I'm stuck in the airport now and I have an immanent feeling that I'm about to land. Not in the obvious, tangible sense of going up into the sky and rolling back down into what is apparently a blizzard, but I have to go back to touch reality in the part of the world I've made it in. Part of me is terrified of that. Maybe terrified is the wrong word; uninterested, uncooperative...un-something. I wonder if it's all in my head, the way our little dramas tend to be. There's some solace in realizing that people don't care as much about your shitty life choices as you think they might; they're too busy making ones of their own.
I have a lot of growing up to do. I'm not sure when these posts becames such a personal thing; I never intended them to be. Funny enough it's the ones that I find too dark and too much that people have come up to me the most about. I'm at a strange place in my life and this trip just kind of confirmed that; on the one hand, I know what I want in life; I have a picture of it now, I have a map and a way to travel. The caveat to that knowledge is I have no sense of self now.
I never realized how sensitive I am. Or maybe I have and I've spent all this time trying to defend myself before something touches the vulnerable side. I lost a lot of respect for myself earlier this year. I always thought I'd be able to handle the situations I climbed into with some number of grace simply because I'm intelligent or perceptive or whatever word I used to excuse myself from having a basic human nature. Reflectively, I don't think I did anything surprising or wrong, necessarily; I was operating like a human in a very human situation. The fact that I thought I'd be able to glide over it like some elegant bird is ridiculous.
When I get hurt, it shows.
I don't know how to handle myself when I feel upset, particularly in public, but at least I can acknowledge that. I'm sort of figuring everyone else out. That's easy to do when you're a stranger and none of the obligations matter and you walk in and out knowing full well you have the option to never see someone again. This whole week I've been an outside observer of myself. It's been fun and crazy and magical. With all of that though, I still have a sense of loneliness and loss that I've been incredibly resistant to dealing with.
I should mention that's always an option. If I wanted to, I could avoid any person that makes me uncomfortable, whether I think they're hurt or I hurt them. I'm being vague in part because as fucking crazy as this sounds I'm not even sure who I'm talking about. These are just senses I have, glimpses of shoulders or sleeping eyes that reel through my head on a zoetrope of memory.
The reason I walked onto a plane with no plan was because I didn't want to deal with how lonely I've felt since I've made these decisions over the past couple months. In a way it reflects how cowardly I am far more than exhibits a sense of courage. I've felt incredibly weak and done things I regret while I do them, and paradoxically do them anyway. It's a complicated kind of sadness that doesn't always feel present, that intertwines with other things that you'd never assume are related (maybe they aren't) and remains completely absent from moments you'd think would make sense. Loneliness is strange, and big, and atmospheric. So is connectedness. I learned a lot of things and this has been a beautiful trip with the added benefit of showing me what it looks like to be doing what makes you happy, but it wasn't an escape route; I'm still going to walk into the burning building where I've been nesting.
The idea of going home is both sad and exciting because it promises me the familiar sense of connectedness I have with my friends. If you're reading this, I've missed you all a lot. Funny how much that week makes you all so present in my mind. I'm going to be excited to see you, and a little wary, I think, now that I know that I'm walking right back into the same problems I ran away from withotu much resolve. I don't know what I thought would change about that by disappearing for a week.
I'm just figuring this out, I guess. It's humbling and disappointing to realize how little I had worked out so far. I think that's why I get resentful when people think I'm smart or that I have some answers. I don't; I'm a hypocrite and a daydreamer and those daydreams sound like old wisdom. In reality I'm just spitballing; I'm saying the things that make sense if I don't have to confront the mire of emotional content that my problems spring from. I don't think anyone selling answers has them, they have the same speculation we all participate in. It sounds wise because it's detached.
I don't understand attachment at all, but I respect it. I don't think it's unnecessary and I don't subscribe to the bastardized buddhism imbued in creative culture about its link to suffering. You need to have a relationship with suffering if you want to get better. Feeling obligated to another human being is definitely unhealthy, and unfortunately for me that seems to be a large part of that venn diagram of attachment. I don't know how to form relationships with people where I don't owe them and/or expect something from them. If I gained any insight from this trip it's that I do that on pretty much any level.
