There was a hailstorm in Denver yesterday. Chunks of ice the size of golf balls crashed onto our city, smashing houses, windows, and unfortunate people. It wasn't hard at all for me, in all the noise and flying ice, to see how in the eyes of ancient men, this was a punishment from heaven. To blame weather on the moods of gods, to fix drought or flood by appeasing them with sacrifices and ceremonies makes a lot of sense if all you have to go off of is your life, your people, and the sky.
We are no longer an ancient civilization that has only our families and the sky to learn from. We are now a civilization of device and vice, distraction and critique. Everything and every one is analyzed, even the weather. It means nothing. It means climate change. It means we need to invest in a suit of armor if we're going to leave the house.
Then the storm settled. It went from crashing stones to barely specks, to nothing at all, silence resumed its space in sky. They're called weather patterns for a reason; if A and B are present, C can be expected. Storms are recipes based off of events and conditions. By watching them, we know how they are created, we can predict when and how intensely they will exist.
Jordan showed up in my dream last night. He does from time to time. I don't really remember the context of the dream at all but it was one of the better ones I've had where he drops in. It's his birthday today. This is the first year I'm not wishing him a happy birthday. We still saw each other a lot last year, even though it was in the midst of some bizarre deluge of post-relationship emotion and most of the time really sucked. I still wished him Happy Birthday.
I don't care about anniversaries. I can't keep track of them very well. I've never met somebody and immediately checked my calendar to make sure I knew exactly when it happened so I could remember it forever. Birthdays are more finite though, and more personal. They're a day for that particular human (or humans) in your life. This particular day has always been marked in mine and it feels weird right now.
We haven't spoken since last July. Funny, I don't really know if that's a long time or not. Based on the words, it doesn't seem long at all, based on how it feels, it doesn't even feel separated by time so much as by personality. I barely identify myself as the person he knew and I almost don't know if I could recognize her, let alone if he could.
I know it felt a little strange on my birthday that I wouldn't see him, but that didn't hit me that hard as it didn't seem atypical; even when we were together my birthday tended to be something I'd celebrate out with my friends. Not to mention for the past couple years comedy has swallowed my birthday whole and I almost don't see it coming until it's already behind me.
I almost sent him a text today, but the temptation was easy to resist once I realized there wasn't a point. What good would that do? What would the purpose of that even be and what would I even say? "Hi there. You've probably moved the hell on, and I have too, but I figured I'd dig up our dead relationship on your birthday because I thought we should both potentially feel awful today. Anyway, hope you're well and I miss the dog. Happy Birthday."
Part of me likes to think he stills reads this blog occasionally, or one of this friends does. I don't know why they would, but I like to think he can keep me as a background connection in his head. No matter where he goes in his life or what happens, he can look here and know that he's always loved, even if we never speak again.
I feel guilty for even thinking about him, let alone caring about him still, because I have someone else now. It seems wrong, selfish even, to still have any pushback or feelings about my ex. I'm so grateful to have found someone like the person I have, and I feel like I owe him more loyalty, but having a past is involuntary. That shadow will never stop following me. What do they call that, the feelings you have about your feelings, secondary emotion? What is that correlation in the weather metaphor? Does a storm ever feel bad about itself for happening?
I don't know if I can figure out the weather in my head any better than ancient man could. In my head I am weathering a storm, but I have less knowledge of the systems and patterns. It feels like the gods of Time and Feeling are upset with me. Maybe I need to provide a sacrifice. Maybe that sacrifice is just another moment requisite of letting go. I know it will get better with time, that I'm being irrational, this is just the first time I've had to do it, and I'm not sure how to handle myself. I'm fortunate to have the people in my life that care that I'm hurting enough to let me do it, and wait for it to pass. Eventually, the quiet has to return.
I have a temper.
This is the entire conversation I had with X. There are some people who are already aware that I had this fight and know who X is, but she deserves her privacy. I choose to write my response this way because I don't believe that our "meeting for coffee" would work. I use this blog to articulate myself and process and I see no reason not to do it this way.
After receiving these, I posted an extremely angry response on the women's group that we were both part of (I left immediately after). It was definitely an attack, but I did my best in my rage to keep the ad hominem low and state what I believed. I'd post that here so you can see that it was irrational and angry, but it's been taken down since. X posted the very first message of the conversation we had, and from what I gather, it was that message alone that people assume I got angry about. I chose not to post the entire conversation in part because I wanted to find out whether or not she would. I knew the information would get back to me one way or another and that would either confirm what I believed about this being a propagation of victim mentality, or prove me wrong in which case I'd be more open to speaking with her more in depth. She did not prove me wrong.
For those of you who TLDR'ed that wall of text, the gist of it is that I didn't book have a woman booked on my show this month. That's true; I had someone booked, she dropped out, I chose someone else that I thought was a strong comedian. I picked someone that I thought was different in style and high energy (I won't say who it was), because I was considering the overall pacing of the show from what I know about the people on it.
I realize that this is a very long blog, but any one who talks to me about it will hear the exact same thing. I have this as backup. I want to be completely clear about where I stand and I hold myself accountable for what I say. If someone does illustrate to me that I am wrong and she is not, so be it.
After booking my last comedian and seeing my all male line up, I posted in a Denver comedy women's group inviting women to show me their sets. Invite me to a show, pull me aside at a mic, let me know who you are so if I was unaware I could book you. I considered this a solution so I could avoid in the future. In her message X accuses me of not looking hard enough. I'm not sure what the realism of this statement is. I hit mics constantly and I watch everyone's set. I pay attention to people that I don't know on shows. I opened up booking for women specifically. I'm not sure what is not looking hard enough so much as her just thinking I'm not allowed to have my opinion as to what is funny, or what would work in my room.
X, this is for you. I am not having coffee with you because none of your reaction to me seemed to acknowledge my views in the first place. You don't seem open to dialogue. To be blunt, wrongly or rightly, the fact that you hid behind your first message to make me seem like I was overreacting, combined with the content of your message, makes me believe you can't. You are aware of my opinion. You disagree. You want me to conform to yours. I will not, not with that kind of communication.
You simply stated that what I did wasn't good enough for you. You don't speak for every woman in comedy. You are new to the scene and the rationale you're applying isn't equivalent to the real world. This kind of blind eye, blanket approach to things is detrimental, in my opinion, to feminism as a whole.
From here on, I'm just going to break down why I reacted the way I did.
There are so many ladies looking to get stage time.
Yes, there are, but there are a lot of human beings looking for stage time. From what little I have to base this off of, there are about 80 women in that comedy group. There were about 400 people in the draft for comedy works, which includes all of us who signed up for new talent or the contest. That's not a perfect gauge of how many there are total, but it demonstrates a level of one in five, the number of women that are booked on the show that I, a woman who busts ass to put it together every month while hitting mics, shows and working 2 jobs, puts together. You are devaluing my work and opinion as a woman because you think I owe you more. I believe in fairness and mathematically, I believe that's a fair representation.
I'm sure your audience would appreciate a diverse lineup.
X, you have never set foot in my room. You don't get to tell me what they enjoy. Saying this implies that it's not something I consider because 2 of 14 shows, both instances because of someone dropping out, there have not been women. This is highly insulting to me, that you're suggesting I have put a room that averages about 60 people together and am clueless to what they might like.
It's strange to me that I need to remind you how hard it is [since] you're a lady comic and have probably faced prejudice yourself.
You contradict yourself on this point strongly a bit later, X, and this is one of the most condescending and infuriating things you said to me. For one thing, this type of statement is both an appeal to flattery and an appeal to consequence. You are telling me, effectively, that I should know better, "I'm better than my decisions. That's a nonsense statement. You're trying to elicit my emotional response as though I'm not completely aware of what I'm doing.
