As part of ACPA creator Kathy Mac's "Wording Around with Prose" webinars, ACPA managing editor Jamie Kitts responds to their chosen text for lesson 2.1: Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo. This blogpost covers Chapter 6: "Caring for Ourselves as We Write."
So, DeSalvo briefly touches on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up as an intro to talking about self-reflection. I think I may need to find a copy for myself. What I read of it in DeSalvo's book and on the Crack-Up Wikipedia page makes it sound very relevant to some of the things I've been trying to work through.
I have a bad habit of being a people-pleaser. I change the way I speak or express myself to suit the people I'm speaking with. I think most people who know me might read this and be shocked, because I'm very, very vocal about what's most important to me. But it's true. It's not that I'm lying, but rather than appreciate the multitude inside me, I highlight one aspect and let that speak for me.
Maybe this is something other people do, I don't know. If it is, actually, if this is something you do and you're thinking "Everyone does this," well let me ask you: How are you not completely exhausted by it? I don't mean merely that this is tiring in the figurative sense, so let me ask a follow-up: When you do this, when you choose to represent only a part of yourself and make the rest of you quiet, do you require several hours to lie down and do nothing just to achieve equilibrium? Do you spend that time hating yourself so much that said equilibrium is not really a pristine mind palace so much as a garbage heap? Do you (figuratively) feel like launching yourself off a bridge just so you never have to speak to anyone again? I sincerely hope you've answered "No" to each question.
I don't have Fitzgerald's alcoholism but I do have as many bad habits of reducing the person I am just to make other people happy and I'm finally starting to push back on that. Like him, I've also realized that I've let other people dictate the kinds of relationships I should have instead of figuring out the ones I actually want. For example, did you know that aromanticism and asexuality are a thing? They even have their own spectrums. Gotta be honest, I find their ideas pretty compelling, to say the least.
My brain often says one thing, but my heart says another. I know logically that I need to forgive, but my heart demands "Never." According to Fitzgerald and DeSalvo, that's exactly where I need to start working from.
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