The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
- Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)
All people want is someone to listen.
- Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only weblog, May 8, 2003
Last year sucked. If you don’t believe me, just scroll down and read my last post. I’ll wait . . .
Never mind. Don’t read that shit. So much has changed since then. Some of it awesome. Some of it not so much. I’ll get to all that eventually. But back to last year, when the suck rolled in.
Robin Williams. Fucking Robin Williams. I liked Robin Williams. He was stellar in some very dark roles, like in One Hour Photo, or Insomnia, and I like my movies dark. It wasn’t so much that I loved his body of work beyond that of others, or felt he was the funniest comedian alive, or even that he was a super cool person who I wanted to be like. No, he killed himself. Behind the smiles and laughs and pouts lurked some dark shit of his own. Again, this wasn’t news. He’d been up front about his struggles before. Bu he didn’t win. His sky never cleared. And he was gone.
I lost it. Maybe it’s a silly thing to hit bottom over, but it tore me up. Like the proverbial icing on the cake, or the proverbial last straw, or whatever proverbial imagery you want to employ, my ground shook, my pain haunted me, I was in a bad way, and I recognized that I needed some help. All those “seek help” posts people put up? Worked.
So, naturally, as is the way these days, I confessed to Facebook:
I made the call. First therapy session tomorrow. I’m worried that I’ll talk too much. Or maybe not enough. Or just cry a lot. Tips and tricks welcome …
And, as is the way, support rolled in. In comments. In private messages. Familiar names of people notorious for caring about me despite my shit. And then, a pleasant surprise . . .
Brian. I don’t expect (and neither am I asking) you to share, but I’ve been thinking of you this weekend hoping all went well with your visit. I admire you. Your choice, motivation, conviction, follow through…all of it speaks to your You-ness and character that is beloved and appreciated more than you possibly know . . . if you ever need a thing, anything, know that I’m here and odd though it may seem, the internets do create ties that are real and I do care. I’m cheering for you.
Staci Fucking Campbell.
Back when I started this blog, the Big Thing looked like getting a post published somewhere besides your blog. And all the cool kids were submitting like crazy to a site called Indie Ink, a blog dedicated to posting the awesome writing of all the cool kids. And I so wanted to be a cool kid. So I sent in a story about my weight loss surgery. And, holy shit, I got a reply! From the founder of the site! She thought my writing rocked and wanted to put it up.
I crapped my pants.
But here’s the thing . . . Anastacia stayed in touch. She read my miserable excuse for a blog, and I read her posts and wept regularly. Such beauty thoughts, expressed with such beautiful words. She was cooler than the baby Jesus, and I had her email address!
Then Twitter. Then Facebook. Then Goodreads. Our paths crossed more frequently and, even amid the vapid minutia of the new micro world, she dug deep. Sure, she posted her share of cray cray, but when she got serious, I always listened. We talked about books, as she did love a good yarn. Our mutual admiration for Dan Simmons’ novel Drood led to many other recommendations and conversations. We both hated Nic Sheff’s Tweak, but loved his dad’s book Beautiful Boy. And she almost convinced me to actually buy and read The Luminaries instead of listening to the audiobook:
Oh my god was it ever good. So good. I loved it. I’m the wrong person to ask re audio, though! I’ve never experienced an audio book before. My gut is that there are so many beautifully complex characters made up of such subtleties the book would have to be better. But. I’ve never done audio.
On the radar, then off the grid. In touch, then silent. Her life moved outside my immediate circles, so I saw her when she wanted to be seen.
And then yesterday morning, I saw the news. Five updates in a row from friends sharing the fucking news. I have never felt quite so speechless. All day, I couldn’t stop Facebooking. Old friends, new friends. Everyone had a story. A favorite selfie, quick snapshots, or one of her many meme-ish style posts she would put up that had all of us rolling. And so many sweet memories.
I will remember her as one of many friends who came alongside during a time of extreme need, and met me head on with empathy, words of hard-won wisdom, and love. Always love.
Staci Fucking Campbell. Thank you, my friend . . .