Secondly, you are essentially suggesting that "because I care about women, and your point is about caring about women, then I must be wrong if I don't agree to your point." I hope I don't need to further explain why that is a baseless argument. I believe in feminism and I believe in pragmatism, showing that we are empowered, logical and strengthen our argument with critical thought, not picking every battle for sympathy, which I firmly believe you did here. That, I will stipulate is my opinion and you can try and change my mind on that, I can't state what your intentions are, that's just how it comes across. More on this as we go.
Happy International Women's Day!
This wouldn't have bothered me aside from the fact it's a petty jab at me apparently being ignorant to your brand of feminism. This wasn't an olive branch or solidarity, it was a literal, use of words power play. If you are talking to me in person you can offer me inflection or tone but this is writing and choosing your words is all you have to get your point across. This reeks of ivory tower bullshit where you can tell me about your women's studies courses because my knowledge must be outdated or incomplete. It comes across as you believing I am ignorant. Again, you imply that I must be less ... I don't know, feminist, something, than you, because I didn't do what you liked.
My response explained the situation and steps I had taken for it not to happen in the future. I further mentioned my firm belief that I am against this kind of nitpicking and it prevents me from doing things that I consider to be supporting women, namely, letting them feature or headline when I don't see it happening. It is hard to win respect, and it is hard to be promoted.
I look at every show you have and see that you typically have at least one woman booked.
Holy, holy shit. First of all, 1 in 5, because I believe that is proportional. That number is on the rise which is encouraging, but that's still where I think it is. Second of all, looking at every single line up and deciding to comment on the one anomaly and feeling the need to say something is nitpicking bullshit. You didn't ask me what happened, which is why I become defensive by default simply by explaining it.
If this were a trend that I continued over a few shows, by all means, you should have asked me why; I would have had no good answer. My answer, which is what the pragmatist in me believes, is that shit happens. You are making a nothing statement to someone who does consider women and fairness and it makes me discredit you. When you are discredited, it is to some extension reflected on a lot of us. How much harder would it be to actually point out when someone is booking a sexist lineup when you're claiming that any moment something doesn't go your way is against women?
I find it hard to believe to believe that you can't think of a single funny woman to take her spot. If that is the case, I would have to say you aren't looking or listening hard enough.
X, I implore you to have someone say that to your face and see if you don't find it offensive. Again, I can think of a few women that I thought would be "funny enough." Some of them I want to feature in the next couple months, and there are even fewer of those spots. I don't like to book people multiple times too close together because my audience contains a lot of repeat members. I don't want to have them see the same show every month. Some of them were just on my show, and some of them simply didn't have the kind of energy that I wanted to balance the people I knew were on it. There were funny women, they just weren't right for this situation.
Additionally, you believe that I'm not looking or listening hard enough, knowing and being one of the respondents to a call to women to see their sets so maybe I can find people I have missed. What steps would you have me take? Should I book people that I have nothing to vet with because they're women? I won't. I realize our meritocracy is subjective, and the reason why I want to see people in front of a crowd is because even if they aren't my style of humor, I can see when they do well. What else, exactly, do you want me to do other than put someone on my show who I either don't know or believe is ready for it, or burn through people as openers that I want to give more time as features and headliners?
I appreciate your post [but] it's your show and your responsibility to book it.
See aforementioned point. I took steps to find more women that I might be overlooking. You're again implying that I did nothing, that I do nothing, that I don't consider this. Not once did you ask me.
I am happy to talk to you more in depth about how I see sexism arise in the scene and the nuances of my experience. I don't want to assume it's the experience of all women.
X, this is the sentence that triggered me to write the post attacking you in the first place. You are making a very stark and arrogant conclusion that I must be the way I am because I have just been shrouded in cotton candy and never been touched by sexism.
I was sexually assaulted as a teenager and I have spent most of my life developing myself into a person that can deal with that. Being able to not blame all of men for the actions of that one has taken me well over a decade, and has been at the expense of some very kind people.
I have been talked over, forgotten, been marginalized, misunderstood, dismissed and harassed. There are a few people who don't know me very well that have thought I have slept with a lot of comics to get where I am. I have been hurt, intentionally or not, by men and women. You inviting me to hear the nuances of your experience, just over the year-ish that you have been here, you don't get to tell me that. You didn't even ask what I've been through. You just said you didn't want to assume I've been through anything. Can you not see how that would be incredibly offensive?
You end that, effectively, with "let's get coffee and chat." You don't make that sound like you're inviting me to an open dialogue. That sounds like me staring at you while you get on a soap box about whatever has happened in your life. Maybe you have been assaulted too. Maybe you feel marginalized and trapped. You are inviting me to hear why you are the way you are but in no way have you presented yourself, in this message or your life, in a way that makes me believe you would understand the first thing about who I am and why I think what your doing is hurtful to women as a whole. You can't conceive of being wrong.
I accuse you of taking a moral high ground. Again, because you are nitpicking one of my shows out of many that I have had, and because you dismiss me, as maybe nothing has happened to me. Remember that line in your first message about how surely I must know how hard it is to be a woman in comedy?
I repeat what I said before about the steps I'd taken. I tell you not to police anyone's show. I accuse you of taking moral high ground. I withdraw from your show.
Just book a woman and you have no need to [justify] your actions.
I did book a woman. See continued point I've been making this whole time.
I don't know whose "job" you think it is to police the scene accountable. If I see a show that doesn't have a women booked, especially by a female show runner, I am going to say something.
I don't think it's any one's job to police a scene because that implies there are select people with authority. We should lead by example. Again, if there is a show where women are never booked over the course of weeks or months, then someone, (and I would) should ask the show runner why. Looking at behavior as a whole is important. Focusing on singular events is childish. It makes women seem entitled and trivial, that our merits aren't enough to get stage time. We are not more entitled than anyone else.
Also,because I am female show runner, wouldn't you consider holding me to some higher standard than you do men to be somewhat sexist? I should be held to the same standards as anyone else. I explained to you my rationale and you didn't like it. End of story. You have your opinion, X, and you won't budge from it. You are just going to be shouting into the void and you are going to alienate people from feeling like they can trust women, talk to them, or book them. You make mistakes and accidents look like threats to feminism as a whole. That cheapens the entire idea, and it's completely impractical.
The rest of your post just repeats your points, and I've already talked about them. You acknowledge nothing I said. You are simply saying I am not trying hard enough. You admit you're not perfect in your ways of communicating. That could be fixed by thinking critically about them and communicating with purpose. Ask questions, X. That's the easiest way. Make sure you understand me before you pass this kind of criticism. You don't, you give me no evidence of it, at least. I found this to be irritating and damaging to how I fundamentally believe we can gain strength and community. Alienating men is not an answer. Alienating me, and women like me, is not an answer.
You asked me for coffee. That's your solution. You think you can have this dialogue in a coffee shop. Maybe, X. But you didn't invite me. You told me. Nothing in your conversation so far has really seems to acknowledge why I hold my beliefs valid. You are lost in an echo chamber, X. Your own statements are just repetitions of themselves and not once did you ask me why. I hope you read this over coffee. That last statement, that is a petty jab. That's what you are eliciting with this type of "call out" behavior. It's the girl who cried sexism. X, you are so focused on your point that not once did I believe you realized you were actually talking to me.
When I was angry and posted my rage, I could have done that on facebook at large. I chose not to, not because I thought I was wrong, but because I was certain you would face a huge amount of trolling and attack that you did not deserve. I trust my point and the thickness of my skin to have done fine with it. I posted it in that group because I felt it necessary to "call you out" and this type of insular thinking in general. I don't tolerate it.
