Not that I’m not ecstatic, but now that you’re employed again I admit I feel a little uncertain about being such a massive bag of fucked-up nonsense. Although maybe I should just be feeling hopeful.
First, congratulations on coming back to Community. THANK YOU for coming back to Community. I could not be happier that this thing that I love so much and that made me physically ill with sadness during parts of Season 4 is going to be brought back to life. I don’t have any expectations other than it will be YOURS and so I know that it’ll be wonderful. It’s as simple as that. And I’ll write more about it on my other un-read blog.
I had a thought yesterday that maybe I should change the name of this and take you out of it. That maybe you don’t want your name being associated with this, whatever this is. But if you really cared you could always just ask me to take it down, and, like, in statistical internet terms LITERALLY NO ONE reads this. I’ve kept it mostly anonymous because I like the freedom of that, and because I’ve been working with kids, but once I move to LA, who knows. I don’t want to make a career out of comedy because I need more structure in my daily life than that, but I do really want to push myself creatively and see what I can do when I’m not busy with school. Something Erin said on This Feels Terrible inspired me to start writing a piece, and it’s become something else, something I feel like I’ve been preparing to write for years. I know I have it in me - the one thing in this world I know I can do well is write - but I need to figure out what to do with the work once it’s conceived of and on the page.
Last weekend I was at my parents’ house - it was a rare weekend when my sister was there, too, and without her fiancee, and it was nice to be all together. But man, when it’s just the four of us my family gets revertigo pretty bad, and that means that I, despite being a competent adult, get treated like the youngest, the fuck-up, the one whose interests are considered trivial and ideas outlandishly ridiculous. And at some point in the night I mentioned off-hand that I was using a picture I took of my dad’s 7th grade yearbook as the cover photo on my Twitter profile. It says, “Dear ——, You are okay even though you are a little disturbed”. I’ve since removed his name from it, but he got pretty upset. He got even more upset when I revealed that the other picture I had taken of the yearbook was my background. It was the cover, and next to a picture of a boy under a tree my twelve-year-old father had written, “I AM A FREAK” “I AM CONCEITED TOO” “MY NAME IS RON PILSNER”. Aahahahahahaha, right? But the boy’s name was not actually Ron Pilsner, duhdoy, I have had to change it lest the real victim of my dad’s passive aggressive bullying someday google himself and find this.
I know, I know, the internet is fucking nuts, and you have to be careful what you put on it. And there are other reasons for my family in particular to be legitimately concerned with internet privacy, THOUGH NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THEM UNTIL LAST WEEK. I can’t really talk about it. It’s still surreal to me. They would probably be upset just knowing that I’m writing this infuriatingly vague paragraph right now. If you’re really interested (and you should be, it’s pretty interesting), ask me in person. But anyway, neither of my parents really understand about Twitter or blogging or, like, how the internet functions, and they certainly don’t understand about the personal storytelling phenomenon that has been changing comedy and inspiring my own work. And obviously I’M still figuring all that stuff out for myself, but it doesn’t help when they have no concept of what it is I’m doing or how to relate to it. Unfortunately, for them, it all comes back to one thing: David Sedaris.
They brought him up again at the dinner table. They’re afraid that I’m going to air all of our family’s dirty laundry, Sedaris-style, and open their business up for the world and our neighbors to see. What business? That my mom is a wonderful therapist who makes terrible puns, stands up to my dad only slightly less than she should, feels bad when she’s overly critical and lets me call her on it, and is a lot of fun? That my dad is a lot like me in many ways - anxious, funny but socially awkward, overly loquacious, opinionated, stubborn, shameless - but without any of the self-awareness or drive to change? That he has a strangely emotional temper on occasions, and used to be a hippie but is now a businessman who lives in a hippie town? THAT IS BORING. Like, I love my parents a lot, and they are far from perfect, but I don’t want to write about them except in the ways that relate to ME because it’s easy to be honest and revealing writing about me. David Sedaris writes honestly about his crazy family, yes, but his family is LEGIT CRAZY. Mine just cooks too much food at the holidays and yells inappropriately at each other sometimes. The more captivating Sedaris stories to me are the ones that look unflinchingly at his own neurotic, fucked-up behavior and refuse to look away when it gets ugly. But obviously my parents have fixated on the parental aspect.
Anyway, I’ve been writing creative non-fiction/memoir/essays whatever you want to call them since college, and even way back then my parents were afraid of me pulling a Sedaris. They’ve encouraged almost everything else I’ve wanted to pursue (except for my childhood career aspiration to be a bartender on a cruise ship), but they DO NOT like this. They don’t like me getting up there and telling what they think of as SECRETS and I think of as MY LIFE. Personally, I wouldn’t mind putting my name on this blog and having it available for public consumption. It’s entirely possible that bits I’ve written here will end up in what I eventually hope to be a book. But I do admit to being a little nervous about hurt feelings. Being from a small town, I can change people’s names, but their identities will be obvious to anyone who knows them. I struggle with the concept, but I also have all these great stories that, whether it’s a compulsive OCD symptom or not, I really WANT to tell. And I have to believe that I’ll figure out a way to do it without ruining my or anyone else’s life.
