@Niko Bellic Nah, I don't agree. I mean, your logic is flawless, but I know a few writers who are sheer genius on the page who still talk in circles about their emotional obstacles to writing. And honestly, (unrelated) "uniting around the common goals of having adventures" (see above) is maybe one of the most boring fucking conversations I can imagine, possibly because I don't like uniting, having common goals, or going on adventures. And even back when I did like those things (and tripping my face off as well), I still tended to grow bored, bored, bored with the adventurous uniter types who did them. Yes, truly, I am a lazy, negative shut-in. "Lazy Negative Shut-Ins, Don't Unite!"
@Danzig! Oh man. That line about internalizing the lesson of trauma made me so sad. Thanks for posting this. I just don't want anyone to walk around with a limiting STORY about themselves, that is so much smaller and less full of promise than they are, a story that shuts out light and air and so much potential beauty. Vulnerability is somehow the way out of this defensive, basement narrative.
@Werner Hedgehog Well, I think she said something like: "I am anxious about factory farming and aging (among many other things) and I don't know what to do about it." My reply was something like: You remind me of Andie MacDowell's character in "Sex Lies & Videotape," a rich woman who wonders out loud to her therapist where we're going to put all the trash in the world. God, I love that movie.
But anyway, I like it when people send vague non-questions. And I'm always aiming for "not much of an advice column" -- in fact, I should probably make that the permanent Turning The Screw slogan.
@skahammer You're right. "Try to figure out how to be happy" is much better advice, and is utterly devoid of platitudes. ;) Seriously though, you (start to) make a good point. Care to elaborate? I'd love to hear more, and I'm sure LW1 would as well.
@Lauri You're right! I'm confusing the lonely "old maid" antiheroine of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne with the lonely "old maid" heroine of Wish Her Safe At Home. I read 4 crazy alienated heroine books in a row last fall and they're all blending together as one in my mediocre mind. Gotta love NY Review Books classics. (Start with After Claude by Iris Owens!)
@LMS@twitter God knows, I love an introvert. But LW1 is enthralled by an extreme extrovert, and wants her approval badly. My hunch is that he wants to be more like her, so instead he tells himself she holds the key to a better life. I'm telling him: Go out and do it by yourself, if that's what you really want. If all you want is to stay the way you are, AND get the girl? Well, it's not happening with this girl regardless. But I don't hear him saying he's satisfied with his current life. Sounds to me like his avoidant behaviors are making him unhappy, and he's fixated on this woman as some kind of magical passport out of that unhappiness.
@karenjeannette I like the way you summarize this, which is what I was trying to tell him. I certainly didn't say "Be an extrovert! Down with introverts!" I just think the notion that he'd be FINE with going out with groups as long as this one wondergirl validated him first is faulty. Better by far to do it on his own, and hopefully make her less important in the process.
@skyslang We can all agree that LW2 NEEDs health insurance, though, can't we? Whether or not it'll pay for therapy? Because nothing will bury you faster than an uninsured illness or accident.
@clau lamont@twitter Jesus. I mean I've only received payment for 10% of the work I've done. Brain trouble. Someone find me a cheap therapist, goddamn it.
@clau lamont@twitter You're right. I mention cheap therapy and support groups so often that I should probably write something about finding cheap therapy and then link to it whenever I need it. In this case, I shouldn't have skipped it. I probably made this mistake because I know that a big part of the challenge of freelancing is adjusting to major shifts in fortune without panicking. The panic itself will prevent you from getting your work done AND finding new work. Even if you have tons of work, the delay in getting paid alone can send you into a panic. I personally have only received payment for 90% of the work I've done so far this year.
But back to cheap therapy: If anyone out there has experience with this, or advice for places to look for cheap therapists, support groups, etc. please let me know: polly at theawl.com. I have some resources I want to mention, but including some Awl reader experiences with this kind of thing would be really helpful. (Not surprisingly, when you ask a therapist where to look for cheap therapists, they tend to sigh heavily and gaze out the window, despairing over how they'll ever earn a living.)