Friday, January 20, 2006

this weekend's essay: to tell the truth.


every tongue shall confess: i am riddled with self-doubt. it cripples and paralyzes me. i am a professional self-saboteur.

i had more than just technical difficulties last week. true, i did type the entire rumor when all of a sudden a fuse in my apartment blew for the second time in three days. i put who i had on the phone on hold, screamed "fuck!" and smacked my desk. generally, that works. i recover, and rewrite the entry from memory. but last week, as i tried to begin my rumor again, all i could do was just stare angrily at the computer.

then, i crawled into bed.

i am prone to bouts of mild depression. i will go days without leaving my apartment, primarily occupying one room, leaving only for necessities like finding food. several friends called to wish me a happy holiday. i've yet to return their phone calls. in the last two weeks, i've spoken to my mother once. our conversation lasted less than a minute. i've wasted more time than you can imagine. doing absolutely nothing. i feel...uninspired, lethargic, sad.

i don't know why i write this, why i say this here. maybe just to answer the question that seems to always come up whenever i have an "ask fecundmellow" entry: are you like your blogging persona? hell no. summer m. is a character, some monster i've created; someone i invented when i didn't even know i was experimenting. summer m.? she's a know-it-all, just doesn't give a fuck. summer? she hasn't a fucking clue.

i want to write.

all my life the most consistent refuge i've had has been books. want to hear me move from monotone to a voice filled with animated passion? ask me about books. i'll talk then. tell you more than you ever wanted to know. and all my life i've thought of how amazingly romantic it would be to weave stories.

or maybe not.

see, at least once a day i heavily consider the thought that i'm no writer at all. that it's simply a lie i've created and started believing. that, in fact, this whole "i cannot work a real job because i must think and create" bullshit is just bullshit. that i should've gone ahead and graduated from college with a degree in business, and clocked in like the rest of the world. that i've no potential for artistry, but rather a desire to appear as (a) creator/creative. that i've no proclivity for any form of the written word--including fiction and literary criticism. the most debilitating torment i feel inside is the thought that i am a fraud. being outted as gay is the least of my concerns.

the older i get, the more inept i feel. i have never, in my mind, been good enough, acceptable. perhaps this is hard for you, reader(s), to believe. i don't say "i don't think i'm funny," for you to retort, "oh yes you are." i'm not a fisher of compliments. do i think i'm funny? not really. do i think i'm smart? hell no. i'm just not dumb. big difference. do i think i'm a good writer? get the fuck outta here. absolutely not. my writing is weak, sloppy, unrefined. i see writing like saf's, like l's, and i'm wonder "how do they put words together like that?"

*wait. as i type this, mother calls. fucking instincts (comma) yo.*

there's an inner debate i have: am i more afraid of failure or success? i don't think i could handle either. i want to write something of substance, something that will last. if it fails, i will never write again. if it succeeds, i will never write again. and success, failure are not contingent upon tangible signs of approval, but self-approval. a notion so abstract i don't even know what it means. i don't know where it comes from. i don't know why i've never been good enough in my own mind.

i should see a therapist. i know better, but i'm too intoxicated with self-deprecation to do better.

the loudest prayers can never quiet even the meekest sussurations of my impending and inevitable decline.

i need more than holy water to be saved.


all of this to say: if you feel like sharing, wanna lay your burden down. do it here.

thanks for reading.

sm.


language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison

16 Comments:

Blogger nubian said...

you know, i don't know you at all.
but your words are so eloquent, and you have captured the way that i feel about myself too. the constant war that i have inside of myself where i think that i am pretending to be an artist, a creator, when i don't honestly believe that i am. or the days when i stay in bed because i am afraid to succeed or fail, and the phonecalls never get returned...even days or months after i've recieved them.

not to sound cliche, but i realize maybe i am not the only person who feels the same way, even though on the surface it seems like i have so much going for me.

i know you are not fishing for compliments, but this entry inspired me.and i thank you for it

20/1/06 14:35  
Anonymous Dia said...