I’m hoping that meeting people in LA who’ve done similar things will help. I know you had that issue with your brother and the emails (and that your relationship to your family is obviously very different than mine), and the yearbook kerfuffle with my dad reminded me of it. But oh god, those emails were so good, and definitely the funniest thing Adam Goldberg has ever done (though it did lead to more Adam Goldberg). To me, they were both a clear case of comedy outweighing potential embarrassment. But consent is some tricky, grey ephemera, and it’s hard to know what all the rules are these days. Maybe it’s not. Maybe there’s an E-How and I just haven’t googled the right thing. And until then I’m just gonna keep writing and deal with the problems when they arise…or I decide to tell my parents about them.
I don’t know if this is a uniquely female thing, but last night I was stoned and felt like masturbating, but I had forgotten that I ordered a pizza. So halfway through the pizza guy calls and I go downstairs in my cute little sleep romper and open the door, and my hair is all mussed and I’m a little flushed and the guy gives me this look, like, “Yeah, I know you were just having sex”. But while he assumed that I was having a pizza-fueled bone marathon, in actuality I just ate half a pizza and watched Bob’s Burgers and smoked more weed until I fell asleep.
I don’t know if there’s a point here, but if there is one it’s probably “don’t assume that pretty girls aren’t just as lazy and single and stoned as you are”. Because some of them are. And they are me.
It’s a little weird writing this blog since…well, I’m not going to go too far into it because it’s personal in a nature that doesn’t only involve me, but suffice to say I had a really surreal weekend in LA post-Harmontown a couple weeks ago. I met some people that made me think a lot about my life and my priorities therein, and that inspired some of my classic compulsive honesty, shared in a classically awkward “I am inept at the internet” way. While it might end up being absolutely nothing or being kind of disastrous in terms of ever feeling cool or like an adult capable of forming connections with people I haven’t known for years, I’m happy that I put myself out there. WHO KNOWS, maybe I’ll even make a real friend, but let’s not push it; I’d be happy just to make a “smart person who doesn’t mind talking to me” acquaintance. Still, there hasn’t been a time when I’ve regretted sharing myself with someone, even when it’s embarrassing, even when thinking about it brings a hot anxious flush to my face. I know I sound oblique, but it can be exhausting to constantly explain my rather unusual behavior and this is my fucking blog that practically no one reads so really, who cares? Not you, I’m sure.
I struggle a little bit with the pretense of this blog sometimes; that I’m writing letters to an omnipotent Dan Harmon and that because of Twitter, Actual Dan Harmon (you)(maybe) might actually read them on occasion. I do it because you, as an artist make me feel safe and unafraid to open up about things that can be hard for even me to open up about. Whether or not you ever read this or care about any of it is mostly irrelevant to how useful I’ve found this medium as a way of sorting out my thoughts and keeping myself from unloading TOO heavily on other people. A friend recently inspired me to reread Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently books (which I actually prefer to Hitchhiker’s Guide for whatever reason) and I found this rather apropos passage: “What I mean is, if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain to to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your own mind.”
BUT let’s put aside this weird blog for a minute and how I wish it were funnier instead of what is, in essence, typeset therapy. I have this issue that seems to be pretty common in writers, that I’m definitely SOME sort of a narcissist but I also very often have no confidence that anybody cares what I have to say. I’m scared that the very things I love about myself are what will bring upon rejection. Meeting people in LA is strange because I want to be able to talk about my own work without sounding like a self-promoting asshole who’s just using a personal connection to network and further my own interests. The people I’ve met so far have been awesome but I’m just not sure how much I need to hold back with them. In case you can’t tell, I’m not great at holding back; I like people to know when I’m thinking or feeling good things about them which results in an absolute inability to be subtle or aloof or at all cool.