I looked for you last night. I'm not afraid of confrontation and more than write this I wanted to say it to you. The kicker is, I had you written in my notebook potentially for next month on my show. I know that when enough time has passed I will simply dismiss you. It was hard not to before because you made these complaints that make me have to believe you suck at proportions. You are not supporting women when you pick every battle. You are a shout in the street.
I met someone I like. It's a much more complicated and scary thing than I expected.
At the very least it's been surreal. It's not difficult to write about relationships retroactively, or write about them with intensity while they're falling apart. What's been strangely difficult is writing about one in any meaningful context while it's all going really well.
I still think of Jordan a lot, and that's been strange to process. There was part of me that felt very guilty for having real feelings for someone else. There was something in my head that still resisted the idea that I even could be with someone else in a meaningful way. Everyone else was supposed to be a placeholder; I'd live my life adventure and eventually we'd meet back up and live out our lives together. On some level I don't think I ever anticipated I'd move on.
There's a lot of weird baggage like that I had no idea I'd have. I wanted to wait before meeting anyone because I wanted to be "past" everything I've been through in the past couple years. I wanted a clean slate, but I guess time doesn't work that way; I can only build off of what I've been given, good or bad. I've been very fortunate that this boy has been patient with me.
I wanted to be okay by myself, to know who I was and to be sure that if/when I ended up with someone, they didn't put any limits on who I am. I didn't want to lose the identity I created, that's a hazard I face in relationships. I am very sensitive to the Pygmalion Effect.
In the past, if I like people I find myself getting lost in them. I don't really understand why or how I lose myself, but I stop being what it is that I am and end up trying to be what I expect they want me to be. I become a kind of doll. I don't think anyone I've ever been with has ever wanted a doll, either. They liked who I was and were probably very confused how that girl disappeared into something else. I think it's because I cut myself off socially; I only have them and their expectations and perception to draw from, and that becomes a vicious cycle.
I am a collection of things I like about other people. If no one else is around, I become a collection of one person's perceptions about me.
I've known that about myself for a very long time, but I'm only just now realizing that being a collection of things I like about other people also means that I am what those other people like about me. I think that's how I ended up becoming that blank doll. I would focus so heavily on what they liked about me that I wouldn't be able to see it any more, and then it would disappear, and we were all a bit confused.
I'm inconsistent and impulsive, I have this ephemeral projection that exists in different ways around different people. The idea of another relationship made me panic. I like to connect with people, I like to in a very deep way and I know it means I walk a lot of gray areas. It makes me worried that I'd accidentally be shitty to someone I'm in a relationship with. I saw it happen with Jordan and I don't want to do it again.
Looking back, the way I deified him has become to fade and I have become a lot more understanding of how all that broke down. I still want the best for him. I just don't want to know what happens in his life any more. I don't really know if he reads this or any of his friends do, but I guess he has the option of not knowing or knowing, depending on what he wants. That's a weird portal to know exists.
Now there is this new person, and I swear he's a little magical. I've been afraid of my malleability, how quickly I can change from one kind of person to another, and of the risk of me becoming lost, or turning into something I'm not. Relationships make me feel like a circus tiger, even if it isn't what the other person wants. I spill into this mold called "girlfriend" and it takes me out of the current I've been working so hard to be part of. That scares me the most, but it doesn't seem like that threat exists here. So far there's been a strange level of what I suppose is just being understood, but in a way I haven't encountered before.
I've been at a loss when it comes to describing what I like about this raccoon-of-a-human other than I like how he is, which is not exactly defined by who he is. When we talk about who we are, we usually mention our job, where we're from, our age and so on. None of that particularly interests me, and rarely do I think those definitions matter much. You are who you are, but how you do it is a much more interesting question.
He seems so self aware and empathetic. He is curious and smart and very odd, he's aware of how he feels and thinks critically about it. We can talk about anything. He's interested in what I do and he has faith in it. He's interested in who I am and complements it well. We're analogous; in a way, I feel better understood through knowing him.
The person I am when I'm around him, I think, is close to the way I think I am deep down, or at least the way I like to be. I am still a capricious monster, but around him, I am not a doll. I don't feel any need to impress this person. I don't feel the need to protect his feelings, so I tell him what I am thinking and feeling even if it's dark or potentially unpleasant. It's not hard to be honest. I'm still susceptible to the Pygmalion effect, but in this case it's become an advantage.
It's hard to balance the knowledge that the chemical release of love is temporary, that this feeling will be diluted by reality, with the understanding that I can't assume I know how this will end. I am not sure how long this will last or if it's meant to, but I'm looking forward to the shapes it takes. I'm looking forward to seeing the people we become, whether or not those people can continue a relationship. You can do a lot of harm, and a lot of good to another person once you've been intimate. We fear how things end, but I think I've figured out that it's not endings I'm afraid of, it's hurt. People who get hurt become bitter, and cynical, and it becomes more difficult to be open the more often it happens. I don't know if or how this ends, but I do know that we care about each other in a way where we won't leave the other one hurting.
Typical of me to try and write something light and fluffy about love and come up with that kind of dark sentiment, but my mind works a lot through those reciprocals. I understand things by their contrasts, and my ability to understand the loss of last time comes from learning about this new beginning and vice versa. Whatever it is, it makes me feel very good, and I'm grateful to have it.
If there is an ending, I really believe it won't be bitter, we will still be ourselves. It's a nice hope to have.
This has been a challenge to sit down and write. A lot has been going on in my little world, and it's preoccupied my observations of the larger one as a whole. Usually, the month of October is the worst for me, but for the first time there haven't been any major catastrophes, just a lot of time to think.
I came to a point at the end of September where things slowed down, and now things are right back at their scheduled chaos, but I've run into a problem; I'm stuck. I am frustrated, and I don't know if there's nowhere to go or just no room to. I have a lot of ideas and they aren't moving forward; I hit the bottleneck.
This is a weird thing in Denver comedy that I imagine everyone begins to notice once they're where I'm at. People don't want to take risks on you. There are a lot of talented people, but we all tend to give stage time to people that we see other people give stage time to. There's a hierarchy, which is fine, but not a lot of people look to promote anyone within that hierarchy, we just adhere to it. We're effectively a caste system in terms of stage time; there's open micers, openers, features and headliners. Nobody goes up or down, not far anyway. Your only leverage is if people can get something out of you. Since I run a show and I'm a woman, I have two things regardless of how funny I am. I have a spot I can offer you and I make your show look a little more diverse. Both of those are bullshit criteria but I'd be lying if I didn't say I think that's a huge part of why I get what I get.
We all build up inside the bottle, perfecting our spots. We get good at the places we're at. Once in a rare while someone sneaks through the neck of the bottle because someone took a risk on them and everyone noticed. Denver in particular puts a lot of stock in the comedy competitions which I think is ridiculous, but I'm likely biased given that I don't do well in contests.
I felt very lost after San Francisco. I'd gone out there with a purpose that didn't really work out. I wasn't upset about the opportunity loss, I just didn't know where to go from there. I'm very goal oriented. At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to try and figure out how to make (some) money doing comedy, which I guess I've started, but I needed somewhere to go from there, I just haven't figured out where that is.
I thought I was being patient, but patience can teeter dangerously on waiting for things to happen when it's my job to bring them about. Waiting is something I reserve for when I don't know what I should be doing. That's where I was at when things slowed down. Things were slow and I was okay with that, but I didn't want to wait for something to happen. I just needed to know what I should be doing so I could start.
It's taken me awhile to work it out, but I think I have started the answer; I have to make something here. Traveling is great, and you make a lot of connections (with people or concepts), you experience, create and explore. Now that I'm home I see myself as stuck, but I don't think darting around the country will get me anywhere. I need to be looking at this place. My problem is not unique. I need to break the fucking bottleneck.
