years when he kept me from going crazy. Particularly while I was in the political closet. It was just THIS little blog, with my ranting and musing. Really? It made THAT much difference?
It made me think anew about this thing I do. And the fiction writing too. And that maybe younger son has a point.
BUT mostly — mostly? — I have this feeling that somehow everything has changed. That from now on everything will be different, because I’ll be different.
I’m not quite sure how yet, but it feels like a good change. Like, I’ll be able to “grow into myself” and fill my own outlines.
Which is weird. And I can’t explain.
But knowing what I’m doing matters, and matters for SO MANY PEOPLE has tweaked something deep inside me.
It will work itself out, like a piece of shrapnel, likely. Next thing you know, I’ll be outside raking leaves, and it will hit me, and I’ll cry like a baby, and confuse the neighbors. And then over years something will change.
Right now? Thank you for putting up with my spelunking in Plato’s cave.
You’ve given me just about enough courage to break into my own GFM. Things like that… Knowing I matter, and people have been helped, and …. just having a financial cushion so I don’t need to do everything myself (uphill, both ways) will make a difference over time. I just have to get used to it. The back brain is remarkably obtuse, and it takes time for it to get a new idea. But we’ll get there. The moment of blowing up the old one has happened, so now it’s possible.
Again, I’ll leave it up till — calculates — the 16th. Not because I’m greedy, but because I was specifically asked by some people who don’t get paid till then and would like to “play” (and again I’m not sure how this is play, but fine. I DO get people are enjoying themselves. I don’t have to understand HOW.)
There will be more stuff soon, including a free short story and the release of Odd Tales, the short stories I did here before.
For now, I’m going to shamble into the shower (don’t judge me. There was a cat who wouldn’t let me get up) and tackle the cyberbureaucracy dragon.
Again, thank you. I’m confused. Fundamental parameters of my life have changed, and I’m not even sure how yet.
And I have you to thank for it.
And I do. More than I can tell.