What we are

Shower thought time: What we are, as a species, at the core of it, is hunger. Thirst. Desire. We are our needs.

There’s a reason people go to the desert to seek enlightenment – it’s because it forces us to understand our essence, which is that we are helpless in the face of our needs for shelter, food, water, human connection, and so on.

I threw human connection in there because… I was exploring a train of thought that I visit often, about how people learn to resent and dehumanize one another, and how easy it is to do when someone has something that you desperately need.

For example, a person lost in the desert dying of thirst would be justifiably furious to learn of another person turning down tap water because of the contaminants. That doesn’t necessarily make the person turning down the tap water any less rational, from their point of view, but it makes them seem heartless or even cruel, in a twisted way, to the water-deprived person.

If you know me at all, you know that this is an analogy for sexual economics, in my head, but it works for a lot of things and is an image that often pops up in my brain.

I don’t have a bow to tie this thought up with, but I guess maybe it’s worth thinking about the times you’ve been on one or the other side of this situation, and whether you could have either been more gentle with a friend who was lost in the desert, or treated someone with valid concerns about contaminated water and/or a different take on its scarcity unfairly because you were projecting a skewed world view onto them.

Personally, I’ve been on both sides of this situation many times, in various ways, some of which I’m probably not even consciously aware of. I guess that’s why I think about it so often, I’m trying to tease out the unhealthy patterns and address them.

That said, while it can FEEL like a matter of life and death, loneliness is not a situation that can be fixed by taking out your frustrations on a person with more water on-hand than you. I do understand the impulse. It may be shocking, but sweaty creeps with deep seated emotional problems are not everyone’s cup of tea, so I have been there. But. I’ve been hurt worse in the situations where I was the one in the “position of power,” which makes you start to wonder how the situation could be made better on both sides. You dig?? You jive?? Am I vibing?? Um… sick pipe dude? I think it’s time to stop talking now. Am I making sense here, to anyone?

Hi there

I’ve been neglecting the blog. What I need is a social media schedule. A weekly blog post, weekly videos, all that jazz.

It’s hard when the world’s problems just feel too big, like we’re all living our insignificant little dramas against this crazy, species-level backdrop… there are so many voices that matter, but instead of letting myself see my own as one of them, I compare myself and feel that I’m not one of them. The special ones, or whatever, like in my head they got a note from Hogwarts giving them permission to be a wizard, or something, does that make any sense at all?

Art involves an upsetting amount of freedom, is the thing. There’s no one size fits all recipe for “finding your voice,” you kind of just have to… fudge it and hope no one notices that you have no idea what you’re doing.

Right? Anyway. Same old thoughts to share, I just felt like it had been a while since I updated this.

Regarding what’s happening in the world historically right now, in case the aliens are judging my narcissism: my hope is that this is a period of purging for America and the rest of the world, and that the future has better things in store for everyone. I don’t see the point in losing hope, because hope is one of the only things we have left that can’t be commodified and hoarded by the greedy.

Hope is free, and maybe things won’t be okay for every individual, but I’m a dumb hippy who thinks we’re all connected (whatever that means, I’m not sure exactly what it means to me, but it’s a feeling, you dig?) but as a whole, I still have hope for humanity. It might be irrational, but it’s a gift that I can give myself without even doing anything.

So I guess the point of this if anyone reads it is, hey man, waddup? And also: let’s give ourselves the gifts we know we need most, and that don’t cost a thing. There are a lot of them. Hope, forgiveness, compassion, permission to be artsy weirdos, affirmations, all that dumb but important stuff – whatever it is that you’ve been denying yourself for no reason. Don’t be a dick to yourself just because it’s easier to go with the current of a toxic, shame-focused culture.

Don’t be afraid to take the side channels and get stuck in some eddies. If you’re scared of the dark, light a candle and protect it from anything that tries to put it out. Should I add another metaphor just to make this as confusing of an image as possible? Maybe the candle should be a flash light, open flames are dangerous. A

nyhoo, that’s all I’ve got.

Chasing windmills, and other such cliches

I’m not proud of this, but there was definitely a period of time where I was the pretentious kid who thought no one else understood the metaphorical significance of things in as deep of a way as I did.