But I do I think it’s important to recognize the selfish nature of personal writing…and of my habit of writing letters telling people, people who didn’t ask, how I feel. My friend says that it’s rude because it forces people to consider their own feelings and if they want to share them or not, but I dunno, I try to be clear that I don’t have any expectations of folks responding to me in-kind. As I’ve told you before, my brain works in ways that make it difficult for me NOT to be honest and open with others, but I definitely don’t assume that anybody else has the same affliction because obviously most don’t. But leaving behind my own strange proclivities, personal writing in general assumes an audience’s interest in MY LIFE. Regardless of the fact that my life has been somewhat unusual and that I’m willing to talk about it honestly and that I’m a good writer and people laugh when I tell stories and that I love myself and think that this is where my talents lie…I still struggle with the concept of forcing myself into some small arena of the public consciousness by thinking that people will care what I have to say. That fucking “to assume makes an ass of u and me” platitude has been repeatedly washed into my brain and so I am always loathe to assume that anybody likes or knows me at all…and so I just sort of do what I want and try not to care what other people think. I don’t have any burning desire to be famous, but I don’t mind strangers knowing intimate details about me if they care to know them.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about having a podcast, long before Harmontown became this shining example of what a podcast could be and become. My friend Kate and I would get high and have really long, in-depth conversations about sex and pop culture and politics and a million other things, and I often thought about recording them because somebody suggested it once and I KNOW it sounds like a classic stoner thing to say, “Oh, we should record this!” but no joke, some of those talks really were pretty stupendous. But I have also been poor for a long time and in college it really affected my sense of motivated possibility, and Kate, while wonderful, just isn’t as passionate about that sort of stuff, and was busy doing her own thing. And the idea of doing it by myself, of foisting myself on people it yet another way, was awkward. I mean, I realize that this is what the internet is FOR, basically. Millions of people put themselves out there and expose themselves and if other people find it worth consuming, they will. But while I’m good at creating content I absolutely hate marketing it - marketing myself, essentially - and that’s where I’ve stalled.
I’m a poet, too - it’s something I don’t generally bring up right away with people, because if someone calls themselves a poet it conjures connotations of pretentious hipsters who write about things they think are edgy, or of slam poets, god forbid, or simply of someone who is living in the past. But I am none of those things…I simply write poetry like I’ve been doing since I was a child. And my poetry is good. It was my focus in college - I have an English/Creative Writing degree - and I have studied and read and written enough poetry and gotten enough feedback from people I trust and admire to know that I am pretty fucking great at it. But I’ve never put the work in to get properly published. Partly that’s because around the time I graduated college I was getting into blogging, and my writing shifted into a different direction. It’s not because I don’t think there’s an audience for my work, because I do, I just…I don’t think it’s the ridiculous insular world of “professional” poetry. I also took a number of creative non-fiction classes in college, and that was when I started to realize how much I love telling stories about my life. That was when I discovered that I could make people laugh just by being honest. And it was when I discovered that my poetry was just another form of creative non-fiction.
So I get a little overwhelmed by all these different ways of expressing myself, each appropriate to different situations. Sometimes it makes more sense for me to just talk and see where my brain leads me. Sometimes I need to express my opinions logically and present a case to back them up. Sometimes I need to write a story down to find out where the humor and emotion are. And sometimes I need to let go of logic and just write a poem and see if I can make another person feel something. In poetry workshops we’re taught to make our poems universal. It can be telling a narrative of a specific, personal event, but it can still be universal - if the emotion and the intent are there, if it makes someone feel something real, then it’s successful. To bring it all back around - since I’m literally just having this realization right now - being taught that this universality is a goal to strive for has almost certainly affected my narcissistic belief that people are interested in my life and can relate to and enjoy what I have to say. So I should probably just stop trying to be fucking POLITE and just put myself out there. What people want, they can take, and if no one wants it I’ll move on to something else.
This post is all over the place, I know. I don’t really know what my point is, or who I’m making it to. I have a lot of confidence - in my writing, in my physical beauty, in my generally awesome life philosophies - but none of that confidence lasts forever, and I’m far from feeling that it’s a fact universally acknowledged. I’m good at being alone because there aren’t a lot of people who really get me and who aren’t just interested in what I can give. I’m an EASY person; it’s easy for me to give of myself to people, be it sexually or mentally or emotionally. What’s hard is finding others who can give back, people who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable in the hope of finding meaningful human connection. But…I don’t always feel smart or attractive or talented or awesome; sometimes I just feel like an anxious little girl who can’t keep her mouth shut.
Listening to This Feels Terrible and Harmontown has made me feel less alone; has given me hope as a weirdly honest weirdo nerd who really just likes liking things. But you and Erin are totally unique snowflakes and I worry that moving to LA I’m going to have to muzzle myself a bit to make friends and connections. I am both too gullible and too sincere; I believe people when they tell me things, even when I shouldn’t. I take people at face value and am not great at doubletalk or reading between the lines. Should I be? I don’t want to become one of those people who speaks only in cliches or thinly-veiled bitchery. I want to be able to express my admiration for someone or something, even if it’s lame, even if it makes me opens me up to criticism or embarrassment.
My ultimate problem seems to be THINKING too much…like when I write letters or communicate my feelings to people, or when I talk passionately about something I love to the point that it’s clear I’ve spent an unusual amount of energy on it…it makes them feel awkward because they haven’t been thinking about anything in the same way because duhdoy, that’s not how their brain works. This doesn’t particularly bother me because I’m used to it, but I oftentimes I think (AHHHH STOP THINKING) it creates an imbalance that bothers them, imbalance being the fern of awkwardness from which awkwardness spores are expelled, silently, invisibly permeating the air until there’s nothing left to do but look at the other person and shrug morosely as if I knew this would happen all along, before collapsing on the floor in paroxysmal spasms because the awkwardness spores have taken root in my lungs and they’ve started to bloom and
That trip to LA was TOO WONDERFUL and I just want to move RIGHT NOW and make new friends and have hot sex with similarly broken people and subsist entirely on comedy and sunshine.
