Been awhile, huh? I barely know how to write anymore. I did the YouTube thing for a few years but it doesn’t bring me the same satisfaction that writing does. I’m starting a new blog called Grim River. I’ll post a link when it’s ready. Until then, here’s a little update:
I … have a one year old little girl. Her name is Clementine and she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. That’s my biggest update.
I finally cut ties with my family. They’re abusive. Wasn’t hard to see that from miles away, was it?
I got into photography.
I live in the Driftless Area of Minnesota.
I still haven’t published my memoir but I want to… badly. Having a kid takes up most of my time (as it should.)
Oh, and I found out I have Bipolar Disorder, just this summer actually. Bipolar I to be exact. I’m sure no one is surprised.
My new blog will be about mental health, tragedy on the Mississippi River, and my photography. The Mississippi River will be the focal point, but I’ll also be discussing my mental state.
That’s all for now. I’ll have a link for you soon.
As part of my undying quest to find the appropriate outlet to express myself, I’ve started adding content to my YouTube channel and plan to do so until I run out of steam. That could literally be next week, who knows. The point is that I made a video and I’m inviting you to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4RDgHuWMrE&t=3s
* This essay was originally published on Lunch Ticket, Antioch University Los Angeles’ student-run literary journal. Check out our website for handpicked fiction, poetry, translation, memoir, and more.
Myths of Men
I am a myth-maker; I make myths of men. My journals and essays and mental spaces are filled with names like Jared, Jeter, and Jefferson, all of them monsters I tried to tame with a pen. My version of myth-making is a form of self-deception. I don’t do this on purpose. It’s a defective coping mechanism—a way to withstand unbearable situations, like drinking to warm yourself on a cold night. You may fool your brain into thinking your body is warm, but it doesn’t stop your body from developing frostbite. These myths may pacify my terror around abusers, but they don’t stop the abuse.
This is where the perennial truth versus fact debate in creative nonfiction gets even more complicated. What happens when I feel like I’m telling the truth, but it turns out to be a lie? What if the facts are correct, I just left some out? What if I feel just as duped as the reader when the truth reveals itself? Continue reading
I will never again read a book about mental illness by someone who doesn’t suffer from it. Yesterday morning, I found my mother’s copy of a book on borderline personality disorder that I’ve long resisted reading because of its name: I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me. I decided to peruse a few chapters, hoping they might shed some light on the increased rage I’ve been experiencing. This was a mistake.
A few paragraphs in, the shame was dripping like sweat down my body. The borderline’s outbursts of rage are as unpredictable as they are frightening… Most therapists will, whenever possible, try to limit the number of borderline patients they treat.
I want to tell you about a very stupid and embarrassing thing I did this morning. (If my shame list was still being written, this would be on it.) When I got home from Milwaukee last night, I squeezed ketchup and mustard all over my face and took some pictures of the aftermath in one of many personal attempts to challenge aesthetic conventions. And then – big mistake – I posted it on social media. It went mostly “unliked” and, feeling humiliated, I deleted it. I do this quite often. I post a photo, wait to see if it’s worth any social capital, and, if it’s not, I virtually incinerate it. I then spend a few hours fighting the urge to put a Jewel-Osco bag over my head.
How’s that for an unflattering truth? I’m mortified to confess that I’ve enlisted myself in this battle for online attention, but I’m doing it because you’ve probably enlisted yourself, too.
Holy shiz, yesterday was Big Mouth’s first year anniversary. Time continues to mystify me.
I started this blog shortly after my wedding was called off and I returned home from Europe. The first post was both an apology and a goodbye letter — an apology because I felt like I fucked a lot of people over in my runaway bridehood and a goodbye letter because I would soon sprint back to Europe under the guise of needing to “find myself” — the empty claim of every 20-something runaway ever.
I wasn’t as candid then as I am now and there’s finally enough distance for me to be honest about what happened.
Shame sucks. It’s seriously one of the most detrimental feelings a human being can experience. Its goal is to cut you off from the rest of the world so that no one else has to see how horrible/disturbed/disgusting you really are. Shame shows itself in red faces, clenched fists, and lacking eye contact.
Guilt, when it’s justified, can be useful. Guilt inspires positive change and keeps us from repeating the same mistakes. Don’t know the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt is feeling shitty about something you’ve done that violates your own moral code. Shame is going from “I did a shitty thing” to “I am a shitty person.” Shame revolves around the idea that there is something inherently wrong with you. It’s triggered by rejection, by ostracization, by embarrassment… any number of things, really.
Guilt promotes forward movement. Shame keeps you stuck and scared and small. Shame prohibits growth.
A few months ago, a friend suggested that I write something about shame. I’ve resisted doing so until now because a.) shame is an enormous topic b.) it sucks and c.) it permeates pretty much every facet of my life, so WHERE WOULD I EVEN BEGIN???!!!
(Caps aren’t appropriate for professional writing, Leif.)
(Fuck you, subconscious parenthetical voice.)
Big Mouth is now in zine form! Each zine will include essays, articles, memoir, song lyrics, and poetry revolving around a specific topic. The first, of course, is sex.
Want one? Fill out the form below and include your address in the comments box. I’ll reply with my PayPal link.
Option 2: You can go directly to my PayPal account by clicking here. You’ll enter your address with your payment and I’ll send the zine ASAP!
I’m selling the zines for $5 to cover shipping and printing. If you can’t afford it, we’ll work something out!
I’ll be your flame.
I’ll be orange and pink bangs outside your
screen door, ir-