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« Celebrating Dysfunctional Dads | Main | Jews, Don’t Fail Me Now »

June 22, 2007


Danny I love your blog whether you're trying to be a "good boy" or not. I'd give it an A+. :)

Boy, this all sounds eerily familiar: periods of despair (and when I'm in them, I know I can say, "you won't feel this way next week. Just wait a week," and will immediately answer right back, "that's a load of crap. This could go on forever you know. You'll never come out of it. Life is always going to suck, because it does" etc.); the "good girl" syndrome and rebelling against it in my teens; remembering the very few instances in school in which I was punished, always unjustly in those memories; and carrying that "everything is okay" attitude even into my blog. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't just all part and parcel of being a writer. We (or better yet, we create others to do so) express all those all-so-tightly controlled emotions on the page, where we can still control them (note your tendency to tie it up with a bow), but where they are also far more acceptable. And you're right: sometimes life seems fucking intolerable. But, then it will suddenly be MORE than fucking AMAZING, and those times are what make it all worthwhile.

Very moving piece, Danny. I can relate to the "devastated by a teacher's reprimand." My memoir recalls a time when my beloved 6th grade teacher chastised me for speaking during an assembly. (I was asking my friend if I could borrow her glasses so I could see the stage.)

Imagine how humbling that was to have remembered it for over 60 years! So, you're not alone.

I do hope your latest dark days have lightened up. But do know your readers cherish you no matter your mood.

I have a righteous indignation story about each one of my elementary school teachers, and I'm now 40.

I rail against the unfairness of the accusation (and the accused was not always me) and that the matter could have been cleared up on the spot if the accuser would only have taken the time to listen. Like the example above about asking for glasses.

I try to remember that feeling when teaching or parenting or in other positions of authority.

Oh - Danny - I can SO relate to this.
Thank you for writing it down.

The only two teachers I was ever deathly afraid of were Mrs. Seidman & Mrs. Geib. I transferred to Peterson on the first day of 5th grade & we were in that class together. Just the thought of those two can give me nightmares.

I feel your pain, Danny. That's why I take my daily dose of Effexor. Thank goodness for "happy pills."

Whatever happened to Louie?

I love this post. I AM this post. I struggle with the same exact thing. I am so afraid to be real sometimes but see what happens when you share these feelings? People relate so unbelievably to what you are saying. Thank you for writing this, Danny.

I've thought about this post for days now, and all I can say is that I am glad your writers group is teaching you to cut off the last "it will all be fine" paragraph. You are doing great work simply by listening and knowing how to do that.

Oh, Danny
This blog is so gorgeously expressed and so true. Are there actually people who don't believe that the way they are feeling one minute is the way they will feel forever? I am always amazed when even a cut heals, let alone a depression lifting.

I don't want you to feel this terrible darkness, but if you should happen to feel this darkness, you should definitely pick up a pen (not a gun, just a pen) and write, because the writing feels so deep and true. And you are a good boy, a very very good boy. I actually make gary tell me "you are a good girl, you are a very good girl," when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Apparently Anne Sexton needed to hear the same thing at night when she was trying to fall asleep. But she could be a very bad girl and sleep with all sorts of people other than her husband. Anyway,thanks for this amazing blog. And it really is all right for you to show the world the bad, angry, dark, out of control Danny; we will love him just as much.

What a thoughtful and honest post. I've actually been seriously thinking about getting some therapy. I think my running keeps me from experiencing true, prolonged depression. My big problems are self-esteem related and staying in unhealthy relationships. I guess we all have our stuff.

A great post and one that took tons of guts to write... How would I know?;-)

It is an honor to read what you share, and I'm glad you feel better. This business of making a human connection in a typically impersonal world boggles my mind. I’m struck by the absolute intimacy achieved by someone sitting alone with a computer and connecting with others, sharing thoughts and feelings in the vast blogosphere.

You write, "I worry that I’d scare people away... [with talk about causes of the depression]." Well, I think your worries are partially valid and are probably based on what you observe about how people usually respond to such sharing. MOST peeps shun others in rough patches (death, divorce, cancer, MS, depression, infertility, job loss, as examples). After my divorce, I observed disappearances of longtime “good friends.” In one case, years later, I wrote to one, “Where were you? Her reply: “I didn’t know what to say.” We can all cite similar examples of disappearances and reasons given (if asked or if provided).

The teachers you cite are awful. During my dozen years’ working in schools nationwide, I found most teachers (and 99 percent administrators) behave toward kids in hating, hateful ways... These adults wound the youngest of each generation, punishing them cruelly for crimes of being children. I am so sorry for what your teachers inflicted on you.

Last, though you are a Jewish male (sometimes considered relatively in touch with feeeeeling (Woody Allen, as an extreme example), your whole being and universe command: be strong, macho, cool (i.e., absent feelings).

I agree with the message of previous comments: you are fine exactly as you are.

Danny, it's okay to end your comments about life with "sometimes it feels fucking intolerable." Because, honestly, while there are so many great things, great people and terrific aspects to the world in which we live. It's also true, that sometimes, it is just fucking intolerable.

And thank you for letting me feel that I'm not the only one who, from time to time, screams in what turns out to be a very soft whimper.

That was a great post. I agree with everybody! It seems like we all have some sort of horrific teacher-from-hell story. I know I do. When I look back, it really blows my mind that some of these people were allowed to even be around children, let alone put in hugely powerful positions that could potentially do so much damage to little psyches.

Danny, thanks for drawing back that curtain for us. We can see things clearer that can you.
I always admire your honesty and openness with us -- that, in itself, is a great achievement.
May the sun always peek out for you, even if for only short intervals!

Danny, here's where I think us men can take a cue from the women. Have you noticed how many female bloggers openly talk about their depression and the downers of their lives, while the men tend to either be jokey or "experts?" I'm sure most men feel very similar to you at times, including myself, but it just doesn't feel natural expressing these feelings, because as a man you are always supposed to be "on the ball."

I can only say, Amen, Amen, my dear....There are no bows to tie up lousy shitty feelings...And I do believe growth comes from them..BUT, while it is happening, it is just horrendous!
So, Amen, Amen, my dear Danny.


My strongest memory of elementary school is the prinicpal screaming at me. I don't remember her name, but I still remember her looking HUGE--and my horror and humiliation.

I was in the bathroom during the fire drill and did not hear the bell. I came out and everyone had left the school.

Later when we all went back to class, the principal came in and made me stand up in front of the the class and started screaming about how I could have been killed and asking what was wrong with me. I don't ever remember being given a chance to explain what happened.

That was a defining moment in my life.

Now as a 52 year old woman, I am still learning how to deal with others' anger. Some times I do better than others.

Honoring our feelings and that inner child who is still there is crucial.

Thank you for your eloquent, beautiful writing. It is so relatable and touches my heart. I am so glad you are in my life.

Do you think our culture plays a role in our belief that we're supposed to be happy all the time?

I had a Russian gymnastics coach who commented on the American tendency to say everything's fine even when your mother just died. She said in Russia, when someone asks how you are, people say the Russian equivalent of "so-so" because life in Russia wasn't that great, especially for the Russian Jew, as she was.

Some cultures even have places where a person can go to ride out their depression. Depression is looked upon as a natural part of life and is to be expected. Hmmmmm...

My mind is like an empty room. Nothing seems worth thinking about. More or less not much noteworthy happening worth mentioning, but it's not important. I guess it doesn't bother me. I've just been letting everything wash over me lately.

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