Troubleshooting

Where does your joy take you?

Like most of us, I imagine, I’ve spent a lot of my life learning from pain. At times, from exquisite, searing, unbearable pain. I was rewarded for that, it felt like, with the reprieve of spending the last few years exploring and uncovering things that actually feel good to me instead.

But, see, as we discovered yesterday, I’ve been keeping a secret. That secret being that I still believe the thing I’m not supposed to believe.

And the better things feel, the closer I get to that thing I believe that I’m not supposed to believe. Because that thing literally unlocked ecstasy for me. That thing is the source of All Good Things for me. But it’s not supposed to be.

My joy takes me somewhere I’m not supposed to go. Just like my certainty takes me somewhere I’m not supposed to go. So I simply do not let myself go all the way there.

For the past few years, I’ve been free of almost all the pain tied up in my joy, and I’ve even had ecstasy just a well-placed thought away. There should have been nothing stopping me. And yet I’ve refrained. I’ve declined bliss. I’ve passed on exaltation. Not completely, by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been, how you say, edging. I never go all the way. I stop short.

Do you think that’s why, for the past three years, if I get sufficiently sexually aroused, I sneeze? Because I’ve been trying to figure that shit out for ages.

Deep and dark

I’ve been writing fairly in depth profiles for all the characters in my novel lately, because while most of them have been in development for over a decade, I’d never been especially deliberate about them, and I thought it’d be a good exercise to catch any gaps. Also it’s kind of fun.

One of the prompts I’m using is their deepest, darkest secret. For most of the characters this is fairly easy; there’s something they’ve seen, something they’ve done, that they’re not ready to share with anyone. But for my main protagonist, it’s not so clear cut. She doesn’t really have any secrets. There’s not one distinct thing she’s unwilling to tell. Maybe all she’s hiding is that she’s scared.

Coincidentally, I spent a couple of days on TikTok before I thought better of it again, and one TikTok asked me to tell my deepest, darkest secret. The one I like to break out for this sort of occasion is the time I peed myself and blamed it on a squirrel, but the truth is I don’t have any deep, dark secrets either.

…Or fucking do I?

I started thinking about it in terms of what I’m willing to disclose on this blog. Because I disclose a lot of things on this blog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that’s kind of the point. I push myself to reveal uncomfortable things, in an effort to pursue authenticity and integrity in my everyday life. If I own it here, it makes it easier to own everywhere.

There are lots of things I don’t disclose for concern about violating other people’s privacy. But where’s the line for my own privacy? What’s the thing I do not want to tell you? What’s the thing I dance around telling you because, as much as I don’t want to tell you, I do, so very much, want to tell you?

There is a thing – the truest thing I’ve ever known – that has been shown not to be true. But the secret is this: I still believe it.