Why I’m Not Writing

aokWriting for the sake of writing is important for personal growth.

But writing for the sake of writing and publishing it on this blog is an enormous waste of your time.

So I stopped doing it.

Maybe I’ll start again. I’m going to do whatever I want.

But for now, it feels important to me to have something to say.

I haven’t had much.

Why I Write

I started this blog because my wife left me and I lost my mind. There weren’t very many people in my life I could or wanted to discuss it with, so I turned to the only thing I knew: the keyboard.

I feel at home at the keyboard. Like an extension of me. Punching these keys is as natural to me as anything else I do. And for reasons I don’t understand and have never really explored, I know how to communicate and express myself more effectively via the (type)written word than I do speaking.

I thought I was dying. It felt like how I imagine dying to feel. And writing was medicine. Relief. It helped.

So I did it.

I was so hurt, so sad, so angry, that nothing else mattered. I could write anything. Because there’s nothing you could think about me that could ever make me feel shittier than I felt.

I felt so weak and helpless in my real life.

But not at the keyboard. I had my own arsenal here. An unlimited combination of words that could be written and a seemingly endless string of thoughts and feelings and experiences as I tried to document what it was like to be me. The newly single, scared-shitless divorced dad.

Here’s why it mattered: Because I’m just like so many of you. And so many of you are like me.

It mattered because you’re not alone.

It mattered because I’m not alone.

So we connected here. And I needed to feel connected to something. Maybe I still do. But everything’s different now. I just know I’m still alive.

I’m a mid-thirties single dad who just got thrust into the wild, ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the world I now face.

And I wanted to write about that experience. Because maybe some other person got divorced, too. And maybe they felt like they were dying. And maybe they cried more than they knew they could. And maybe they were scared again just like when we were kids only now their masks could no longer conceal the fear because aging without wisdom doesn’t make us more courageous.

There’s one super-important ingredient to making the writing (and the reading) a worthwhile exercise.

It Better Be Honest

It’s all bullshit if it’s not real. If it’s not honest.

A year ago, it was all: Hey! I’m sad and depressed and my life is shitty and I don’t feel like doing anything except writing about it!

And I did. And just kind of laid it all out there, raw and uncut. To the right people, it really mattered. I know it mattered to me.

And now? It’s not like that. I’m a different person than I was a year ago, just like I was a different person the year before that.

I’m a pretty resilient sonofabitch. I know it doesn’t look that way when I’m pissing myself and crying like a small child and whining to anyone who will listen about how hard my life is.

I started to heal. That’s still happening. And it’s all still getting better every day.

And then, as each day passed, things were happening in my life that I no longer felt comfortable telling you about.

My relationship with my ex-wife continues to improve. All things considered, I think we’re doing a great job working together to raise our six-year-old son.

My dating life remains shitty and not discussion-worthy. Everyone who likes me lives super-far away. I rarely meet people because I refuse to online-date and because I’m sometimes a coward about introducing myself to others. I had a date last weekend and she was super-nice and we had a great time, but it was clear romance would not be in our future.

And that’s really the root of my writing “problem.”

I am not going to exploit women I meet and jeopardize friendships by writing about them.

I am not going to teach my son to love and respect his mother and then write about her personal life as if it’s anyone’s business, including mine.

I am not going to bore you with the mundane details of my life as I continue to figure out how to juggle my various responsibilities with efficiency—work, parenting, chores, etc.

If it’s not therapeutic to write, or can’t help someone, is there really any point of writing at all? Maybe. But probably not as part of what I want to be doing here in this space.

I want to help people. Not lots of people. Because I’m not qualified to help people. But I am qualified to help one. Just one. That person out there who understands what I’m feeling and thinking and can breathe a sigh of relief: I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Now I know I’m not a freak.

Because that person isn’t a freak. But we lie to ourselves because we’re all a little bit crazy and we convince ourselves that we’re too dumb, too short, too fat, too weird, too <insert personal insecurity here> and everyone else is so much better than we are.

And it’s an effective lie because so many of us believe it.

And we become empowered. Strong, even. When we realize that we’re not alone. That we’re all fighting the same battles, and that maybe together we can win more easily than fighting alone.

We’re smart enough.

We’re good enough.

We’re tall enough.

Everything is different now.

I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. But I’m not afraid. Everything is going to be okay.

I’m better apparently at writing about misery than I am about hope.

So.

Fewer words. More hope.

Not a bad trade, really.

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19 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Writing

  1. ….well, nuts…… I assume you’ll pop in now and again, buuuuut……
    <3
    I'm happy for you…..(but one will have to dig real deep to unearth that in my soul. You know, under all the selfishness and junk) :-D

    Like

  2. completelyinthedark says:

    Hey Matt, writing isn’t everything, really. Most people don’t do it and smart writers know they can’t be working all the time. I’d suggest a break or, if you’re still serious about a book, maybe blogging only once a week or twice a month while you’re working on the book. Which I really think you should do. You have info for a lot of guys who need to hear it!

    Also, writing about topics adjacent to what I’m feeling at the time helps to make the current feelings, well, more readable but that’s why I edit and maybe my posts are overly thought shit compared to someone who’s laying it out there. I don’t know. There’s no script for this.

