Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Deserving Moment of Praise

To: dooce at dooce dot com
Subject: an open letter

Dear Dooce,

I purposely didn’t read you for a long time. I think it was just too expected – everyone who was anyone in the blog world read Dooce. I had no reason to read you except for the fact that all the cool kids were doing it, so I didn’t. People would find out I had a blog, and they’d say, “Oh, you know Dooce, right?” And I’d always politely say, “I know the name, but I don’t read her.” I think I even took a bit of pride in being able to say that.

And then I was hospitalized for depression. And then everything was different.

I only had to stay for a week, which was fortunate, and while it was very difficult in some ways, it was definitely what I needed at the time. Near the end of my week, I was already planning what I would say – how I would put it into words. For better or worse, I was writing through it, the shit storm that had overwhelmed my life.

But I was scared. Maybe no one wanted to hear my problems. Maybe people would think I was a freak. Maybe everyone who stumbled across my emotional vomit would cringe in disgust and back away slowly, mumbling, “Too much info…” under his or her breath. Maybe strangers I’d never met would suddenly hate me – for being so broken in the first place, and for making it worse by subjecting others to that brokenness. I was really nervous.

Lady M, a dear and longtime friend of mine – as well as a fellow blogger – said to me one day, “You know, Dooce went to the hospital for post-partum depression. She’s written about it.”

So finally, I read.

I guess I might wish I’d been strong enough to write what I needed to write without seeking an implicit go-ahead from the blogging pantheon, but I wasn’t. I posted my Depression Series only once I was sure I wasn’t alone.

Here’s the real kick, though: I still feel – fairly often – like I’m alone. I still have moments where I wonder if anyone could ever really understand how it feels. Hell – I barely understand it myself. I still feel, sometimes, like depression has isolated me beyond salvation.

But I keep writing through it.

You helped do that for me. I haven’t written you before because it’s easy to fall into the “she doesn’t need to read my rambling praise, ‘cause people probably tell her that all the time” gap in logic. But reading a recent post of yours, I was reminded that you’re still a thinking, feeling human being, so even if you do hear it all the time, you deserve to hear it again. If you don’t hear it all the time, that’s likely because everyone’s thinking about it the same stupid way I was.

I’m glad I’m writing through it. Still now, months later, I’m writing through it. And you’re part of the reason for that.

So thanks.

My sincerest warm wishes,

Lara David

P.S. I'm posting this letter on my blog, too (hence the "open letter" referenced in the subject). We live and write in a public blogosphere, and I feel like they all (well, all who happen to visit my tiny corner of it) deserve to know what you did for me. Besides, who doesn't want free publicity?


Lady M said...

You should send her a link to this post. She says she reads every single email and every single comment, even though she doesn't have time to write back to everyone.


Amanda said...

I'm glad you are writing. And reading. And sharing.

Anonymous said...

I don't read Dooce, though I have heard of her.

But then I am Australian and sometimes the heat affects me.

What a lovely letter Lara (now I sound like a Mum), I am sure Dooce would love to this, it made me teary.


Lara said...

lady m - yep, i sent it to her as an email, then posted it here. i don't expect a reply, but i'm glad i wrote it.

amanda - i'm glad too. and glad you're reading. :)

lala - awww, thanks much. i hope dooce liked it too, even if she never answers.