I don’t know who you are – or more precisely, I may or may not know who you are, but I don’t know whether or not you, the person reading this, are someone I do know from elsewhere. Consequently, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to read this little blog, whose primary purpose is really only to serve as a free space of sorts for my psyche, an open ocean across which I can navigate my mind in whatever direction it will and hopefully produce some meaningful writing as a result. After a recent Facebook post some of my friends seemed to genuinely enjoy, a post which I’ll share again here in later days, a couple of them encouraged me to start blogging. I’ve done this twice in the past, but both times it ended up petering out; with any luck, this attempt will prove at least mildly durable. If you’ve decided to accompany me on this journey, welcome, and thank you for the pleasure of your company. I hope you’ll be able to find something relatable amongst my ramblings, or something helpful when I ponder, and please do always feel free to comment if that’s the case; it’s always lovely to know if I’ve been able to reach out and touch someone, no matter the manner.
In exchange, I hope that you’ll be willing to be patient and tolerant with me in those moments where the said ramblings run – if you’ll pardon my switching metaphors – off the rails. As a sufferer of major depression and anxiety, this happens far more often than I’d wish for myself, but part of the reason for my stepping (again) into the world of the Internet journal is also to help me work through such moments. Writing of this kind allows me to put down my thoughts in a more coherent manner than they invariably spill out when I’m speaking about my weird and non-linear thought processes and emotions. As such, I’ve decided to take advantage of that fact by using the written word as a medium through which I can more effectively explore, understand, and then perhaps even address, the disturbances to my thoughts that are caused by my mental health issues – and who knows, maybe also record some interesting thoughts and experiences into the bargain.
In trying to devise a title for this blog I’ve spent more time than one might otherwise do for a blog of little import in the grand scheme of the Internet (not least of the reasons being my own anxiety about making decisions of any consequence whatsoever). Certainly there are writers out there in the blogosphere of brighter imagination, longer experience, and deeper expressive power than I would ever claim for myself. All I have to offer is my own experience, and my own perspective, but I hope that will be enough. And it’s from my own perspective that the title I finally chose arises. The poem “In The Desert” was written in 1895 by Stephen Crane, and though small by any metric of poesy – precisely fifty words – its stark subject matter and imagery have always resonated with me right to my very core. It isn’t what one might call pleasant: a reasoning but tragic being squats stripped of culture and all trace of humanity, to a point where all that is left to him is a scarred heart filled with the pain of his experience.
But even as he eats of the heart itself and recalls the bitterness of its anguish, it remains nonetheless a treasure beyond price to him, for no other reason than that it’s all he has that he may call his own, even as he causes it further injury by eating from it. This is a concept I relate to deeply, most especially when I’m in the desert myself (which is to say, in a phase of deep depression). In those moments, I feel as though I’ve lost much and have little left but a damaged and broken heart that I can’t stop causing more damage to. But with that said, emotions of all sorts always touch me profoundly when they do touch me even now, and when I do care for someone, I always care immensely; the depth of my ability to care is the only thing that I feel confident is always with me. So even in those times when all I have left is a heart tinged with depression and anxiety – still, I like it… because it is my heart.
I promise that not all posts will be this maudlin – though many of them will be. As advertised, I’m deliberately approaching this blog in a no-holds-barred manner, in order that I can feel I’m not having to engage in self-censorship. So if I haven’t yet scared you off, then again, welcome. I hope to see you again.
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands
and ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“but I like it
because it is bitter,
and because it is my heart.”
– Stephen Crane (1871-1900), In The Desert, published 1895