Teetotaled!

BLORG! ON RECOVERY AND ALSO OTHER STUFF

Self indulgence, relationships, journal, attention

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last post and I think it was pretty hypocritical and dumb. I scream into the darkness about people who are dumb for blaming the system and then I still get so, so angry at people who are close-minded or misogynist. That’s pretty exhausting and silly. Yeah, maybe anger is a powerful driving force, but so is anxiety- holding onto things so that they can drive you to create is effective in the short term, but limit the emotional growth that art and life are about. There are a lot of people who I feel mistreated by who dislike me because they feel mistreated by me as well. And we’ll always see things differently and want an apology and the relationship to exist on our own respective terms, I’ll want them to be eternally respectful of my feelings and wants and needs and they’ll want me to do the same. A lot of people don’t understand that asking for boundaries in a relationship to feel safe is different than demanding contact to feel reassured and safe. That insisting on privacy and respect for personal space is a request that it is an invasion to deny since those things are basic human rights [probably, I’m not gonna google UN or anything]. Some people [MEEE sometimes in the past] see their overwhelming need for closeness as a right they are also entitled to, and while it feels equally important for their own safety and confidence, it is not something that you are entitled to, not a need that a refusal to meet can be categorized as disrespect unless it disrespects the terms of some kind of contract you’ve agreed on about the nature of your relationship [silent, legal, pattern, whatever]. If you aren’t comfortable with someone having such boundaries, the insisted distance makes you feel rejected or hurt, the right thing to do is either respect them and wait patiently, hoping that they will be lowered by respecting them, or just walk away- it is a violation to break an established boundary, whereas it’s not a violation to refuse to give into someone else’s desperate desire to break it.

This is the grey area in rape, abuse, lotta stuff. If you manipulate, threaten, trick or badger someone into doing something they aren’t comfortable with, is it a violation? What if the manipulation is deliberate? What if the threat is just intimidation, not direct physical violence? What if the aggressor is drunk and not entirely in control of their attack? 

I think there’s a lotta stuff there that’s really hard to condemn people who are so unaware of their emotional reality. And I don’t think being angry or viewing yourself as a victim makes you stronger [IN THESE SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. NOT RAPE OR REPEATED PHYSICAL ABUSE OR OTHER CLEAR VIOLATIONS AND LIFE OR DEATH TYPE STUFF WHICH IS HORRIBLY COMMON AND REAL] I just think that despite feeling violated and scared a lot of the time I was in my last relationships, I wasn’t a victim. I was a participant. And in some ways I was just as bad, because by succumbing and not standing up for myself and not leaving sooner, I was a liar. They didn’t realize how unhappy I was because jeez, first of all they were really unhappy too, and also because I stuck around when I didn’t want to and didn’t demand what I wanted like they did. I can’t keep pretending I’m angry at people for not realizing how much they were hurting me when silently allowing an emotional gap to grow hurt them just as much. 

Abuse is a strong word. Predator is a strong word. Some people are too out of control of their lives and their emotions to realize that the only way they know how to be close to someone is to feel like they have total control over them, and when it feels like their grasp slips their raging id takes over. But at least in my case, in spending time with people like that, in sometimes BEING someone like that, they are no more unhealthy than the people who continue to enable that while pretending they aren’t festering with silent resentment. This is the anatomy of a dysfunctional relationship. It’s a cliche for a reason, but until you can accept yourself and treat yourself with compassion and respect rather than trying to hurt yourself or find ways to validate yourself, you have no damn business letting someone else become your sexual and emotional partner. If you can’t control your emotions, you’re not gonna find someone else to do it for you.

RANT.

Right. Of course you guys think that iam secretly fucking my best friend and don’t feel self conscious about grilling all my friends about it, of course that’s the discussion I 

prompt. Because I’ll always just be Scotts ex girlfriend to you. Not 

because you’re closer to him, because that’s the way you think about all 

women. Mot of you don’t understand us, that we’re just people like you, You really can’t understand how my best friend can see me as a person and an equal because  I have a vagina, and that’s how you see women.

