Mental Health · Relationships · Writing


"It was probably just a dream..." © astronautalis. Ibiza, Spain. 2015.
It was probably just a dream…” © astronautalis. Ibiza, Spain. 2015.
At the gym between sets of back squats Chris asked me if I like writing or if I just do it because I’m good at it.

I wanted to fight him in parts.

First, because he’s likely never read my writing. Second, because of course I like it, right? Third, because how could he ask me such a thing? As if he were somehow challenging the idea I’m a writer at all. Despite the fact that he’s one of the few people who regularly refers to me as such.

But I think I just wanted to fight him because I didn’t know how to answer him. Instead I told him I like the things writing does for me. More accurately, I don’t like what happens when I don’t write. How I feel trapped under glass. How the world is far away and everything is trying to flood my brain at once. How I can’t hang on to any one thing. How life becomes completely overwhelming, how everything becomes too much.

I told him I have to write because it’s not safe not to.

Later Leif asked me what I wrote about this week and I wasn’t able to answer him. “I don’t know. Stuff and things. It’s on the internet, dude. If you want to read it, go read it.”

“But then I would just be another person who reads your blog and never talks to you about, wouldn’t I?”

At first I wanted to tell him that’s just fine. If I wanted to talk about this stuff then I wouldn’t be writing about it. But I caught myself. Realized that’s just another thing I tell myself that isn’t true.

I write in public. I tell people I’m a writer. I want them to ask questions like that. I want to be able to find the words to answer them.

It’s in there somewhere. The ability to connect. To explain. To not feel so broken and fragile. That’s what I’m always writing about, isn’t it?

An explanation of the way I’m feeling, presented in hopes that someone will finally have the spine to talk about it without worrying about hurting me. So someone, somewhere will take off the velvet gloves and just talk to me like I’m a functional adult.

They’ll say, “Hey, I see you, and I feel something like that, too.”

28 thoughts on “Tread

  1. Ruby, when I’m asked if I would like a drink; I politely refuse and tell them I’m an alcoholic. The reactions are various; from disbelief to admiration. It’s really about my recovery though; my acceptance. Honesty will define my future. I enjoy your words. Regards. John.


  2. Ruby, I am going to suggest that that guy is interested in you but does not like to read or write. Never stop writing, it does help and you can be so amazed at what comes out, but, you already know that. And don’t worry about explaining yourself to someone who won’t bother to read your words for the answer. He just wants to talk to you and can’t relate to writing.


    1. I don’t know that they won’t bother. I think a lot of people I know avoid my blog because they feel so strange learning such personal things through writing. Those same people are way more likely to ask how I’m feeling and what’s going on.

      And I’m sure I’ll never stop writing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true. I understand depression very well. I always felt worse when people asked how I was. Do you find being so open about it is a form of acceptance that makes it feel less like you are in a bubble while the world spins on “out there?…”


  3. Truman Capote said, “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely.” You’re so familiar with that whip, aren’t you?


  4. Ruby, I came across your blog only a few weeks ago and I completely in love with your writing. The way you describe depression and emotion is absolutely amazing. I have been struggling with personal demons for a long time, including depression and anxiety, and it so comforting when I read your blog to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. I write mainly poetry, and now I blog, for a very similar reason as you. I have to. It’s too difficult to communicate and to “be” if I don’t. A line from this post really struck a chord with me when you discuss why you write: “…I don’t like what happens when I don’t write…How life becomes completely overwhelming, How everything becomes too much.” Very few people I know understand that feeling, especially in the way you do. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t understand why he was asking you those questions, but I’m a new follower so maybe thats it. I need to read this again.
    But anyway, my first thought was something my therapist said when I tried to justify writing a blog and sometimes feel embarrassed that I do. It’s like I’m afraid people will think I just want attention.
    She said “You are a human being. Humans need to connect with other humans.”
    So simple. But yes, we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Do you like writing?”

    ….Yes. When the muse is joyous and giving and drifts words like the leaves of an Amherst autumn.

    …No. When the words aren’t there and the images still crowd and crowd and crowd and still there are no words and the cursor just blinks and blinks and blinks.

    Better question: Do you need writing?

    Like junkie needs a fix, like the desert needs the rain (song ref bonus!)

    Sometimes the writing lodges, the words fail, the demons win.

    And then you notice a waiter’s thin, disapproving lips; a mother’s tired love of her rambunctious toddlers; the way the light slants just so through some dusty windows.
    And then the words bang against your teeth and you can’t say them, but you can write the, oh yes you can.

    So, to answer Chris…I enjoy writing.
    I also enjoy seeing and being and not having the darkness claim all who I am?

    Does that answer that question, Chris? Because it is the only one I have. I suspect, although I may be wrong, that is the same answer most writers who talk about personal things would give, if they could.

    Sometimes, the words pile up behind our teeth, and we must speak or choke.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I share this blog with loved ones fighting the same battles that you explain through your writing. I love this blog and the connection it gives me with the ones I care about most.


  8. I love your words, I tell you that often. I still feel so disconnected… not only from my life and the physical things that are passing me by each day, but even from my writing right now. I write because I feel like nobody in my real life wants to hear my words, the sentiment remains the same no matter how differently the words are strung together. Despite thinking I’ve found a few like-minded bloggers, I feel the connections made are one-sided, if that makes sense. I digress, so I’ll just repeat my original thoughts. I love your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the “no one wants to hear my words” is a self-worth issue that I continue to deal with. Even when I know people are reading what I write and getting something from it I feel like that.

      I guess that’s a feeling you don’t stop having until you stop believing it.

      That sounds really hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My therapist told me that my deepest root issue is “I am not enough” and she definitely hit the nail on the head. Life is hard, I need to figure out a way to deal. Thanks for hearing me.


  9. Hey Ruby, I found my way here via {A}. It is wonderful to see/read you put into words this voice about your inner-ness that I am slowly but steadily working out for myself. No judgement for how I am and how I have been, yet still hesitance and hints of shame about sharing with others. And the contrary experience that the more vulnerable I reveal, the more I meet people who are accepting and supportive. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks so much for coming over. I’m so glad you found us.

      It’s crazy how the more you talk about what’s happening in your life, the more support you get, isn’t it? It’s counterintuitive, but also makes perfect sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi,
    Great post. Thank you for what you wrote. You transcribed into words thoughts i had and didnt understand for some reason. It’s nice to know you are not the only one.
    All the best.



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