All the things I thought I wanted, I don’t, but I may need them to survive.
Tragedy is a resource and sadly, one of the very few I feel like I have left. But I do not want to be tragic. I do not see myself as tragic, but the circumstances around me as such.
I’ve decided to muse without shame and with imperfection. Confliction. Complication. The human experience is and will always be nuanced yet we are already leaning into a story based economy. Any kind of economy feels dangerous, we trade something for survival.
Life is and should be a communal event, but not under distress.
I used to dream about being a blogger, vlogger, writer. My first job circled around harnessing personal narratives for health advocacy. I’ve learned, individual empathy is not the issue. We have computer programs and simulations to train away empathy now.
When I was subjected to hatred at one point for nothing, my mere existence, I felt desperate to tell my side, my life, to prove my worth and why I should be allowed to endure. But, that is something that I find reprehensible now that I would even try to prove something that is innate to people who simply aren’t willing to see or hear it and frankly, aren’t entitled to it or anything.
I don’t expect this to make sense to everyone or have universal appeal, but I’ve realized that when I failed to meet capitalist standards, I turn to my own stories as currency for survival, respect & reassurance. Some stories are misplaced, told at the wrong time and desperate for approval. They are often, exploited, exploitable. My stories exist for my community and peers. For us to laugh together at imperfections and take stock of our traumas and strengths.
A year ago, I stopped working after a friend’s suicide because I felt my whole body shut down and something inside me was screaming that if I didn’t start paying attention to my own needs, have time to work on my mental health, my trauma, my own determination to survive and push myself beyond my own limits would kill me too, one way or another.
And so now, looking back at the years I spent working for other people, for organizations, for corporations, I see a verison of me that was dreaming of a day I could use my own stories as currency to survive instead so I could work on my own terms and not feel like my body was breaking, like I was stumbling through social situations all wrong. I don’t feel that much better then I did when I stopped working, because I have in a way actually kept on working, but now the full-time job is myself as a disabled person discovering my “gifts”, debating the to-be or not-to-be of inspiration porn, and fighting for diagnosis for multiple invisible disablities so I could finally feel real enough to believe myself and my own experiences. Capitalism has been gaslighting me, torturing me, not giving me a chance to recover for years after a near death experience I could hardly articulate.
But something changed after my friends death. I stopped sugar coating my experience. I pushed harder. I refused to be disbelieved. My hypermobility disorder is real. My autism and neurodivergence is real as well. My PTSD & panic disorder are birthed of these alongside trauma.
I do not want to tell a story, to charge dues, to ask for help. I feel as if I am in a race against myself to learn new ways of support when everything around me feels like it would be nothing but a vortex to get lost in, something I don’t want to put myself asside for to survive. I’m still fawning. I’m still freezing. I’m fighting in what feels like all the wrong ways.
But, I have clarity.
The truth is just difficult to accept.
So I don’t. I hold it and possibility at the same time and wonder/hope/cry.
I don’t want to sell anything to survive. Not even my stories. It pains me that they cannot just be gifts. And it pains me that they are something I struggle to tell because of the things that have been done.