“The Bright Side”
“The Bright Side Who?”
“The Bright Side Who Doesn’t Actually Exist”
“Oh. Then I guess this is just another dissociative conversation with the bully-in-my-brain, then?”
“You catch on not quickly at all, don’t you? Also, your joke sucks.”
I’m fairly sure the first rule of building a blog audience is “own your domain name so you can engage in SEO and promote yourself across social media.” I failed that rule the moment I set up my account because I was too afraid to pay for an anonymous blog with a non-anonymous credit card. I also do not have the spoons to maintain more than one social media site, period.
I maintain a free site even though my lack of spoons has gradually led me to dial back on the other paranoid hoops I used to jump through to maintain anonymity. Part of my expression of a PTSD sense of foreshortened future is a fear that, if I did dare to make that all-of-$36-dollar annual investment in a domain name, I’d immediately go broke. I would be inviting the wrong kind of irony magnet. Then, my audience accustomed to something simple like “lavenderandlevity.com” would all abandon me as soon as continuing to follow me required the modicum of effort to bookmark “lavenderandlevity.wordpress.com” again. If you follow me while I use the free version, I suppose you’ll probably follow me on a paid version. But, would those who would only follow a paid version ever bother to reverse course? Do I really even want followers for whom I have to write witty, engaging content all the time? C-PTSD says just stick with free: I’ll never have to fear inevitable future rejection from potential future financial disaster. C-PTSD is dark.
Which sucks because…
The second rule of building a blog audience seems to be “don’t be relentlessly negative.” I’m not normally. Hell, I’ve written entire blog posts about how hard I fight to have good days, even amidst the worst the 9th Circle of Hell can dish out. I don’t want to be relentlessly negative, for fear I myself might eventually give up. I try to maintain an East Coast acerbic wit to remind the traumatized parts of myself that I don’t live in the 9th Circle of Hell anymore, even if years-long waiting lists mean my sibling still does.
Some months I can’t help it. Some months, I can’t keep the light on. That’s definitely a metaphor for my writing, probably a metaphor for dissociation generally, and – because it’s still the 9th Circle of Hell – also quite literal.
The bedbug place that abruptly closed up shop and would willingly have turned multiple facilities worth of clients onto the street had another agency not stepped up? They didn’t switch the payment of the utilities for their group homes over to the emergency provider, and the utility company couldn’t do it without their prior consent. The utility company also didn’t give a damn about the extenuating circumstances making finding anyone from there impossible.
Power was cut to all the homes last night, and everyone was forced out as a result. My sibling is with my co-guardian, which is going exactly as well as I expected given the intensity of his needs and how she handles crises. My Partner will probably end up flying out tonight to help manage things. I’m genuinely not sure I can handle working for a bully and being in my own personal Hell for the… don’t ask, I refuse to count and render that knowledge cognitively real… time this year. (I’ll go eventually, but damn I need a few days in my own home to armor up first. Also, I need to keep my income, damn it. Trauma is expensive!)
Of course, I’ll feel metaphorically dark when things literally go dark. If that costs me blog followers, well, hopefully, they’ll learn the lesson that even a comedian can’t laugh forever while the world falls apart. I keep trying to cope, and that means forcing self-care and good days even when it feels impossible. I keep smiling a lot longer than most. But, I can’t do it forever. I’ve exhausted my ability for this month.
I was eating dinner right before an Improv showcase when that dark call came in. The local Subway – chosen because excess salt helps in performing with dysautonomia, they have GF bread, they let me customize orders, and I’m paranoid about money after weeks of not-FMLA – was inexplicably broadcasting Trump gloating over Kavanaugh. I do not understand that franchise’s choice, given the political leanings of the area they serve, but it made for a fascinating experience in surround-sound shit to have the 9th Circle of Hell in one ear and Emperor Asshat in the other.
I performed anyway. I set up one-liners, embodied happy ditzy characters without a care in the world, and made other people look on the bright side for an hour. (And, for a few scenes, made them laugh with us at the dark state of politics. Unlike that Subway, the theater itself knows its audience!)
I believe in “faking it til you make it” as a survival strategy. All the positive thinking in the world, however, cannot erase mental illness, trauma, or the rights owed to the forgotten majority that have been trampled by Emperor Asshat and his Republican Shit-troopers.
This feels like the right comedic timing to remind those amorphous others we’ve all met who claim we could cure our illnesses with the right attitude to go jump off that bright side they love so much. I dare anyone who claims a positive attitude solves everything to successfully entertain a room full of people who paid to get away from their cares while their own ride so heavily on their shoulders. I know my attitude will improve considerably watching them fail at it. I also know that even good old schadenfreude won’t cure my diagnosed illnesses or the state of America right now.