Summer, I thank you for writing this. As I stand on the brink of turning 33 one of the commitments I've made is to be more HONEST about myself, my feelings and share this kind of stuff with the people that I hold close. I think people NEED to hear people like you (and nubian and me, and the rest of yall lurkers who feel the same) say this b/c they see you as a superstar, a brainiac, someone who has it together and they are generally intimidated by that but I want people to know I'm human, I hurt and I doubt, and it makes me feel more human (not better) to know I'm not alone. I hypothesize that alot of really intelligent people are afflicted with this to varying degrees.

dia

20/1/06 17:41  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Hey, sweetie, a lot of what you've written here sounds mighty familiar. I've always wanted to be a writer; I came to college wanting to become a writer, and I thought I'd teach so that I could pay the bills. Hah! Haha! on both counts. But I'm just getting back around to the writing now, more than ten years after having turned tail and walked away from what I wanted to do, totally out of fear that I was no good. You're not looking for compliments and sympathy, I know, but here's something: I don't think you could write the damned funny and smart shit you write if you weren't funny and smart. Period. One of my strategies over the past couple of years--and this is one I share with my students and my friends, too--is that when things get really flippin' hard, you've got to act the part of the person who knows what's going on, the person who's smart and got her shit together. And sometimes, that acting is all you need, because sometimes, that acting is all we are. And sometimes, it's just plain enough to make those voices in your head, the ones that hate you and want you to fail, shut up and roll over.

And yeah, you're right to hear the susurrus of decline; we're all hearing those whispers, right? we're all going down, eventually. And we're almost all going to be worrying about being found out as frauds at some point along the road to that decline. But you keep eating your carbs and wearing your Pumas and posting to this fuckin' blog, and you're going to be OK. That's what I say, anyway, for what it's worth. You have no idea how your blog made me laugh last spring, when I really needed the laughs, for a whole lot of reasons. Grad school will fuck with your head; let this just be one of those spells, and keep your chin up.

Again, that's what I say. Hope it helps.

20/1/06 23:18  
Blogger Phoenix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

21/1/06 01:53  
Blogger Phoenix said...

now, this is coming from someone who had three 'incompletes' on my college transcript for 1.5-2.5 years before finally turning in my last papers and projects. (mind you, i also had angels in various departments and in the registrar's office so i would not try such shenanigans at home.)

this is also coming from someone who is just now taking the required college science class, 3 years after walking across the stage, shaking my president's hand, smiling for the cameras and accepting 'congratulations! you did it!' gifts and money. (again, not a success strategy that i would suggest.)

you know i think you're brilliant, funny, talented and a whole bunch of other wonderful things.

what i'd like to offer you is the willingness to be gentle and compassionate with yourself wherever you are. it's not a permanent location, just a part of your journey. a lesson you need to learn. pieces of yourself that are developing and strengthening on the path. it will all pass in soontime. you might as well be sweet to yourself in the process. you're worth it.

always,

me

21/1/06 02:02  
Blogger Ra said...

Wow. I feel you.

Been there, done that, and stand united with you.

This too shall pass.

Like you, I find therapy in my writing. And like the pheonix -- we shall rise.

Keep it up, I enjoy reading you.

Blessings....

21/1/06 05:47  
Blogger Alii said...

the truth shall set you free.

(and ive already listed you as one of my favorite authors on facebook, so you know- that makes it official and shit)

21/1/06 10:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to piggyback on all the above comments. I think you are a tremendously talented writer, I even said so in a comment or two back. You make me and others laugh out loud, and fuckin' think about life but I know the dark feelings of a self saboteur for I truly have been there and *in a really, really small voice* am still doing that (sometimes, most times, hell I'm being honest here.) While in that state I always feel like damn, what's it going to take to get outta this funk and all I can say to you Summer is, and this too shall pass. Please keep doing the damn thing, you are brilliant(comma) yo. I only wish I had a fourth of the potential to spit fiyah like you. Coming to your space delights my little heart. Big bunny hugs to you.

bunny

21/1/06 21:08  
Blogger Miss Jessi said...

Summer...

I'm with everyone else here when I say I feel you on the self doubt thing... and as much as we tell you we love your writing and creativity it means jack until YOU belive you are the talented person WE think you are... I mean think about it, you created the infamous Summer M., blogstar... that in itself should let you know that you have what it takes to do the things you want to do, cause Summer M. is a character, and we love her... I haven't had the pleasure of getting to know Summer, but I know my cousin (Saf) and if you guys are close like that, Summer MUST be the shizznit... we'll meet one day, when you venture back to the Mistake On The Lake...

