This is a serious post. It’s not funny at all.
For that would be condescending and insulting to the source of inspiration for this specific post. It would imply I don’t appreciate the mindjack that took place yesterday. That moment when my words and thought were taken from me and I was lost for a few minutes in a world of nothingness.
I recently wrote a piece about my own battles with early mornings and becoming human. Not having the charisma to wake up with a smile. I called the piece Two-face: A case of temporary schizophrenia. It eluded to the fact that me going to the gym, at the crack of dawn, is actually a process of transformation from Grumpy to Happy. Two sides of the same coin.
After pressing the blue button, I started receiving a few likes from The Faithful Few. And then without warning… BANG! It was there. On screen. My mindjack. A negative comment…
From someone who has a family member suffering from actual schizophrenia. The woman was not impressed with my blatant disrespect and seemingly insensitive handling of such serious subject matter.
I was stunned.
First of, I don’t consider myself to be an asshole. However that is a personal opinion. Secondly, I don’t make a habit of standing on a street corner making fun of random people I see. For then I would have had to be a stand-up comic, which I’m not. So it would be stating the obvious that it was never my intention of disrespecting people who has any kind of mental condition. It was an analogy, using Two-Face as a reference for me not being a morning person.
In those first moments of my mindjack, I wanted to trash the piece. I was petrified that something I wrote could be considered offensive, to anyone.
Then I took a valium and used some of the breathing techniques my wife taught me whilst she was in labour and my blood pressure dropped steadily and the anxiety attack dissipated. Then I started to think. (I do that sometimes.)
When does subject matter morph from being funny and entertaining to insulting and insensitive? Are their certain topics or issues that should be untouchable? Should we, as writers be cautious of publishing material that might insult someone? Should we consider every possible negative reaction before we press publish? Should we have a social conscience to the extend of it effecting our stories? Do we have enough power that it would require some degree of responsibility?
I don’t know. But here’s what I do know.
(1) I am grateful and honoured to have a slightly wider audience than the one I had one year ago.
(2) The reason(s) for me writing this blog has not changed. They just got older.
(3) Receiving a negative comment on something I wrote was a real unpleasant stunner. Like finding out the girl you’re flirting with is a man.
And it’s never happened before. For some reason I never considered readers will actually comment when they DON’T like a piece. I ignorantly assumed they’ll just ignore it and move on, for that’s what I do. I was under the impression that your shit-o-meter of writing would be receiving 2 likes instead of the normal 6. How wrong was I…
Needless to say, I didn’t trash the piece, but I was planning to write a long, sincere, apologetic letter to this lady. Instead I wrote this.
I do want to apologize if some of my stories might come across as offensive to certain people. But they’re my stories. Little creations resembling fragments of my soul that I’m trying to brighten up with words and squirts of funny on my little canvas of the Internet. It’s me finding my niche. My own style of writing. And I write because I love it.
But more importantly I write because I want my kids to know me better. As a person. To understand certain idiosyncrasies and nuances of their Father; that might get lost in the daily scurrying of parenting. I want them to have a sense of who I am, with all my flaws, and all my hopes, and all my twisted humour.
Maybe someday they’ll have a complete picture when they slot all the puzzles pieces together. They’ll understand how much I love them and what major influence they had on my views of life. And hopefully Son and Princess wouldn’t blame me too much for the mental scaring I’m probably doing whilst trying to raise them.
And I remain apologetic if I do write something offensive to anyone who might end up reading it. But I will continue to write them. My stories, that is.