Given my experiences so far it's hard not to see relationships as some kind of committal quagmire where two people make such high and heavy demands that they ruin each other. I have to believe that's only temporary, and that learning how to nurture something healthy will come to me in time. For now though, I feel clumsy, birthed out of my past experiences as some emotional infant who has to trust everyone in order to survive. I feel human again.
At 9:00 on Tuesday, I decided to take go to Memphis. I had no place to stay, no plan, no contacts, and very, very little money. I got a ride to the airport, barely made it through security on time and hopped on the plane about ten minutes before boarding ended, carrying only the clothes on my back, my computer, the very last of money and my notebooks.
I can't tell you how many stories I heard about going out like I did that ended with me getting sold into sex trafficking.
I found an open mic when I landed. The only plan I had was to make friends with somebody and find a place to crash. If not, then I'd be hanging out in a diner and wait until the library opened for a crash nap like a proper homeless person. It's amazing how outgoing you can be if your other option is nothing.
Happily, I made some friends, found a place for the night and a ride to Atlanta. That's where I am while I write this, by the way, I'm not even halfway through with this trip. I don't really know where I'll be sleeping tonight and my plans remain nonexistent other than going back to Memphis for a couple days, do a few shows on the way and then go back to Denver. I haven't finished the game and there's still time for this to all blow up in my face, but I know I'll figure it out one way or the other.
You can do a lot of things in life if you don't mind being uncomfortable. I knew going into this that good or bad, it would be a week out of my life, that the likelihood of my death was smaller than people thought it was (though admittedly, probably higher than I thought it was) and that so long as I can deal with hunger or sleeplessness, I'll be fine. When you break it down to these small increments of time, everything becomes very easy. It's when you gaze into the shadowy future you can't control or see that panic becomes a part of everything.
I've treated this whole experience like a video game; level one was find a place to stay. Level two wound up being go to Atlanta, and so on. I'm on level 8 now. By the time I beat this game I'm sure I'll hit triple digits. If something doesn't go right, you just have to restart and play the level again. It sounds puerile but it's worked so far.
I lost faith in people when I was younger. I didn't trust anyone. One of the more complicated pieces of my breakup is that Jay is the person who helped me work through pretty much everything. I owe him a lot. It's because of him that I figured out how to trust anyone. He's the person I met that showed me how good most people are to people they don't know (being vague for a reason here). Throughout our relationship, he was always willing to help out a complete stranger, no matter what problems they had, with a ride somewhere, a phone call, and on occasion a place to stay. He might have been Jesus.
Going out, I had to believe that people are good. I had to believe that Jay wasn't some anomaly and that everyone else is a piece of shit. That's a trap that I think we're primed for as kids; we're not supposed to trust anybody. As I get older and watch us remove human interaction more and more from our daily lives, be it with automatic checkouts or voicemail systems, the more I see that we don't know how to trust each other.
I don't blame technology for this either, by the way. It's a powerful tool responding to some kind of mathematical need to increase profits by removing human error. It's a pity that human error is something that we silly humans benefit from. We're afraid of people we don't know. I'm not an exception to that, either. No one wants to get hurt and we live in a world where human drama like murder and rape is amplified a thousand fold through media.
The irony is that we amplify the human drama because we're so lacking in it because we remove it from our daily lives in order to protect ourselves. We'd rather watch a soap opera than live in one. Nobody wants to get hurt, but we still want to experience the emotional spectrum, so we create a rift to live in through television shows and the internet.
You can't be afraid of unpleasant or dark things. That's why I keep my monster. I've been through a lot in my life; more than I expect I should have. When I went looking for trouble I easily found it, and I figured by the law of large numbers alone, the longer I went looking for something else, I'd find that too.
There's something else you have to remember about the dark things, whether or not you keep them or release them back into the Great Big Under. Bad things can happen to you, and they probably will at some point or another. Sometimes they're so traumatic that you're changed right down to your core. But having an event in your life change you is just another indicator that you have the ability to change. It's not easy or pleasant all the time, but it's possible. You're not defined solely on your past experiences unless you decide to be.
I take risks, I guess, even though I don't really see it that way. To me it seems riskier to stay in a life you're miserable in and just hope it figures itself out; the probability is lower that it will work and the rewards--a house, family, stability, are more extreme. When you're gambling on a bed for the night or a shower, the rewards are simple and the likelihood's a lot higher that it's going to work out for you.
