Ponderings, Paranoia, and Privacy
When I first created Lipstick & Lithium, I was in a quandary as to whether I should combine the subjects of bipolar and beauty into one blog, or split them up and let each one breathe on its own. I came to the conclusion that it would be simpler, and thus more productive, to keep them together in a single home. I hoped that somehow the eclecticism would work, and that I would have the ability to divide my attention equally between the meshed subjects. But being that bipolar has pretty much taken over and strangled the life out of any desire to wear makeup, let alone review its products, I’m left wondering whether I made the right decision. In some ways, I feel like this is a blog with a confused identity, and its name has become a misnomer.
Makeup is only one of my many flip-flopping artistic obsessions, and looking back, it was probably foolish of me to expect my scattered brain to remain constant and loyal to vanity and fluff. Right now I’m bored with it, and I’ve turned into somewhat of a beauty cynic. I haven’t worn a stitch of makeup (or even plucked my eyebrows) in 5 months. The only beauty maintenance I’ve managed to keep up is getting my blonde pixie trimmed every 4-6 weeks, but that’s only because it shortens my daily grooming time to precisely 30 seconds. Although I know my love of makeup will eventually return, right now my affections are elsewhere, and daily beauty rituals feel like pointless drudgery. I’ve grown tired of the endless barrage of cosmetic advertisements, putting beauty up for ransom with the demands that we hand over the money. I’m bored with the minuscule results that can only be seen with wishful thinking and a room full of good lighting. At the moment, I could care less about dark circles or poreless skin or the current beauty rage that will last about 2 weeks before the next fad takes its place. Blah blah blah. Boring.
In addition to my blog’s identity crisis (and my lackluster support of the beauty industry’s economy), what is really bothering me is an ongoing suspicion that has now paralyzed me from writing anything personal on this blog of mine. I almost feel as if this place has been stolen and taken hostage by a progressive paranoia over who is actually reading its words. I never meant for people in my real life to be able to come here and judge me on the volatile innards of my bipolar brain. The only reason a few family members were told about my secret blog was simply because they helped me get L&L started. Although I feel indebted to them for their help, and the money they helped me save, those savings have come at an unforeseen cost – a potential breach in security that has threatened this blog’s very existence.
I know for a fact that, because of one family member’s lack of discretion, there has been an unwanted set of prying eyes that has discovered my blog and been offended when they read what I wrote about them (Hi Jon). I suspect that even more of my relatives (in their socially naive innocence or excitement) have told others about this place – people who know my identity, and have no business having open access to my private thoughts and struggles. If I blame anyone for any potential misunderstanding, I blame myself for not making it absolutely clear from the beginning how important it was that this place remain private. I also blame myself for my confusing and contradicting hopes of wanting public recognition (as I plastered my face on YouTube), while at the same time wanting to remain anonymous in my personal writing. I now realize that I can’t have it both ways, and it was ridiculous of me to expect that I could. Despite giving the wrong impression with my public persona on YouTube, this blog was meant to be a safe-house to record my emotions in real-time, under the cloak of anonymity. But I don’t feel safe here anymore.
If I can trust my intuition, there is one uninvited guest in particular who has my alarms going off. And with one gossipmonger comes the potential for many more. This thought has left me stuck in a silent mind game of not knowing whether to trust my gut, or to slap myself out of it with the fact that I do have a mental illness, and this could very well just be a paranoid delusion. My gut usually comes out the victor in that game – but whether real or imagined – if I feel forced to stifle my honesty, then this can’t be the raw place of openness that I intended it to be. Bipolar is by definition a land of extremes, where emotions are felt today and forgotten tomorrow. Sufferers are kept prisoner by these vacillating moods, feeling alone with their absurdity. The only way that I have found to let go of these out-of-proportion emotions (and think more clearly) is to acknowledge them, experience them completely, and write about them honestly. If I can’t express the extreme emotions that are so classically bipolar, as they are freshly stirred up in my daily life, then there is really no point to keeping this blog going – at least not as a personal outlet.
As you may have noticed, I haven’t filmed a single YouTube video in over 7 months. My absence on YouTube, combined with my paralyzed writing, has pretty much forced Lipstick & Lithium into an uncomfortably long pause. But I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately and I’ve decided that, whether or not I film another YouTube video, I need to write about bipolar. Writing, more than any of my other fluctuating passions, has remained the one consistent therapy to my silent suffering. It’s one of my only manic obsessions that my doctor wholeheartedly agrees with and encourages me to pursue. As both a creative and a therapeutic outlet, I need to share my writing publicly. So I made it my mission to find a solution.
In trying to decide what to do, I have run through a gamut of conflicting emotions. I know that, for sentimental reasons alone, I don’t want to let Lipstick & Lithium just die a slow death. It wouldn’t be fair to allow an obscure suspicion, that may or may not be true, ruin a place that I worked hard to dream up and build. This is my blog, and I should be able to write about whatever I need to. But I also know that, once a suspicion has been planted (especially in my fertile mind), it is nearly impossible to keep that weed from growing. No matter how much pride would keep me here, spitefully writing the truth as I live it, I know that regret and self-doubt and paranoia would eventually seep back in. My mind would start lingering on the real possibility of being misjudged, or of hurting other people by my honest yet fluctuating moods – their sting kept perpetually fresh on a digital medium. I would feel forced to water down what I really have to say, which serves no artistic or therapeutic purpose at all to me.
Because of my need to have a secure place to share my thoughts, I have come to this final decision: I will continue to use Lipstick & Lithium as a home for my beauty reviews and YouTube videos, but I will be moving all of my future bipolar musings to a safer location. I’ve also removed all of my past bipolar posts from L&L, and I will gradually re-edit and transfer those to my new site, along with writing new material. Any loyal reader who would like to follow me there can let me know, using the contact form below, and I will send you the address to my new bipolar parking spot. Although I was initially unsure of this decision, now that my new site has come together, it feels absolutely perfect! I know that this is how I should have done things from the start, and I feel at peace with the thought of reclaiming my anonymity, learning from past mistakes, and having the freedom to write openly and honestly once again!
If you know me in real life and have been reading this blog, know that unless you have been specifically invited here by myself, you are an intruder who has violated my privacy – plain and simple. My message to those of you who have been offended by reading about yourself in any of my previous posts (which you should never have had access to) is this: I refuse to apologize for truthfully writing about the transient emotions and overreactions that are a direct result of a chronic brain disease. I refuse to apologize for honestly writing about my observations, and voicing things that everybody – normal or crazy – are already thinking, but would never say to your face. And I also refuse to apologize for the things that I will continue to write about you in the future.
To all of my sincere and trustworthy family, friends, guests and fellow sufferers of this hideous illness – thank you for your support. Thank you for granting me the gift of dignity and non-judgment that I probably don’t deserve, and for suffering through my rambling run-on sentences! Please don’t be afraid to fill out the contact form below, so that you can continue to follow me in the twists and turns of my bipolar journey!