It was wonderful to see you last night - once again made me appreciate the blurred Harmontown line between fan adoration and actual human connection. I told Dustin this story, but it was fucking loud in the bar and kind of botched it so I thought I’d tell it again for you.
When I mentioned I was going to the show, my sister asked me, “So…what exactly is Harmontown, again?” She knew that I had gone on stage in San Francisco, but didn’t fully grasp the concept of the show. So I started explaining about how it’s kind of a free-form, improvised thing where Dan & co. tell funny stories about their lives, and riff on subjects and talk to people in the audience and freestyle rap. “…And they have a dungeon master and they play an ongoing campaign of dungeons and dragons.” As I said this, we were walking from the beach to the car, and she stopped and looked at me and said, “Oh.” Then she burst out laughing. ”When you said you wanted to make out with a dungeon master, I thought you meant, like… … …a kinky sex dungeon master!” In between the paroxysms of laughter that followed, I explained that while Spencer is very large and bearded he’s also a very sweet, shy guy who only enjoys hurting people fictionally. Well, at least as far as I know - I shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone, particularly those with sword collections.
I’ve been thinking about writing one of these letters to you for a while; I know you’re more interested in relationship stuff than Dan, although weird sex stories ARE a grand Harmontown tradition. My dream is to one day be cool enough to be on This Feels Terrible because dear lord do I have some embarrassing stories to tell (and I lack the filter to keep me from telling them), but I know I’m not a famous comedian so until then I’ll just have to scratch my oversharing itch on here. And if, after reading this, you have any advice, it would be more than welcome.
I should’ve seen the dungeon master mixup coming because my sister is into kink, and so it’s not actually THAT surprising that she would make such an extrapolation. But I’ve been having my own sort of unconventional sex issue over the past year, and I don’t really know the best way to go about solving it. I’m not into kink or “scenes” of any kind, really; I don’t like spanking; I am uninterested by role playing. I don’t like my fucking to be interrupted by logistics. A little bit of domination is nice…hold my hands down, sure. Tie me up, maybe. Some choking can be pretty great with the right person. But keep it simple.
The one thing that I am very, very, very into is being slapped full on in the face in the middle of sex.
My parents never hit me; I was never a cutter or anything so self-destructive as that. This is not some deep-seated psychological reaction. But I just naturally seem to have a very high tolerance for pain, and when I started getting piercings (of which I’ve had 26, half of them weird surface piercings) I started getting very into the adrenaline and endorphin rush that comes from a quick, controlled moment of pain. When I get slapped, it never hurts, it’s just a rush of insanely orgasmic feeling I can feel in my brain and my body. It’s a lot like when I got my nipples pierced; a half second of neither pain nor pleasure but a wonderful combination of pure sensation.
“So what’s the problem?” asks the imaginary Erin in my head. The problem is that good, decent men of the sort I’d like to be fucking/dating/whatever have been taught to not hit women, and particularly not in the face. And I like it super hard. Some of them assume that I must be traumatized or broken to want this; some have expressed a fear of losing their erections. There haven’t been many men I’ve broached the subject with - I only worked up the courage to ask for it last year - and the ones that have agreed to do it have only done so because they wanted to please me. All of them have expressed trepidation at hitting me. Which is a good sign, I guess? I don’t REALLY want a partner who gets off on violence or anything, but this is something else. Spanking has long been considered relatively normal and what’s the actual difference? It’s just a smaller cheek.
Things with my sexymanfriend are fine, but we’re more friends than anything else these days since our relationship has naturally de-escalated after my week-long Portland sexcation. When we fuck the chemistry is amazing, but he struggles with the face slap - the concept, not the execution. The first time he hit me it was so weak that I straight-up guffawed before realizing that such a reaction probably didn’t help at all. The more we fucked the more I realized that even though he knew it gave me pleasure he really didn’t enjoy it. And that made me feel bad that I had to ask for it, so I stopped, which bums me out because it’s the FUCKING BEST.
How do I find someone who doesn’t have these hangups, and who doesn’t project their societal expectations onto me? Last year (with a bunch of fellow queers on Pride weekend, no less) we were playing a party game and a question came around that was, “What is your biggest turn on?” I had been thinking about this whole thing for a while, so on my turn I gleefully exclaimed, “Being slapped in the face!” The entire room went silent and totally judgy and looked at me as if they had suddenly found out I was the Bastard Out Of Carolina and everyone else refused to answer the question. I’m not into hentai or BDSM or mannequin legs or being an adult baby, but even if I was, who cares? We all have our things and if you don’t you’re probably holding back and missing out. When I was first getting into piercing I found out about needleplay, which if you don’t know is basically performing temporary surface piercings during sex, but it’s very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing and again, a little too complicated to make the ultimate payoff worth it. With those really specific fetishes, odds are any random person you meet and fall in love with aren’t going to have them, so you then have to select your partner from this tiny pool of self-identified people for whom the fetish is the most important qualification. I have a hard enough time finding anyone right for me ANYWAY; fuck if I’m gonna narrow down my options so drastically.
