Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Years Revolutions: Time Can Never Kill the True Heart

On December 30th, 2008, I wrote a post that I was going to post on New Year's Day, but I never did because I decided it was too personal in parts, or that I wasn't sure it was stuff I wanted to really say. I think I had a lot of weird situations I was navigating then. Well, I've always had weird situations to navigate, at least since starting autowin and until about a few months ago. I'm not keeping anyone else's secrets now, except for Colonel Sanders, who gave me the secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken before he died. One day I'll sell that shit on ebay.

Somewhere in the middle of this unposted post I wrote, "This year I resolve to begin with practice," and perhaps I did just that. Not like I'd anticipated -- but anticipation is just a fancy glowing crystal ball; who needs it.

A few days ago at therapy she let me go early. I couldn't think of any problems to talk about. I navigated briefly into the past, shut that suitcase, complained a bit about not having money, pitched the business to her in disguise as me working out my problems (Luckily that's how a pitch starts -- with a problem. then you state the solution, the solution is your business. Get it? Clever!). I attempted to get worked up about an upcoming three-day period when Natalie, Alex and Brookling will be out of town and then realized I was really just being paranoid. After I'd ranted for ten minutes about Prop 8, I was dimissed.
I'm sure I do have problems, I'll have some this week maybe. But I gave up trying to change my personality and decided to change my life to better bring out the most functional parts of my personality. That makes it sound so solid, like Legos. But who doesn't love Legos. Asshats, that's who. I don't know. I want to talk to you. With you.

Anyhow this is what I wrote back then. [I just added pictures now] It's weird:

New Years Revolutions + Jaunary '09

I wanted to tell you that people never change. I know that sounds terrible, saying it like that? Especially from me. In September, only four months ago, I declared triumphantly: "... people can fuck you up but people can change. People will change, no matter what the stakes. People CAN change," and now I'm saying that's a lie. I wanted to tell you that people don't really change, not without a serious rock bottom (imminent death, eviction) and people change only when it's time, almost by default. Change can't be imposed by a mantra, an insight, another person or by anything so surface, no matter how resolutely these things poise to attack our stubborn souls. I mean and also people can change, to an uncertain degree of authenticity, with the right cocktail of regulated medications.

Somewhere between theory and the practice is the only me I've ever known. This year I resolve to begin with practice. It's never the bad behavior that bothers me in and of itself, it's the lingering guilt that these prescribed activities/habits are somehow responsible for the circumstances of my life and I feel, somehow, that the circumstances of my life are not enough.

If the circumstances become enough, logic dictates that guilt will then disappear.

When it's you alone -- guilt & other people & resolutions & declarations don't stand a chance against those tiny habits, your attempts to bridge the moat of your very existence, and then what changes is not YOU but the lie you tell me, or yourself.

I do it too I'm saying this to you.

But I'm saying I've seen people I love relapse consistently, sometimes innocuously, and I think nothing happens overnight, things happen exactly when these things better fit into your life.

So I'm saying people change but it takes years if it ever happens at all, so I think that's not people changing -- that's people growing up.

"You're happy if the thing you naturally want makes the other person happy. If it's not that way, then I don't know. I guess you're in limbo."
- Richard Ford, Wildfire

Because my story is the only one I'm legally allowed to tell, I'll tell a good chunk of it now. It's not different from other stories I know, that's what I'm saying, there's nothing too spectacular about it, none of my bad habits are that dramatic.

So for the first 14 years I vacillate -- through no fault or doing of my own -- between princess or criminal. It just depended on who was in charge. I had no control because my treatment wasn't dependent on my behavior. It was wonderful and terrifying, I couldn't sleep, I told a lot of stories.

This is the story of what happened next, in chronological order: Darkness. Then watching tv & eating & running away & darkness.

I change because I run away to boarding school and I grow up there. Here I am both supervised and happy and deliciously codependent on R. and then he leaves, and then I pop caffeine pills 'til I take too many to talk or work so I have to stop. Then I am happy, incredibly happy, and then boarding school ends so then I have starving & working out obsessively. Then starving & working out obsessively & overeating & throwing up & flirting & shopping. Then exercising obsessively & overeating & cutting & caffeine pills & throwing up & sedatives. Then I get sick and I am not allowed to work out. Then just starving. Then I get better, get head/body back in shape. Then boys. Drinking & boys boys boys.

