Seperis (seperis) wrote,

so you can blame this on self-examination and dear abby

So I have been reading advice columns recently. It's a phase I go through, and I found a comm that like, posts stories from these columns and discusses it which is pretty much my Platonic ideal of funness with those.

Which is why I decided I was having a moment of insight--a very useless one--while reading about one that was like, (example, not true) a woman marries a guy with three kids who try to kill her and their mutual child tortures cats and now the mother in law moved in and makes everyone sleep in teh living room and she's not sure what to do about all this.

...actually, maybe I actually read this, but not the point. The point is, advice columns seem to have a high proportion of stupid, stupid-crazy, stupid-scary, and boggling. There are very specific types that write to them, and in theory, I always thought it came down to three types: 1.) ones that want confirmation of something they already plan to do (and will do even without confirmation) 2.) people who just really want attention and 3.) really dumb. But I don't believe that anymore. I think there are actually four types. And the fourth type is what I call the WTF people. Because they aren't writing in due to being stupid, attentiony, or just confirmation, though they can be all of that. They are literally stumped on how the fuck they got to this, because they feel this isn't normal, but they don't know at what point they boarded the crazy train, because they've just been on it that long.

I'm going to explain this in the language of personal anecdata.

I have a child, whom I have called Child for pseudonymic purposes. I was twenty when I got knocked up and in that way that twenty year old girls are, I was dismayed, as I was y'know, twenty, and underemployed and the other half of the genetic material was God knew where, and also, I didn't like him at all. I cannot explain the series of events that led to this--I mean, yes, sex was involved, but looking back, there was a crazy train. You would think this would like, derail it, but no.

The first problem was I could not remember I was pregnant.

I had morning sickness all day for over six weeks. I had the morning sickness that meant I lost weight so fast I looked like I was on drugs. I was exhausted all the time. I took a pregnancy test. It's not like there wasn't evidence. I had tearful conversations with friends. There were talks. There was calling clinics. There was asking for advice.

Five minutes after those were over, I would forget again. I may be exaggerating a little here, but not by much. It wasn't denial--and trust me, I've thought about this part of my life a lot, as you know, it was crazy--so it wasn't denial so much as I could not put this in the framework of my life. It was like, and I'm just extrapolating this here from available evidence, that I'd been kidnapped by aliens and then returned to earth. Sure, it happened, but what are the odds? Because at that point, I had a very skewed notion of what, exactly, was going on in my life, which I will get to in a second.

{And hormones, I understand, but I digress, because this weird reaction has occurred in other situations, just none that were pregancy. Or were like, this insane.]

I had a mantra that I used for the first seven months, when I was indubitably pregnant in visible ways, attending school full time, had an ultrasound, and kicking kept me awake. It was, you are pregnant. And I'd get really depressed, but whatever, I also played SimCity and did well in class, so go with it.

I have never been able to explain to my own or anyone's satisfaction exactly what kind of disconnect occurred. But this is why when people on talk shows would be like "I didnt' know I was pregnant!" I can believe it. Because you can in fact know exactly how it happened, where, and even break it down into small words, and still. I never told anyone this, because I was one of the WTF people and I was self-aware enough to realize this isn't quite right.

I could have been a person who wrote to one saying, "I am twenty and I dropped out of college, I hate my job and my roommate is dating a married guy who makes us keep his ferret and sleeps in my bed with my roommate in our room and I sleep in teh floor of the living room and somehow, we have a cat and my new boyfriend and his brother got it high. I am pregnant by my ex and he vanished and I'm not sure I ever liked him, and teh sex was boring. Also, the roommate's boyfriend's wife keeps calling and my new boyfriend is trying to get back together with his ex who is pregnant by a guy who is in prison. What do I do here about the cat and the ferret getting along? I'm worried about their relationship."

You would think I would know the obvious answer, but sadly, I didn't write to an advice column and abruptly moved to Houston, which is a whole different thing.

See, I can read that paragraph and say, that's a crazytrain. That is a really fucking crazy train and holy shit, why did you give them your bed? and also--well, the cat, I don't even know. At the time, I could not figure out what about this was wrong. That's because it was all wrong, so you see why I was kind of disconnected from the pregnancy? It was the only normal thing that had a clear cause and effect. The rest of it I couldn't even tell you; it just happened. Also, the married man and roommate asked me for a threesome, and there was some stuff in a bar betting one night stands on pool, and a roommate who kept saying she was a lesbian but kept trying to sleep with my boyfriend and/or his brother.

Actually, I'm reading this now and just realized I'd never actually seen this all written out before. At this point, I have to say, that is a disturbing part of my life. But I digress.

Crazytrain. When you have somehow gotten on it, it's usually at a non-crazy stop, and then just escalates. The events described above happened in a six month period Most of it--a lot of it--was in a three month period. I had a very fast crazytrain. It becomes, in a word, unbelievable to sane people. It is in fact unbelievable to me, but I have written journal-proof and Child to remind me. And to put this in perspective, I had a functional family who I was talking to regularly and who came to visit and who would have loved it if I moved home, because they could sense the crazy, like perhaps the smell of that goddamn free-range ferret, but it was really difficult to talk to me, because I was worried about the cat and ferret relationship and the ex-wife calling. This is what I was thinking about. I was throwing up all day, every day, I fainted--fainted!--at work, I was apparently in a relationship that was bad, and I think I broke up with him once or twice and yet he was still there, and I was worried about the cat.

This is the essence of the WTF people. Sure, they could be stupid, or attention-whorey, or already have a solution, but it really comes back to they are writing in because something normal happened and it's fucking with their crazy. Which the more advice columns I read, the more I have started trying to work out what catalyzed the realization that something was off, because when they write it, they will have a laundry list of red flags of terror, but their question is like "But I wonder if this is a bad sign that he hates my sister." The thing is, yes, it is, but that's not the answer a WTF person really is looking for. They are asking "Why am I worried about this when he's calling himself Xanga King of the Titans and I'm starting a religion in his name? We're also being evicted because we didn't pay rent."

I mean, yes, it's all stupid and everything, but only out of context. It's not an excuse for stupidity, more a context for why sometimes stupidity seems like a lifestyle choice. Sometimes, it helps if you are indeed pregnant, go home, return to school, and start watching X-Files regularly while playing SimCity. Then thirteen years after the fact, you write it all down and realize you had a certain phase of life in which you probably should have been one of those people who wrote to advice columns, because you still don't know why you were worried about the cat and ferret relationship. Because now that you are thinking about it, they got along pretty well.

Seriously, I am reading this and I cannot remember the ferret and the cat fighting. I think because it was a cat who was high, a ferret who was free-range, and I was pregnant, and working on couples counseling for a cat and a ferret was more believable than an actual consequence of sex. Because really, what are the odds?

I'd like to submit I have read a lot of advice columns in the last twenty-four hours. It's like a disease. And from my totally unscientific observations, the WTF people outnumber everyone.

You know, at this point, I feel the need to lie down and reconsider my twenty year old self's relative decision making capabilities. I remember being stupid, but I'm now wondering if I was like lobotomized briefly and there was slow but steady regeneration.
Tags: anecdotes, jenn's life
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