I'm guilty of this too. I run a show that I care about and I always want to see do well, so I don't take a lot of risks when it comes to who I book. I'm contributing to the problem I'm experiencing. I'm going to make it a point next year to change that. I'm pretty experienced with risks, now I need to start taking those chances with people. If I'm lucky that will start being reciprocated.
I didn't get my cartoon up for the first Wednesday, which felt like a little failure. That was one of my goals this year, to add those twice a month, and it sucks a little to know I couldn't do it, but at the same time, it was certainly an indicator for me. I try to do a lot of things at the same time, and things that aren't prioritized or particularly special to me fall off the edges. Learning how to manage those things has been a huge process. I don't take that kind of failure as hard as I used to. I push myself and look for edges so I know where they are, and apparently, I hit one. This one appears to be the amount of things I can accomplish by myself.
I feel like I'm at the point where I've done all that I know how to on my own. For awhile I was frustrated that there was no sense of leadership, that I had no one to look up to in order to figure out what direction I should be going. I'm realizing that maybe that's the incorrect way to look at this, it goes against dancing to presume there's a shape to it. I can't do it the same way as other people and they're not going to be able to do it my way.
What I'm hoping to do now is to work with other people. I suppose it's a lateral approach. I'm not really sure how to work upwards but I'd like to work with people I know in order to see if we find places to go out of it. I've always held to an idea that a sense of community/connection with people is a huge problem solver. I was planning to look into it and use it as a springboard for this big project on homelessness I'm working on; some stuff about neotribalism but hopefully you'll get a really cool article about that later.
I've been wanting to do a little more with the articles here. They've mostly been my own thoughts backed with just enough research to make sure I wasn't completely mistaken about anything. I've covered a lot of my own basics and now a lot of what I'm writing about is stuff I'm learning about at the same time, and they're becoming bigger puzzles. It's pretty interesting, we'll see where that goes. I'm getting more of an idea of what I'm doing by writing them in the first place. When I first started, I really had no idea why I was except for that I liked to. I didn't have any great sense of purpose.
I just realized that as a person, I'm a microcosm of that big project. I have been wanting to do more. Every time I see a large system I realize that the flaws in it are easily reduced to the same flaws in an individual; you can turn almost anything into a metaphor for itself and that approach makes things more understandable and therefore more fixable. I've been looking at this big social problem and it's ultimately because it's the exact same problem I have on a very small scale. I am interested in homelessness because I have no place to go.
I don't know what it is I'm going to start. It's still new and shy and hard to see through the logistical thicket. Here's hoping that somewhere in there it gives us a place to belong.
I don't remember how this conversation started, but I'm sure we had it many times...
"I don't think you get sad on the same level that I do. Or not the same way." I said, looking out the window at a rolling hill of Austin Bluffs. I don't remember where we were going, but I know that I was not in a good place mentally. This was during the time in my life where I had extremely little control over my mind, and one day's depression could turn into a flood of actual psychosis. I frequently felt that my brain was attacking me. Feelings were symptoms. They were the animals stampeding out before the hurricane of batshit rolled in.
I made a mental note that this was my absolute least favorite stretch of road. There was nothing but crappy townhomes and a field with power lines that separates those townhomes from the suburban castles on the ridge. I hate this city. Inside I was thinking about emptiness. I was frustrated with him, because he never seemed to have bad days unless I manufactured them, but who would want to do that? You don't want to make someone sad, but it's hard to know if they understand your emotional struggle if you never see them have one. How could he have any empathy if he never got upset or hurt? Either that, or I was jealous of that kind of stability. No matter which way it appeared, I was definitely annoyed by it. I don't remember where we were driving to, but he was focused on the road and nonchalant. He usually was. It took him a minute to answer. He was thinking about it.
"I think it just happens to me differently," He replied finally, shifting gears and squinting out the window. "Your depression is like my sister's. You get really depressed for about a third of your day. I get depressed for about a third of my year. I see it coming. It's all at one time for me so I just get used to it when it happens. It doesn't surprise me like it surprises you."
Looking back on that now, five or so years later, I realize how right he was; all these emotions, every event in my life seems to follow that waltz; Quick, quick, slow. High, high, low. Who knew that emotions were also so keen on the rule of threes?
The past couple months have been blowing past me so quickly it's hard to know if I can keep up. I've changed time zones and states of mind like clothing. I have been sick and moody, then having fun and meeting great people, feeling truly fulfilled and then frighteningly alone. I think about leaving my ex as a terrible mistake, I think about going back to him as a worse one. I have thought everything is going the best it's ever gone and then thought my life is fucking worthless. I have been whirling and out of breath, but now the music has stopped and nothing is happening at all. Quick, Quick...
I've been in a writing rut for most of this month. I think that surprises people, because I've still put up jokes (none of which I'm very proud of), written for this site, written for shows... It's all been operating as normal I suppose, but I haven't felt okay about it. A lot of it feels like going through the motions. Most of the time I haven't been writing for the reason that I write.
As I formed that sentence in my head, I realized I don't have a damn clue what that reason is. Obviously writing is a form of communication. The fact that all of this is so personal makes me tend to believe it's something selfish or narcissistic. I struggle with that. I don't incubate self-esteem so I rely pretty hard on the validation of others. I know that's not healthy or sustainable but I have yet to come up with another system. It's very difficult to imagine myself any other way, given how long it's been.
I think I used to like myself a lot, but I saw what that arrogant version of myself did to others. She was far more cavalier about how people felt. That hasn't exactly changed, but I'm more aware of, or at least less okay with that ambivalence towards others. My own lack of self value has led me to value other people more, if that makes sense. I'd rather be humble, self hating and want the best for others than to think I'm amazing and value my success over other peoples' feelings. It's just a decision I apparently made.
I have had the fortune for most of my life of having someone to lean on when I was feeling weak, sick, or alone. I haven't had that option this year and I don't know if it's been tumultuous as a result of that or I'm just more aware of it because I have no safety net. To be fair, I have enlisted the help of a lot of amazing friends and one diminutive T-Rex and that has been very helpful. This is what it's like to be me, I guess. I'm finding myself more certain of who I am. I have anchors to reality now, because if I lose my head there's no one who's going be able to come get me.
I've hit that point where I know I can't wait for him, and I've had to stop using that as some kind of excuse. I'm not totally sure what that means but it's a strange sense of closure. We left on good terms. I ran into him once a couple months ago and we said everything that we needed to. He told me he wasn't angry over any of it and that maybe we'd get together in a few years and see how things were going. I had a friend in high school who said. "I don't ever miss people, I look forward to seeing them again." That's a nice sentiment but a little naive. I do think about that last part a lot. That's a level of closure I think you have to be really lucky to get, and here I am.
I think about him a lot more when I travel. I think about the things we could be exploring together, but sometimes I think about how indifferent he would be to what I think is fascinating. I thought about the trips we took together and how we didn't fight at all in the car on long rides.
There's a lot of silence in my imaginary memories though, and a lot of moments that don't go well. We would run out of shit to say, or I would talk and watch him lose the capability of pretending to be interested. That's something you realize after that much time with someone; the tepid moments are the ones you phase out of your mental worship. I could have been fine with him in any situation except the one we were in, and that was the only one we could put together because we hadn't figured out who we were. It's easy to frame it all through the person I am now, but I'm only the person I am now because I left him.
Since he's been gone I've stopped given a fuck about consequences, money, time or how I'm perceived. Part of that I owe to him though, funny enough. I use that relationship as a compare-and-contrast. I already know that someone loved me undeniably, so I don't really care whether or not these other people do. That being said I still feel incredibly compelled to try, I just don't take that kind of failure that hard. I've gotten pretty sensitive about comedy and writing, though. Bad sets effect me, stage fright effects me; the social game ebbs and flows.