Then I get out of control like my body isn't mine anymore, like it's a thing other people can do things to, so then I get a dumb loyal boyfriend. Then shopping & boyfriend's rules. Then this really slow feeling like I wasn't myself anymore, like I was dead inside, like I had merged with the wall-to-wall carpeting and I was the only one with a chance to go out. Then I get fixed with medication, feel like self again, but faster, and I break up with dumb boyfriend three days later. Then starving & drinking & working & working & working & shopping. Then I meet S., get addicted to him hard, we fall in love, he has control, he fucks it up.

"Help, I've done it again. I have been here many times before. Hurt myself today, and the worst part is there's no one else to blame."
-Sia, Breathe Me

Then drinking & inhaling anything crushable or already in powdered format & running & starving & shopping & playing The Sims. Then friends return from being abroad. Then inhaling & speeding & addicted to S. and still & drinking. Then friends rally around me and tell me I can change and I think they are right and decide to change. Instead S. comes over an hour later. Over and over. Then swallowing everything crushable 'til I was put on Wellbutrin to ensure that wouldn't happen again.

Then S. stops coming over. Why? Not 'cause I've changed but because I leave the state. In New York now. Working & hooking up with girls & drinking & shopping & smoking & meeting strangers. I wasn't happy, but I was having a lot of fun! Then I meet J. Lying. Go off Wellbutrin, break up with him a few days later. Hooking up with girls, drinking, lying, applying the same fervor to paying off debt that I once applied to shopping -- not 'cause I've changed but because I have more money. Again I have so much fun, occasional bliss, and big plum-sized patches of misery! but such fun in between.

Do I change here? Not really. I just change my perspective on confidence or something. Also, The L Word, I get addicted to this new awareness of this new culture realizing that the girls I'd always liked might actually like me back. I read & watched & dreamed & went out and spent as much time around and inside those girls as I could & fought with people who'd loved me before all that and were trying to keep it up. Fun but darker than expected. I became addicted to the idea of girl-on-girl culture.

So then girls & drinking & drugs drugs drugs & cigarettes & girls & cross-town cab rides & throwing up. Then I start doing this 60+ hour workweek, but have to take care of M. who's now back from the hospital and I'm too busy for much else but still drugs & smoking & girls, almost because of it, and it's an energized, focused darkness that often bounces and becomes light. Then L. & I become BFFs and I try to make L. change, try to be a living demonstration of how people change, but maybe I hadn't really changed at all, I just talked a lot.

Then I was lying but with a partner-in-lying. We had party tricks & games. Co-dependent. Wicked fun, sometimes. Then drinking & drugs & girls.

Then I meet Haviland, she helps me to change no, she helps me to evolve, no, it's just harder to lie around her so I have to make my life a life I don't have to lie about. Then drinking & drugs & girls & lying. Then blogging & drinking & girls & starving & smoking but actually here is a period where things almost get better, start moving forward, so I celebrate by getting drunk and ruining everything.

Then I stop drinking 'cause I want to help MM stop drinking 'cause she'd almost died of it, and because now I have the internet, and smoking and then ... well ... now we have new things ... and this is where you've come in, probably. This is where autowin became The Real Secret. I'm not ready yet with the story of this, 'cause I can't keep trying to kill those things with storytelling or make it a trump card. I'm trying to be careful with that.

What I mean is ... did I change? Have I ever changed, or do I just replace one bad habit with another, one crutch with another, and as I get older, it's not even new addictions, it's just recycling old ones to fit the void of the day. Do the sickest people I know ever stop being sick? How do you escape a ten-year lie, a five-year habit, how do you ever do that? Is it just replacing one addiction with another? To meetings? To the gym? To balancing your checkbook? I have no problems because I am productive and healthy, because I work harder than most people who never drink or lie. Right?

"I think people can change dramatically, but not completely. I mean, I've changed a lot since we met, but not completely. I'm still a junkie. I'm still reckless. I'm still everything I always was, but I've been conditioned to hide it better or suppress it. The instincts never change."
(A friend)

I'm trying to put all habits - -anything you'd resolve to stop doing -- on the same playing field. Like drug addiction is just a good example, but this isn't about that,it's not even about licking the edge of those solid addictions like you're starving for a reason but scared too.


