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I did not want to hop on that gravy train.

I did not.

There is no gravy, yet we have a train.

A grave train…

See what I did there?

Screaming into a pillow for almost two weeks does that to a person. People dying left and right. Friends, distant relatives in other countries, patients, customers; have your pick.

Silent screams into my pillow. It is amazing how one can master the art of silent screams and sobs.

Sobs are inaudible spasmic contractions in one’s throat. You feel that tightening in your chest, the back of your throat constricted to a point where you cannot breathe. You cannot strangle yourself with your own bare hands to death; there is a part of your brain that won’t allow you to do that, therefore you involuntarily release your hands. Please don’t try this anywhere.

Studies claim screaming into a pillow alleviates stress and reduces negative feelings. Obviously, these studies have not taken white linen pillows that smell like bleach into consideration. Quite intoxicating I say. Yeah, I use a bit too much bleach after dying my hair indigo black. Alas, sue me! I bet I will have a few dry cleaning experts in my comments or inbox. Everyone is an expert online.

Don’t believe me?

I bet you my left enlarged thyroid and right imaginary nutsack that everyone on the internet is a doctor, nurse, lawyer, vet, military expert, arms expert, chef, construction worker, engineer, banker and is a PhD candidate writing a dissertation about Mahler’s Symphony no.5. Everyone is an expert. Everyone is an expert on mental health. Ah, you didn’t know? Check your Instagram for all the “Life Coaches”, “Wellness Experts” and “Mental Health Awareness Gurus” online. They follow thousands of people in troves just to unfollow. No matter how much you interact with these people. They will unfollow. I’ll tell you. They don’t care about anyone. Mental health has become the money-making Hallmark Card of people’s well-being. That is dangerous; no different than taking meds or eating something you shouldn’t.

No, this is not a rant. Just an observation.

Whoever is reading this blog, if someone’s social media has been inactive for a few weeks, reach out to that person. It is remarkably simple. No need to be a “Mental Health Specialist” or a rocket scientist to give it a second thought. I am not referring to emotional vampires, abusive people and fair-weathered friends. This is my second PSA in this article. Welcome to 2020.

I want to know where these internet experts get their fast-tracked degrees. I feel like a complete dunce most of the time. Here I am sticking to things that I know. I get it. I am too comfortable admitting that I don’t know enough about something to form an opinion. Might as well take me to that back and shoot me. I, for one, have fallen victim to acquaintances who suffer from The Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Nevertheless, the best experts out there are people without children. Have I mentioned that everyone is a great parent with a fluorescent halo before having kids? Those are my favorite type. Unsolicited advice about wiping a child’s snot to a kid throwing a tantrum in a video. All those diagnoses from different types of internet medical experts. Try doing tequila shots while going through comments. Each new diagnosis, you take a shot. One would be drunk by the fourth commentator.

As I finish writing this, I will go back to screaming into my pillow or maybe have my neighbors listen to the new My Dying Bride album with me. I have yet to listen to it and form an opinion. Maybe I’ll go online later and argue with a few experts like myself. Didn’t you know? I have a degree in Mosh Pitting and Head Banging. Take that, Pillow-Screaming!

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It was a normal day when I decided to upload a picture with an excerpt from my book on one of my social media platforms. It pertained to my protagonist’s footwear and an excerpt from one of Twice The Demise’s chapters. I quoted the following: “What I considered a career, you considered a fault.” This statement was uttered by Polly, the protagonist, to a former beau. They ran into each other (like we all do with our exes) and, terse but not unkind, words were exchanged. He could not accept the fact that she was working with the dead. The unconventional job of an undertaker was one of the major reasons for their fall-out.

Not giving it a second thought, I posted and went on my merry way. The post received likes and maybe a comment. Lo and behold, my inbox had over twenty messages. Followers, from readers to friends, were in my DMs telling me stories relating to this statement. I wondered, if one related so much to this, why not comment publicly? It was a fair question. I was no relationship expert. The common answer they all had was -they didn’t want to openly share their experiences on Instagram. Most of these people had public accounts with their exes always lurking with a ‘finsta’. I learned that a Finsta is a fake Instagram account mostly used by people who no longer are in your life but still want to know what is going on with you…. complicated much? Followers did not want these people to know how much it still hurt. Social mores kind of dictates that with airing out one’s dirty laundry. I get it.

You may love the idea of dating a doctor, but can you handle their hours? How about a ballroom dancer who has to be in close proximity to the opposite sex all the time? How about an artist who paints naked portraits? An undertaker who reeks of death? I gave a few extreme examples due to their social allure. These career paths exude some type of charm and whimsicalness but become repulsive to our significant other. The realization of the work and dedication these careers entail may be a rude wakening. The significant other begins to view our lifestyle as a burden to their insecurities. Alas, the curse of romanticizing everything!

This is no different than wanting a wedding but not a marriage. Wanting to beat Joey Chestnut without a commitment to gastritis. Wanting to bear children but not parent them. Wanting to have a house but not being able to keep up with the mortgage. The list is endless. In a nutshell, we want what we can’t have and sometimes have what we can’t handle; or what we thought we could handle.

To all the exes….

No, my career is not your cross to bear.

Don’t go laying your insecurities on my cross.

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