Getting to a point where I can post here on even a semi-regular basis has been a very long road. Even before my most recent traumas, just a few months ago, I was climbing my way back to a place of relative stability from the rock bottom I’d hit last year. My focus has been sporadic, my productivity inconsistent, my motivation coming and going along with the swings of my mood. I’ve questioned my actions, doubted my sanity, and struggled to hold onto things like joy and hope.

But I’m getting better.

“That’s all everyone wants for you,” someone told me a few months ago. “We want you to get better.” I feel that they’re one of the few people who meant it. A bunch of folks paid lip service to the idea of Josh getting better; in retrospect, more than a few of them saying “We want you to get better” really meant “we want you to get lost.” Especially if the anonymous, threatening messages I got were any indication.

For a while, I was incredibly concerned about how I was being perceived and, moreover, why individuals I continued to try and imagine complexly refused to extend me the same courtesy. Instead of holding space for me and trying to understand me, I was demonized and made out to be, if not as bad as, worse than Donald Trump. “A broken stair,” said one individual. “A monster,” said an anonymous message. These aren’t people who want me to get better. These aren’t people who care about me. This was a feeding frenzy of drama. This was a mob of perverts for failure. This was gaslighting, plain and simple.

So I’m getting better.

While it was unnecessary for me to get raked over the coals in this abusive manner, the aftermath of this brutal annihilation of my Persona, as well as my social life, meant I had all the more bandwidth and capacity to step up my game in what I have come to embrace as “the Work.” Like all of us, I am a work in progress. In retrospect, a good portion of that work leading up to the gaslighting was half-done or, like the accusations of the mob, built on sand. So, I scrapped it. I started over, diving into new areas of research and growth, to get better.

In doing so, I’ve realized three things.

1. The perception of others is secondary to my perception of my Self.

2. Representing my Self as authentically as possible is the best foundation for my Persona.

3. The more I try to unearth my honest Self, the more the insecure and false will rail against me.

Even now, writing this out, part of me worries that it comes across as pretentious; you, reading this, may think I have my head up my ass. But I have worked very hard to be introspective without putting my head up my ass to look within. And I won’t stop now.

Because I am getting fucking better.

On Fridays I write 500 words.