I host a podcast called Spacetrash with my very dear cousin Mark who makes me laugh so much and chills me out more than most other humans ever possibly can. A new episode drops every other Friday morning and we riff about the things on our minds as fellow writers and creatives living in a world that doesn’t really make a lot of sense to either of us but we roll with it anyway because: life.
Today’s episode covers a lot of cultural ground in just 36 minutes! We get into such topics as Mark starting his next big creative thing and he reveals what computer coding is really like (writers and poets, you will be surprised). Also, not worn jeans since before quarantine? Listen in to hear what’s hot with denim – and what’s not anymore – and what is again – because the nineties were everything. We’re told. And among a slew of other things, we discuss the critical pros and cons of using the new Instagram feature which hides likes on your posts, or the posts in your feed. Why would anyone do this? Why on earth does IG even offer this when nonsense popularity is the name of their whole game? Grab a Friday beverage and let’s get into it. You can listen on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.
The trouble is even if you write something good you still have to write something else. You still have to write again. And again after that. The itch doesn’t stop. The need does not subside. It is not erased just because you gave a thing a chance.
In the nest of my dark mind, I imagine a world where there is much less noise, so as to allow for a kind of internal peace not known to most people in these crippling times. There is no reality underneath the lies which swirl and encircle us no matter which way we turn. Each step you take punches a hole through the continuum, each breath is an intrusion.
It is painful to move about within a web of ignorance. One feels as if she is a protrusion, a distortion of some robust and obscene kind. One does not belong, even as one is.
Blood cut eyes. Trembling hands and thighs.
Even the ones who want to save you don’t. By that I mean they cannot save you and they do not want to anyway, no matter what they tell you. No matter what they tell themselves. You have to save yourself and by that I mean no one is coming behind the dogs, behind the search there is no search.
Alone in a cool wood by a stream, I sit and listen for the wind in the leaves. I touch crystal water to my soft wet mouth. I take my coffee black these days. I sip it in the mist which sifts high above the treetops, before the dawn which comes to overtake all worthy forms of thought. Like a black cloud. A thunderous daily apocalypse. Eventually it will kill you.
As will anything. As could anything, really.
Marching against a cruel hard ground, the same day keeps happening on all the days. You make a stab upon the page and it exhausts your lungs. Slinking off into the shadow of evening, looking for the answer to the riddle of a life no one else can see.
They can turn you into anything they want. You should know that going in but you won’t because they are good at tucking away all the signs. You won’t see the red flags. There are none. The red flags are shiny coins you collect along the way. It’s clever, really. You seek them out yourself. Compliments. Praise. A glance. A wink. A dark sensation which excites and terrifies you. A touch. A touch. A touch.
And you can trade that shit in for prizes. A certain kind-of attention. A certain kind-of power. A certain kind-of status. But you don’t realize that you aren’t the powerful one, you are not the owner of that power so much as you need to collect it coin by coin, bit by bit, from them. You may acquire some currency but they are the ones printing it in their basements to begin with. They can turn you into a collector, a trader, a black market, an employee. Even the play is work-for-hire.
You learn to roll with it, though, I mean sure I was a slutty thing, hungry, bright-eyed, electric and alive for whatever could jolt me out of the plain old hell I was living as an every day life. Yes, it’s a game rigged against you all the way to the end but some of it’s fun. I remember a time when all I wanted was to give every guy in the office a hard on. Part of that was about me trying to understand if I had power, if I was desirable, because that made me important and not invisible, not useless, not a throw away. Part of it was just that I was bored.
Life doesn’t always present you with all the options. They bank on you not thinking for yourself and buying into whatever their vision is for you. Husband, house, a bunch of kids. Now you hear all this bullshit about the need for millennials to have more babies or something? In order to stimulate or maintain or keep afloat the economy. This is hysterical to me in the grossest, most disturbed sense of the word hysterical. Hilarious also in its blatant transparency that all along women are essentially just fuck toys or baby-making machines.
When you spend your life collecting the flashy coins, you do it because you think it will make you rich, and you are compelled to do so even though it’s never really clear what ‘rich’ means. Or could mean. You think it will somehow – and granted you hadn’t worked out all the details entirely – buy you safety, protection, leverage, allow you some sort of confidence or freedom to live your life on your own terms.
The trouble comes when you realize that the currency you stashed away, all the ways you used your body in the hopes of liberating your soul, was actually debt. There is no end, there is no way out because all along the coins were red flags and the red flags were worthless. So you just have to keep selling yourself.
Seventeen drafts and not a single post worth saving, I delete everything hoping the emptiness will somehow grow into something new and more beautiful. I delete all my social media accounts. I delete all my posts and photos and works in progress. Fuck it. If it isn’t done by now it isn’t getting done. If it isn’t sparking anything inside of me now it never will.
The past is a story you tell yourself to try make the present a little bit more bearable. Which is fine, and probably advisable really, but that doesn’t make any of it real. You don’t want the past, you want a clean slate. You want a do over. Maybe next time you won’t be such a fuck up or at the very least maybe you will be proud. Could be worth a shot and so without any more clever idea, you just kill the story off like putting down a sick animal to let it out of its misery.
I see people who cling to the way it was. The way they were, by that I mean the way they think they were even though it was never really the case to begin with. You see, you can hang on all you want but even what you think it was can’t live up to your distorted expectations now. Too jaded. Too gutted, pale, carved out like soft melon.
I am just sick to death of it all I guess. How it drains you whether you are in the game or out of it, then you realize there is no ‘out of it.’ The web of toxic vibes glistens and tears all around you only to be rebuilt even stronger. The code. There is a code threaded through everything we do these days. What you buy, what you look at, what you speak about with friends, it’s all tracked and coded, bought and sold, so they can keep selling you the same shit over and over again without you realizing it.
Feels good though right? Feels damn good to spend the cash and order another round. Feels good to buy the swimsuit and pretend the body comes with it and the house on the pretty beach, too, and try to exercise what little freedom you have left and delete yourself all right off the map, drown your sorrows and insecurities and inabilities right down the straight center of the bottle, kissing and hissing and pissing yourself right out of here until you can make a better go of it some other time. Maybe never, even. But certainly not now.