Did you do all you could?
Everyone who has shared my words recently, who have taken the extra steps to reach out to me, everyone who has told me my words have given them strength? I have so much love and appreciation for you. Thank you for your strength, bravery, courage, empathy, solidarity, respect. Thank you for your love. I feel it all.
It has been a very long time since I have been able to write my naked truth. The last few years of my life have been years of intense struggle, pain and loss. Right now I am coming out of one of the darkest depressive episodes of my life, which is saying something as over thirty years I have taken depressive episodes into an art form.
For one lean moment I can breathe again.
When I wrote “This is not normal & I will not hide how much it hurts” , the floodgates opened and those words poured out of my soul and down through my fingertips. It was the first fully honest writing I’d done in years. While tears streamed down my cheeks while the pain, anger, frustration and rawness poured out, I also began to feel free again.
I’m in my mid-thirties, came of age with the riot grrls and indie folksingers, Ani DiFrano above all else. The Little Folksinger’s lyrics have evolved and shaped me, I’ve grown through adulthood and aged with her. Her words helped me express my shifting sexuality, my need to live life on my terms, my complex relationship with feminism, my openness about abortion. We became mothers at about the same time, both having home births. (Which is an incredibly privileged option but if I start that tangent now we will be here all night.)
Swan Dive has been my anthem since I was a wee baby dyke. “Gonna get my feet wet, until I drown” has been my mantra and my inspiration for over half my life. I hope it always will.
More recently, the words I’ve needed to hear come from “tamburitza lingua”. Specifically this. Indulge me here…
and everything seems to have gone terribly wrong that can
but one breath at a time is an acceptable plan
she tells herself
and the air is still there
and this morning it’s even breathable
and for a second the relief is unbelievable
and she’s a heavy sack of flour sifted
her burden lifted
she’s full of clean wind for one lean moment
and then she’s trapped again
caged and contorted
with no way to get free
and she’s getting plenty of little kisses
but nobody’s slippin’ her the key
she’s 19 going on 30
or maybe she’s really 30 now …
it’s hard to say
it’s hard to keep up with time once it’s on its way
10 9 8 seven six 5 4 three 2 one
you’re done for.
you’re done for good.
so tell me
did you do?
did you do all you could?
Did I do all I could? That rings through me. Did I? Have I? Am I?
I call myself a “Professional Oversharer” and next month will mark 20 years of being a digital citizen, of oversharing on the internet. 20 years since I first set up an angelfire site and as a teen diligently updating my online journal. Waiting for each update to be approved. I don’t know why, but as soon as I found the internet I instantly started pouring my life out and onto my screen.
Very proudly I aim to be Shameless, because shame is a weapon to silence and I will be heard. Shame kept me quiet for far too long, shame made me fear taking up space, shame fueled my already intense depression. I reject the attempts to shame me now, each rejection thrown back makes me feel stronger.
For some reason I am able to comfortably share with whoever finds my digital space my lived experience — especially the parts that western society says I should be ashamed of. The broken parts of me. The ragged edges. That I have mental illnesses and they shape my life experience. That I enjoy empowered sexuality. That sex and sexuality fascinates me and that with a dildo in my hand I am a superhero who can do anything. (No, really. I am.)
But did you do? Did you do all you could?
Because I am able to share what others find too personal, because I can say these things that are common but shamed, I feel compelled to keep sharing. I feel that I have a duty to do this work and say these things. Because I can speak, I should.
So I am. So I will. I feel this intense drive right now to push back at what is happening right now with Donald Trump. This is Not Okay. This is not normal. This is un-fucking-acceptable. There needs to be a push back that says NO MORE.
Mike Pence says he doesn’t understand the basis of Michelle Obama’s brilliant speech. While he won’t listen to me, I will speak with the hopes that others who do not understand can.
I will be loud.
I will take up space.
I will be heard.
I will be heard because this is doing all that I can. This is living up to my ideals and what I feel is part of my purpose as a human being. I will take up space just because I can.
This is long, if you’ve made it this far I deeply appreciate you. This is what I ask. Please keep sharing. Not because I desperately want attention. (Offline I am actually an introvert with intense social anxiety) But because with each share at last one woman/survivor tells me that my words helped her through her day. Each time my words go further someone says that they didn’t know others felt this way. That someone feels less alone. That someone feels like they are heard through my words.
This is the greatest honor. I want to help heal, I want to help people engage, I want to help folks feel less alone. Connection via shared experience is one of the deepest connections there are. If you feel a connection to my words, If you need someone to hear you — I want to be that person. Crista at Gmail. cristaanne.com/contact if you want to be anon. cristaanne.tumblr.com/ask. @Pinkness on twitter. /CristaAnne or /SexGeek on facebook.
We are Stronger Together.