Saturday, September 8, 2012

62

i was doing what i do best: waiting for a customer to walk up. the music was unoffensive and frank sinatra. i saw something out of the corner of my eye, something tall, vertical, all pink, and the first thing that came to my mind was "woah, that person is in a vagina costume."

i turned my head and saw that it was a woman dressed in all pink, but otherwise bearing no real resemblance to a vagina. i felt palpable concern for my thought reflexes and then a man walked up and put a few items on the belt.

he was old and appeared sort of glum. when i asked him how was doing he cleared his throat and said "okay" very faintly, like his throat was sick. i rang up his stuff and told him his total. he paused and looked at me, smiling unexpectedly. he said something to me that i couldn't understand because his voice was so quiet. it sounded like "how are you," but with the first syllable missing, so i said, "how am i?"

"are you," he said
"how am i?"
"are you"
"umm, i'm good thanks"
"no no, just are you, are you," and at that he lifted his palms outward to indicate that we seemed to be alive and in a grocery store

i thought "this is probably happening because i'm going to die soon," followed by more palpable concern for my thought reflexes and some unease at how confrontational the question seemed, at least in my immediate interpretation of it, which was admittedly laden with fear

i said "well, does it seem like i am?"

he smiled again and said "yes, it does. i wouldn't have asked you if i didn't think you were."

we exchanged money and i watched him walk slowly across the parking lot through the window, feeling some vague but warm thing that lingered into the evening


Sunday, September 2, 2012

60: dear sad twitter

dear friends, or anybody who reads this blog, I know there are two or three of you, this is to you or whoever finds it relevant

if you recognize yourself fetishizing your own unhappiness, don’t do that

the internet allows a lot of unhappy people to congregate and use their unhappiness and confusion about the world as a really great lube for jerking each other off

it feels good to be jerked off when you’re sad

figuratively and literally 

I'm trying to put the lube down; it’s made up of this cultural epidemic of feeling bad all the time

don’t drink the kool-aid if the kool-aid is the lube

(this advice will never go bad)

I'm trying not to drink the lube-aid

I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to feel bad all the time; there are always a thousand reasons to feel bad and I’m feeling 999 of them at any given moment

for instance, we have been born into a difficult world

we have student loans and horrible politicians and no community in real life sometimes and it's hard to communicate and it's harder to find love

and I feel all of this acutely

it can seem trendy to be sad because it seems sometimes like reality is objectively sad and it is trendy to think you know what reality objectively is

you can make fun of your own sadness and come up with hilarious jokes at your own expense, except you’re so far removed from the self that you’re satirizing that it’s not really at ‘your’ expense, but at the expense of some person who used to inhabit you, someone over there, her

in my case, my sadness has been a preexisting thing caused by a chronic illness and childhood trauma, along with trying to reconcile my atheism with the fact that I went to church for a long time and believed very strongly in a god who loved me

it’s been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that most of my memories of being happy were enabled by a religion I can no longer intellectually subscribe to, though I would very much like to, even if it makes me seem dumb and unhip

I don't think you need to have an illness or childhood trauma to feel that baseline existential despair that a lot of people feel; that despair is real but these are the things that really exacerbate that despair for me, to an unmanageable level that has caused me to write this and a lot of other things

I have definitely fetishized my sadness for the sake of making jokes

I don’t regret a lot of them (a lot of them are good-ass jokes)

a lot of my favorite tweets implicate existential despair in really interesting or hilarious ways

sometimes this can be therapeutic, I think, but it gets to a point where it’s not therapeutic/only sad if you’re not making an effort to find peace/happiness/whatever while also satirizing bad things, if you are in fact very depressed while making jokes about depression

(I’m using the term ‘depression’ here to indicate anxiety and chronic loneliness/self-isolation, too)

if you’re only satirizing, you’re giving up

if you’re giving up, I’m sorry

I don’t blame you

it can take a long time for a good thing to happen, or for you to recognize the good thing(s) in front of you, maybe especially if your eyes are being damaged literally and figuratively by excessive computer use