"In real life, every day you might come to a new conclusion about yourself and about the reasoning behind your behavior, and you can tell yourself that this knowledge will make all the difference. But in all likelihood, you're going to keep doing the same old things. You'll still be the same person. You'll still cling to your destructive, debilitating habits because your emotional tie to them is so strong--so much stronger than any dime-store insight you might come up with--that the stupid things you do are really the only things you've got that keep you centered and connected."
- Elizabeth Wurtzel, Now More Again

This is about how I wanted to tell you that people never change. Whatever our relationship is to that pit between our heart and our hips that stores all that is compulsive, comforting, familiar, habitual, uncontrollable ... the part of us so essential that it's immune to others' desires.

So one must find another way to evolve or one must trick those same destructive rotations into a new song.

"The problem with your life is behavior, not disclosure. Secrets are what addiction calls foreplay. If you want to live a life that you can be honest about, live one that is worthy. The answer to life is learning to live."
- David Carr, The Night of the Gun
What I mean is do what you can to make your dreams come true. Don't assign value to the things you can control and the things you feel you cannot, just control the things you can control until that side tackles the other.

So I guess my New Year's Resolution/Revolution is to do what I want to do and I think from there the rest of it will fall into place. (Dec '08)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are You There Blog? It's Me, Autowin!

+ We had a team meeting tonight. Like a real one where real things happened!

+ For most of last year I'd wake up and for the first hour of every morning it'd be this game of detective trying to figure out what I'd done the last hour of the night before. What I'd written (the typos! what a laugh! how silly I was!) and to whom. Glasses and ashes and lots of open tabs.

It was like the opposite of laying your clothes out the night before school. I talked a lot about purpose but I felt powerless as a concubine; still but swimming furiously. I think those were all things I needed to go through but I'm still not sure exactly what I was doing. You start doing something and then you just keep doing it. Suddenly; then constantly. It kept me safe in a way because I had secrets I had to keep, there was no question.

+ Sometimes I caught myself mattering

+ Sometimes it comes back. One thing will feel wrong and the darkness unfurls enthusiastically from my chest and stomach, like an airy familiar evil pressing out against my skin and brain. It's a fear of losing things that I truly like and love and things that I feel are good for me, which is a different kind of fear than the fear of losing something you love desperately and absolutely despite how clearly rotten it is most of the time.

+ That happens less and less now but when it happens it's not just the fear, but the fear of more fear.

+ I don't want to be the girl who cried let's change the world but I feel whole right now, and solid. No one is crying here, no lies, just love, I mean it, I love it. I love life so much that I want you all to love it too, for all your right reasons.

+ Besides that fear I mentioned before, the crippling panic demanding attention like a child crying in public. Then it passes, like everything does. Sometimes I have fear about money and that's a new panic, like an itchy panic. I try to push it out of my brain.

+ We have this little temporary castle in the sky for another week or so where we can have meetings for Team Autostraddle. It was sweet tonight to talk to Laneia on the speakerphone and talk in real human voices. We talked to our programmer Tess on the phone a few weeks ago which was also awesome. It's been sweet to do things like eat pizza and talk about our dreams. We have like twelve interns which is awesome, and two came over tonight, so it was me, A;ex, Stef, Brooke, Robin, Carlytron, Tinkerbell who I put in the washing machine so now she is really clean and fresh-smelling, and Haviland!! and Intern X and Intern Jessica. If Crystal had been there/in our time zone that would've been perfect obvs.

+ A few weeks ago we had an interview rescheduled but Robin was already in the city and wanted to shoot something and so she was like, let's go to Brooke's, and so I was like, okay, and then A;ex and Carly came too, and it was fun! I look super serious! See:


+ Anyhow then we got to interview Julie Goldman last Sunday which was awesome awesome -- Robin took photos and Alex video'ed and I asked questions. Also two weeks ago Laneia and I started a feature we're doing about lesbian YA novels which I really love a lot. Also we did a Hot 100 and it was funny.

+ That's all. Just checking in! Hi guys! I just wrote "High guys!" I'm not high. If I was high I'd have a lot more metaphors.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Autofun 5.6 - But This is How the Revolution Begins

Wow, so. Life! Geez! What a trip! I mean it! Every minute is so much! Well, in any event, I wanted to touch base. I used to hate that phrase and I told my Mom she wasn't allowed to use it. I also hated it when she referred to my female friends as my "girlfriends." In retrospect, tht may've been partially due to my secret yearnings to make these ladies into my girlfriends, but actually no, it wasn't, though that would've made me unnaturally clever for my age.

