I am feeling real bad today, although, to be honest, I’ve been having a bad few days. A week and a half, maybe, tops.
It’s been one of those strange intervals of life when a lot more things have gone wrong than have gone right. A time that, whenever I build myself up and try to recover, I find myself surprised by the latest development.
And know that if you’ve upset or harmed me lately, I am actually not talking about any particular classmate, or friend, or professor, or organization, or relative, or stranger, or assignment, or job search concern, or health issue, or institutional framework that’s tripping me up. I feel that’s important to say up front because I am sure some people, myself included, see these kind of confessionals and get offended seeing issues dragged out further than they need to be in arenas I am uncomfortable with. Maybe you can use this as a way to reflect back on your impact, given that it happened during my awful week. I do not have the energy to guide your learning. I hope you can grow, but you’ll need to process without my guidance.
No, there are just so many things going on that your individual contribution is lost to the infinite matrix of my bad today and yesterday and the days before that. This is not about you, and this article is not some passive aggressive performance to indirectly rehash arguments and resentments for a public sphere. I do my best to make sure people I have an issue with know it. (I, when bringing up specific instances in which I have been hurt, also usually ask permission and/or alert the people involved before I reference the event). There has to be a way to vent about the overall impact of a bad week without shaming the people involved. I hope I am doing that now, but I cannot be the one to judge my success. I admittedly feel a little too present in my bad mood to understand the ambiguous places in which I lay down my boundaries. I acknowledge this as a definitely risky approach.
But this is about me. I do not like coming into the column like this: with this bitterness, and anger, and pain, and downright misanthropy. My politic deeply engages love as a platform for social change, and the thought of approaching Sexy Mac with my threadbare tired heart scares me, because I worry I cannot balance being so loving and so spiteful at once. I even had a prepared topic I chose two weeks ago about class differences among your intimate circle (a strangely timely article given all the wealth-related contributions in the last issue of The Mac Weekly). But I dreaded being thoughtful, and argumentative, and reflective, and topical when I do not want and cannot be that. There are so many times on campus when I am asked to perform at top caliber, with little consideration that what is being demanded goes beyond my ability. I sometimes avoid these expectations through pleading emails, or last-minute apologies, or blunt excuses, all of which drain me. Other times I push through it, aching as I complete my endless list of tasks.
I choose to not to put up a front now. When feeling this bad, I cannot be fake for a space in which I choose to be vulnerable on a regular basis. To say “I feel bad today” marks a kind of vulnerability I have not performed this publicly before but deeply value in my personal life. To say “I feel bad today” means, to me, an acknowledgement of my emotional malleability as writer, as scholar, as second semester senior and as person engaged with the politic of love.
So this is about me this week. Maybe you as reader will learn something, and you will maybe use part of this manifesto as an example for handling your own bad days. I obviously care enough about this possibility that I write this article for public consumption. But right now, while I include others in my reasoning because my choices for my column impact its readers, I do not prioritize others’ learning because I have my own urgent needs. I have certain duties (such as my commitment to TMW to submit a piece), but I also have an obligation first and foremost to be loyal, to be attentive, to be soulful, and to be loving to myself. Thus, I cannot write in my usual style today given the fact that I have had a bad day/few days/a week and a half, maybe, tops.
Here instead are some public affirmations I need to make myself feel a little better:
• I acknowledge I have been put to the limits of my patience.
• I allow myself to not be coherent. (I allow myself tangentially to realize that I have arbitrarily high standards for coherence.)
• I realize, not-tangentially, that I have high standards of achievement, usually set far beyond the expectations of my mentors, professors, supervisors and peers.
• I remind myself that along with the celebrations they bring me, my marginalized intersections facilitate the extent to which I have been challenged this week and always.
• I recognize how everything together exacerbates everything else when everything happens all at once.
• I hurt because others have acted foul. I hurt because I care. I hurt because I understand respect to be performed certain ways. I hurt because I cannot be there for everyone. I hurt because I hurt and I do not need to defend my hurt.
• I grasp my heart in awe of my power. I grasp my heart in awe for the moments I withheld myself because to not would have meant being violent, mean and cruel.
• I understand I might have been violent, mean and cruel anyway.
• I support myself through my intimate communities of beloveds who inspire and love me.
• I forgive myself for how I disappointed others and failed my expectations.
• I can have a bad day/few days/a week and a half for as long as I need in order to
• I am here where I am today for more reasons I will ever be able to know, and I should value every insight into “why here, why now?” I am gifted.
• I love myself dearly.
That’s it. Writing a tidy conclusion is more than I can do. Hopefully we can return to regular programming in two issues, but we will see. I am still going to be a second semester senior then, so I guess there’s only so much room for improvement.