I seek acceptance and validation just like anyone else, but more and more I find that I seek people I accept and I desire to validate other people, if that makes sense. I want them to feel fulfilled and know who they are, because wanting that makes more sense somehow. I'm still figuring out how to be this person that I am, but at least I know who that is now, and that sense of self all I could hope to give anyone else.
I am writing this from the low, slow place. This morning has been a struggle at best. I don't feel happy, or even reasonably okay for some reason, but if it's only going to be a third of my day at least I've got two thirds more to look forward to being just fine. There is no way he will ever be completely out of my system or out of my head, but that's taken a different meaning now. That's the person who taught me how to waltz. The funny thing is no one told me that I'd been dancing, and you don't dance because you've got some place to go. You do it because you like to move. I've stepped on a lot of toes figuring that out.
"Your problem is that you want everyone to be in love with you." It always amazed me how he could be so soft spoken and harsh at the same time. I never knew how to defend myself from it. It was something in his eyes. Some people know how to scream just by choosing not to blink.
"I do not!" I was looking into those eyes I knew I could look into forever and they didn't want to be looking at me.
"Then why would you stand in front of a crowd of people and try to make them laugh?"
You know what old friend, I think I wanted them to love you, too.
Dear Me in the Future,
You're 27. I'm writing this about a week before that happens, right after High Plains. You'll be in California when you see this, and if it's anything like the rest of this year, you're in for some crazy shit. I feel a little tired and quiet and still, or at least I want to be. Writing this is a little hard. I hope I wake up in a bit.
I don't know that I have a lot of life lessons for you. I'm younger than you and don't exist any more, so maybe nothing I say is applicable. So far I've been playing by the rule of doing something that I don't know the result of. Whenever faced with a decision, I don't weigh whether I think which is better or worse, I think about which one I don't know the end to. I figure at least I'll get a memory and some new knowledge out of it. I'm not really afraid of bad experiences. Luckily there haven't been that many anyways.
I'm interested in being who I should be, and I am killing all the incarnations of myself that weren't. It's been a strange process because it seems like there's a lot of them. I've been thinking a lot about processes. I don't have much to say about it yet, maybe you will.
You lead a very strange life, pet. I hope you feel less alienated from your body than I do. I've been struggling with that concept for awhile. I wonder how people don't feel the same way. Maybe they do. Maybe you and your guinea pig will be on better terms soon.
The old advice is that the only thing that matters in life is the people in it. There's some truth to that but you and I both know that it's only a fraction, albeit a big one. That sense of loneliness that you incur happens whether or not you're around good people, and you have many good people.
It's funny to see people talk about success and find there's "nothing at the top." You start writing, getting attention, get to do bigger things, and maybe you do become famous, out doing red carpet shit, household name, whatever. The traditional wisdom, or at least what I've been hearing about that, is that it's lonely, there's few people that understand what it's like and it's hard to maintain close relationships that way. All of that's true, none of it means any thing. Putting any stock in "making it" indicates you think it matters. Again, this is a process.
I realized yesterday how that idea is still applicable for human relationships. We have a "top", at least culturally, for how we get to know people. You introduce yourself, become friends, get closer, maybe you fall in love and have a family, and the traditional wisdom is that it's what we're looking for, and you won't be lonely. Unfortunately, the closer you get to another person, the more difficult it becomes to maintain your other close relationships. It's an important thing to recognize, I guess. I'd been thinking there's this holy grail person (because there was, wasn't there?) who you can be everything to and vice versa. Even with someone who knows you that intimately, you can still be absorbed by a very deep seated loneliness.
Both of these things can seem terrifying and painful, but I think I'm figuring out the flaw. I don't have it entirely, but maybe you'll get it. It has something to do with expecting permanence. You can't expect another person to make you feel whole, you can't substitute a career for a person, either. I'm coming to the conclusion that there are times where feeling whole isn't an option.
You have to be climbing because you like to climb, you can't expect it to get easier or less lonely. Part of not being able to be eternal also involves understanding that you are an experience. Not even the human experience, that's another thing entirely. You're the kokadrille experience I guess. I don't want to call it that but I'm really lacking for words that I can call you, since you're me and I feel weird about saying our name. Writing is surreal that way, pet.
That's why you have to do the things you don't know the answers to, that's all you have, is the unknown. You have to wonder so you can learn. You have to keep going and you will make a lot of bonds and memories but none of them will be quintessential or your definition. I do not know if the romantic relationship ideal is in the cards for you. Probably, because at some point it's going to be one of those unknowns. It's going to suck for you, or at least it does for me. Maybe you'll get some good insights out of it. Relationships and heartbreak are drugs like any other and you could easily use them for fun or as tools depending on your life itinerary.
Sometimes I don't know if I'm a comedian. I just have these ideas, and this blog and those stages are the only way I can seem to communicate them. People don't know when to laugh sometimes, but I'm starting to sense that at least they're listening. All I want is to turn this thing I understand into something other people can understand. It feels like I stumbled on a secret when I was young, like walking in on a murder and I can't tell any one. It feels accidental, important, and very weird, but I have it so I have to figure out how to share it somehow or I really am going to lose myself.
Just to remind you though, despite my own doubts of being a comedian or whatever, here's some facts that hopefully you'll find encouraging. You are starting to make more of your living off of your words, which was all you set out to do this year. You've traveled to perform, which you also set out to do this year. You've started projects you said you were going to, and whether or not you got them to work you spoke them into existence. All of this is terrifying and strange but everyone is pretty chill. This is as close to feeling like you're doing what you want that you've come to so far. You don't have it figured out (I don't and I doubt the week made all that much difference) but you're figuring it out. You are kinetic, don't worry about where you're going to land, because you probably won't be there long.
By the time you read this, you'll be 27 and I'll effectively be dead. I actually take a weird bit of comfort in that because I am goddamn exhausted right now and in the future, you get to deal with it. Believe it or not, I love you and I have a lot of faith in you. That's hard to admit in a weird way. I guess that's the good thing about knowing that you exist and I don't. I have a lot of room to say things that are hard to admit. You are so fucking lucky, you giant child.
Things are going to get better, and worse. It's all parabolic that way. Learn what kinds of trees you see. Get better at math, it might make these explanations feel more solid for you. Keep going, and write letters. Maybe you'll figure out more of what it means to be an experience. I'd say keep me posted but it's not an option.
Good luck with everything, and Happy Birthday.
You from the past.
That'sThe first time I read about the stages of loss, I thought that acceptance was kind of a shiny staircase, the light at the end of the tunnel. You go through the other four stages, and then you accept whatever the trauma is and you're probably better for it. I likened it to a drug habit that you lose. You detox, you feel immense pain, and then you get your shit together. The metaphor was simple enough. Grieve in stages, then you're free. That's not really how addiction works, but it's what I was hoping, anyway.
I don't really know if I understand what stage of loss I'm in right now. They aren't as clear of staircase steps as I originally thought, it's been more like walking uphill through the woods. You don't always know where your feet are supposed to go, sometimes you're stuck and sometimes you're pushed forward for no other reason than you have nowhere else to go.
I have heard that it takes about one month for every year you're together to feel okay again. If that's true, you must be fine by now. Maybe if I hadn't filled up my time so completely and become so distracted, I would be too.
Jordan, you were funny, attractive, sweet, kind and you are largely responsible for me not becoming a nightmare of a human being. The idea that you're not going to be with me any more still sucks. I don't know that everyone gets a lot of "love of your life" like we had. I'm grateful for that. I think you're a fantastic human being. I also think I shouldn't set eyes on you for years if I ever do see you again.
