So… admittedly… I’ve been bad at this. It’s time to acknowledge the ways I’ve disappointed - if no one else, myself. For about seven months I’ve been chasing after this trauma project with fairly simple goals - I want to inspire people to talk about mental health. I want to form supportive community. I want to be candid about my own carousel of fuck ups and painful self-realizations so others can laugh with me.
The thing is, I don’t know how.
I’m not a marketer. I’m not a community organizer. I’m not a charismatic leader. I’m an introvert with a handful of hard-earned wisdom and an interest in other people’s brains. I have my fair share of problems that I’m still working through - and discovering new ones all the time. I’m not perfect. I don’t have my life together. And I still have trouble pushing through anxiety, depression, and shit-moods well enough to take care of myself some days/weeks/months.
How can I take care of new friends online when I’m failing to move the dial in my own life? (insert stereotypical sentiment about putting on your oxygen mask first)
Truth be told, this Fall I got defeated and then distracted away from this project. In typical addictive-personality-fashion, Traumatized Motherfuckers became a bit of an obsession as I navigated my way through life upheaval in 2019. It was a saving grace from my tumultuous summer, and a place where I could offload my frustrations and realizations.
But then, it became overwhelming. I needed to sort out aspects of my own life - like planning for an actual future, working enough to establish financial stability, and finding a home - and there are only so many hours one person can viably sit in front of a computer in a day. I had to cut back, somewhere. I needed to make time to exist away from a screen.
That’s when TMFRs quickly became a source of anxiety, guilt, stress and shame. I had many important plates in the air, and I was still putting immense pressure on recreationally writing, communicating with members, and finding new resources to share. My own life was truly suffering, and my head was getting cloudy with familiar anxious tendencies. I woke up every day feeling like there wasn’t enough time. I pressured myself into writing constantly, whether I felt inspired or not. I published and took down countless posts, not knowing if I was helping or hurting; just pushing myself to churn out more content. I berated myself for every spare moment spent away from you motherfuckers, every cancelled MeetUp event, and every unanswered email. Soon, I developed the same old ailments from my past overworked lives; painful shoulders, migraines, deteriorating health, insomnia, clenched jaw, a feeling of continually being “late,” and brutal self-criticism when my efforts didn’t incite the intended outcomes.
I am so naturally skilled at martyrdom and self-slave driving. It should be a sport.
It was clear that I needed to find more balance in my life, but I was also happy to have something meaningful outside of my toxic full-time job and lonely existence in a spare bedroom. As usual, I didn’t make any changes to benefit myself. The endeavor came to a head as I entered a new relationship and realized my life was too regimented to let another human in without losing my shit at him every day. If I wanted to try again at this relationship thing, after learning SO much about toxicity for the past 3 years, I was going to have to do it right. That meant, my head had to be sorted before it was mingling with someone else’s dysfunction. THAT meant, I had to free up some time to Marie Kondo my cluttered brain.
As I pushed myself into working two basically-full-time jobs, applying for grad schools, searching for houses, seeking new jobs, and now entering a rapidly-important relationship…. Traumatized Motherfuckers needed to get quiet. I reached the end of my line, and for once, I identified it and changed course.
I finally returned the missed calls I had been ignoring for years; I made time for creativity, without obligation.
Instead of sacrificing all of my time outside of work to… more work... I gave myself permission to do nothing of explicit value. I decided it was okay to enjoy my days. I didn’t need to be productive every moment. No one expected that of me, except for me. I went to the craft store with a $20 bill and stocked up in the affordable children’s craft section. I traded website design for watercolor painting. I experimented with alcohol ink without expectations. I stopped writing preachy articles and started penning poems in a pretty journal. I put away my computer and enjoyed the satisfaction of laying smooth lines on thick paper.
I went quiet. And the months flew by.
So, here we are, on the cusp of a new year - a new decade for everyone, and personally, the start of my 3rd; I’m doing my damndest to make it intentional, important, and healing. I have so much left to accomplish, and many changes feel imminent. I don’t know where I’ll be living or what I’ll be doing 2 weeks from now, let alone in 12 months. This year is a blank, open book, and I’m rethinking my narration.
Maybe the future of Traumatized Motherfuckers is bleak. Maybe it’s just waiting for the right members to join the fight and speak up. Maybe a marketing/web designing/socializing savior will come along and pick up the pieces that are too fine for me to handle on my own.
All I can say is, I may be quieter these days, but trust that it’s a symptom of living the life that I preach. Giving myself space, kindness, and care… the freedom to create, to write for myself, to process my past… a life without scrutiny, panic, or feeling tethered to a computer… a chance at healthy relationships and learned independence. In silence, know that I’m actually living the life of recovering mental disease, not just talking about it.
And, get ready to see some of my unadulterated creation; my best example yet of living like a Traumatized Motherfucker. You know, if I get around to it. No pressure.