I’d like to think I’m not that way anymore, I make an active effort not to assume that I “get” anything on a deeper level than anyone else does, now, at least, which is a start.

But I still have that Don Quixote-esque quality of wanting to paint my life with a romantic flair. I guess the easy word would be that I’m melodramatic.

Anyway this is another one of those times where even I can’t see the connection between the two things that I just said, so, let’s see… I just know that I’m the type of person who has, at best, one foot in reality at any given time. And usually, even that is a touch and go sort of situation.

So I guess my question is, how do you solve a problem like Cassandra? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you solve a problem like Cassandra? A will o the wisp, a flibbety gibbet, a clowwwwn…

Errrr… yeah. Supposing I’m Piglet on a blustery day, what tree do I tie my kite to? Let alone what friend, I mean Pooh clearly is liable to let go of the rope the second he sees honey, Kanga has her hands full, Owl doesn’t even have fingers, and don’t even get me started on Rabbit. Eeyore might just pop an entire bottle of painkillers at any moment, and Robin… well… he’s bound to grow up one day and then we have a toy story 3 situation on our hands.

Anyway, I’d be a lot less anxious if I was tied down to something more stable than my own… less than stable point of view. But I also don’t want to stop painting the walls of my brain in technicolor just because it makes me a quixotic nightmare of a person. Is that messed up? Probably.

Maybe nightmare is a strong word. Maybe we should just stick with flibbety gibbet or whatever they say in the song. HOW DO YOU HOOOLD A MOONBEEEEEAAAAMMM INNNNN YOUUUUURRRRRRR HANNNNDDD.

I have no idea. At least I’m entertaining?? Idk.

Thinking you’re special

This whole time, I thought that thinking I was special was the reason I was dumb enough to have a blog/YouTube channel/whatever. But I think that maybe the thing I’m most stubbornly attached to is thinking I’m special enough to fail in ways that other people couldn’t.

How special do you have to think you are to undermine yourself as compulsively as I do?

The issue is, I might not be wrong, still. I truly might be a special snowflake of unparalleled ineptitude. It sure feels that way at times.

Unparalleled Ineptitude would be a great band name. At least my talent for accidentally creating fake band names remains. That’s not nothing lol

It’s all subjective, bruh

A bruh muhment, brought to you by Cassandra.

Bruh. It’s all, like, subjective, bruh.

We think of stuff, usually, from the perspective of a consumer. But when we’re forced (by a pandemic, or inescapable, existential loneliness…) to see ourselves as creators, producers, as seen rather than just a seer… that can get wild really, really quickly.

I think our society is structured on a value system that makes us all feel constantly insecure, no matter who we are, no matter what station we hold. I believe that we all suffer as a result, and that it isn’t our fault, but a fault of our wiring, or the way we’ve been taught to function since birth.

But I believe this, ultimately, because it’s the only thing that gives me hope that we’re capable of change. That our society can be healed, maybe, and that everything humans have done up until this point isn’t just useless garbage.

To think art is objective, you’d have to think that all audiences are identical. Right? Art depends on the audience.

If I made a raunchy joke to a group of 3 year olds, that would be disturbing. But what about humping teddy bears to attempt to bring awareness to a very serious issue facing women everywhere in the world that’s so taboo, even I, the narcissistic weirdo editing hours of her own face on her own unpaid time, had to find an elaborate excuse like youtube to even MENTION it?

Sometimes the new media landscape is just too much for me, though, you know? I don’t want to accidentally swear like a sailor in front of 5 year olds, no matter how much I believe that curse words are a concept invented by fallible human beings who usually use the concept of “curse words” as a tool by which to reinforce class boundaries. You see what I’m saying?

I am at once a 3 year old and a gross, weird, old man. I just still can’t figure out how to be both of those things at once.

*yes there are wires here that didn’t get tied up, but it’s fine because they’re not electrical wires, to my knowledge, so we can pick them up some other time without burning the house down KCOOLBYE

I have to be honest with you

I’ve been feeling really small and powerless. I’ve been listening to this Keane song over and over and just hoping that it applies in some way to my situation, and the world’s in general, I guess. I still want to believe that the world is a beautiful place where the lovers don’t always lose, you know, where good does prevail, at least some of the time. But it’s fucking difficult to keep believing that that’s true, no matter who you are, right now, it’s just more obvious for more people, now, than it used to be.

