thin skin

You know how every minute of every day you’re terrified someone will see through the carefully constructed facade you’ve laboriously built up over your entire conscious life and will spy all your secret shames and peer directly into your personal cesspool heart of darkness?
Guess what duders?
That totes happened to me the other day!

So I guess what happened is that

I was feeling pretty fucking fantastic.

I guess that’s what happened.

Work going well, it’s finally super hot out (my ideal weather), watermelons starting to ripen, lots of berries to eat, dresses to wear, work to do.

Just livin’.

And, as I do, I got excitable. And, as I do, I posted about it on Facebook. About my useless thoughts, dresses, berries, work things, opinionations, politics, all that shit.

You know, what social media was invented for. And, as I do, as one does, my thoughts went up and down and my feed was loving on summertime life one day and righteously angry because of the state of the world the next. You know: the game. Hope the joy outweighs the sorrow. Blah blah.

And the Trayvon Martin thing had just happened. And by “thing” I mean that this white dude shot and killed an unarmed black kid and got away with it. So I was sad, as one is, sitting in bed, selectively reposting gems my smart friends were posting, like this:


Useless, to do this sort of stuff, but maybe it allows you to get out of bed in the morning, you know?

And then I hopped onto Twitter* to do some work crap and went into some Twitter rabbit hole reading not about Trayvon Martin, innocent kid murdered in a racist world, but about some actor from Glee who died of a drug overdose, and how all these kids were just heartbroken about it, and were doing digital native things like posting photos of soldier’s caskets with American flags draped over them and saying they were his casket, even though his body full of heroin had just been found the day before and whatnot.

I got all riled up.

Drugs addicts and me, we don’t mix so great.

Mostly in that I don’t really have any compassion for drug addicts.

We all have our issues, and those are mine. The best thing in my life these days is not being around drug dealers. Not needing to hear of their coked-up plans to become millionaires. Not leaving my bedroom in the morning to go to school and tripping over someone tripping on the carpet outside my door, their stupid saucer-eyes staring at nothing and their idiot limbs grasping at the air. Not listening to the “bands” they formed and “jammed” with all night long, detuned cheapo guitars and stolen snare drums tapping out horrifyingly mismatched melodies until 6 am. My brother and I still make fun of the way my dad’s friend Everett used to sing “Mr. Tambourine Man” when he was so high he could barely walk—his voice was this combination of Thom Yorke and Ringo Starr, thin and high and tuneless and it penetrated your ear drums like the finest thin-bladed Japanese chef’s knife drilling straight into your goddamn skull.

In my worst days, I believe and will say loudly that if all drug addicts died today I wouldn’t really care, would step over their stupid bodies on the way to work as lightly as I learned to step over my father’s overdosing friends in the hallway on the way to get ready for school.

On my best days, I can recognize this:

Because I’ve taken pains to not be friends with addicts, I have disassociated them as human beings, and therefore find it hard to have compassion for them.

You might recall I am dealing with a friend with addiction issues right now, and of course I love and adore her and see her as a human being with a disease, not a collection of disgusting habits that will infect me if I get too close to it. Personal growth!

But still, old habits are hard to lose. When you tell yourself that freedom comes from leaving anything stinking of childhood behind, sometimes you go a little too far.

As I did that day, when I wrote on Facebook:

I’m not sad a drug addict died. I’m sad I spent five minutes reading about it that I could have spent working for a better world.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph what a fucking lunatic thing to say.

One half hour later I deleted it, as a sane person does, and that was that. I have blowups, and then they calm down.

Then I noticed I’d been unfriended by someone I like and respect. I figured it was the idiot status update, and sent her a message basically saying sorry for being such an idiot.

What she sent back, and the subsequent discussion we had, shook me.

I unfriended you so that I can still like you. Sometimes you come across as really really selfish. That status pretty much typifies it. You are hating on a drug addict and then you add that you’re making the world a better place? Exactly how far can you stick your head up your ass? Perhaps you should brag about that in your next status while simultaneously putting down someone else?

I know that you’re a nice and good person, and that you DO do good things for the world. Usually I can roll my eyes[…]Whatever your issues with drug addicts may be, that lack of compassion is just straight-up obscene and ignorant.

Just being honest, hope we can still be friends.

I immediately wrote back and said she was right, I knew it, and I was thankful to know it.

