Trolling for Columbine

I have a mighty struggle that rages within me as I write these posts. On the one hand I can write something that will inspire and motivate you. Those posts always perform much, much, MUCH better than the other ones. But here’s the problem: the other ones are, frankly, more honest, more real, more raw. But you don’t seem to like those as much, unfortunately.

You don’t like my anger or my confrontation or my aggression. And I get it. I would skip those posts too. But if you want the news from the front lines of mental illness, you’ll have to read those posts. This is one of those posts, I’m afraid.

I’ve been sinking lately…hard and fast. Everything hurts me. Everything upsets me. Everything makes me want to be done living this life. Everything.

A former student posted a picture of herself holding up a rebel flag. I confronted her. She got upset. Others saw the encounter. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or proud of myself.

Another person called me an intolerant liberal who criticized those who defended gun rights while allowing those such as gays and transgender people to shout their opinions from the rooftops. He thought this was inconsistent.

Yet another friend told me I was “willfully ignorant” because I didn’t want to shoot his AK-47. He was convinced that, if I shot it, I would realize how much fun it is and would thus quit calling for it to be outlawed.

The fact that I felt the need to respond to these posts, some call “trolling”…someone who goes around looking for fights on the internet. And maybe that’s what I was doing. Or maybe I was just reacting to all the evil in the world, the police shootings, the massacre of police officers, or just the run-of-the-mill racism I hear every time I go to my once-favorite cigar shop and am forced to listen to both Fox News and the real-life people who think Fox News is the only truthful news. Lately, though, I can’t take it. All I hear are racist and anti-liberal comments spouted as if there’s no way anyone in that shop could possibly disagree. I disagree, but I keep my mouth shut. I know an unfair fight when I see one.

I’m angry. I’m hurt. I want to run away from humanity because so much of humanity seems to suck a giant dick. I can feel you cringe when I talk like that, but it’s how I really feel.

In 2002, filmmaker Michael Moore made a movie called “Bowling for Columbine.” If you’re not familiar with Columbine, you should be. Go look it up. But the movie calls attention to the problematic gun laws and attitudes in our country. Moore is an unpopular figure, at least in conservative circles, because he unabashedly calls attention to the ways that the conservative agenda (never heard that one, have ya?!) is perpetuating the problems in our country. And I agree with him.

I often feel like Michael Moore: someone who feels compelled to point out the absurdities and atrocities that so many people seem to ignore. I once heard Moore interviewed, and he claimed that he didn’t really want to be the whistleblower for these issues, but he felt like he had no choice. That’s a bit how I feel in this post. I don’t want to be an angry asshole, but I want to be honest with you: All of the negativity in the world takes a giant toll on me – from the obvious negativity of the recent news to the micro-negativity of people who don’t listen, don’t understand, don’t care, or don’t have the first clue how to interact with someone who is mentally ill.

I’m tired. I’m tired of being more sensitive than everyone else about the horrible things that happen in this world. Being mentally ill is really fucking hard. It’s hard to walk through the daily morass of idiocy that bombards us each day. I might be oversensitive and mentally ill, but I’m not stupid. I have a right to be angry. Sometimes I think everyone else is stupid for not being more angry.

So I take my anger out on my Facebook friends for posting pictures of rebel flags and pro-assault rifle propaganda. It’s easy to say, “Tim, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind on Facebook.” And you’re right, undoubtedly. But my brain goes fucking crazy, wanting to be heard, wanting to have a voice, wanting to be listened to.

I suspect many of you have quit reading by now. This post is too angry, Tim! We want more of the posts that encourage us…that tell us how to get over those speed bumps in our lives. But this post is one of those that acknowledges that the speed bumps can be insurmountable. The anger can consume us. The outrage can be too much to be contained. The hurt feelings, even when no one was aiming their hatred in our direction, can be so painful that all we know how to do is to direct our anger at the next person who does something stupid – a driver, a Facebook poster, or a family member who just doesn’t seem to “get it.”

It’s hard, having these fucked up brains. They don’t work right. And even if we know they are malfunctioning, just like someone with Parkinson’s who knows his leg won’t behave properly, we still can’t seem to get them under control. Please bear with us. Please forgive us. Please love us. We know we are angry and spiteful, but we want, more than anything, to be someone worth loving. We are trying, trying, trying…in both of the ways that can be taken. Please be patient with us.
 
 
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Friends, I need your help growing the reach of TKWANA. Its aims are to 1. encourage 2. educate and 3. connect people with mental illnesses and their supporters. Beyond blogging, podcasting, and speaking, I ultimately hope to develop a small-group model for those with mental illnesses – something not too different from what AA is for alcoholics. If you see the value in this endeavor, please consider sharing TKWANA with your Facebook friends or with someone in particular who might need it. Thank you!
 
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5 thoughts on “Trolling for Columbine

  1. Tim, as always, your honesty is refreshing and appreciated, as opposed to the platitudes that don’t reflect the hurt and outrage and firestorm of negative feelings regarding current events that is even difficult to put into words. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for those that feel these emotions more intensely, for longer, and aren’t able to suppress them readily (not that that’s a good coping strategy, but it’s one I rely on frequently…). We’ve always said about my oldest daughter that she “feels the world more strongly,” a lot more strongly at times, which makes things harder for her in some regards, but I don’t want her to completely tune out those feelings and become numb, oblivious or insensitive to the hurt around her (well, maybe a little as she’s crying in my lap watching the Secret Life of Pets today because she’s so sensitive to the (surprising) violence and intensity- wish I had read reviews before we watched it!). Anger can be an impetus for action, and I think it’s important to stand up for what’s right even though it’s not popular (or you can just unfriend people…I had to unfriend my redneck aunt because I got tired of seeing her ridiculous posts- I had to make it a policy to never read comments on any articles, etc. because people are just so stupid and ugly). We all have a right to be angry about recent events and should be angry, and it’s hard to not have anywhere for those angry feelings to go. I saw a quote today about not wanting to be on the wrong side of history, and that’s how I feel about so many of these social justice issues that are perceived as “liberal”- I just see them as the kind, loving, right thing and a “no-brainer” position and policy wise. Unfortunately, the rest of our state doesn’t often agree (except our little island of liberalism in Decatur…see if there’s a cigar shop down here to hang out in…). Take care and feel better.

    1. A cigar shop in Decatur? That could be my heaven. Ironically I’m hiding in a shop in Buckhead that is much less Fox Newsy of a crowd. I’m the only one here at the moment, and that’s the perfect crowd for today! Thank you, Jessica, for your kind and poignant words. I’m especially encouraged that I’m not the only one who unfollows or unfriends people whose posts just send me over the edge. Don’t worry…I still follow you! 🙂

  2. Thanks for voicing what so many of us feel!!! I am afraid I am not as brave as you Tim Blue, I choose to not watch the news, quickly go past all negative posts and mention to anyone who brings up subjects such as that (those who go on and on that is) that I will get depressed having to hear too much of the subject. I am a coward but for me it works, I feel better and can make it through my days without too much stress.

  3. Tim, thanks for your honesty and transparency. Although it would be lovely to be positive and hopeful all the time, we live in a broken world. Your words are so eloquent and are helping others -me-understand the real challenges of mental illnesses. You anger makes sense to me esp in light of the connection to Parkinson’s. You are loved esp by your dear family.

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