Hey there friends. I’ve missed you guys and have been thinking of you all a lot. Since my last post, we’ve had approximately seven hundred and sixteen conversations. In my head, that is. I’ve been talking to you while I put yogurt in my daughter’s lunch and forget to pack her spoon. I compose tweets and essays for you while I shave my belly in the shower. I take you with me everywhere.
I’m just having a hell of a time writing it all down. I keep trying, but it won’t come out. It’s like trying to blow your nose after a cat has walked into the room. Your sinuses inflate like one of those airplane lifejackets and the pressure makes you wish your eyes would pop out. And then a trickle of snot touches the edge of your nostril and it feels like lighter fluid and your nerves ignite and the tip of your nose sizzles like an M-80 fuse and you reach for a kleenex and whisper a prayer and suck in a breath and close your mouth and push it out and blow, blow, blow for the salvation of your soul!
And nothing comes out.
That’s what it’s been like writing this post.
Anyway, I’m doing it now. This is me giving one last grunt to clear my head so I can push out the one-sided conversation I’ve been having with you. Hopefully, now you can actually respond, and your voice will penetrate into the echo chamber of my self-obsession and let me be more like a real person. At least for a while.
The essay I’ve been chewing on, and which is about to come at you like a snot-rocket, is about the struggle for gratitude. If you’ve ever felt like shit when someone wrote #blessed, this series of posts is for you. Especially if it made you want to scream and throw your coffee because you love that grateful person and genuinely want them to be deeply, thoroughly, orgasmically blessed but COME ON, now I feel like I have to be #blessed, too, and I just can’t right now, okay?!?
The grateful part of me is numb and it might have fallen off. I haven’t looked at my blessings in a long time partly because I forgot and mostly because I’m only really in touch with the spider-leg hairs growing out of my navel. And with them, I’m so intimate it’s transcendent, but ultimately I guess it’s not healthy, because look at me failing at basic human empathy. And I can’t even explain why other people’s gratitude makes me think about how horrifyingly privileged I am and how I have no goddamned right to sit here sighing and sobbing and thinking violent thoughts. But I am.
The idea of gratitude can be a guilt trap. But I’m pretty sure it can also be the only way to catch our breath in a shitty, unfixable situation. Like knowing that you’re pathologically morose, and melodramatic, and self-centered, and not being able to stop being that way. I think the bad news is that we need to figure out how to do gratitude if we want to feel better.
More importantly, we need some kind of grasp on gratitude in order to do better: to be a little more functional, to contribute more and to fuck up less for the people around us. We want that, right? Even if we have serious doubts that we’ll ever actually be better. We have to try to do better on the outside. The whole point is to try.
So here comes my attempt to wrestle with Critter over my shitty attitude about gratitude. It’s a long ramble, so I’ll break it up into parts. The first one is called, “First World Problems.” Enjoy, I guess.