"But this is how the revolution begins: a few of us start chasing our dreams, breaking our old patterns, embracing what we love (and in the process discovering what we hate), daydreaming, questioning, acting outside the boundaries of routine and regularity. Others see us doing this, see people daring to be more creative and more adventurous, more generous and more ambitious than they had imagined possible, and join us one by one. Once enough people embrace this new way of living, a point of critical mass is finally reached, and society itself begins to change. From that moment, the world will start to undergo a transformation: from the frightening, alien place that it is, into a place ripe with possibility, where our lives are in our own hands and any dream can come true." (crime-think ex-workers collective: "there is a difference between life and survival. ")

+ What a bizarrely interesting question: I'm a Harvard Grad who can't hold a fast food job (and that's not all). The intriguing answer includes the following: "When I set out in my 20s I understood very little but I understood this much: Any educated white person in America is privileged, and no one is going to allow us to starve. We can't even starve if we want to. People keep inviting us to dinner to talk about Robert Lowell." (@salon)

+ I think I'm gonna do a Top Ten on this topic very soon: At The Morning News, "Devotees of periodicals refuse to give up on their first love. Our READERS AND WRITERS extol their favorite ink-based publications."

+ I have SO MANY FEELINGS about this article: Creative Minds - The Links Between Mental Illness and Creativity (it also goes into comedians w/r/t depression). One of them is "Am I crazy?" and another one is "Were they NOT crazy?" and another one is "reading this makes me feel like everyone and everything is crazy" and another one is "Tinkerbell, eat your pudding."
"It can be difficult for people to reconcile mental illness with the idea that traits may not be disabling. While people accept that there are health benefits to anxiety, they are more wary of schizophrenia and manic depression. There is now a feeling that these traits have survived because they have some adaptive value. To be mildly manic depressive or mildly schizophrenic brings a flexibility of thought, an openness, and risk-taking behaviour, which does have some adaptive value in creativity. The price paid for having those traits is that some will have mental illness."
+ Emily Gould reminds me of me a lot, and so this is from a few weeks ago, I guess that's how long I've been waiting to share it with you: Spring Rude Awakening (@emily magazine)

+ Me & Green read some YA Lesbian Novels and talked about them on Autostraddle you should read it it's really good, we're gonna read more and talk about more too

+ The Future Is Wow (@good)

+ The Glory Days of Online Sex : "I went to chat rooms looking for sex, which is what everyone seemed to be looking for. And the anonymous nature of chat rooms allowed people to completely blow off any pretense of reality. Why tell people you’re 40 when you can tell them you’re 38?" (@the blowfish blog)

+ I put in a request with John Moon at Achtung Baby! to do Night Truths by Stephen Dunn and he did it (@achtung baby)

+ Lady Gaga's Looks: A Retrospective (@missbehave)

+ Why are we always the ones having conspiracies and agendas ? Are we too evil for straightforward smear campaigns, like the one the world consistently wages upon us?

+ It's Get Me Off This Rock Week at Gizmodo! "So get ready for the present and the future of space trips, the design and the function, the science and the fiction, the technology genius and the courage, the quest for intergalactic neighbours, and all the spectacular views ..."

+ Our moral judgement: not so good after all. We all have stumbling blocks on the road to self-righteousness. (@nytimes)

+ Ten Porn Stars gone legit .(@nymag)


Pirates vs. Ninjas: An Insomnia Poem

-dedicated to team autostraddle interns, who are all autowinners-

our minds buzz like bees minds

is a line from a poem by jim harrison
that i can't get out of my head
this is why i can't get into bed
my shoulder's lead

it's dreams vs. dreams, no game
my dog is silent and it's a shame
i'd wanted to bring her

the first time i wrote an insomnia poem
it was about candy
i wanted it to be really bad
and make my puppy very sad
and inspire my mom to wrap some food using glad.
(that's a brand of saran wrap
wrap it up, rap it out.)

we come demanding
cultural clout

I have a million unmarked dreams in a briefcase
I'll meet you on the corner, bring the girl and

if the internet was someone's boyfriend
i feel like sometimes he'd be a pretty shitty boyfriend

I was trying to remember the first time I said it
and if I meant it,
about changing the world
and i remembered that i did