Acceptance in some ways is shittier than depression, anger, or any of the others. You can get comfortable in any of the others. Denial would have brought us back together, so would bargaining. Remember when we tried all that? It was comfortable but it was hollow and somewhere in me I knew that you'd moved on. I even felt it when you hugged me goodbye. It's a strange feeling to be held in a way that lets you know you're also being let go.
Depression and anger are easy traps for me. I experienced them a lot over the past few weeks. I can't say with any real certainty that I'm done, either, but I certainly went through them. I beat myself up on rocks and howled and when it was over I felt like I had tired the demon in me. Depression and Anger made the past seem glamorous and the future terrifying. They preserved you as the angel I tended to make you and offered solace in my memories. They made walls with your face on them and put them in front of my future. They didn't do shit to get me to move forward.
One thing that you know better than anyone is that I hate complacency. I am a critter of change and turbulence and the older I get the more I've come to acknowledge and embrace that insanity. Depression and Anger were fine places to be, despite how terrible they feel. They don't suggest you change anything, they are emotions that demand only to be experienced. I can't remain in any one state of mind for very long, you know that.
Acceptance doesn't just mean accepting that you're gone. Acceptance means owning up to the fact that I stayed in that broken relationship with you. It means I have to admit that I was cruel to you, and you were cruel to me and we both took it from each other because we didn't know what else to do. Acceptance means you'll sleep with other people, and so will I. It means I have to be the person who makes sure I don't mistreat or abuse other people. You won't be there to call me out on it, or put up with my bizarre social experiments. I am glad that you pulled away. I'm glad you made it out, if I'm honest.
Cities are strange places, especially after holing up in the mountains. Everything is interesting here, or at least trying to be. Everything wants you to look, to distract you. If you've got big things in your head, it's very difficult to focus. I think my thoughts behave a lot like cities do.
Whenever I have big thoughts in my head, I run from things that distract me. In this case, I went to the mountains, and deleted all my social media. In nature, things are only interesting because you find them interesting. You don't have to discern because there is no competition; everything just happens to be there and you come across the important parts as you see fit.
I left without really telling anyone and I'm sorry if I worried anyone. In my damaged mind I genuinely didn't think it would be noticed. At first I had no plan on returning to Denver, but I got to that point where I have to start doing something, or else what little I've built will start disintegrating. I still feel really tired, and I don't feel ready to be doing much of anything. It's still hard to talk to people and I still don't really want to be touched. The concept is still kind of sideways.
Social media is a lot of chatter, and for someone who believes (naively or not) that she's got something to say, it is a very useful tool. For now it's one that I have to put away. I'm not really sure how to push forward as a comedian without that tool, but hopefully I'll figure something out. The quiet has been welcome. I see people for who they are, and not based on whatever chaos exists in social media. It makes me feel more human.
Acceptance blows, Jordan, but I'm working on it. Being back in Denver has been a good step, I think. I am fortunate to have a lot of good people in my life. Last night I stepped in and did a set on my own show, which was a goofy thing to do, but also possibly the most healing thing I could imagine. I am very lucky to be cared about the way that I am. I hope when I feel a little more stable I can return all of these favors.
I have been reading this book by Kierkegaard, he talks a lot about faith. I don't believe in God, but I have been thinking a lot about faith. Kierkegaard suggests that true faith is one of the most difficult things to accomplish, and that most of us are only capable of hope. Faith lies beyond hope, and beyond resignation. Faith is the acceptance and understanding of reality with the genuine belief in the absurd possibility of the divine.
It is a very difficult fucking book.
Faith is the difference between want and belief. A week ago, my faith was that we would be together again once we both did our growing up. A silly little week. Less time than it takes for an infant to take her first steps. It's uncanny how distanced it all became. Part of me doubts my acceptance is real, given I thought I was there months ago.
I don't have faith in us getting back together. It seems unlikely, but changes happen so quickly and I'm accepting that as part of my nature. I have restored faith in what I have always had faith in: that I am going to be okay.
I have lived my life with the fortunate belief that whatever happens, I'm going to be fine. Things will suck for now, but these mistakes rarely kill me. I survived assault, a drug problem, traveling alone, and losing the person I love more than anyone. None of those things killed me. They scarred me, I'm wary and I don't like to be touched. If I am honest, I am not okay, but I am not going to die, and that alone means I have to progress, work towards something.
I'm accepting the kind of person I am and the way it doesn't work to be the kind of person I am and in love with you. I wonder if I'll write you letters much longer.
For now, goodbye you big, wonderful asshole. We got together as babies and learned to walk in different directions. I love you and miss you and hate you and everyone I know will have to deal with that, even me.
This is the only letter I can think of that's not for Jordan. I am going to do my best to be vague about who you are. I don't know that you would receive any backlash about this but it isn't my intention, and hopefully it's fine. In my experience these little dramas don't tend to edge past those immediately involved, but I am a very vindictive individual, and I am unsure how to separate the way I process this from the way I attack people I feel have wronged me. For whatever it's worth despite the very deep, hard feelings, I paradoxically don't hold anything against you. I see what happened as my decision and my fault, it just so happened that it was with you.
I had no idea how quickly I could go from liking someone to absolutely loathing them. I have to spend a lot of time convincing myself you didn't dupe me into something I didn't want, because I have been feeling very used. I know that demonizing you is a trick my brain does in order to exculpate myself, and I probably took more steps towards you than you did to me, that's how I work. I have an amazing ability to seem like I know what the fuck I am doing, which is something I think we have in common.
This is very hard to write. I don't trust you. I don't know what you want. I've been thinking about that first conversation we had about how to do what we were about to in the most ethical way possible. I was drunk and I remember suppressing the urge to laugh at the absurdity of that. There is no ethical way to cheat on someone. You didn't have my phone in your pocket so you didn't know how many times I was ignoring Jordan calling, looking for me. I wish I had slept on your couch.
I think you are manipulative, just like I am manipulative, because you are indecisive and you have lots of opportunities and giving up any of them seems like a bad idea. You have access to more of the world than most people, and whenever you make a wrong turn you're clever enough to talk yourself out of it. I don't think you're a bad person, but if you're not careful you're going to be a monster. You are cavalier about things that have meaning to have other people. I don't think you intend to, it's just not something you understand the value of, or you're dismissive of it because you can make sound arguments against those things. Whether or not you can, that doesn't mean you should devalue them to other people.
This is in particular related to monogamy and relationships, obviously, but I'm sure it spreads into other details of your life. I don't think that you don't understand the concepts, I think you don't get how big they are to other people or what happens when you take big meaning from people. If you did, then what I know about you makes you seem like a pretty terrible person.
There is no meaning of life, and our time in the universe is fleeting and isolated. We create meaning for ourselves, and the big meanings are the ones that keep us from feeling how close we are to nothingness, they make us human. There are so few things we find ourselves anchored to, and when you pull meaning from someone you take that from them. It is enough to destroy somebody. That's the danger of nihilism.
I can't say I understand those things either. If either of us did we never would have pursued anything. Maybe I'm wrong though, maybe I'm projecting. I had been thinking of breaking you, because I was pretty confident that this observation is true regardless of how I think of you as a person. I also thought you want to be broken, because I imagine feeling that indecisive is a cause of a lot of anxiety for you. As someone who is shattered right now, I can admit that I don't feel indecisive or anxious. I don't really have a need for feelings like that right now. At this point I just don't want to see you again or hear your name, and leaving was a good way to ensure that.
I'm sorry for texting you when I got drunk. I know I did when I broke my phone and I really don't remember much about what I said to you. I wish I had handled myself better, but I am working with a very old book of rules. I hadn't ever left someone before, I hadn't tried to cultivate whatever the fuck we were doing before and I sure as shit had no idea how to handle that ending in tandem with the train wreck break up I was procrastinating on until a like a week ago. I think you knew that, and you did the best you could. I think you made an effort not to make me feel worse than I did and I am very grateful for that.