And it comes from the place of all ignorance, all hate- an unwillingness to admit that you’re terrified of something thats different and to acknowledge it. So instead of facing your fear and realizing we aren’t that different from you, you demean 

us and don’t treat us with common human courtesy or respect.

being. 

You’re such smart and talented people and you’re everything I hate about 

smart, talented people, about myself. You’re emotionally stunted and still

defined by the pain of your adolescence, of growing up an outsider and a dork. You pretend not to care 

about things you care deeply about because you want to project an air of 

caprice. You finally have respect and power and people who think 

you’re cool, and keeping that matters more to you than being happy, or 

honest, or growing. You’d rather be admired for who you want to be than accepted as yourself. You’re completely blinded by what people think of 

you. Don’t you realize that the point of creative work is letting that shit go and coming forth as your true self? Why aren’t you interested in overcoming your obsession 

with illusion, why do you embrace its comfort instead of fighting against it? You love your mom but you’re so mad at her, you’re not complacent 

about the probability that you won’t end up a famous or even a working 

artist, you’re upset and terrified by it. You want to push harder and make 

better things, to challenge yourselves instead of sitting on your friends 

shoulders and calling yourself tall and blaming the audience for being 

dumb. You blame the system but desperately want it to reward you without 

having to succumb to it. And I feel the same way, but I don’t feel 

entitled to shit because I know I’m choosing this path. I’m not getting 

booked because I’m not nearly good enough, I’m still trying to get totally 

comfortable onstage, dicking around in my brain up there, trusting myself 

and my talent, connecting with the audience. Maybe it’s cowardice, but 

that really feels right right now. If one day I get tired and change 

focus- work toward a tangible goal rather than just making the stage my 

safe space where I can be and do and try whatever I want- if I start being 

driven to do standup for a reason other than it being the love of my life 

and the only way I know how to live…. I won’t rage against the kind of 

material I’ll be limited to or not being able to do things exactly the way 

I want, I’ll use those parameters to make the best stuff I can. If it 

takes a long time I won’t rage against the injustice, because that’s the 

way things are. It’s not selling out if you’re still being honest. You can 

be smart and accessible if you’re fucking smart about it.

I do fucking rage about misogyny in comedy, because there is absolutely 

nothing I can do about it other than writing awesome material on gender 

politics, which has become my main wheelhouse because anger gets shit 

DOOOONE son. People assume the audience is on my side because I’m a pretty 

girl, that because my material is more personal and emotional I am doing 

"women’s comedy", compare me only to other female comics and assume I feel 

like I’m at the top of my game if I’ve cornered what they view as a niche market. And 

all I can do about that is try not to conform to the clever-while-not-

what-I-consider-funny, simple, terse and naughty one-liner type material 

female comics are rewarded for/generally succeed with. I did that when I 

started, and I’m glad I did because it was like riding with training 

wheels- whether the laugh is there or not, the joke is clear and 

understood. Setup, dirty/self deprecating reversal. The wheels are off 

now, and I still have crutches and things I’ll put off trying because I 

feel fairly sure people won’t find them as funny as I do, but mostly I do 

stuff that IIIIII like because I’m doing this for me and I want to be 

honest and connect with the audience. I feel bad when I don’t have some 

things I know will hit because I don’t want to be self-indulgent [still do 

it a lot obvi, clearly pretty comfortable being self indulgent as I’m 

posting this insane meandering rant that probably even Amy and Kath have 

already bailed on].  

Buuuut yeah. Let’s tie these thoughts together and take a nap. I 

understand that it’s easy to write off women as a different species of 

comic rather than peers because I honestly believe women are rewarded more 

immediately in comedy, as in life, for adhering to what the system wants 

them to be, conforming to what dude bookers imagine the audience wants 

them to be. But there are so many women waging the uphill battle and being 

skilled enough to not be denied rather than feeling defeated and lazy and 

trapped in simple, silly jokes and a cute persona. Who are proving people 

care what women think enough to listen to them for a long time, who are 

showing people that women are JUST PEOPLE. I wish that the comedy 

community would catch up, but I can’t hold my breath and just have to get 

so goddamn funny I can’t be denied. Whatever, I’m patient.

