you can write a novel while you’re pissed

i love when the first day of a new month falls on a monday. i am one of those weirdos that loves mondays. they are my favorite day of the week. i love the idea of a fresh start, & i get one every monday. & when it’s also a new month–double bonus!

i think i might indulge in national novel writing month this year. which starts today. i have absolutely no idea what i’m going to write a novel about…& if i did, i wouldn’t share it here because i think it’s true that sharing story ideas before they are actually written is a creativity & motivation killer. i have been talking about writing a novel for months, & i have bits & scraps of stories littering my computer. maybe it’s time to actually sit down & put some ass into it. then when i am at some tedious grad school function with jared, & yet another random person asks me what i do, i can honestly say, “oh, i’m working on a novel.” i doubt it will be great literature if i churn it out in thirty days, but a draft is a draft, regardless of how shitty it is. that’s what editing is for.

i had been planning to get started on the self-care zine, in the hopes of releasing it in january when most people i know are struggling to make it through the winter with their mental health intact. but i have not felt motivated to start working on it, so maybe it needs to be shelved for the time being. i did just release a new zine in august (copies are still avaiable!). maybe it’s not realistic at this point in my life to think i am really going to make two zines within six months. especially when i have so many other writing projects on the table, about which i feel more passionate.

one reason i am not feeling the self-care zine right now is because i fear writing it now would result in a zine that mainly draws on my experiences with my most recent friend break-up. the friend i mentioned in my last blog post, the one who said the offensive things about my disability income…that situation continued to spiral out of control, culminating in a pretty horrible conversation last week. when someone tells you that it will be your fault if they commit suicide, it begins to be clear that the friendship isn’t really going to bounce back. clearly she’s going through a period where it’s not good for her mental health to be friends with me, & i certainly have zero interest in subjecting myself to the whims & wiles of someone who would say such blatantly manipulative, emotionally abusive things.

i have been struggling with the anger i feel over the situation. my anger is clouding every other emotion i might conceivably feels about the whole mess–sadness, disappointment, concern, fear. i just feel fucking pissed off that i trusted someone who turned around & took out all her baggage on me & then did her damnedest to manipulate me into letting her off the hook for it. i’ve been experiencing an uptick in my anxiety levels, & i feel a lot of very unproductive energy coursing around in my body. the kind of energy that makes it hard to sit still or concentrate. since mostly what i like to do with my time is read & write, this really sucks. i have been smoking a lot instead. which makes me feel shitty physically. for a while, i felt angry enough that i wanted to talk to this person & let her know exactly how fucked up she was being, & that her ploys to manipulate me were in no way working. but i also felt angry enough that i didn’t want to talk to her at all. the feelings are starting to dissipate & now i just feel like i don’t want to talk to her, which i feel is a more functional way to resolve the situation. hence, a friend break-up.

i am actually pretty okay with it. i think this development with be a really positive thing for my mental health & my time management. i’d much rather put my time & energy into writing projects & taking care of myself than into attempting to navigate a toxic relationship with someone who lacks all self-awareness or ability to engage is personal responsibility. she’s clearly going through a major rough patch right now in her personal life, & i feel for her in that respect, but that doesn’t mean i’m going to sit back & let her treat me like garbage. if i learned one thing from growing up with the mother i got saddled with, it’s that you can’t force someone into playing the relationship role you want them to play, & trying to force someone into being a good person is a recipe for disaster. back when i was struggling with the decision to cut my mom out of my life, i shared my woes with a friend, who said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expecting a different result.” it’s a trite aphorism, but there’s also an element of truth to it. i hoped that if i reached out to my mom, kept the lines of communication open, showed an interest in her life, listened to her problems, & showed empathy, she would respond in kind. but she was too selfish to do that. same with my now former friend. & i mean…i cut my own mother out of my life. that’s fucking hardcore. i no longer have any issue doing it with anyone else who treats me disrespectfully.

i definitely think this ex-friend could benefit from learning some fundamentals of self-care. so could a lot of people. but i definitely fear that if i write the zine now, when i am still feeling a pretty high degree of anger, the zine will turn into a condemnation of this friend, & it will contain a level of spitefulness that i don’t want to feel or share with anyone. so it’s being shifted to the back burner until i can come to the topic with the kind of patience & compassion i feel is required.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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