My introduction to Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, was this post a friend had shared on Facebook a few years ago. It took me several attempts to get through it because I had to keep stopping to wipe tears from my eyes and calm down from convulsive laughter. I shared it with Mike. He was amused, but didn’t quite understand why I was shrieking like an angry chimpanzee. (It’s because we share most of our DNA with them. That’s just science.)
Since that day, I’ve been a loyal reader. To this day I still say to myself, Knock knock, motherfucker! whenever I have to, ya know, knock. But what made Jenny different from any other funny blogger who makes you pee your pants, was that she made herself vulnerable and let us into her world of physical and mental illness. She showed us her view of the world from under a table or from inside a bathroom because her anxiety overcame her and she needed to feel safe. She let us crawl under the blankets with her to watch Doctor Who for hours on end because deep depression was preventing her from doing anything else. While reading her latest book, Furiously Happy, I walked with her out into the New York snow with my own cracked and bloody feet. It felt safe to know I wasn’t the only one that happens to, that I didn’t have to feel like a freak whenever I have to clean up blood I’ve unknowingly tracked all over the floor because fibromyalgia has made my feet swell and remain constantly cracked open. Jenny has built a community of “me toos”. We know what it’s like to lay in bed, not able to get up, not able to reassure ourselves that it will be okay. We know what it feels like to consider that everyone, including ourselves, may just be better off dead. We know that having to interact in social situations, especially with people we don’t know, feels like The Doctor being dragged to the Pandorica.
Okay, so what? you’re saying to yourself if you’re a bad person who’s never read The Bloggess. The thing is, Jenny goes a step beyond sharing her lows. She reminds us all that depression lies, which is something I’ve repeated to myself again and again and have heard from Mike because I passed that mantra on to him. She refuses to be defeated and finds the hysterical in the darkest and strangest of places. And then she inspires us to do the same and helps us heal which, I just realized, basically makes her Jesus, (aside from the running around with 12 dudes.)
So I’m not entirely sure why I was surprised by the outpouring of love I received on Twitter last week. I really wanted to go hear and meet Jenny at her book signing in DC, but will not go into DC by myself because I’m afraid I’ll crash in the fucked up DC traffic, or get raped on Metro like that one episode I saw on Law & Order: SVU that was on because I was at my friends’ parents’ house and I couldn’t escape it, or get lost and end up having to sit on the steps of the Capitol and wait for someone to come get me. At least then I’d be able to mount a late night protest of the Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood or Ted Cruz’s stupid face in general while I killed time. Ooo, or I could just try to scale the White House fence. Then I’d get arrested and would get to wait inside. I’d explain that I wasn’t a threat to the President, I just have bad anxiety. Then we’d all laugh about it. I’d get to meet President Obama and tell him that I really need him to have the HHS Secretary pencil a provision into Obamacare that would prevent insurance companies from refusing to cover a medication for the treatment of chronic illnesses. And then I’d be a Spoonie hero! Fuck! I should have gone by myself!
Aaaaaaanyway, I really wanted to go and just posted a throw away tweet about how I wanted to go, but was too afraid to go by myself. I never, NEVER expected tweets from people in the area saying they were going and would I like a ride. I received tweets of support and encouragement from others who were nervous about going alone or who weren’t going, but understood my anxiety. It was like the community that Jenny built was reaching out and giving me a big hug. Although, now I’m imagining a bunch of creepy, evil hands reaching through my phone and saying in a high-pitched, “sweet, little girl’s” possessed voice, “We just want to love you! Come with us!” But you get the idea.
I ended up not being able to go. Mike hates joy and said he needed me to help him pick up the van from the mechanic, (although why he couldn’t just let Zoë drive the van home is beyond me) and wanted help with bedtime because it was a “school night”. He was also concerned about me riding in a car with complete strangers somewhere. Normally, I would have been, too, but I was like, They’re fans of Jenny. It’s fine! I was heartbroken that I didn’t get to go, especially since I didn’t get to meet this little guy and his owner,
and felt horribly that so many had rallied to get me there and I ended up having to shit all over their generosity. But it was, and is, comforting to know that there is a safe and supportive community out there, on whom I can rely. It gives me a warm feeling, right in my belly. Or I could be digesting lunch.