But the face slapping is not anywhere near as complicated and specific a fetish. I’m not sure it even qualifies as a fetish. And I’ve always been happiest in relationships where I’m the dominant one outside of bed and submissive (or switching, a lot of guys like a good switch, turns out) in it. I’ve even recently found myself being into smaller guys, because if they can toss me around and make me come and give me what I want, who cares how tall they are? I guess the part I need advice on is how to meet good, non-abusive men who don’t have a vested interest in being part of a kink “community” (because ugh, no) but who will hit me in the fucking face really hard and enjoy it because they know it gets me off. Please don’t say okcupid because the internet dating thing has never really worked for me (they’re always much more into me than I’m into them) and I’m pretty goddamn done with that noise. At this point I’m only on it for the pure narcissism of having strangers tell me I’m pretty.
AND JESUS CHRIST DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WOMEN that is a whole other goddamn post or maybe not because it boils down to
(a) lesbians don’t like me
(b) I fall hopelessly for straight girls
(c) women take work
(d) I am lazy
(e) I love cock.
I haven’t even considered being hit by a woman…I don’t know that it would work the same kind of magic. We might get deeper into that another time.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for being you. I should just write you and Dan and Dustin and Spencer these letters all the time; they always make me feel so much better. I’d include Jeff, too, but I have a feeling he’d just go, “he heeeee” and try to get me to make out with Spencer on stage (“Making out on stage: everybody leaves.”).
Jesus, it’s been way too long since I wrote you. This is how it has always been with any sort of journaling in my life - way back to my first diary when I was six years old. I wrote like two entries and then realized that my life wasn’t anything like The Babysitter’s Club and went back to making weird elixirs and building forts in the forest and reading Calvin & Hobbes. There have been periods of time, most notably 7th to 8th grade, when I kept an actual diary…and then when I was 15 I discovered LiveJournal, and was pretty hardcore into LJ for a long time. It was a good way to keep up with my friends’ lives and vice versa, and I miss that aspect of it sometime. Now we just have The Facebook, which is the fucking worst. Anyhow, I have been keeping rather busy - traveling to visit my sexyfriend and working and FINDING OUT THAT I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL and getting a summer job before I move to LA because I’M MOVING TO LA FOR GRAD SCHOOL. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and I still can’t really believe that I get to go to UCLA and study film and television and like, make a career out of it and hopefully change the world. And in the meantime I’m enjoying the shit out of the time I have left in San Francisco, really making an effort to be social and see people and do exciting awesome things.
But honestly, those are all just excuses. The real reasons I haven’t written are classic anxious LSL reasons. I don’t like writing these when I’m not totally caught up on Harmontown, because I like to know what I can about what’s up with you in the moment. And I’m NOT caught up on Harmontown because the tour episodes totally threw me off my game but I’m almost there and I wanted to post so hey, what the fuck. I know that part of you is probably like, “oh, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not being caught up on my podcast so you can write me deifying letters on a blog”, but I also think that you DO not-so-secretly want that, you want all of us to obsessively consume all of your genius output, and I like you and want to give you what you want. Really it comes down to the fact that your podcast is LONG, and I haven’t played videogames in almost a month so my podcast time has been limited to road trips. I got through a ton last weekend on an impromptu drive up to my hometown, and I’m flying to LA tomorrow so hopefully by Harmontown on Sunday I’ll have completed this completely arbitrary task I’ve set for myself.
Which inadvertently segues into my life with OCD. I couldn’t just skip all the previous episodes to the most recent one - I HAVE to listen to them all in order. I have a similar relationship to my new podcast count as I do to my Netflix queue - my disorder sees them as a to-do list, and I’ll go on compulsive rampages trying to whittle that list down. But it’s an impossible, Sisyphean task because there are new things being added to the list all the time, and the list is 90 fucking hours long. Going on a podcast jag brings me a shimmering moment of satisfaction at having gotten through three episodes until I open iTunes and five more new ones download.
I don’t want it to sound like complaining…for the most part my OCD and anxiety (for they are inextricably intertwined) keep me from fucking up the things that I would fuck up if I were just a regular stoner. I never lose my keys or lock them inside my car because I ALWAYS check my purse even if I remember putting them inside fifteen seconds earlier. I will frantically check for my wallet when I am driving in a car and it’s only me and I haven’t made any stops. It’s saved me a fair amount of money living and parking in San Francisco because I am crazy diligent about reading street signs, but it also means that sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and walk a block and a half in my pajamas to make sure my wheels are turned or my doors are locked when the rational part of my brain knows they are. I like to collect things; though I’ve gotten a little better at resisting the compulsion to have “sets”, I can’t help it when my brain obsesses over it sometimes. That’s what OCD comes down to - obsessive compulsory thoughts that only certain actions have the possibility to control.