Musingz

For the past month and a haif, my hours have been cut back at work. Despite still having a decent nest egg, decent income, and plenty of friends and creative projects to keep me busy, my quality of life suffered drastically. The discipline of “starving artists”, the bon vivant lifestyle of expatriate writers, all the glamourized ideas of brilliant creators who were made better by indulging their sickness- that’s bullshit now. In a world with technological distractions at your fingertips, a world where addiction and depression are recognized as mental illnesses that can be treated instead of innate and permanent character defects - that miserable, drunk, yet prolific and brilliant artist is becoming an always scarcer creature. And yet the archetype remains glorified, at least in my mind it is my scapegoat for wasting time- “I am not escaping by sleeping/pining/thinking about my childhood/fucking/drinking. I am facing my inner demons bravely”. Um, no. There’s only so much conducive time you can spend playing with your own shit.

I cannot complain about having the luxury of time. I know I’m just still too dumb and undisciplined to structure my free time in a way that I can successfully and consistently create art. Making stuff I like is currently, usually based on the caprice of inspiration. The necessary structure and discipline to make things that I like often because I am making constantly  might take years and years to figure out. But having been lucky enough to be asked to collaborate in several time/all-consuming creative projects lately, I am more confident and fruitful than I’ve been in months… and when they end, when my streak of luck ends, I need to have collaborative projects lined up to block my time. That or get a second job. Its just too hard to write both constantly and well on your own when you’re working freelance for a boss you hate.

Don’t Take My Stuff Please

Well, I think a lot of things. For one [and this based on intuition which might have influenced my trainn of logic] I think you heard my idea and reappropriated it. When I first saw your status that “you’d made one of the most controversial films of the year” for a contest with the theme "Film du le Femme" without "having a female lead" I knew. Call it women’s intuition. And its that reason I think my belief is true… you know that it isnt yours. Its a lot like the Louie and Dane Cook argument from that show Louis Ck does, whatever its called… Dane asks “why would I take your jokes? I’m doing so well”. I don’t think you took it on purpose. Honestly, contemplating that is beyond me and you seem nice. 

But I started doing this character around Dallas comedy at least once a week about two months ago. Literally all of your friends/collaborators heard me either pitch this bit or saw me perform it. I wrote a spec script for your webseries that never actually got made that had THAT EXACT CHARACTER tailored to fit the parameters of your existing premise/characters, a tweaked version of that character featured predominately in the script. It was forwarded to you and all of your friends/collaborators and was written for the actress who eventually played her in your film. The script was rejected point blank because “there were too many writers in the room”. I was rejected point blank from your writing group a year before that on the basis that I was “a girl”. [still am]

Also, the fact I made this first was brought to everyone’s attention because no one is moustache twirling evil here. One of the writers on your crew who had seen my character acknowledged that I had created this first but I guess it was quickly determined to press forth undeterred was ok due to parallel thought? And I get that. Honestly the controversial aforementioned Louis C.K. bit that Dane Cook “stole” was actually a premise first used by Steve Martin in… gahh whatever record came with that “best fishes” poster. “A great trick to play on a kid would be teaching him the wrong words for stuff”. See, that’s a premise a lot like misunderstanding the significance of movie titles or talking about your father raping you: always funny and old as time.

But this feels really not ok for a bunch of reasons. For one, [at least] one of your writers had read both the script and my character several times and still agreed to collaborate with you. There are several elements of my specific character present in your film, such as being poorly disguised, having overtly, ridiculously, and unfunnily misogynistic, and having a big “reveal” towards the end of her set that “shocks” everyone. But you didn’t care that you were incorporating elements from my work, either directly [accidentally] from a source who read it or indirectly. You knew that I had made something a lot like this and didn’t bother to consult me at all. That is another really strange thing to me.

