Because they’ll never be as hard on you as you are, and someone needs to hear your story.
A couple of months ago, I published an article where I described how I’d abused my own dogs. It was a terrible, painful, shameful truth that I would have liked to have put in a shoebox, sunk to the bottom of the sea, and never revisited.
But like anything that ends up in the ocean, something is bound to drive it up and heave it onto the shore, even the darkest somethings.
For me, the act of writing is much about processing my own demons, of bringing them into the light and letting them shrivel in agony like vampires in the face of the sun.
So I dredged up my own terrible awful and wrote and shared it with the world in the hopes that it would help someone else. If I could be vulnerable and seek help, hopefully, someone else would too. Postpartum Depression & You
It happened to me and it was ugly. It could happen to you or someone you love too.psiloveyou.xyz
I’ll re-tell the story for you here because each time I do, it loses its power even more:
Sleep-deprived and full of self-loathing, I cared for and breastfed two irritable and insanely hungry newborns with never enough help, and I fell into the deepest pit of postpartum depression. I became someone that was not me, someone detached, indifferent. Someone who felt relieved when she kicked her own dogs and strangely disconnected from any sense of right and wrong. I just didn’t care; I just wanted to survive.
When I wrote that article, I worried what other people would think, but I also felt an intense need to share regardless. Fuck what anyone else thinks, I thought, someone could seriously need to read this.
When I originally posted that article, I also had my Instagram handle posted in my profile. One day, I logged on to IG and received a notification that I had received some comments.
On a random photo I’d posted months before, which meant the commenter had had to scroll through several photos, one woman had commented, Is this her? and then tagged another woman.
Yes, the other woman responded.
Monster, the first one responded.
I felt shaken reading the comments. What were they talking about? I asked myself, but I knew.
And that word, monster, reiterated itself through my head the rest of the day. Monster monster monster.
Because that’s what I was. A monster. Monsters abuse animals. Not good women, not mothers of twins for God’s sake. I was a monster.
I deleted the comments, and then blocked the woman who had called me a monster. I tried over the next couple of days to explain it away. She was just some weirdo. Who knows what she was really talking about?
But then the woman I had not blocked commented again.
She deleted our comments, and then she tagged the other woman. Dog kicker, she said next.
I hadn’t been wrong. Both of the women had gone to my Instagram handle, scrolled through my pictures, and then called me a monster and a dog kicker for the things I had written about in that article. They had reinforced what I already fought to deal with myself before clicking “publish.”
I blocked her, but I felt rattled, afraid to check Instagram again in the event that they’d get on another account and blast me or that I’d receive another nasty comment elsewhere.
But then I realized that I am far harsher on myself than other people are, and I let it go. I no longer felt fearful about another comment coming.
It reminds me of this spectacular quote from Natalie Goldberg:
“If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.”
The voices inside me had already told me I was a monster, and much worse. But they also told me never to tell anyone, that I’d never be seen as lovable or worthy if I let anyone know about it, that it would help no one. And I’d ignored them and gone through with it anyway.
I’ve followed my own advice since. There is much for me to dislike about myself: my own insecurities, fear, a general sense of being trivial or trite or boring, but those things are so naturally human. And if I can clear through all of that bullshit, there are real treasures there.
I am neither all good nor all bad. I have a terrible self, and I acknowledge it and shine a light on it. From there, I can write as close to a clear picture as I can because I can be kind and compassionate knowing that we all have our own terrible selves we fear.
I continue to write and share fearlessly because writing is so much about relationships. People often connect over their terrible awfuls, their shared understanding that there are things about them that they swear are too ugly to behold. Sharing and connecting gives us hope that we may one day find beauty in what was once ugly. When we can love each other despite, and even because, of those terrible awfuls, we grow.