Tonight, before I started writing this post, I deleted something off this website (long before there was anyone looking to see it). What I deleted was an excerpt from this old manuscript I wrote several years ago of which I am particularly proud. I had rationalized posting it in the first place because it takes Depression as its theme. The whole manuscript does. But, truth be told, that’s not why I posted it. I posted it because I think it shows me to be a writer. Not the kind of writer who sits alone on a sofa at 10:13 PM on a Friday night and types lines quickly while waiting for the chicken breasts in the oven to finish baking, but the kind of writer who some might actually pause to think of as an artist.
The truth is, in my mind I am a frequent guest of The Daily Show, with an occasional appearance on The Colbert Report (my imaginary Stephen Colbert is incredibly easy to talk to while even my fantasy Jon Stewart intimidates the hell out of me). While these fantasies pre-date this website, since this site was just a pinprick of a thought it came to serve as the source of my imagined fame. (Well, actually the site generates enough of a fan base to warrant a book. The book does exceptionally well–top of the NY Time’s Bestseller’s list–and a movie gets made about my life and the way the site and book came to be. It’s when the movie is nominated for an Oscar that I get invited to guest on The Daily Show.) So, I posted something that I was proud of; writing that even I would feel comfortable pointing to and saying, “It’s good.” I wasn’t rubbing my hands together conspiratorially behind the screen thinking to myself, “Now this will reel in the literary agents,” as I put it up, but Jon Stewart was lurking in my head somewhere.
I took it down tonight because having it up is contrary to what this website is supposed to be to me today. I don’t know what this thing will evolve into down the line, but for right now, it is an expression of a very personal process that I am sitting smack dab naked in the middle of. This site is the process. These posts aren’t about being read, but about what happens for me and to me in the very act of writing them. Were I more evolved or less shamed by what others think of me, it would be enough to write them in my journal. I need to know that there is some possibility of these posts being read. I need to conceive of the chance of an audience (even if it only ever consists of my mother to whom I am still refusing to give the domain name) for what it does to my shame. I can’t explain the difference it makes for me because I don’t know it yet. I just believe that it will make all the difference in the world. Besides, even an imaginary audience keeps me more accountable than I would be to myself. There’s no way I’d be going nine days strong if it were entirely left to me. I would have caved on day 3 (see post: I’d rather be watching Dawson’s Creek).
I am only going to post on here what is a relevant part of my process. This website will for now be the living embodiment of this process. It can’t be about a larger conversation about Depression or about providing a sense of connection to those of us who struggle unless these things arise as a natural part of my process. Because the whole point of this blasted thing is that it be about me. That it be my declaration of a new life for myself. That it be the act of me finding life for myself. It doesn’t matter that no one is reading it. It wouldn’t matter if 100,000 people were reading it. At least, it shouldn’t. Not to me.
But the truth is, it would. Of course it would.