I've posted this before, but...
My name is Dave.
Most of the people who’ll end up reading this probably know me as Red.
I wanted to take a moment and drop the mask I normally wear online for just a moment because I have something to say and I need to say it in my own voice, not the one you’re used to hearing filtered through my Animal Representational Character. (Thanks for turning me on to the phrase Freehaven!)
There is a Lady, Jenny Lawson, who writes a fairly regular column under the name The Bloggess.
She’s a very witty woman and has, on occasion, had me in tears from laughing so hard at her mental misadventures.
About a week ago, as of the time I’m writing this, she had me in tears for a very different reason.
‘When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery. We call them survivors. Because they are.
When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.’
I don’t think I’ve ever heard how I sometimes feel put more succinctly.
I am fortunate in that my mood swings are not so bad that I can not bull my way through them and live a fairly normal life without having to rely on medication.
I’ve developed mental tools to keep myself somewhat balanced and happy with my day to day situation and actually look forward to what’s yet to come in my life.
There are others in my family who were not able to do so.
I don’t physically hurt myself, nor do I allow myself to harbor thoughts of doing so.
My Mother’s father shot himself with a gun.
His oldest son, my Uncle, shot himself with the same gun.
My sister purposefully overdosed on her husband’s prescription heart medicine.
I don’t tell you these things to shock you or try and gain sympathy from you.
I tell them to you in hope that it’ll get your attention and make you take notice of what I’m going to say next.
Life goes on.
Suicide is NOT any kind of solution.
If you kill yourself, the pain you feel doesn’t go away.
It’s just taints everyone around you that loves you.
It is a stain that spreads.
I firmly believe that we are, in the end, more important for how our lives affect the people around us then for the things we leave behind.
For artists, and as a writer I consider myself an artist, what we do and what we leave are sometimes the same thing.
What I write is, to be blunt, pornography.
I’d like to think that it’s well written pornography.
I pride myself on the fact that what I do doesn’t hurt anyone.
It is escapism and the purest of fantasy.
At worst it provides a bit of sexual release.
At best it might amuse or, Heavens forbid, make someone THINK for a moment.
What does all this have to do with each other you might be asking?
Well, to be honest till just recently I didn’t think that it did.
Then Jenny Lawson came along and, through my tears, made a light come on.
She talked about a ‘Red Dress’.
‘One of my favorite dresses of hers is the red poppy dress and I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it. For one thing, it’s not sensible. It’s impractical. It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age”. And I have no shoes to go with it. And I have no place to wear it.
And I want it.
I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”. Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.’
Writing Furry Pornography is MY ‘Red Dress’.
It’s not socially acceptable.
It is, in fact, a bit dangerous.
It is also THE single most liberating thing I do and it keeps me sane.
I don’t have much else to say really.
I just needed to sit down and talk a bit.
I hope that this rambling little bit of text will make you stop for a moment and think about the people around you.
How you affect them.
How important you are.
How maybe you can help someone, like me, that struggles silently to find that ONE bright spot in their day to use as a reason to smile and be reminded that it’s not ALL bad.
I would say that I’m not going to ask you to re-blog this, or re-tweet it, because I am, but what I’d like even more is for you to engage yourself in the discussion in some way, even if it’s a small one.
Write a little journal as well, and share it with us.
Draw a picture showing support, even if it’s just of a character wearing a silver ribbon or dressed all in red.
Let people know that you understand, even if in some small way, that you care.
Thank you for your time,