I don’t believe in ghosts. Or demons, or magic, or psychics, or anything supernatural. I’m a realist. Show me the observable, repeatable, verifiable evidence, and we’ll talk. But anything short of that, and I’m going to give whatever you’re saying as much respect and attention as I give to the wacky-haired Greek dude on the Ancient Aliens show.
That includes anecdotes. Especially anecdotes. Anecdotal evidence is not evidence; it’s just stories. People love ghost stories, although they’re hardly ever told firsthand. It’s always a friend or a cousin, or maybe Earl down by the car wash who tells them this super legitimate and believable tale of Strange Things, so I really should start believing in the power now, or else!
The point is, it’s all bullshit. Comforting bits of horror we tell ourselves to forcibly project some kind of cosmic will onto an uncaring universe, and I’ll have nothing to do with it, thankyouverymuch.
THAT SAID…I’m pretty sure I’m being stalked by supernatural forces beyond my control that want to murder, maim, or otherwise do physical and mental harm to my person.
I’m probably going to die.
I was a very trusting child. If someone in a position of authority told me something was true, I usually believed them. Which, now that I think about it, is probably why I grew up to distrust all authority as an adult. Because authority is full of shit.
My parents were my first authority figures, which probably isn’t all that much of a surprise, since parents are pretty much everyone’s first authority figures. And I believed everything they ever told me, which is a fact they routinely exploited with the kind of sadistic relish only parents delivering a little payback to their weirdo kid can.
For example, a favorite pastime of my folks was alternating between telling me that they were either going to ship me off to the orphanage, or some supernatural force was going to murder me. ALL THE TIME.
As I’ve started opening up a little about my various absurd struggles with depression and all my weird little quirks – thanks, in large part, to Jenny Lawson making me feel like it’s okay to be broken – I’ve noticed something not good: there aren’t many dudes talking about their feelings.
Not in the way that the women are, with jagged bone honesty and brutal humor to highlight how ridiculous everything is. The few men who are writing about mental health tend to write like, well, men writing about mental health. It’s usually very cold and antiseptic, as if depression can be conquered through spreadsheets and actuarial tables.
This is going into my Questionable Decisions section because…well, you’ll see. Spoiler alert: I chose wisely.
I met Jenny Lawson tonight. She was super sweet and gave me a bunch of compliments. It felt great and awkward, and everyone was looking at me, so I wanted to run for the exit as soon as it was over. Only that would’ve probably drawn even more attention, so I just decided to walk normally. But then I felt like I was overcompensating and walking too slowly just so I’d look like I was walking at a normal pace, so I sped up a little until I started to feel like I was walking too fast, then I just gave up and looked at the watch I wasn’t wearing so I could pretend I was late for something. By the time I had it all sorted out, I was already back at my car.
I have some sort of mysterious, undiagnosed developmental disorder. Or, rather, it was diagnosed, but said diagnosis has been hidden from me for the past several decades of my life, ever since I was in 2nd grade and found myself going to a special PE class just for me and a few other kids.
Which was actually, I would come to find out years later, a special class. You know, for kids who have something wrong with them or whatever. Only no one told me that at the time, so I just bounced along, happily thinking I was getting out of class for an hour or so every few days to go play on a janky teeter-totter and some weird-ass plastic thing with a ball in the middle.
But what I was really doing there was working on my penmanship.
Growing up, I was incredibly close to my grandmother. I was even incredibly close to her as a grown-up, if a punk twentysomething kid counts as a grown up. (It doesn’t.) And I’d still be incredibly close to her today as a 40 year old husband and father, but she passed away many years ago and I can’t even talk about it, so don’t ask me to.
For real, though. I’ve never “dealt” with her…geeze, I can’t even write the word death in context with her without pausing for way too long while trying to think of another synonym that isn’t “passing” and getting weepy. It’s probably not at all healthy, never advancing past the Denial stage of grief, but I fear change. Don’t push me.
This isn’t about my grandmother, though. So don’t worry. I only mention her because this post is tangentially about her, in the sense that she features as only a minor character in this particular embarrassment, but recalling it did make me think of her, and I had to process it before telling you about the night I was almost murdered by insects.
You’ll see. It’ll all make sense in a minute. I promise.
Not too long ago, the Queen of the Internet (as far as I’m concerned, anyway) put out a call for help. Her name is Jenny Lawson, she’s known online as The Bloggess, and she’s weird and wonderful and damaged. One might even say broken.
She would say that, actually. She has said that. And she needed help from other broken souls to put together a trailer for her new book, Furiously Happy. Turns out, I am one of those broken souls.
I’m in the Broken Tribe!