The basic OCD behavior is pretty much just created inside my head, meaning that it’s not the stuff that really affects my day-to-day interactions. That’s where my social anxiety and ridiculous long-term memory come in, to combine with the compulsive thoughts to make me functionally hopeless. I am constantly trying to balance my confident narcissism with the stoned paranoia that I sound like an idiot to everyone but myself. While my short term memory is exactly what you’d suppose it to be considering my drug use, my long term memory is painfully sharp. Up until the time I started smoking pot I could remember every single bathroom I had ever been in. I remember faces of people I’ve known since I was a child, and I remember how they used to have their hair cut or how good they were at spelling or what their older sister’s name was. I do not have an eidetic memory THANK GOD because then I’d have to put it to use solving crime or something, but I definitely remember more things than the average person and that leads to AWKWARDNESS because I constantly know more about other people than they know about me. Combine that with my compulsive need to share revealing details about myself in an attempt to be understood, and it leads to me just not really knowing how to behave in way too many normal adult situations.
Once at a party in college, my friend introduced me to someone by simply saying, “This is LSL. She has no shame.” While in some ways that’s true, and in many more ways I want it to be true, I have my moments of shame like anyone else. And I remember them all clearly and I carry them with me because I can’t get rid of them and I am constantly working to not replicate them. When I was about 9, I was on a rafting trip with some family and friends, and we stopped for lunch on a beach where another group was eating. They had an amazing table set up covered in a chubby child’s picnic fantasy of sandwiches and sodas and snacks. They kindly offered to share with us since they had more than enough, and so I trotted over and made myself a plate of mostly chips and oreos. I was halfway through the plate when I realized that no one else had taken them up on their offer, and my dad came over and asked me where I got the food and then lectured me on being greedy and I just felt like the worst person in the world. For way too many years than is appropriate thinking of that story brought a shameful flush to my face, and it’s probably influenced my behavior more than I’d like to think.
I believe in being happy and being kind but also self-loving. I try hard to be who I am and do what I want and not have regrets, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts. It doesn’t mean I’m always good at understanding what people want from me, or that I’m not a fucking weirdo. I once overheard my sister’s ex-boyfriend describing me as “her little sister. She’s got big boobs and she’s kind of a bitch but I think you’ll like her.”
When I was in high school, my boyfriend was pretty great and we had awesome sex, but he was also kind of a sexist jerk. He would actively tell me that I wasn’t funny and that my cultural taste was terrible, and it took me a little while to accept that I can, in fact, be funny, despite having a vagina, and that there’s nothing contradictory about liking Led Zeppelin AND the Spice Girls. But when I’m in a situation where I really WANT to be funny, I always hear his voice in my head, and it gives me doubts, and it makes me second-guess myself. It triggers that anxious part of my brain that is constantly worried I’m going to reveal too much or not explain enough or just make some dire mistake that will drive away the people I want in my life. Not that this has happened too often, but I’ve intimidated or freaked out enough people with my honest, unfiltered bluntness that I know it’s a possibility.
But fuck, the people that I do have in my life are amazing. And I see what you and Erin are doing, both separately and together, which is creating not just a relationship but an entire little world of relationships based on honesty and humor and human connection, and that world gives me hope. Community brought me joy and opened up creative avenues for me, but my life and my relationship with my day-to-day worldly existence has changed so much since I started listening to Harmontown. I think you know it’s become more than just a show for some of us; it’s an aspirational testament to the transformative power of honesty. Wow, that sounded like some new age bullshit, but I think you know what I mean. I just want to fucking express myself and listen to stories and tell stories and just be honest with the people around me. Some of us don’t have that fear of exposure that other people have; some of us express compulsively, obsessively, necessarily, and that is what I think they mean when they say I have no shame.
Some of us are also professional nude art models, which also might have something to do with it.
I was going to post this yesterday, seeing as it was Valentine’s Day, because I wasn’t expecting my manfriend to be so talkative…but we ended up talking all day and into the night. I was nervous about it because we have this weird relationship that neither of us wants to put too much pressure on, but he was the one who brought it up first and after that it wasn’t awkward at all. It’s amazing having someone who I can be so open and unafraid with. Anyway, a lot of what we were talking about was his response to my appearances on This Feels Terrible/Harmontown; he said, “I really liked how you described us on This Feels Terrible” and when your long-distance non-boyfriend doesn’t mind you discussing your relationship in front of an audience you know you’ve got a winner. And he didn’t have to but he went on to listen to all of Harmontown and I think it’s fair to say that the cult of Dan Harmon gained a new acolyte yesterday…which is really the best Valentine’s present I could ever get.