So I don't watch TV, but I live dramatically. I have tantrums and laughing fits and enjoy them both. I form relationships that don't work and break my heart. I gain friends that I'll take bullets for. I travel without plans. I treat life like a game and play it for hours.
I level up, I'll let you know how it goes.
I don't really remember when I chose to use Kokadrille as my moniker on the internet. It probably looked cool, and it wasn't taken or contained a shit ton of numbers. I used this word to identify myself pretty much everywhere, but it's not intuitive to spell and unfamiliar to a lot of people, which means it makes it more difficult for people to find me on the interwebs. For someone who wants to be a comedian, that's not a smart thing to do. But this word is valuable to me. Kokadrille is a bastardization of the word Cocadrille, which is from a book called Pig Earth about French peasant farmers, in particular a young woman who is assigned that nickname by the people who look down on her. Later it becomes a kind of empowering pseudonym, something that makes her separateness a part of her own identity and not because she's socially shunned. Supposedly, it's from a real piece of folklore but even the internet has scarce detail about it.
"The cocadrille, he said, comes from a cocks egg, hatched in a dung heap. As soon as it hatches from its shell, it makes its way to the most unlikely place you can imagine. However, if it is seen on its journey by someone else who it hasn’t seen then it dies ! If however, it sees someone else before they see it, it has the power to kill any other animal or human EXCEPT a weasel . It kills by poison which comes from its eyes and travels along its gaze to its prey."
I like the idea of an awkward monster, something that defines you in a seemingly negative way, but has to be respected. We all feel outcast and alone at some point. Cocadrille is more considered a pest, an awkward creature with no real place in the world, but must be tolerated due to its ability to make death with its eyeballs. I can see other people viewing my monster that way.
I refer to having a monster pretty frequently if you get to know me. I don't know if going to an actual therapist would help and make me integrate this piece that I keep very separate, but I don't really believe that the monster is a part of me. We need each other for whatever reason and we coexist because we have to. I'm pretty sure that everyone has one, too, but their shapes and values are all different.
I have an anger problem. I have a sadness problem; I have emotional depth that disturbs me. I can be a very intense person, and there's times I wonder if what I'm doing borders on psychotic. I show a lot of emotional restraint because I believe if I didn't I'd end up alone. People who knew me when I was younger have seen what I'm talking about. Jay had to deal with the most of it. I don't really know why he did or how he wasn't scared of it. Maybe he has a kokadrille too.
Recently I have been trying to be more emotionally open and the results are mixed. Feeling vulnerable is one thing, feeling like I'm going to genuinely frighten someone, or that they're going to realize that I am out of my mind is a complete other. I connect to other people very deeply, and it takes me less time to do so than others. I can come off very clingy because of it or worse if I'm not careful. I can feel when I've attached too deeply to something that doesn't want it, too, but pulling away is tricky. Even though I'm aware of it, there's not a lot I know how to do to control it; that's why being emotionally open scares me, because there's a chance I will do something completely unreasonable.
I'm not talking about saying something awkward to someone, which happens, or being vulnerable and people finding that uncomfortable. I'm going darker. I let out a monster.
What I'm going to say is something that I don't admit very often, and if you are my friend and see me in person it's doubtful I'll want to talk about it.
When talking about getting possessed or "letting out my monster" the physical reality of what I do is some form of ritualized self harm. This usually involves a lot of screaming, crying, beating the shit out of something, occasionally myself, throwing myself into things, and other tantrumatic activities. It's doubtful that I can form words, if I do they'll probably be profanity. I will probably attack anyone who tries to stop me. I openly and honestly hate. I used to cut or scratch myself, but that had more to do with visuals I used to get when this happened. When I ended up in these states, I would see black leech like things under my skin. I thought they were the anger and they needed ways out.
If you catch me when I'm in this state there's no way that I won't involve you. There's no way for me not to. I lose my mind (or mindfulness); I am sort of conscious for what's happening but as I mentioned, my body is sometimes something separate from me, and occasionally I hand it over to the monster.
I am certain I am not the only one who does this, and I'm sure this falls into one of those "autism spectrum" criteria that I fit. The fact that I feel removed from my physical self when it happens may be a little less common, and the idea that I hand my body over to something else even less so, but I know I'm not alone in these states.
