The Perks of Being a Werewolf
Ever since I changed my Instagram handle to @perksofbeingawerewolf and started my new blog here titled “The Perks of Being a Werewolf,” I have received a lot of questions.
“So what are the perks of being a werewolf, exactly?”
“Are you a fantasy writer?”
“Do you think you’re a werewolf?”
Well, it’s not all that simple and yet at the same time, it really is.
I picked this name for this blog because of what I’ve experienced in the last 28 years. Cycles of depression and mania, horrible times and times of great celebration, great tragedies and great victories, draining vampiric soul-sucking sociopathic relationships and true friendships built out of the ashes of a fire that should have killed me. In the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, the main character says the worst thing about divorce is that it should kill you, but it doesn’t. You feel like it should, though. I can relate to that.
I want to chronicle here the things I’ve been through that should have killed me, but didn’t. I want to chronicle the dark and twisty roads I went down after the night my father died, and the even darker roads I went down after that terrible night in November of 2007 when I was raped. I want to chronicle my diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder. I want to chronicle my time spent in treatment for alcohol addiction. I want to chronicle my fumbling, stumbling, blind, deaf, and sometimes heartbreaking and hilarious attempts to find and reclaim myself after these great and terrible losses. I want to share my testimony that life is good, even when it’s bad. I want my story to be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison, if only one person.
Some people think I’m insane for sharing such intimate details of my life, but I honestly feel that the only way I’m going to heal entirely is by sharing this harrowing journey. The physical parts of it, the emotionally gut-wrenching and belly-laughing parts of it, and the spiritual maze that I’ve traveled through and continue to seek out the oracle at the center of, as though She might have the Great Answer to Why the Terrible Thing had to happen in the first place.
So, people ask why it’s “The Perks of Being a Werewolf.” I liken my experiences with Bipolar I and with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to lycanthropy. It’s like I was bitten at birth, or maybe on that night when a part of myself was taken from me that I can never restore, and now I have the disease. I have the Werewolf Syndrome. For me sometimes the moon brings out the darkness. I hate to sleep at night because I don’t feel safe at night. Sometimes an offhanded sexual comment from a coworker brings the beast out. Sometimes just the way the clouds are hanging in the sky and the way someone looks at me invites the monster to come out to play. But there are perks of being a werewolf, too.
I once had a therapist tell me that those of us who experience depression in particular can experience beauty in life that people who don’t feel depression can’t really ever fully appreciate. I thought she was full of shit and slightly insane at the time, but now I kind of agree. I wouldn’t change my life. I wouldn’t take back any decision I made.
I am who I am today because of every single moment, every single choice, every single event of fate or chance, every single chemical in my brain that doesn’t work the right way makes me the person that I am. Even as discontent as I can be sometimes these days, I’m still happier as the werewolf than I ever have been before.
I want to share this journey with you. I want to share my journey with survivors of rape and sexual assault and abuse. I want to share my journey with those touched by mental illness of any kind. I want people to know that you are never as alone as you feel you are. Right now, in this wide horrible, wonderful, terrifying world, there is someone who is going through what you have…right now. And they don’t know what the next right thing to do is. I kind of have this idea that maybe if we all talked more honestly about these things: our tragedies, our anxieties, our ticks, our fuck-ups, our hilarious mistakes, our heartbreaking ones, that maybe, just maybe, there would be less stigma. Maybe the word “crazy” would disappear entirely. Maybe it would be replaced with something like “wounded” and “in need of help.”
My dear friend, Emily Eryn Gray, who runs a blog of her own that I’ll feature on mine, gave me a notebook that says in gold lettering BAD DECISIONS MAKE GOOD STORIES. She also gave me a stack of Wonder Woman cards that she’d been holding onto for years. It was like one of those meant to be moments. She handed them to me and the first one was Wonder Woman holding open the mouth of a great monster, not entirely unlike the lady holding open the mouth of the lion on the Strength tarot card. I almost wept. She told me to use this journal to tell these stories. To start at the beginning and to tell this story of how I crawled, scraped, climbed, ran, and fought every step of my way back to myself.
In a way, this blog is a love letter to myself. It’s a love letter to a person I lost long ago due to misunderstandings and horrible things that weren’t my choice, and some horrible things that were entirely my choice. This is my love letter to myself and my plea for me to come back to me. And more importantly, for me to take the ashes of the girl that was burned and be reborn a woman who inspires someone else to keep living when the idea of not living seems pretty nice.
Love to all of you.
I hope you follow me on this journey and I wish you the best on yours.