Shortly after my father died, my marriage of 23 years abruptly ended.
I’ve thought a lot about whether I should blog about it, and if so, what I should say, and who would I say things about, and who’s privacy deserves respect. The conclusions I’ve finally come to are: no, nothing, nobody, and everybody’s.
I do, however, feel I should thank my wonderful, kind, supportive, sympathetic and non-judge-y friends, all ready with a cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on.
My family has been beyond awesome, especially my mother and Tao. Thank you.
Thank you. I quite literally would not have survived without you. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
I do want to tell you about two women, both strangers to me, who also rescued me during all this chaos. They’re my ‘accidental heroines.’
Writing is a powerful thing. It shows us that we are not alone, that we share common experiences, that someone else understands our pain. Each in their own way, these two women have saved my life through their writing. I’d like to tell you about these ladies, if only because it’s a good reminder that pouring kindness and positivity into the universe is never a wasted effort. We forget that we can help someone we don’t know simply by being in the right place at the right time, with the right story.
I am immeasurably grateful to both these humans, and hope someday to repay them, if only by following their lead.
Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson
To appreciate the absolute awesomeness of this woman, take a moment and read this. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Jenny Lawson has some very, very serious problems and she still managed to write that, plus a million other frikkin’ funny things that made me laugh, no matter what was going on in my life. For that alone, she gets Props of Awesome.
But then there’s this:
Somewhere in the weeks before Hubby moved out, University of Toronto emailed me and told me that they were offering their Fantasy Writing course online. I’d wanted to take the course before, but didn’t have the money or the courage or the time. That was doubly true in March; and besides who the hell takes a writing course in the middle of separating from their husband? And so I put my pointer on the ‘delete’ button and…
… thought wouldn’t this be a good time to be furiously happy?
I had the furious part down. I needed something to remind me that there would be life after Hubby’s departure, that I’m not defined by my role as Wife, and that I have a whole new life to explore. Maybe, I thought, I could be happy.
And then Jenny (in my head, she’s a friend) hit the trifecta of life-saving-ness when she posted her mantra in April: depression lies.
I’ve repeated it to myself countless times over the last few weeks, and for that alone I am forever in Ms Lawson’s debt. She threw me a lifeline in the middle of one of the blackest periods of my life. She didn’t aim at me personally, but she knew I and many like me, were out there and needed to hear it.
Depression lies: Depression told me I was nuts to take on something with deadlines, that required brainwork and creativity right in the middle of the incessant chaos that has been 2012. Depression told me I’d regret it, waste my money, and end up even more depressed. Also, I would be told I’m a shit writer who’s wasting my time. I should give up, go back to the couch, and back to watching endless re-runs of CSI whilst eating myself into an early grave because that’s all I’m good for.
Well, fuck you, depression.
And met the instructor, Caitlin Sweet.
Here’s the thing about Caitlin: she can write. She doesn’t just wrap marketable sentences around marketable plot, which is fine and dandy but oddly unsatisfactory, the difference between brand-name packaged frozen cake and those lopsided piles of chocolatey, over-iced love your mum made for your birthdays. Caitlin can actually word-paint. She can draw you in, and make you smell, taste, hear, feel her worlds. She’s very talented in a way that makes me not only fan-girly, but downright jealous.
So the first time Caitlin told me that I could write, I began to cry. Good thing it was a virtual course, or could’ve been a real messy situation for everyone.
Caitlin spent 10 weeks telling me that I know what I’m doing, and so I spent 10 weeks dancing around my now-empty apartment, whooping with joy.
Plus, Caitlin is nice. She created a warm, safe space that I could visit and hide in whenever things got really bad. I could be someone else, for a bit, someone who set their problems aside and created something good. It was awesome.
I was furiously happy.
So thank you, Jenny and Caitlin. You reached out to a stranger and pulled her out of the darkness without even knowing you were doing it.
You guys rock.
And remember, Interwebs: it’s never bad to be kind. We forget that we can help someone we don’t know simply by being in the right place at the right time, with the right story.
11:09 p.m. ETA – erf, typos. I promise, kids, I’ll edit more carefully in the future.