But even if some of this does apply to me, I still have a lot of regrets about ever doing anything on social media, even though I never had a choice. And I’m still convinced deep down that no one does genuinely care what I have to say. Maybe, honestly, I don’t believe that anyone genuinely cares about anything other than themselves. That’s the way I feel in my dark moments, anyway, and these days it’s pretty much always just darkness, for me.

I love Keane so much. I didn’t even know they had a new album out and I’ve listened to them more than almost any other band… yeah. Ever. If you did the math on it, they would undoubtedly be in my top 5, if not my actual number one. To be fair, they have a leg up on the competition because I’ve been obsessed with them since High School. But, like. Whatever, that’s hardly the point… but I’m just saying it’s a little insane that I didn’t even know they had a new album out. And also, if you’re reading this for some reason and also aren’t also obsessed with them, I’m a million percent certain they will change your life. Not to oversell it or anything.

I’m a little drunk, I’m sorry. But if I can literally get half naked on camera and still meet my own eye in the mirror, I guess this doesn’t feel that… you know what it is? Youtubers, bloggers, whatever, do everything backwards. They don’t start out knowing why anyone would give a shit what they have to say, you know, it’s not like being an actor or a musician who gets a record out first and THEN posts the b-sides or live stuff, it’s like… it’s like going on a date with someone you’ve already heavily sexted with. It just isn’t the same, at all, and it feels way more fucked up and there’s so much more pressure to live up to some kind of impossible standard of being both incredibly intimate and incredibly skilled and charismatic and so on, is any of this even making sense?

Anyway, I keep trying to run away from myself and that… isn’t possible. So I don’t know… I don’t know how to let myself just exist, you know. Turn my brain off and let myself post a really stupid blog post that only three people will read, but that for some reason still makes me feel naked in a way that actually being naked probably wouldn’t even make me feel. I don’t know.

It’s a good song, though, so. Let’s focus on that part, I guess.

Only want to say that I gave it all I had
That I felt afraid and I didn’t step back
Whether right or wrong
I did everything with loveFelt it all
Gave it all
Drank it allAnd we make mistakes
And they make us what we are
And we jump right in
And throw open our hearts
And we catch a glimpse of something magical
Want it all, take it all, got it allThen we love too much
Or we push too hard
Or we fly too high
Or we go too far
For a moment I was all that you could see
For a moment I was all that I could be
Nothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from meAnd our purest dreams
Steal something from our lives
They can only live
Because something else dies
But they lift us up
And they make us walk so tall
Got it all, got it all, got it allThen we love too much
Or we push too hard
Or we fly too high
Or we go too far
For a moment I was all that you could see
For a moment I was all that I could be
Nothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from meNothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from meAnd the purest dreams
Well, they make us feel so high
When you’re falling down
Is when you feel most alive
Whether right or wrong
You do everything with love
Feel it all, give it all, drink it upThen we love too much
Or we push too hard
Or we fly too high
Or we go too far
For a moment I was all that you could see
For a moment I was all that I could be
Nothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from me
Nothing can take that away from me

*unnecessary postscript: I’ve also been obsessing over Miike Snow’s videos, which you should also look into if you’re here for some reason. I’m currently making sims of the dancers in genghis khan and pull my trigger because OH MY GOD I CAN’T I LOVE IT SO MUCH

I’m kind of awesome.

I think ultimately the decision of whether to delete my channel and pretend it never happened comes down to a couple of things.*

First, I hate celebrity culture. I hate LA. I hate fame as a concept and I hate what it turns people into. I hate social media and the relentless shallowness of so much of modern social life, whether or not it’s online. I hate that I ever was even tempted to play the views game, and I hate that if I kept making videos, at some point I would have to. That it’s impossible not to, that it’s just a part of the medium itself.