There were a lot of positive things I got from knowing you. You were very kind to me and you were open about how you felt, so far as I know anyway. You were fun to talk to and interested in almost everything. I remember you had this funny look on your face when I was telling you about water bears. If it ever felt like you were hiding something, you were pretty quick to catch yourself on it and say something, even if I didn't really follow. You tried to get me to talk about what was going on and you kept lending yourself as support which I couldn't express to you why I wouldn't accept.
Comparably speaking, you were a stranger to me, and I couldn't trust you. It takes me a long time to talk about how I feel, because it takes me a long time to feel. It has nothing to do with saying it eloquently, it's just hard to answer "How are you feeling?" with anything besides what I imagine would be the sound at the bottom of a lake when a crocodile is drowning its prey and it takes its last breath. While I knew you I saw Jordan breaking and that wasn't something I knew how to handle. I wanted to make him happy. Seeing him sad was physically painful, it made my Kokadrille start thrashing and I wanted to hurt myself on Jordan's behalf. Whatever you were to me, I love him, and that's how I learned what I am telling you about taking meaning from someone else.
I was pretty blinded by a desperate need not to feel pain which at the very least I'm not blind to right now from my little hideaway in a mountain. I don't think you were terrible to me, (no more than what was going to be inevitable), but I do think you need to be careful. I think you'll benefit from that.
I hate myself for what I did to him, and you're a part of that somehow but I don't really know what that means. You are young. You will be fine. That probably applies to me as well, but it feels farther away. I wish I felt more solid about this. I had hoped that writing this would give me some sense of resolution. I guess it feels closer to it, but I am still conflicted. For what it's worth, despite my regret you taught me a lot. That's all I could really ask from anyone.
I am so tired, and I am barely able to handle being awake, but today is better than yesterday.
I think about how weird this must be for you, that I'm writing everything so publicly. I was always an attention whore, I guess. Mostly now I'm doing it because I hope you'll see it. I don't know why I want you to see it. I want you to know that I'm hurting. Not because I'm trying to be vindictive but because I don't really know how else I can prove you mattered. It felt like I took you for granted, like you don't know.
I hope, even if I know better, that you still want to see me, because that's the idea that hurts. That's what feels like nails. I hope that you are going on adventures in the mountains and you are going to find me later. I know that that's not true, but that's what I hope.
I am scared that I told that story. I never got help for it. I still haven't. I think I will deal with that soon. I am trying to think of what else hurts but I am so tired. I've been drawing monsters, Jordan, I wish you could see them.
I don't know if I can go over all the ways I was mean to you. I don't know if I'm ready to. I am forcing myself to think about the things that I hated. I don't know when it started that I felt like you had grown distant from me, but I'm pretty sure I caused it. I feel like I've been tricked. I feel like I lied to myself, I feel like you lied to me, and I feel like I was led away from you. I think that's me not accepting responsibility for my actions. I'm working on that.
Being here is very unappealing. I hate this place and I don't want to spend much time here, but my options are limited right now. I don't know where else I'm going to go yet. I'm saving up and I'll be somewhere else by New Year's. I can't really do standup right now. I haven't been able to write anything outside of these journals and the idea of climbing on stage just sounds like a melt down (further meltdown) waiting to happen. I'm having trouble looking anyone in the eye. I check my e-mail and feel like I've climbed a mountain. Most of the time I just want to sleep. I don't know what I think will happen when I wake up.
Today has been a lot of things, but in some ways it's been calmer. I am angry at you, I am angry at myself. I am sad, I am looking forward. Mostly I am thinking about how much this period of time is going to suck, but it also doesn't seem to stretch on forever. I saw my brother and talked to him a lot. I can hear how all over the place my thoughts are.
I know that if I saw you and you'd ask me, I'd be yours again, whether or not that's a good thing, but it would be so difficult to know what to do. In my head we'd sit in silence for a very long time. It would be starting over. Kyle pointed out that if I'm starting from the beginning I might as well do so with someone I have no history with. I don't know. Maybe he's right, but it's still shitty.
Apparently science has studied English literature and only found six plot arcs:
I guess if you're simplifying to parabolas, this makes a lot of sense. I wonder if life is more nuanced than that, or if it's really all the same, it's just dependent on time. I've been thinking about which one I'm doing right now. The good new is, I don't think it's an ongoing fall.
Part of me is very lonely and wants to find comfort in someone. I think the worst reason to let someone touch you is because you're lonely. That's what I liked about you; we grew together for a long time before we grew apart. I am hoping that we are in the middle of the rise-fall-rise, but who knows. I am starting to accept the reality of you not being around, whether or not I like that idea. I don't really want anyone else to be near me, but I don't really know how long it takes for loneliness to take over my brain. I'm not drinking so I probably have more resolve than I have had in the past.
I have been thinking about when you saw me this October and I had marks on my neck and you had such a defeated look on your face. You were helping me fix my bike. I think a lot about the reasons why I cheated on you. I don't know if I have the energy to talk about it yet, but I am processing. It wasn't an isolated incident and I really don't want to be the kind of person who does that to someone they're with any more. I wish that's a line I never crossed.
I want to learn how to be more honest about how I feel. I tried to, but for some reason I felt like you couldn't hear me. I wanted so badly for you to hear me and I'd get so frustrated. I don't know, maybe you did. Maybe I was expecting something weird.
I remember once when I lived in that house with Naomi and I called you a bunch of times one night. I don't remember why but I was freaking out. You were really drunk when you finally picked up, you said you didn't want to talk to me and hung up the phone. I thought that was it. Naomi and I went for a walk while I tried to process that you were done with me and when we got back to the house you were waiting for me on the porch, worried about all those missed calls and you didn't remember talking to me at all. That was about four years ago, the last time we did this.
I think I wanted you to chase me. I guess that feels nice, it makes you feel wanted when someone chases you. The problem with doing anything public and social is that a lot of people chase you, so it sucked to feel like you didn't want to. You were the one I wanted to think I was special, and I was just a house cat in your mind. I get that it's an absurd thing to ask of someone, especially after how long we'd been together. I was never secure. I don't know if I could peg you being distanced to my lashing out, which one came first, but they certainly didn't help each other.
I hope you remember the times I did try to talk to you about how I felt. Maybe you just didn't know what to say. I'm a little jealous that you're somewhere else. I guess I don't really know what you went through or what you're going through now but in my mind you're dealing with it better than me, because you usually dealt with things better than I did.
Right now I'm trying to muddle through this, and my feelings are a hundred balloons in my head and it's hard to know whether or not I should be holding on or letting them go, and which ones are meant to go where. It feels good to be out of Denver. I want to start working on being the person that would have been good to you. I want to be the kind of person who doesn't manipulate other people, who is loyal and open. I know that was me at one point in time, and I think I can do it again, whether or not you find me.
I was 17 when I met you at the coffee shop I worked at and I liked you immediately. I was disappointed that I liked someone with long hair. The split second I saw you, I knew that we would be together and I did not like that feeling. I didn't want to have that so quickly and it felt superstitious and weird to have noticed something like that.
When I met you I was in college. Before I was in college, I was not attending high school, and I guess that's where this story begins.
Jordan, I have to write this like I'm telling it to you, but you know this already and you're probably not reading it right now. I have tried to tell it to other people but it sucks, I hate being open about it. This story is 11 years old now and nearly going through puberty, and is having very conflicted feelings about its identity. I have told it in bursts to many people. Every time I tell it I get upset with myself because I wish nobody knew. I feel like I'm doing something wrong when I tell people. I think I wish nobody knew as some sort of weird parallel that if no one knows, then it didn't happen.
