permission to protect myself

I haven’t written much for a while because I felt like I was (and am) going through all these untranslateable internal processes and I didn’t wanna puke these messy words all over the internet. There’s this strange thing about writing / blogging / zining / existing in public that creates this illusion of no boundaries. I realized maybe it’s my habit of over-sharing that makes people feel entitled to my time, to my energy, to my advice, to more information, to everything (or maybe that is self-blame, and I am in fact entitled to my own personal boundaries no matter what I write). I don’t know. I’ve made myself too vulnerable over the years. I guess that’s what kept me going for a while, but it’s not useful anymore. I’ve been learning how to communicate my boundaries for years, but it still feels like no one’s listening. I hid my blog for six months because I couldn’t handle readers’ expectations of me, couldn’t handle feeling like people were writing at me like I was a therapist or a confessional, or like we were suddenly best friends when I didn’t even know them. I couldn’t handle feeling like I was being looked at but not seen. I still can’t.

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Hello Kitty Tarot cards taped to my door. The Devil, Justice, Strength.

I was recently diagnosed with complex-PTSD, which helps clarify all kinds of stuff in my life, and it also makes me want to retreat from certain spaces to focus on my recovery. I’ve said about a thousand times over the years that I need to “focus on my recovery” but I could hardly ever figure out what that meant, and my feelings of obligation to keep all that stuff documented, to share it, to validate all my weirdo pals and strangers, actually just led to this really gross lack of boundaries and an inability to take care of myself. I realized I was using writing as therapy for a long time because more meaningful, competent mental health care (beyond meds) was not accessible to me and, once again, that was useful for a time, it kept me alive, but it’s not enough anymore. I also realized blogging about my mental illnesses, as much as I wanted to share these processes, was hurting me way more than I was able to admit. So, yeah, not only did I hide my blog while figuring out what to do next, I also deleted more than 1,000 comments and 50 entries because I just wanted to get rid of all that discomfort. I’ve been writing out of such anger and pain and I don’t want to do that anymore. I kinda wish I’d written down all the kind words y’all shared with me, but I mostly just remember the harassment. (There is no longer an option to leave comments here. Self-protection, etc.)

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A stack of Telegram, my first book, which you can still get here.

I still have a bunch of zines available at schoolformaps.etsy.com, and I’m working on a new one, all about recovery & boundaries & self-protection & letting go & embodying my values and stuff. I’m still learning how to accept that as my chronic pain condition worsens, and as I try to heal all this stuff, a lot of zinester-type things (fests, readings, gatherings, conversations, whatever) are becoming more & more inaccessible to me. I still wanna make zines, but I’ve also got to mourn the things I used to be able to do that I can’t anymore (and practice the things I can do now that I couldn’t in the past!). There are very real physical and psychic barriers keeping me away, but I’m finding more ways to survive, and to do so much more than just survive. I’ll tell you all (well, some) about it someday.

Self-protectingly (Not) Yours,
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P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!

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