I know I’m probably wrong. I know it was probably all an accident and I shouldn’t get my panties in a twist. You just thought of a similar thing right after I thought of it, thought often travels that way. But the thing that drives me nuts is A] You knew how similar it was and didn’t acknowledge it to me, which denotes either cowardice or sheer lack of respect B] You let people work on your script who had read and seen my character and C] This character was my way of explaining a feminist stance on misogyny in comedy in a way that opened a dialogue, maybe only internally, maybe for one person. It was made to put angry feminists like myself in a light as honest as the comedy that makes some of us yell “no more rape stuff pleeeeease”. To see it made by a bunch of guys who wrote NO FUNNY LINES for the woman playing her and made it a showcase of how well you guys can make fun of misogyny, then not acknowledge that perhaps coincedentally I did that exact same thing to begin with and wrote copy of it FOR YOU… well… makes a girl have to go back and write a new character.

I’m so tiiiiired this is cheeeesy

This is the end of the story. You forgive him and admit you love him. You 

admit that that deeper than your ego, of feeling rejection or anger or 

desperate for belonging, there is one truth. Perspective, interpretation 

are all subjective. But love is the truth. You will never understand other 

people fully as you only have yourself, you cant comprehend simultaneity. 

You are alone and always will be. But you can trust that there is 

something deeper happening, not determined by feelings or whether behavior 

is right or wrong. There is a visceral connection. Love is not a series of 

chemicals firing off in your brain or an attachment. Its not “never 

boasting” or whatever Corinthians says. Thats the best way to practice it, 

to take care of someone the way you desire to because you really 

understand what you need, what they need, that when they hurt you hurt, 

the nature of this cosmic link. Connection feels urgent and desperate 

sometimes and it gets messed up and you can’t hear each other because your 

heart is screaming for what you need. But when you know you don’t need 

anything, when you are with someone and living without fear running your 

life, deep down you know that its not about you. Sometimes it is, for 

many, maybe me, it always will be, but that doesn’t make me an island. I 

am bonded to all I let into my life not by the significance or way my 

brain interprets them, as foe or mother or cat or whatever, but because we 

are a universal consciesceness, a part of a beating heart of the world. We 

are all alone but we are all alone together.

iiiiiim a show about gyyyypsies

aaand the award for weirdly brilliant career choice goes to Minnie Driver in The Riches. Clearly Eddie Izzard has talent any maybe those child actors pretending to be thurr supposed spawn i guess but thats where it begins and ends, directing writing other actors are clumsy at best, intentionally awful at worst.. i need to get cast in like a stage version of ishtar written by neil labute so i have material to triumph over like Minnnnie in this. ok, deal. first step is i have to pretend to be good at acting

Don Draper Takes Flight

Don Draper Takes Flight

Note: spoilers

Note: this is  lazy and bad, trying to get a not comedy thing written per day to make myself be better through shame rather than getting paid/graded to do so

Mad Men Season Six finaLEEE

I love a good recovery story, so much so that I myself am constantly self sabotaging to hit my bottom and come back up. There are many films about codependence in alcoholism and people who fall in love through their shared love of booze, arguably the only love for someone else a real alcoholic is capable of. While Don Draper has struggled with his drinking throughout the course of the season, losing control and functioning less effectively while dealing with grief, most notably in Season Four as he deals with his divorce and the death of Anna Draper. Eventually Draper realizes the jeopardy he is putting his personal and professional life in and spends a moment looking at a glass of whiskey. The camera takes his POV and as he contemplates the brown elixir, the meeting around him fading out of focus. He decides then to back off the booze and reinvent himself once more, impulsively deciding to reinvent himself once more, marrying his secretary after spending a week with her.

In Season Six, Don falls even deeper into self destruction. Though in Season Five he seemed to have hope that perhaps his love for Megan would save him, perhaps the ability to be completely honest with another human being will afford him his salvation. After she proves to be a separate entity with her own wants and needs rather than a platonic ideal of a woman as smart, beautiful and in love with advertising as he is, he wants to allow her her own path. The familiar pattern emerges, and he begins Season Six in his hopeless loop of shame, lies, and depression.