    You’re a great writer. So write your book. It shouldn’t be public, but you can blog frustrations as you’re writing it. That works for you and your potential readers!

    Hang in there bro. Would hate to see you disappear. best, Mike

    Like

  3. stvrsnbrgr says:

    Always leave ’em wanting more! Good luck with your book. You’ve obviously reached a lot of people with this blog. Including, it seems, yourself. Cheers.

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  4. Sg says:

    More proud of you than you know, my friend. :)

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  5. Karah Womack-Hosek says:

    Your journey, no judgment. Your wit and wisdom will be missed.

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  6. v0brien says:

    My heart rate slowed a little after I read the title. Misery or hope is fine with me. You write it and I’ll read it. Always. Be well Matt.

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  7. Yes, it is all good isn’t it, and everything is gonna be alright. Thank you, for your cathartic posts that planted seeds of hope. If this is your sign off, or just your pause, whatever, cheers to doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

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  8. sariscorner says:

    Hey Matt,
    it is so nice to read from you again and I can fully follow your arguments! I am so glad to hear your are feeling better and I don’t mind if that means you won’t write that much (or anything at all) anymore. I think it is the right thing to do that if you feel like you don’t have anything to share anymore you are not trying to force it. I also like it that you say you don’t want to exploit the people around you just for having something to write about. I hope we will still get some kind of update from you every now and then, but if not then that’s the way it is!
    Good Luck for you, anyway!

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  9. Huiying says:

    I am a little behind you in this journey. Your words have helped me. Tremendously. For that i thank you! Be Well!..

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  10. Nephila says:

    I totally get the bullshit fine line. As a woman I have worries for my personal safety too. It has to be honest, but not identify or humiliate the people involved. Well, except Argyrodes, she can go jump in a lake.

    I think fewer words and more hope is an excellent trade and I hope to see many of your fewer words often. Now how is that for contradictions?

    You can always come to my blog and comment freely too, I mean in the spirit of helping without crossing the bullshit line. I think you and Katie (theoppositesideofthestreet) are my counterfactuals. I could have been in the position of either of you so easily. I try to remind myself that I don’t have the opportunities you guys have, but I have different ones.

    “Do all the good you can, but always boil your own billy-can” is what my grandmother used to say. And you do it well, to my mind anyway.

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  11. Yes:) Sometimes it’s more important to be busy living rather than trying to keep busy by writing.

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  12. Samara says:

    So take a break. Maybe the focus of your blog can change.

    The words about your divorce poured out of you easily, and I’m sure helped with the healing process enormously. You may find all sorts of other things to blog about that can still reach people. Just because the inspiration isn’t jumping out of you, at the moment, it doesn’t mean you should stop doing something you’re amazing at. You may just have to work a little harder to find inspiration. I hope you never stop blogging.

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  13. I think you’ll find inspiration. It’ll just come from other places and be about other things and be less frequent. But I think you’ll still have stuff to say. I don’t know how anyone keeps up the post a day frequency. I can barely manage one a week. But I hope you’ll still write and share your insight with us, when the urge hits. Cheers.

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  14. jadedwildcat says:

    I started my blog here for similar reasons. I just wrote a blog a few days ago about how lately I don’t like coming on here because it tends to drag up all of the horrible feelings I was going through at the time I first signed on…
    Interesting how a lot of us eventually reach that point where maybe we no longer NEED To write about it as much? I guess we’ve used and ridden this site to as far as it will take us and… now what?
    I find I’m still feeling lost as Hell – and yeah my dating life (or lack thereof) is just as miserable – but at least I’m not feeling that ‘dying’ feeling that you mentioned.
    I’ve found some sort of calmness in my every day BORING routine. So boring that it’s actually relaxed me and brought me out of a lot of the panic and darkness from before…
    That’s a good thing right?
    Anyway, so glad to hear that things are looking up for you, at least in certain aspects of your life.
    As for the rest well… I guess I’ll say what others keep telling me: it’ll all fall into place when it’s meant to (?)
    Hugs.

    Jade

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  15. RR says:

    Sometimes all you need is a bit of hope. Bests. 😉

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  16. JujyCakes says:

    Matt, I’m happy for you that you are healing and mending. I’m glad that you’re both going to be great parents for your son, and who knows what happens beyond that. Thank you for sharing your pains, your history, your present and perhaps a bright future. None of us have a crystal ball. I’m grateful for a new day, one at a time.
    Best to you.
    Hope springs eternal.

    Like

  17. I love this post. It’s good writing. No matter what you pursue, it’s going to be great and I wish you the best.

    I can’t stop writing. If I’m not on the internet, I’ll be scribbling on napkins. I write when life is good, when life is bad, I even write when I have nothing to say. Some people play golf, others knit, I’m compelled to write. Sometimes I take a break, but usually I always pick it back up.

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  18. anitvan says:

    When healing really started to take hold I found I was more interested in living my life than writing about it. Best to you Matt. I’m really rooting for you :-)

    Like

  19. martha0stout says:

    You’re right, writing is for you and sometimes you don’t need to write something for others to see and/or read.

    Like

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