“I’ll keep all my emotions right here,” a wise man once said, “and then one day, I’ll die.”
I know John Mulaney was talking about being Irish, but as a woman of almost absurdly British ancestry, I’m familiar with the model. Oh, feelings? We bottle that stuff right up, yes sir, yes ma’am. We’re pushing that right on down as far as it can go, thank you very much, and then one day, hopefully before that bottle comes uncorked, we will be released from this rapidly-warming planet having never explored a single feeling felt in our entire miserable existence. Just like our fathers and grandfathers before us.
You might see how the idea of starting a blog would be a foreign one to me. We’re talking about a woman who has gotten very, very far in life with calculations and a razor wit, to whom the idea of going to therapy to treat her crushing depression and anxiety only just occurred. Sharing my thoughts and feelings, my take on it all, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. “How unseemly,” I can hear my grandfather saying.
I’ve already disappointed my ancestors and relatives plenty well by becoming a public schoolteacher, so what’s the harm in doing a little more outside the box?
But I’ve talked enough smack. My name is Jennie, and it is truly a pleasure to meet you.
I teach English and Social Studies in the far north of Michigan, the part that everyone thinks is Canada, but somehow, it’s not. I live with my brilliant partner and my beautiful and terrible daughter, Cheddar.
She is all corgi, but she also has a long tail built especially for wagging and knocking things over. She is a trickster god whose true purpose on earth is unknown.
To the next: who is purse phone, anyway?
Forgive the English teacher, she knows not what she does. Persephone is a character in the Greek pantheon I have always felt a strong connection with. I have always felt myself a compromise between two forces: the emotional and the pragmatic, the optimist and the realist, the bright and the dim. Honestly, what woman hasn’t felt that way, especially in this year of our lord 2019?
Enter Persephone, goddess of spring and flowers whose close encounter with some pomegranate seeds lands her in the Underworld as Hades’s wife. She makes the most of it and commutes, every six months, between flower-town and Hell. By virtue of her hubby’s title, she retains her goddess status while also becoming Queen of Hell.
Flower Princess and Queen of Hell? Honestly, that’s some energy we all need to channel.
So, here I am, casual flower princess and monarch of dead people, living the life I live and doing the things I do, collecting my myriad interests and spinning them into words, the way I’ve done for years privately, to myself. I write this blog as a person without any particular “ticket” into your life, without a single identity that represents my personality well, with only the hope that something I share can brighten your day a bit. I have battled serious mental illness since I was 14. I am queer and have been out since I was 15. I work a hard job that I started just this year. I will write about those things, too, because I wish someone had talked to me about them when I was those ages. But I’m also going to write about all the things that make me happy, like my dog, coffee, video games, makeup, DIY stuff, and plants. I’m all over the board, baby, but positivity and happiness are my claim to fame.
Here’s what I have learned in my so far brief and bombastic life: happiness can be found even in the darkest moments, even during the heavy months and the crushing years and the torment of an existence that seems in every way liable to swallow you whole. I’ve lived there, and sometimes even now, I’ve been known to visit.
Here is another thing I have learned: there is infinite value in being seen by someone else. I went through school never being seen by my teachers. I impressed them with my mind and my work ethic and when I disappeared for a month, no one minded because my homework was still turned in. It’s not that I didn’t matter to them: I was simply another number, another face to remember, in a sea of ebbing tragedies that washed over them each and every day. I always got As on my papers, so why follow up on a success story?
So, you know, maybe these tiny glimmers of brightness aren’t so worthless, if they can light another person’s way. Maybe the screens we all pour ourselves into can allow us to be seen when it truly matters– which is always. Maybe the stories I’ve always had so much faith in could put someone one small step closer to becoming a person they are truly proud of.
Look at me. Look me in the eyes. We’re going to keep this stuff bottled right up, just between you and I, and no one will have to be any the wiser. You got me? Our little secret.
So I’m going to keep writing, and then one day, I’ll die.
It’s rather beautiful, isn’t it?