What I like about this Season of Mad Men is that unlike many stories about alcoholism, Don’s battle with boozing is not brought to the forefront until the very end of the season. Don’s addiction is not to liquid courage, but to self sabotage and self loathing. The recent film “Flight” followed a very similar trajectory in terms of plot… Denzel Washington turns in an equally nuanced and masterful performance as an alcoholic and career liar hitting bottom and having a chance to emerge scot-free but entirely alone. His turnaround begins at his chance to make the easy choice instead of the right one and blame the alcohol he consumed on the only person he had an honest relationship with perhaps, in years. He has alienated his flight crew, his boss, and his family, now perhaps beyond repair. Though Nadina Velasquez is depicted naked and using drugs in the first scene, she is depicted as an innocent, someone who has dealt with a lifelong struggle with substance abuse but is still capable of a truly selfless act: sacrificing her life to save a young boy. She is innocent because unlike Whip, her life of self destruction hasn’t taken her to a place where she is incapable of such a thing, while we have never seen Whip do anything but get drunk and cover his ass. Realizing this while grilled by Melissa Leo [who does her usual good work here, but must have had most of her scene left on the cutting room floor or filmed this before she became hot poop], he spares her legacy,  tells the truth and takes full responsibility, his own first sacrifice, leading ultimately to him regaining what the film heavy handedly reveals is his most important relationship: not his new girlfriend, but his estranged son.

Draper is also given the choice to swallow his pride for an innocent, and he makes the wrong one. Rather than being honest about Sally seeing him schtupping the neighbor, what creator Matthew Weiner has described as “the worst moment in both of their lives”, he chooses to tell her she misinterpreted his noble act of “comforting” her as “fucking on her” [my words]. His turnaround occurs tonight and is ultimately for someone else who is trying to make a sacrifice… Ted Chaough leaving to protect his family… and destroys his career in the interest of being honest, “shitting the bed”, ruining the pitch to Hershey’s, letting down his bosses and ultimately getting fired. The difference between the ways these two stories are portrayed is all about nuance. Perhaps after a season with Flip, we could examine his self loathing, how his drinking began, his other self destructive behaviors. But instead, alcohol is always depicted as steering the plane, an explanation of alcoholism far too black and white to be the actual case. Don drinks for a reason, not simply because he can’t stop. Don drinks to destroy himself.

Death

Me with shrink played by Bruce Willis:

LD: I mean its probably nothing, I’m just an anxious person

But sometimes I get kind of cold

I feel like this weird prickling in my neck and arms

oh, and then of course i see dead people

I mean, I’m probably overreacting

BW: Wait what happens?

LD: I guess I would describe them as like these sudden chills

BW: No, the other part

LD: (gesturing to neck and arms) Tingling, or even a “prickly” sensation

BW: No that stuff is normal, but the dead person thing

LD: yeah it happens right before that. do you think it could be MS or diabetes or tired blood-

BW: No, the physical things seem incidental

LD: Are you sure, because also when I floss for the first time in a couple of weeks,

my gums bleed

BW: That happens to everyone, can we talk about-

LD: And after I eat a lot of asparagus, my pee still smells the same

BW: Ok, but lets get back to-

LD: Also everyone else seems to love the Lumineers, Is something wrong with me?

BW: They have a certain folksy-

LD: Oh last one, if I stare at the sun too long I see colored spots all over the place

BW: Can we get back to- yknow, you really shouldn’t stare at the sun

LD: (sheepish feigned guilt) ugh I know, I’ve really cut back lately

BW: Let’s talk about the dead people you’re seeing

LD: Seems like kind of a waste of time, no offense.

BW: What do you mean, no offense?

LD: I just mean its too late for the dead people, they’re already… well.. you know. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Stares at therapists belly)

BW: I don’t understand (camera pans down to bloody wound he is unaware of) 

LD: Nothing, I don’t know. Can I just get all my prescriptions renewed? (List includes Xanax, Adderall, trappist ale and Fen-Phen)

Sober October!