I don't mean for this to sound condescending

I don't mean for anything in this blog post to sound condescending; I'm writing very directly from my own experience and the internet makes me lazy

try not to lose sight of how it feels to be happy, even if you only have one memory and it’s a million years old

if you lose sight though, it's okay

a million years is a long time and one memory is very few

maybe try instead to remember that you have more than one memory and it isn't so old

happiness isn't so old

twitter has been good because it has allowed me to connect with people who share my interests and some people who share my existential despair

sharing despair has sometimes resulted in feeling less alone, which can be soothing

death can seem less scary when you realize we’re all going there

sometimes this approach doesn't work at all when you realize we aren't all going in the same body

try instead to realize how horrifying it would be if we all went in the same body

try instead to imagine that maybe you panicked about being born before you were born, and then recall that you have no memory of this fear now

try to imagine death as being born again from a larger body, and that this is the last time you will ever have to fear your own birth, so why should you even feel it

it's like putting in your two weeks notice before your retirement and showing up for your last day: just don't do it

you'll never need another reference because you'll be eating BLTs on a golf course in Florida or some shit

sometimes using twitter to ‘feel less alone’ results in a subconscious commitment to maintaining despair, for the sake of remaining part of a community

(I'm using 'twitter' here to indicate the internet in general, too)

twitter has been good mostly, when I can manage to not be on it for too long

I have met people from twitter in real life and I love these people

I have felt very strong feelings for someone on twitter

I have felt beautiful because of someone's tweets

I have laughed til I cried

I have shared my writing on twitter and have had people tell me they enjoy my writing and look forward to blog posts, which has given me some much-needed writerly self-esteem

I have waited in waiting rooms at hospitals, texting back and forth with twitter followers who lifted my spirits with jokes and sexts and pictures and just plain words of encouragement

when I was hospitalized three weeks ago for kidney-related issues, one of my followers texted and dm’d me many words of encouragement and shared her story of her own illness and sent me a picture of her pet rat

one time I waited two hours in a windowless room for my doctor, and poncho texted me that if you repeat “steak” enough times really fast it starts to sound like “dicks”

it took a long time for some reason but he was correct

I felt self-conscious and skeptical waiting for it but it definitely sounded like "dicks"

one of my tweets got recognized here and I felt really cool http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/balloonboy/2012/06/top-10-literary-tweets-of-the-week-vol-11/

steve roggenbuck found me on twitter and his tweets connected me to friends and writers that I really enjoy

I dealt with insomnia by laughing with some of these people in tinychat until three in the morning

twitter also made me realize that I had been interested in comedy for a long time, and then it made me realize that I could be funny sometimes, and then it made me realize I wanted to try stand-up comedy

I didn't feel funny before twitter because I didn't have the confidence to make jokes that people would laugh at

I made the jokes on twitter and a few people laughed and I felt like I could try it off-screen

I’ve done stand-up a few times now and every time has been very fun and rewarding and I want to keep working at it

the realization that comedy is maybe my biggest passion has led me to the conclusion that I want to move to new york next year, and I feel pretty certain that this will happen somehow

so the paradox is that twitter has helped me to discover and cultivate interests like comedy, writing, also books, and even friends, but at the same time it can be misused, like any other good thing, like an endless pint of ice cream that is sometimes inexplicably "down" or "over capacity"

twitter has been really great in so many ways, and still is a lot of the time but I need to really own up to the fact that I need to get help for depression

people are worrying about me and I am worried about hurting people I love 

I’m not writing this in an “I’m such an important twitter figure celebrity that I’m justified in writing a long-ass blog post about this for my thousands of fans who are intensely interested in and want more clarity re: my life” type of way

I don’t have that many followers and I think that, again, literally two or three of you read this blog

I’m writing this for myself but also because I notice that some of you tweet about having very severe depression or anxiety

if you’re really honestly depressed, twitter friends and other friends, try not to get more depressed via gratuitous misuse of a very entertaining place to seek support but also to wallow aimlessly before an adoring audience

try to be vigilant in not romanticizing hopelessness

hopelessness sucks

try to not lose sight of the fact that hopelessness sucks and things that don’t suck* might be worth fighting for

fav if you like this

retweet if obama killed your dog


*see: feeling less than 999 out of the one thousand reasons to feel bad at any given moment, jerking off IRL, love