In the spirit of continuing to express myself through turning my body into a billboard (and effectively eschewing most people’s completely wrong initial perceptions of me that I’m a shy-ish introvert who, surely, couldn’t have several tattoos), and also in my endeavors to try to help others with my words, I added two new tattoos in support of Project Semicolon and everyone who struggles with any type of mental illness or negative thoughts, including myself. Oh, and I love cats!
The nonprofit is based on the role of the semicolon in English writing. A semicolon is where a writer could have put a period, but chose to go on. Thus, those of us who may have or continue to struggle with negative thoughts, depression, suicidal ideations, or other self-harming behavior see the semicolon as a message to keep going.
I truly despise when well-meaning people tell me, “It’ll be OK,” or, “It’ll get better,” because, to me, “it” won’t just get better by itself. I’m not a religious person; perhaps spiritual in a way (I believe in Karma). And yes, I do struggle daily, especially this year, which has been inordinately difficult.
Anyone who has ever read any of my poetry will see that I leave no topic undiscussed. In addition to my eclectic and whimsical humorous pieces, there are several about depression, suicide, loneliness, and other negative topics (oh yeah, and politics—the king of all things negative at the moment). These so-called “taboo” topics should not be taboo. Millions of people deal with some type of mental illness and shoving everything into a closet or under a rug does nothing to help them, nor to help society understand them better. I get asked frequently why I write about such personal topics. The answer is that this is who I am. I am not going to pretend that everything is peachy keen because it isn’t.
I get asked frequently why I write about such personal topics. The answer is that this is who I am. I am not going to pretend that everything is peachy keen because it isn’t. I have to admit, I am a fantastic actress and can play the role of a normal, well-adjusted, happy automaton quite well but I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to pretend to be happy all the time because someone else can’t handle any negativity. If you don’t like something I say then don’t listen to me. (I have kids, I have been ignored, I can deal with it.) I’m not going to change who I am for somebody else. I’ve tried that and it was a disaster. I even had a doctor recently tell me I should go to a psychiatrist for a mood stabilizer (which I refuse to do). I told her my mood was very stable. Down, most of the time, but stable. (She didn’t like that too much, but oh well. I’m not going to poison my body with that garbage.)
It’s funny in a way. I hadn’t written poetry in years and after finding Prose and Twitter and other online poetry forums, I have penned, oh, 800 poems in the past year, have published six collections (and two more are in the works). I continue to do so because that’s what keeps me going. Sure, I write other people’s blogs, NFL articles, humor, other assorted articles, short stories, academic research, and whatever other ideas creep into my mind, but my poetry has gotten the biggest response. People generally like honesty and vulnerability (even if they won’t admit it) because it lets them know they are not alone in the way they feel. And many people can’t express their feelings out of fear of another person’s reaction or for some other reason. I’m not going to stop putting myself out there because someone else won’t like it. This is my life, these are my words, and you can choose to read them. Or not.