I started drinking again after a year of sobriety last September. Well, that’s not really true. I drank a swig of listerine twice, I binge ate and purged once or twice a week then starved and counted calories obsessively the first 8 months of sobriety, then after I kicked that I’d buy inhalers of Benzedrex once a week and eat the cotton inside- a cheap, jankety stimulant that kept me up all night writing jokes and doing weird minty burps.

I decided to drink again September 1st. I drank a bunch of cough syrup the night before, too much, and tripped for a day straight. It was the first time I’d ever tripped and was also very weird and jankety, but as I started to come down, I had the very clear epiphany that I wanted a dark beer. I wanted to drink it for the taste, because dark beer is very delicious. I had been chemically altered for far too long and was really bored of it, and realized I had no ulterior motives and just wanted a damn beer. I had 2 Shiner Oktoberfests that night, and they were the best beers I’ve ever had. I felt like Charlie Bucket when he found ten dollars in the ice and ate two Wonka bars after living on cabbage soup for years. 

I was very careful for the first two weeks of drinking not to drink liquor or become inebriated. But soon, I started breaking my rules and feeling very guilty about it. I’m also in my first serious relationship which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because of all the feelings and the terror. I started to drink those feelings, because that’s what I did for 5 years. I got drunk before I went up at open mics, because it makes it easier not to care about what the audience thinks. It usually didn’t go well, because most of the time they had to be thinking “Hey, that girl is pretty drunk”.

The cycle of alcohol abuse is an easy thing to slip into- I think you’d be hard pressed to find a drinker under the age of 30 who hasn’t slipped into it. You drink all night until you pass out then wake up feeling so crappy the only thing you can think about is when you can drink again and feel better. You become anxious about how much you’re drinking and paradoxically turn to what is still the best medicine ever made to combat fear. Your tolerance builds and you drink more. Your fear and self loathing grow and you drink more. And other than the misery you’re putting yourself through, there’s really no reason not to.

I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic. I don’t really know what that means anymore. Right now, I don’t think it’s a part of who you are that never leaves you as much as something you do. Everyone has way of avoiding their pain and feelings, smoking, eating, sex, and it’s rare that a person finds real peace with those addictive behaviors whether they quit them or not. What I do know for sure is I like being sober more than I like being drunk. I know that I’m very impulsive and I worry constantly. I know that if I’m upset about something, I drink heavily to stuff those feelings down into my belly. I know I’m a better writer, a better comic and a better person when I’m not drinking. When I am drinking, I’m mostly concerned with putting the right things inside of me to make me feel as happy and well as I can be. When I’m not, I’m closer to the essence of who I am- someone who believes that in this life we’re all a team and helping and connecting with other people to make this world a better place is the only way to give this silly, strange dream of an existence some meaning. I know that unlike the five years I spent in a stupor, I’ve found other things in life that bring me much greater joy. I fear that if I continue to drink heavily, the pleasure center in my brain will get all fucked up again and writing and reading and fucking and hugging my boyfriend will only be fun if I’m drunk while I do them. 

I’d like to be able to drink normally some day, not so much because I enjoy drinking and connecting with fellow drinkers, but to make peace with booze. About half of alcohol abusers who take a period of abstinence are able to do this. I’d like to never worry about gaining weight or eating too much, but that’s something I’ve battled with far longer than alcohol and the world is, well, it is the way it is. I know it’s something I don’t actually care about, my brain just does a weird thing when I feel scared and out of control where it processes my little body as large and fleshy. The way I respond to feeling powerless is to restrict my food intake so I feel some control over something. I’ll continue to fight to be healthy and happy, but if I have to deal with these issues my whole life, that’s pretty ok with me. Pretty amazingly lucky that this is my pain in life instead of poverty or AIDS or the various life or death struggles of 95% of the world. Plus I have a lot of people I love and get to write stuff that you read and say stuff into a microphone that people listen to. Anyway, this is who I am, warts and all, and thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about my weird baggage. I’d really love to hear about yours sometime.