I don't think I had any friends at this point in my life. I have always been kind of a loner, because I've never understood people and I don't like to be touched. I used to listen to music and take long, long walks. Most of these were very uneventful. I don't really know what I did it for. Get out of the house I guess.
I am not totally sure how I met him, he either walked up to me or I had stopped at a park. Either way, we started talking and he introduced himself as Travis and I told him my name was Kira. We never got to a last name basis, and that blows my mind. My parents still don't know about him, but if they read this they will. I have been so paranoid about this because I haven't wanted them to know because I don't want them to blame themselves, but you know that already.
The day I met Travis he asked me if I was hungry and I told him I didn't know what he meant. He pointed to a lady with a baby stroller and told me she'd buy us lunch. I think at first I thought he knew her.
Travis was attractive in that way that's attractive to high school girls and not too many others; he was gaunt with black hair and bright blue eyes and looked like he had a drug problem. By the time we stopped hanging out he'd bleached his hair, which isn't relevant information but for some reason sticks out to me right now. He was very pretty, he had high cheekbones and good teeth. He did a lot of coke and he was afraid of nothing. He was 19, I was 14 going on 15, and at the time I had no concept that that would be weird.
Travis convinced the woman with the baby stroller to give him money and with it we bought pizza. He had never met her before. Over pizza, he told me that he could get whatever he wanted from whoever he wanted it from. I had a little crush on him but I told him he couldn't get anything from me, I was too smart for that. I remember him smiling a little and it making me feel giddy. I thought he had a little crush on me too.
Travis was not afraid of anything, and I guess I might have learned that from that sociopath. I learned from him that if you want something, you should just ask for it. People are usually very accommodating once they know what you want. Maybe that's why I feel so terrible when people give me what I ask for now.
I am not sure how long we were friends for. It was during when I should have been in school so I think we met in August or September. I don't really remember it being that cold and I don't remember it being near my birthday, so maybe that's not accurate. I'm terrible with dates.
Do you remember how much I hated October? Everything terrible happens in October. That's the month that Joey died and it's the month that Travis took me to the park because he wanted to show me something. We went into the men's room and I got very scared, but I also had that good kind of nervous that comes from someone you like wanting to show you something. He wanted to show me a knife, and he told me to get on my knees and I thought he was joking.
I don't even think I was scared, it was too surreal, but there I was, in the corner of a park bathroom. I still don't go into park bathrooms, babe (should I not call you that?) He put that knife on my throat and pulled out his penis and I remember wishing that the knife was bigger because it didn't seem so threatening but I was obeying it anyway. I didn't look at it, I looked at him, and then when I couldn't do that I looked to the side. When I looked to the side I saw shoes in the stall, dirty black shoes. I was looking at those shoes with someone's penis in my mouth and I hadn't had my first kiss yet.
How do you ask a pair of shoes to rescue you?
I wasn't really scared, I just didn't understand what was happening. I was trying to figure out if somehow I'd wanted this to happen, or this was supposed to happen when you have a crush on someone. I was trying really hard not to gag but your air flow is severely compromised when someone is pressing a knife on your throat and also putting a dick in your mouth. It compresses the space. To this day I don't really remember what it looked like and I don't really know how long that was happening. I think not very, because the black shoes fell forward and a passed out boy hit his head on the door and woke up. His name was Rich and he scared off Travis without really understanding what was happening. I was just sitting in the corner, I think I was crying but I think I was also laughing because it was a very strange thing to be happening. I hung out with Rich for a little bit and got high. I did not get upset about it until much, much later. Last I heard he had joined a cult.
A few months later is when I started taking pills, but I don't have a lot to say about that. It didn't occur to me until recently that maybe I was taking them because I didn't ever want to feel what I should feel when someone does that to you. I thought I was just experimenting the way teenagers do. Between those two things, I never really developed an interest in boys (or girls I guess). I assumed at that point in my life that I was going to be alone, and I didn't really liked to be touched so that was fine. I took drugs and I didn't really feel anything. That came and went and eventually I went to college and had written off Shithole Springs and all outdoor public restrooms by proxy.
I had two brief boyfriends before you, and a couple awkward college encounters that amounted to nothing. I was beginning to understand the difference between feeling alone and being lonely. I couldn't really do oral sex with anyone, and that put a huge damper on things to a lot of college guys. I wondered if I was broken.
I'm still coming to terms with the idea that what Travis did to me, he did because he wanted to feel power, and he did that by taking it from me. I am still coming to terms with the idea that most men who want me to do that only want it because it feels nice and not because they want to take something from me.
When I met you you gave me the nicest hug I ever had and I never really knew why it was so comforting. You were very shy and a little mean if you got too drunk. I liked the way you talked, and I really liked the sound of your voice (and I still don't think you get why I do). We were friends for a few months. I was not a very good friend to you, but you were a very good friend to me. You seemed to be content to be my friend if that's what it was going to be, and you didn't seem resentful about it the way "Friend Zoners" tend to be.
I remember hanging out watching a movie with your best friend who I also had some strange feelings for, and you coming home from work, and you saw us and you looked like you had just seen someone you love in the middle of a car wreck. I felt so terrible. I didn't know what I thought of you at that point but I felt bad about the look I had somehow put on your face. I would put that look on your face a few times within the next couple years.
I remember our first kiss on the porch swing. I was just by there today and felt kind of nauseous. You had solved some kind of riddle, because I liked it when we kissed in a way much different than I had liked my brief experiences before you. You made me feel safe, and you didn't question or seem upset that there were boundaries I couldn't cross. You never pushed anything but you were always there with me, and I felt like maybe I wasn't as broken by that fucking asshole. I thought I'd skipped the trauma and gone right to feeling whole. I wonder if I had dealt with that, things wouldn't have been so terrible. Maybe I would have been nicer to you if I could have admitted to myself how confusing everything felt, and worked through it before accepting it.
Jordan, I still can't stand the idea of oral sex, and after we broke up, I tried to date, sometimes that would come up and it was awful. This must be hurtful for you to hear. Some handled that boundary of mine better than others. What pisses me off is that the only reason that I'm trying to come to terms with that is because I'm an adult and I'm lonely and that's inhibiting me from physical intimacy. It doesn't have anything to do with personal growth at all, really.
I wish I hadn't tried to find someone else. I had left you and I didn't understand what I was running away from. I thought it was loneliness. I thought if I got another boyfriend to "rebound" with I wouldn't have to feel pain the same way you had saved me from feeling pain about what was stolen from me. I was prepared to feel pain, I was not prepared to find out that pain was because I had lost you.
But I didn't lose you, did I? Not at first. I left you, and there is a big difference.
Eight and a half years covers a lot of ground. I had a lot of emotional problems. You worked a lot and had a drinking problem. I'm glad that got better for you and that you're taking care of yourself. You have grown more into a man than I did a woman. It took me a really long time to figure myself out, but I always had you, no matter how much I beat you up emotionally. I don't know what you saw in me, or if it was easier for you to just hang around than it was to find someone else. I don't know what you could have loved about me. There must have been something, right?
Right now, I feel completely used and fucked up and horrible and I don't really know why. I have been tracing it back and I feel like Travis is the first thing. I used to have dreams that my tongue was a penis. I never really thought that was related. I don't think I could have ever trusted you going in with what I did. I tried to be honest, but I wasn't even really honest with myself, so... Now I have to figure what the fuck I need to do now. If I ever did see that motherfucker again I would kill him and be fine with it. The funny thing is that this is so ancient now some part of my brain scoffs that I still hold onto it at all, without taking into account I've never made an effort to let it go.
I had this silly notion the other day that you wanted me to find you, Jordan, but I know that's not really true. The idea that you don't want to see me hurts. I'm talking to myself at this point. I am so tired right now. I feel like such a failure.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.