I do not like people to know that this is something that I do. I wouldn't be writing about it now except that I think I need to confront this if I want to stop a cycle I've started recently. I don't want people to be there because I don't want them to see me, much less do I want to involve or hurt anyone. The tantrum aspect is something I do alone. I am paralyzed by fear when I see that same madness seep into any interaction I have with someone else. My grip on it isn't very strong and I don't want it to take over. I've worked hard to get where I am and I don't want it undone by emotional instability. It's important to me not to be seen as "one of those crazy emotional women" and be dismissed. These feelings aren't me acting out, and it's important to me to have them, my monster is just as much my friend as my enemy. This fury is as much a part of my creative process and my intelligence as anything else.
Emotions of that intensity don't fit well into the social structure, and I understand that. We don't have a place for our dark ones, because they're hard to get along with. It's tough to imagine a functional society where people periodically start ripping at their clothes and bashing into boulders. I find it frustrating though, because having that much sadness that I can express and let go is something that makes me feel connected to everyone. I feel undeniably human.
When it's over and I am exhausted, I am filled with an amazing sense of peace. Not only that, Kokadrille settles itself back down and we go over what happens. I gain a lot from these introspections. You can breed a lot of insight with intelligence, but wisdom almost always comes after. It's easy to genuinely believe in what you say the moment you say it, but when you step a moment further away it becomes clear that there's no depth, no meaning. These rages help me come to an understanding with what I go through. They're horrible at the time but they contain a euphoria and a wisdom at the end, and I'm not afraid of them.
I have to reiterate something before I continue:
"Imagine your life as walking on a clay road, one that can only stretch so far into the past, the future, and now. To spend too much time clinging to what's behind you will make it impossible to reach your future. To spread it too far ahead will make you lose your footing and plummet to a chasm of uncertainty below you.
But what if we were to take that clay, and instead of spreading it around us, we use it to sculpt the space we were standing in? Wouldn't we have gained a stronger footing, have more ability to appreciate and create the moment that's around us? There is a past and a future, but there's little we can do to harness them productively. It's only the current moment that we can build upon, and it's only the current moment that you'll find any kind of meaning."
The concept of the clay road is something I came to a long time ago, and while in this particular introduction I was explaining it as a way to stay in the moment, it's incredibly important to recognize that you have to stretch your given material a little bit ahead and a little bit behind you. Context gives the meaning. To speak in the moment and without context is how you believe your own bullshit. That's how you hurt people.
I'm bringing this back up because emotions are an intrinsic part, not only of life but your way through it. When I let out my monster, I am only in the moment. I have no concept of where I came from or where I will be in ten minutes. These moments are painful. When it's over, and whatever it is that I let out is satisfied and goes back to rest, I am in equilibrium, and I have meaning from my outburst. The context changes, it's behind me. That's why I value darkness.
I'm not an easy person to deal with if I let you below the surface, and that's why I hate being open. I'm not worried you'll see my insecurity, I'm worried you'll see violence and suffering. There's a lot of turmoil that I keep with me, and for reasons someone will probably tell me are unhealthy, I value that turmoil and I accept that it's with me. I have a monster that sleeps near me at all times, and it raises its head whenever I make decisions or I'm unsure where to go in life. If I take the wrong turn, it wants out and sort of forces me to retrace my steps. There may not be a place for it in society, but there's definitely a place for it in my life.
Hearing someone talk about things like this, particular someone with my flair for the dramatic, is alarming to say the least, I imagine. Don't freak out. That's why it's so difficult for people who deal with these critters to talk about them. This isn't the kind of thing that gets better by being approached as a problem, it's a process.
Maybe there are better or more socially acceptable ways to work through problems and gain wisdom, but I don't have them yet. For now, I have the kokadrille; something that keeps me separate enough from things to work through them. So far, it's been enough.
My belongings are held tenuously in the back of a friend's truck by bungee cords. I moved almost everything I own from my old apartment to my new place in one trip. It took just under an hour to get everything on and back off again. I don't own much and I don't intend to. By typical standards, you wouldn't consider me a materialist; I don't own a lot of things, very little of it would be considered 'nice' and even then a great deal of it was given to me. Most of it is pretty utilitarian; notebooks, art supplies, tools of my trades.