So because he lives far away I send him naked photos of myself all the time (he doesn’t send them to me because he wants to be a judge someday and also he doesn’t get naked in front of strangers professionally like I do) and yesterday we exchanged valentines and they are pretty much the best:
When I first started taking the naked pictures I thought I’d have to get someone else to do it but it turns out guys don’t care if the photos look like selfies off of MySpace as long as there are boobs involved. And that Bill Clinton valentine is obviously amazing.
Anyway, I’m getting to a point. Last week we were talking about how to best tell our friends about our uniquely awesome thing…it’s complicated because our friends include his oldest friend who has been my casual hookup buddy for years, and his ex-girlfriend…who are themselves exes. Confused yet? Anyway, he was getting concerned that I was too attached or monogamous or whatever, and so I wrote this email. Since this blog is where I go to explain all the weird vagaries of my life and personality, it seems pretty apropos to repost it here.
hey dude, so this is one of those long fucking messages that I send when I feel like it’s important for me to explain about my unusual convictions - and this time, it’s about jealousy.
I realized pretty early on in my sexual development that I don’t have the same sort of connection between desire and guilt/judgment that most people have. I don’t feel bad or ashamed for being attracted to someone, and it doesn’t bother me if someone I’m with is attracted to another person. Lust and sexual attraction for one person do not have to negate or change my feelings for another, and often times it’s out of my control. I am often attracted to multiple people at the same time…I relate much more to men when it comes to sex, and while in many ways I’m a straight guy’s dream - a woman who fucks like a man (well, not literally, but you know what I mean ) - so, so many dudes don’t know what to do without all the obfuscating and societal expectations and crazy girl doubletalk. So it makes me happy that you’re mature enough and smart enough and into me enough to have the unabashed conversations that we have, and if you ever have questions for me about any of this, well…you know I’m the openest fucking book you’ll ever find.
The more complicated side of things for me, and why I felt like it was important to write this out for you, is that on the rare occasions I do allow myself be emotionally connected to someone, that connection is meaningful and sometimes primary BUT. The idea of you (or anyone I’m involved with) looking at, touching, kissing, fucking someone else doesn’t make me feel anything other than slightly turned on. I mean, fuck, I want to make out with EVERYONE’S face right now (though yours in particular); I probably would hook up with W this weekend if you were not you and W were not W and it didn’t feel so weird and Arcatacestual, so why should you feel bad if there are other ladies you might want to fuck? I know that I am amazing and special and you being into someone else isn’t ever going to change that.
The final bit of it for me is that (and please don’t freak out at this word, I mean it in a general sense) I firmly believe that love is not finite. Love of any sort, romantic or platonic or familial, is cultivated with time and communication and connection and can be given to as many people who are lucky enough to deserve it. Whatever it is that we’re building here…don’t get me wrong, the sexual aspect is fucking awesome and exactly what both of us needs right now, but the intimate friendship is the part that’s going to last. You’re always so quick to tell me not to be ashamed, but shame and guilt aren’t really my problems. Fuck shame, fuck guilt. Be who you are and do what makes you happy and don’t let other people make you feel bad about any of it, that’s what I believe.
When we say to each other, “we’re not committed” - it doesn’t really feel right anymore. No, I’m not your girlfriend; no, we’re definitely not monogamous or exclusive or doing anything long-term - fuck, we live in different places and our lives are both in major transitory phases. But it feels to me like we HAVE made a commitment - to be honest and open and giving and to treat each other with respect and kindness and to have extraordinary sex for as long as it works for both of us. Equality, like you were saying earlier. Commitment can mean a lot of things, but for me it has everything to do with honesty and trust and nothing to do with keeping it in your pants. It’s hard to write and talk about it in the progressive way I want to because the vernacular is so mired in heteronormative cultural bullshit, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
Alright, enough with all the schmaltz. I just realized that it is exactly one month until we get to have The Best Goddamn Sex Ever and now that’s all that I’m thinking about and my words are gone. Thanks for being The Fucking Greatest and not hating these long-ass messages I send. Thanks for not ever making me censor myself around you. You too are amazing and special and there’s nothing anybody can do to change that.
So that’s my jealousy treatise. I don’t know how I got to be this way, but it’s the way that I am and it seems to me like the best way to be. Thanks for listening; Happy V-Day to you and Erin and cheers to honest relationships.
Congratulations! You have figured out I am that girl who wanted to make out with Spencer in San Francisco. If you read any more of these posts you’ll learn that that sort of unfiltered honesty is how I compulsively roll…also I really just like making out. I guess I’ve abandoned the pretense of anonymity here, so if you’re interested in reading the whole story of what happened with me and Spencer after Harmontown you can find it on my other blog The Hedgepig.
Fuck, man. I’m not sure how long I can keep up the anonymous nature of this. After going on This Feels Terrible and Harmontown last week without any sort of real preparation and doing a not-horrible job (besides embarrassing Spencer and then embarrassing myself with Spencer over and over again) but still leaving out so much of what, in retrospect, I would’ve liked to explain…I think it’s time for me to finally get my shit together and start doing some actual live storytelling. There are a number of places in San Francisco to do it and I really think I need some practice at being on stage and not getting flustered and just saying the first thing that comes into my head. An improviser I am not. I also need to get some more experience with the basics of live performing, like NOT LAUGHING INTO THE FUCKING MICROPHONE SO MUCH. I listened to myself on Harmontown and wanted to go back in time and tell myself, Girl, I know you are having fun but EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU.