But it’s more than just that. I enter every new relationship by announcing my flaws. I apologize before I do anything wrong just to make sure that I’m ahead of my own blunders. I assume that I will fail or make some catostrophic, unfixable error before I even start something and even after it’s done I worry that I’m missing some glaring fuck up that everyone else can see. I avoid looking in the mirror more than a few times a day because otherwise I’ll obsess about the thing that may or may not be obviously stupid about my appearance that day.

Basically, I start from the assumption that I either am doing something wrong, or soon will, and go from there. And with YouTube, the goal isn’t even clear which makes it a thousand times worse because according to someone, you’re ALWAYS doing something wrong.

For years I told myself I was incapable of doing anything well, that I was unskilled in anything that could pay the bills. And maybe that’s true, but my bills aren’t that high anyway. I don’t need a lot more than I already have, materially speaking.

But the truth is, maybe I was choosing to see myself as powerless because I didn’t want to also learn how to be responsible with power. And maybe I was choosing to see myself as worthless because a person who has value has to choose how to distribute that value. Maybe I’ve spent so long being afraid of my own voice that I forgot how to speak at all.

But fuck all of that. And fuck the belief that I can only be one kind of person, because I don’t see why I can’t allow myself to be both terrified and brave, both educational and silly, both overthinking and reckless, both a loner and a leader, both a deep thinker and an airhead, both dweeb and debaucherous.

I’m all that stuff, but I don’t have to prove any of that to anyone or worry that they’ll misinterpret the contradictions in who I am because that isn’t something that I can control. And I don’t want to waste my life letting the things I can’t control control me. That’s no way to live.

So maybe I’ll just have to accept that despite my flaws, I’m also kind of awesome. And maybe if other people agree, I should get out of my own way for a change and let them.

* also the humping thing and the shame and embarrassment things and all the other stuff but let’s ignore that stuff for the sake of, like, moving prose or whatever

Why do people like stuff?

Books, movies, shows, art, games, blogs… whatever it is, we all THINK we know what makes one “good.”

Any philosophy dorks are already getting suspicious but maybe even those of us humble enough not to claim to have authority on what’s objectively good… maybe we still at LEAST think that we know why WE like something.

I like Firefly for the world building and thematic depth, for instance. Or maybe I like New Girl for the heart touching comedy combined with entertaining characters and story structures. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but I THINK I know why I like things, generally.

But do I? Do we? How do we explain things that get really popular despite not being “good”? Or how do we explain why a show like Westworld or Black Mirror becomes such a cultural phenomenon where a show like Firefly stays more or less in a niche market?

And maybe more to the point, I guess I wonder… are we all our own tiny version of a TV show? With all the personal branding of modern life, how do we know what makes us like other people? What makes other people like us? And are those good reasons?

Why not play your cards close to the chest? Why take risks? Why go the extra mile? Why not just play it safe, as a personal marketing tool? You know?

I know that I’m kind of playing devil’s advocate with what’s obviously not my natural tendency but… why? How is a person supposed to decide whether they’re going to be an earnest but short-lived show, or a long-running but ultimately shallow one?

This one is dumb but fuck you for judging me

(Also they’re all dumb)

The loneliest feeling, in my opinion, is to realize that no one – not one single human – has to tell you the truth about themselves.

It’s one thing to know that they can’t – that’s a separate problem. But at least most of the time, with most people, we assume, or just blindly hope, that they’re at least, for the most part, trying to.

True, the goal of most social interaction isn’t really to form a relationship strong enough to combat existential loneliness. But it could be. And on some level maybe we always want it to be. I think I do. I don’t know why. I don’t know if that’s special, I don’t think it is.

But no one you meet, no one you know, not even your closest family and friends, owes you the truth about themselves. Or at the very least, they’re not going to be forced to tell you the truth about themselves. Not completely. Not ever. So maybe they’re hiding the truth on purpose, maybe they’re trying to manipulate you or get something out of you, but maybe also they’re just ducking human and they don’t pay that much attention at all, they just do their best to manage each relationship by ear and hope for the best.

But no one is ever trustworthy. Not really. It will always be a possibility that any or all of the people you know are lying about who they are, are hiding some enormous secret that would change the way you see them, you just can’t know. You can’t. Unless you’re conjoined twins, maybe. But you can’t know for sure, not really.