We talk about materialism as an obsession with the physical world, our physical comfort and belongings, and it tends to coincide with a distaste for spirituality and the ethereal. Being a materialist means you're concerned with things that are within the realm of your senses. In a way, this makes it ideal for the scientifically oriented in that it disparages faith or any noumenon that doesn't fall concretely into the world perception we build for ourselves out of the socially agreed upon senses.
Despite my lack of stuff, I struggle greatly as a carrier of that idea of materialism. The reason why has a lot to do with the fact that I live in an altered version of reality. By creating a place for myself with strict guidelines as to what is and isn't real, I had a sense of what is and isn't important. Reality is important. Seeing shit was just a weird quirk that I could get fixed like crooked teeth.
Materialism disposes of meaning, which made it pair well with the existential view I've trended towards most of my life. Things may or may not happen for a reason, but ultimately the meaning is self-assigned, and if it were part of something larger, it's not something you could conceivably know. I've held this view for awhile because it helped me deal with bullshit. Any time something terrible happened I could take some solace in the idea that its meaning was mine to declare, and there is something comforting in that when circumstances are beyond your control. In that sense, being a materialist means you're free to accumulate a world view based on tangible reality and not some chaotic and predetermined set of 'meanings'. That doesn't sound so insidious, does it?
But the things you own possess you, and that's not limited to your tangible items stacked on bookshelves or tucked into closets; it's equally true for the relationships you have with people and the ideas you hold to be true.
Ownership is a tricky concept to apply to a relationship or belief system; you don't own another person (hopefully) but you do own a connection with them. You have it with you, even when they're not around.
I have felt like I was possessed by this idea that I wasn't any different from anyone else, I just had this kind of handicap. Rereading what I wrote before kind of blows my mind; that I had to learn how to deal with being crazy, and deal with being normal; I kept both sides of myself completely compartmentalized.
I've since developed the idea that maybe I am different, but not in a way that isn't attainable for anyone else. I'm not special in the sense that I have some magic power like the people that made me recoil in my youth insisted they or I had. It's not a disease that I have to moderate; not exactly. It is something I have to take care of, but more in the sense of owning a guinea pig and less in the sense of a medical condition. The same goes for the people in my life though I'm admittedly a lot fuzzier on how to explain that.
Spirituality bothers me. It's been a relatively recent development that I've met people who consider themselves spiritual that I don't also consider completely full of horse shit. I am still very wary of the idea; it's hard not to hear people speak about energy and connectedness and not feel like it's something in their heads, that they're actually so far removed from connection because they're disregarding the clearly tangible world. You can't claim to be spiritual while completely disregarding the physical experience you were born into, not honestly.
I have moments where I go traveling, and I don't know if I can explain what that means, but in some ways I leave my body. My body reacts a bit like a dog whose owner left; it would much rather I be there, but usually it's going to take a nap or go get into things. I feel a bit like I live with my body right now; it's both a separate and same living thing to me.
I like the idea, at least metaphorically, that our bodies are just fleshy smart phones for our consciousness. We used to be up there in some big crazy space, and eventually we stuck our fingers in something corporeal and got distracted. We stopped lifting our heads up from these crazy meat sacks that could touch things and eat and have sex and experience things in such a visceral way. The sense of being spiritual was lost in very much the same way that being human is starting to. It isn't good or bad, it's a progression. Progressions shouldn't be considered strictly linear or forward; it's a development, the way water bubbles over from a fountain, going up and down at the same time. I don't really know if that's an example of the fractal nature of things, or if it will become some sort of Ouroboros in which we use our technology to reconnect with our original sense of spirituality. It's just a thought.
Maybe I am losing my mind. Maybe flying out here is dangerous and I'd be safer in the material world with rules of behavior I could follow. I am pretty raw right now, and I have a lot of growing up to do. I don't know if this is just another thing that I will toy with or if it's an addition to my perspective. You really don't know unless you play with it for awhile.
I don't really know if I understand what spirituality means. It's not what I identified it as when I was younger, or if it is it was held in a way I couldn't understand. There is some air of detachment that comes with it, when you pull up from your body and look around this immense amount of space you occupy. This is a new place for me to be in and I don't have much to guide me through it except questions and reactions, but it's starting to feel like a good thing.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.