You'll be okay, promise. Just remember that it really DOESN'T matter what we think, it's what you think...

22/1/06 14:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sometimes understand the need to just wanna say...fuck it!! I often use you as an example in my everyday life...why, because you care enough to want to share yourself with a bunch of strangers and even creative enough to write what you write. You are brilliant and I know you are not looking for compliments or praise, but you are all of that and then some. To be able to articulate your feelings in the way that you do is helpful and very heart warming.

I understand depression and that feeling of defeat, but it is you who makes me see that there are two sides to every story and eventually the page will turn and something better will be there. Keep doing what you do Summer, you are my light at the end of a very dark tunnel!!

much love,

B

22/1/06 18:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summer....

This post really resonates with me. I so understand the feelings of inadequacy. I wish there were a easy solution when self-doubt threatens to impede progress.

I really like the dialouge that is going on in these comments. I concur with all of them....at least about you. I keep coming back to this blog because it's hilariously funny and inventive.

I also found great rufuge in books. I still do. I understand being awestruck by a sentence that is brilliantly constructed. I feel that awe when I read a lot of things you write.

I think that you have enormous talent. I don't know if "faking it till you make it" really works, but I think you have to resort to crazy cliched shit to get through rough patches.

take care,

erin

erin.glasco@gmail.com

23/1/06 00:44  
Blogger MB said...

Summer your blog kind of intimidated me at first. You wrote/write so well that mine paled in comparison. Reading your musings on the human condition are hilarious, thought provoking, and illuminating. You are kind of my blog star mentor though I’d never try recreating your magic on my page.

Anyway, I feel the same way. I know you aren't fishing for compliments and those aren't compliments as much as truths. Look at all of your comments! You resonate with people.

I don't know where that inner confidence comes from as I could sure use some of it myself, but in the mean time take our praise, love, and empathy to sustain you right now.

23/1/06 10:41  
Blogger Safire said...

Man, I'm not going to get touchy-feely because I could go on forever about the self-doubt thing, and so many of your other readers have already said so many meaningful things. I won't repeat them, as to cheapen them. But I will say this...

You know how Jay-Z says that Biggie is the only rap nigga that he ever checked for? The only nigga that made him feel like maybe his game could be tighter?

Well, nigga, you're my Biggie. I read your shit, and I wonder why I still bother blogging. I listen to your ideas about literature, and I start biting my nails, wondering how I'm going to come up with anything that is slightly comparable.

I was just running down some of your thoughts on "The Chaneysville Incident" to my mother, and it's got her looking for a copy of the book to read.

And that beyotch is tenure-track, yo.

So you know the deal...

(Smile)

23/1/06 17:04  
Blogger Ready For It said...

What makes you think you're not a writer?

erfhv

24/1/06 22:22  
Anonymous tiffany said...

hey summer.
i dont talk to you often. but you are very much a writter.your blog is funny and filled with more inteligence then any other blog ive read.but i feel you i often think that im no artist.an older aquaintence makes me think that a college degree in anyting is useless..that its who you know not what you know. so i battle with the same.

26/1/06 20:06  
Blogger simone said...

hey summer,

i'm just getting back from out of town and was catching up on your blog.

i really know...well actually it's arrogant to assume i fully know your experience...but i can relate to what you mean about thinking you're a fraud. For me, it's been about lying on some level to myself and then naturally to others. I've found that I've lied and sold myself out in some ways because I'm afraid of losing others...of being alone. And I've lied to myself because it seems I may not survive fully living the truth. The fraud became padding. That's why I love, on any level, telling the truth. It's the deepest healing balm in the universe that I've found.

It's wild that you shared you felt lethargic and sad. Two folks who I adore, honor and love dearly told me I looked really sad. I had no idea. I've been walking around with all this sadness and crap...padding...not realizing it was burden.

I'm still in it. The padding seems to be burning away...and it's uncomfortable but what to do? I could self-narcotize, but that wouldn't make the padding go away. I've resolved to stop crying and whining and clean up the mess I've made...sober.

OK...so i have NO idea if that made any sense whatsoever...but

I thank you for offering this space to but our burden down.

simone

30/1/06 02:11  

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