But imagine if we lived our lives actually fully realizing that. Would we even be able to function?

When I finally figured it out, I can tell you, I couldn’t. Maybe I still can’t, I don’t know.

I think maybe the reason I’m so aggressively forthright in life and online is that the betrayal I’ve been through over and over since I became an adult has been so deep and caught me so unaware that now I feel compelled to be the opposite. Because I’d rather be too open than let myself become like the people who hurt me by pretending to be something they’re not.

I would rather live and die a thousand times being too honest about who I am than die once knowing that I protected my own ego and interests when I could have helped someone else feel less alone. I just wish I could still believe that anyone else truly felt the same way.

Is this blog JUST about social media now???

So, about the YouTube thing. The world now is obsessed with social media, and I get it, it’s disgusting. One of the biggest reasons I want to delete my channel is because it horrifies me that I can’t control what other people interpret about me the second they find their way deep enough into my social media rabbit hole.

I know that you can’t control how other people see you no matter what you do, but it’s just that… I get it. The temptation to assume that I’m just another name on the infinite list of attention-hungry millennials looking for someone – anyone – to tell them they’re special, to make them feel like their mostly mundane life is actually worth paying attention to.

And I know that any good therapist or friend would say that it shouldn’t matter what people think if you know that they’re wrong… and I do know that they’re wrong. I’m not that person. I’m shy. I can crave attention and validation and spotlight, I guess, sure, but mainly I’m just sweaty, uncomfortable in my own skin, and unwilling to waste time getting to know people if they aren’t looking for the truth. The whole truth. You know?

Working with kids has been interesting. It’s been reminding me that deep down, we all just want to be known. We all were once children who would spill our entire life stories to a stranger just to remind ourselves that we exist, that we HAD a life story at all, no matter how short. Because to us, that’s all there was, so every tiny part mattered. There was no sense of proportion, of our favorite color being less important than what we wanted to be when we grew up, or whatever. It all mattered and we wanted it all to be seen.

I think that’s all adults want too, but it gets so much more complicated because we get so much more complicated. I, for example, have all kinds of weird shit in my brain and in my life that you just can’t share in most contexts, but for whatever reason on the internet, that kind of thing is fair game. Because, why? Maybe because it feels private and public at the same time? Or because everyone online is just trying to one up each other in terms of being unique and special and interesting? Or maybe because deep down I pretty much believe that the vast majority of people just don’t care enough to do a deep dive into someone else’s timeline.

That’s another thing adults and children have in common: we’re all excruciatingly self-absorbed. But kids… I think kids haven’t yet begun to see other people as fundamentally predictable, so maybe they still find other people interesting in a way adults often don’t unless they want something out of you.

Anyway. I’ve been enjoying proving to myself that I’m not the person who makes YouTube videos because they want attention or fame or whatever by taking a break from all of that. And it’s nice to know that these days, if anyone wants to creep on my social media, they have to come here. That feels nice. Less shallow, or maybe more under my control because it’s harder to misinterpret something if you’re forced to really engage with it, like you have to if you’re reading a blog post.

But uh, yeah. It hardly seems fair, being raised in the age of social media. It feels like it was never a choice, and now it’s just all so… I don’t know.

One thing about kids that I appreciate, too, is… they’re real. And that much I know to be true about me, too. When I’m not sure of anything else about myself, I will never doubt that I am incapable of being anything other than me. Sometimes that can feel crippling, but I think it’s also maybe the best thing about me, and the reason other people who are the same way seem to respond to me, why kids seem to respond to me. When you’re real, when you’re honest, and you don’t talk down to people… sometimes magic can happen.

It’s just… maybe having power is something I’m so not accustomed to that… the magic seems more scary than inviting. It all comes with a price, right? I guess the price of mine is when you’re yourself all the time… you feel… everything. Every tiny moment of the day that other people don’t think twice about, to me those are all equally important. Maybe that’s why I have such a child-like vibe about me, that in so many ways I just refuse to grow up and start seeing things through a more proportioned lens. But to be honest, even though I know it makes me seem silly and naive to a lot of people, I still kind of hope that I never do.