My mom just called and it was probably one of the weirdest conversations of my life. Her co-worker somehow managed to find "my blog" (I'm not sure if it's this one or the blogspot account I set up a long time ago, which I have not returned to in quite awhile.) She read it. Her co-worker told my mom that I'm a great writer, and my mom said something non-commital, 'yeah he told me he's been writing stuff' which is her way of dealing with me, I guess, and her co-worker stopped her and said, "No, he's a great writer. He needs to be writing. For pay. He's great at what he does."
Now, this is strange for several reasons. The timing is the most pertinent, though. I have had an incredibly depressing week. After getting out of surgery the doctor wanted to see me again, so I've been in pain, trying to schedule more appointments and trying not to think about the probable bad news I'm getting at the appointment with the neurosurgeon on Thursday. Thinking about life as always being about pain and hospitals and doctors, for years, or even decades, really can drain someone. You just think, is this, like, it? Surely this can't be everything that's going to happen from now on. I mean, I've been a good guy, I deserve better, right? And then life reassures you that it doesn't matter how good you are at all, you just get what you get.
(Incidentally, I watch House a lot, and he often says that and I always liked it, because it's so true - "people don't get what they deserve; they just get what they get." Much as you think this is a fair and just place, look at life through the eyes of a gay paraplegic stuck in the south (or, to be honest, pretty much any minority anywhere) and the illusion is shattered. (It's never the same after that.))
And you know, really, writing? Writing is already hard enough. I'm not one to write entire posts about how unfair life can be (and I'll be done with that part in just a second, but I'm getting to something, I promise) but I don't really have the best health and it makes a lot of things difficult.
And, you know, my life's one big struggle after the next - it can suck just to get out of the bed. Getting out, doing things, driving around, everything. It's a bigger hassle for me than it is for you. I promise you that. And yet here I am. I just keep thinking how many other successful (even to the extent that I am) paraplegics have I ever known. I've known none. I am not exaggerating. Disabled writers who got quoted by the New York Times, who got two scholarships to political conventions to meet people who enjoy my writing? There aren't many. Sometimes I actually think that I'd be an asset as a writer for LGBT sites.
My problem has been, for the past few weeks, just general sadness about all of this. I work harder than most people just to do basic everyday activities, three or four times as hard to do the things I'm good at, the things that should be fun, that should be rewarding, and life kicks my ass. Repeatedly. That's how you know your life's upside down, when it's harder and more painful, physically and emotionally, to do what you love, than it is to do mundane work.
So everything is just blindingly terrible for me these days. You start to think that as hard as you've worked, as much as you've done just to break even because of what you live with every day, as much good as you've done, more medical problems can just come along and take it all away. I've been away from the things I love for so long simply because I can't always be around. I can't always do research and talk politics when it feel like my insides are being squeezed harder than anything ever has and it's unrelenting and no matter what I do I know that in an hour, in two hours, in five, in a week, it will still be here. Find me anyone who can focus like this.
And this phone call, this was just at the exact time I needed it. The timing was so suspect I was initially freaked out. I needed to hear that from some random person, just someone my mom knows, and not someone I've co-blogged with since I joined Daily Kos in 2005. I love everyone here but it felt awesome to hear this stuff from an outsider, and not even an LGBT person.
I don't really even have an explanation for why this happened when it did. Things like this make me wonder if there is a God.
But mostly, this was different from what I'm used to. Having my mom compliment anything that even remotely touches on gay issues is a true accomplishment. She has still not read anything I've written but she asked for some of my stuff. I've been doing this for so long. In high school I was doing this on Livejournal (usually in all-lowercase letters and less professional-looking) starting in late 2002. In a way it's strange, because it's been nine whole years since I started talking about politics like this, and four or five since I blogged mostly on LGBT stuff, and she's just now catching on?
But this is progress - I never would have thought she would be anything other than embarrassed if someone had discovered my writing just a few years ago. And she was so encouraging. She thinks I should write a book (I don't think anyone would believe my story, though.) I never would have thought she'd be open to reading it. Even if someone has to admit their kid is blogging about LGBT stuff it still doesn't mean that they are obligated to read it.
That phone call really made my night. I don't want to suddenly start shouting that "maybe there is hope" but at least it made me feel better this week.