In time though, I realized that she’d probably done what I’m guilty of all the time: sending an email while in a rage. No shame in that game—because of my own ridiculousnesses, I am super tolerant of other people’s anger. She spoke too harshly, and that’s fine.

But I still really wanted to know if she was right.

Dudes, am I a total asshole? Or, as she had said: do I play a total asshole on the internet?

I thought about it.

I’ve worked for years, as I’ve written about extensively here, to create my own world. Because the world at large bruises me so bad, I’ve painstakingly built my own universe where I only have to live up to my own standards, where I can go as far as I want with my own obsessions and passions, and, most of all, where I feel safe.

I always thought that having achieved this world, I’d won—things are great. I did it! Another world is possible! Yes is a world & in this world of yes live endless vegan chocolates, etc.

But could it be that there are benefits to lifting your head out of your own asshole, as she had put it, and looking at the world once in a while?

I am honestly asking this question because I honestly don’t know the answer.

The world is full of Trayvon Martin killers and meat-eaters and horrible people wearing horrible clothing eating horrible food. Why on earth would I want to live in that when I could live in vegan chocolate shop/vintage clothing/three cats/upstate/indie rock utopia?

And if I decide not to poke my head into the world now and then, which I think I’ve pretty much decided not to do, how do I avoid coming across as big-headed because my hand-built life is SO FUCKING JOYFUL? Is what I need to do really just tamp down my joy at having escaped the shit-world? I post on my personal Facebook page twice a day, max. Really, my cat snaps and work-exhaustion rants and updates about the chocolate life are that selfish?

I like myself. And what I’m doing in life. I like surrounding myself with people who like their lives and what they’re doing with them. I like it when they brag about the press they’re getting because they’re excited that other people care about their lives. I like it when they post pictures of their lives. I like hearing intricate status updates about their jobs and sarcastic updates about what irks them and I like their rages.** And I like being the same way. That’s douchey?

At this point I was naturally going insane inside the torture chamber of my mind (usually I’d shake shit like this off, gentle reader, I promise, but I respect this person, so it was tough), so I did what one should always do when one is going insane:

Texted my trusted bestest girlfriends at midnight.

They reassured me.

photo 1


photo 2


photo 3

(I fully recognize that by posting these I’m being ever-more selfish/self-obsessed, etc. Yay for shame spirals!)

By this time I’d decided to take a month off Facebook. It’s going great, though I’m not really doing it—I’m still popping in and out, I’m just not posting. I’m taking the month to think this all though before opening my big fat head-up-my-ass mouth.

I don’t know. I am in totally weird new ground here.

Here’s one thing: Telling yourself you’re going to give a hard think to why you’re so self-absorbed is a real big fucking catch-22, let me tell you.
Writing a blog post about someone unfriending you on Facebook because you’re so self-absorbed on the internet is pretty fucking hilarious too, isn’t it?
Ah, well.
Things to work on.
As always, I’m thankful for the work.
PS: Here are funny photos of Jacob.
New Paltz Small Business 2013

(I have nowhere to post this shit these days.)

New Paltz Small Business 2013

(All photos by the incredibly talented Mike McGregor.)

*If you can’t tell yet, the moral of this blog post is: FUCKING SOCIAL MEDIA.

**Can you tell that 3/4 of my Facebook feed is hidden from me? It’s my secret to not hating Facebook. My feed is a wonderful world of true friends, and my real-life world is filled me with me saying “Hmm, must have missed it! Damn algorithms!” when I run into boringass acquaintances who say, “You didn’t know we had a baby a year ago??”

4 Responses to “thin skin”

  1. calvinhisboldness

    It does seem rather counter-productive, yes, sharing your feelings in a place where you are obviously the center of attention in an attempt to find reassurance that the accusation of selfishness is less terrible than it feels. I’m sure people here are smart enough to recognize that, and patient enough to think beyond the denunciation, especially because you examine it so thoroughly. It also seems that you don’t need much more reassurance that you certainly are not as bad a person as you may have felt initially.

    I firmly believe that taking a look at the reality outside your truly wonderful space does give benefits. They are not the same delights as those that are inside your wonderful space, and they may not be as bright, but diversity is an important ingredient for life- at least, as I see it. So, don’t let it get you down, and continue to search for the right balance of exposure to each world you can access.


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