Before I go on I just wanted to say thank you so much for having me on and for talking to me and just for being so amazing and such an inspiration in my life. I was talking to my sexyfriend last night after being embarrassingly shameless with Spencer again over Twitter and we weren’t even talking about you, we were talking about me wondering how I’m going to handle being in a world (LA) where I have to talk to people who aren’t children all the time without letting my social anxiety get the best of me. And after listing off some of my traits that make me the most nervous he says, “You are not alone. You think Dan Harmon doesn’t feel awkward, bitchy, and too erudite at times?” And it doesn’t even matter if you do or not because the point of that story is that I have this man, this friend, this manfriend who understands me and supports me and wants all the parts of me and namechecks you in order to make me feel better because he knows it’ll work. And I feel so, so lucky but also so utterly fucked because I’m learning to trust and not second-guess my confessional impulses but the future is so uncertain and we’re both in transition and living our lives in different places and just caring about someone isn’t enough until somebody gets off their lazy ass and INVENTS ME SOME TELEPORTATION.
In the meantime I’m super sexually frustrated and think about making out with everybody though I have had to stop going on dates with men because I spend so much time fantasizing about the amazing sex with D that it doesn’t seem right or fair to project that onto another guy. I’m so used to being the casual sex queen, sleeping with my friends and just having super fun, emotionally detached sex whenever I can get it…but now, even though we’re long-distance and not monogamous, there’s something more here. Usually I am a sex camel, able to go for long celibate periods interspersed with some awesome fucking now and again - but now that I’ve got someone who is insanely hot and who likes all the crazy parts of me and with whom the sex is so good, I’m too fucking riled up.
Making out is still the best, though. I value my friendships so much, and I particularly love being friends with men, and if we want to get drunk and make out and still be friends the next day, why shouldn’t we? Best of both worlds. But what I really I need right now is to go out gay dancing and make out with some ladies, which is exactly what I’m doing tomorrow night.
It’s weird, I’ve had this slutty, commitment-phobic identity for so long - even though, like I said, I’ve constantly gone through long stretches of celibacy - that it takes a conscious effort to stop, and think that maybe it’s a good thing that I’m feeling more emotionally connected this time. I’m so open and put myself out there to such an extreme degree that in the past it’s led to me getting confused and sometimes very hurt. But to be honest with someone and have them be honest right back to me, and accept and embrace me with all of my faults and fuck-ups…it feels pretty amazing. And I know that I am probably going to get my heart broken when we eventually have to end things because the distance is too much and it will hurt a whole fucking lot, but I went into this with my eyes open. Bring on the heartbreak. Maybe it’ll fix some of the other oddly broken bits of me.
I have this endless war that wages in my head - to reveal or to keep quiet? To confess or to stay secret? - and honesty almost always wins out. There’s this thing that happens with me when there’s something I want to do but am afraid of doing it, like getting on stage at your show. I have to make a decision between cowardly regret and possible mistake-making, and in my head I hear Lucas from Empire Records saying, “I do not regret the things I have done, but those I did not do” and then my brain shuts down and I do the thing, whether it’s getting on stage or telling someone how I feel about them or starting a blog to write long, rambling letters to my comedy idol. If I don’t, I ALWAYS regret it, which is what keeps bringing me back to that quote. I would rather have made a fool of myself having a stoned giggle fit in front of Spencer than to not and be stuck wondering what would’ve happened.
In earlier posts I talked about my tendency to write long confessional letters and just lay all of my honesty right there on the table. This has led to some great friendships with people who otherwise wouldn’t have really known me - and it has led to scaring away a lot of people. Men are intimidated by me, or get freaked out by my willingness to talk openly about sex, or assume I’m more of a slut than I really am, or are scared that I’m just being honest to lure them into a trap and then I’m going to turn into a stereotypical manipulative straight girl. Women are a whole other issue for a whole other post. I (OBVIOUSLY) handle relationships and sex differently than most people and D is the first guy who has listened to all of my explanations and trusted me and responded with his own. It both gives me hope that I’ll find someone real someday and also makes me terrified that maybe he’s the only one who might love me as much as I love myself and maybe I’m just meant to be alone forever.
I’m sorry this letter is so scattered. And I know you’re gearing up for your triumphant return tonight, I hope it goes swimmingly. I know that even though we’ve met I am still just another fan and we’re not friends or anything so ridiculous as that. But I just appreciate SO MUCH the culture of honesty that you’ve created, and even if you never read these you’ve still given me the freedom and the drive to express myself in what is ultimately a really positive way.
And next time, if I am lucky enough to get a next time, I want to try freestyling.