Those are probably two of my favourite words; I love them more than ‘I love you’ or ‘Please eat’ or ‘Welcome’ or ‘I’ve been thinking about you’. Those are all lovely words, in those specific combinations, but ‘I’m alright’ means that you’re alright. You’re okay. You’re around.
I’ve been struggling over the past two months, which isn’t hard to decipher when I’ve been silent here. I suppose it isn’t entirely surprising given the past year that I should pay for it in some fashion, and pay for it I did. It was a rather bad breakdown, and it consumed me. I worked – I don’t know how – but I did. I suppose when it isn’t optional, when you’re all you have, you do it anyway.
Feel the pinch and do it anyway, says my life. Feel broken and do it anyway, it implores. Even when I’m falling apart I don’t have the luxury of falling apart, and I suppose, for me, it is a luxury still.
I’m alright. I’ve been reaching out to friends, and talking to my people – some of them on a daily basis. I’ve gone from trying to do it all by myself to admitting that no, I cannot, and I would rather not. Having their support has been the reason I am, and the reason I continue. They’re the reason I have been able to write.
I’ve been mulling the writer’s life after sending a pitch out early this morning (that, in turn, I’ve been obsessing about for a while). We really put ourselves out there as writers; we are honest and forthright about our experiences and our opinions; we bare ourselves to our readers; we come to grips with the raw meat and bones of our writing; we work on ourselves in public; we overshare in the hopes that someone out there identifies with our stories and they, in turn, know that they aren’t alone.
I suppose I’ve been doing this for a while now on this blog, so it is nothing new, but I am far more exposed now simply because of the scale of reach of my pieces that I write for publications. I was proud (back in the day) that my blogs have a combined total of a few thousand subscribers, but what is that compared to 20/30/40/50/200 thousand? The reach of the internet is limitless.
I wake up every morning with the knowledge that people out there to whom I mean nothing, who perhaps may not even acknowledge in so many words my complexity and my sensitivity and my humanity, those people – those people judge me nevertheless. Yet I cannot separate myself from the reality that I am a writer, and if it is not a personal essay, some day it will be a book, or two books, or three; the memoir I think about; the fantasy I’ve been writing and planning for a decade; the single-character novel I am mulling.
People are always going to judge me by my writing, and imagine that they know me well, even though they don’t; most of my readers will never meet me, let alone *know* me in the way that you know someone: completely and intimately, with an acknowledgement of all that is fallible in them, all that is unique, all that is, in biased eyes, too perfect to ever be replicated.
It is a fine line to walk, and it is comprised entirely of words.