Ch. 12 I Shall Be Released
Morgan stood across from Voldemort, accepting her fate. “I’ve had dreams about you.”
“How’d I look.”
“Like a slender man. I couldn’t tell if that’s how you think of yourself or, well. You look good in real life.”
“Are you willing to negotiate, let’s pretend this is real life not some dream.”
“Let’s pretend karma and god is real, and.. I think it’s going to be hard for, you know, people to watch me eat a Carp so that’s the extent of my vengeance. Like I think that’ll be hard. Otherwise..”
“Hm. *Noticed my voice has changed* We could have been great together sir.” [Gets down on both knees.]
Time for another christening by Voldemort’s beautiful wand. (Anotha one.)
“Has it EVER occurred to YOU that yoouu were the mean one! This is ridiculous!”
“Have you heard of a class D felony, those can get you up to seven years in prison.”
“Oh well I wasn’t sure before but now I’ll just — AVADA KADAVRA.” A green flash.
Hopeless was like Hermione. She just needed a hug from a friend.
Author was like “I don’t want to write a scene for you. But you’re innocent. Repeat after me, you’re innocent.”
“I would rather not do any repeat after you’s.”
Author asked, “it’s fine but who was your therapist throughout all this. I don’t know why I thought to ask that.. My therapist mom who my sister and I think is a bad therapist; just kidding I’m being mean in this weird protective way about her — [my mom] always hates my therapists or has because she thinks they give bad advice but this time I’m sounding like my mom. Did you just lie.. I’m so confused.. or would it be remiss to say this shouldn’t have happened, obviously I’m in the dark but I would not have made it out, sane, maybe alive but not sane and not the same ever — if I weren’t surrounded by un judgmental family. That’s just after all my own shit of a different shade.. of green. It’s not okay!”
“…” [She was actually just really nervous.]
[Or maybe I am] “I don’t hate you, but no matter how I feel platonically or love-fluidly or whatever I’m not saying I luff you or I loafe you. If you and I were to cross paths, I do think from now on I’d just like take guidance on what you need from me professionally. Obviously it’s unclear whether this book will break any ice.. like between us [all!] as writers. As professional ones. See now I’m published as an AMD which stands for aspiring Doctor of Medicine!! Kind of like an aspiring great actor; but not that, playing Dr. Pettigrew and you were my slave — because I shouldn’t be acting like a creepy Columbia student I should be being one. And here I was writing for life. Homework can wait. Meanwhile what the fuck were you up to. Having fun. Soo IDK what rumors will fly like pitchforks but maybe they won’t be like that or maybe you know I just feel like this scene did some good damage. Cuban Missile Crisis style. Did I ever tell you, no I did not: my role model sincerely for years was John F. Kennedy who had some issues himself (terrible terrible back problems his whole life). Point of saying that is not to sound like a grandiose person but to realize that I’ve studied him, his illness, and that event. I mean.. right.
The world needs you, Hopeless. We can correspond professionally only [I’m serious about that.] (if we ever meet) [never know the future at all] (but let’s be safely professional, I bet you want that too) because I think professionalism is sacred and one of the warped parts of this is I know you believe that!! It’s a huge deal to you, I’m a literal stranger and I’ve known you for twenty years. Basically. ~It~ [like the clown] was just the worst thing someone could do to somebody, I wonder if it was tryin’ to make a girl kill herself. Don’t confuse that with love, that shit is not love. Staggeringly unprocessible. I’m giving myself props for processing it. 50 points to Gryffindor or fucking more how ‘bout. I just have to be stingy with my money request shit because people are retaliatory and whatever. The pimp decides my price; Dumbledore was my pimp and never made me uncomfortable but — he died. I watched him die from drinking poison for me. Anyway those are house points though, not green. Wait *eyes get all wide* — remind me, what house are you in.”
“As usual Morgan..”
“It’s ‘Author’ in this scene. Not ‘Stalker’ cause that’s triggering (like most of Robin Thicke’s work) I’ve had to realize. Morgan is dead.”
“.. You don’t know what I’d actually say or do. I might tell you to be quiet.”
Well. I am quiet. My worst fear is that you’ll say “he never you made me uncomfortable.” What’s real life for.. except for unending disappointments and chronic feelings of defeat for the lame American loser. ~Here~ she is.
“You can be mean,” said Hopeless. “I was in love with a dream, you can be mean.”
“Haha, I’m not vengeful as I said but you don’t really deserve that; for me to.”
Hopeless made a face like she’d bit into a sour Granny smith apple 🍏 [yow!] and said, “what if I told you, you made it all up.”
“That would be the BEST news of my life. Holy fuck it would be hard but good news. It’s the worst thing ever, being a delusional psycho. It’s the worse thing ever being me and this lonely, it’s loneliness, the loneliest man alive but doing better, a stalker with a dream of meeting.. Taylor Swift. And though I wouldn’t be entitled to it I’d still be interested in working with you professionally, as such a shamefully big American dreamer and longtime admirer of your work.. Can you tell I studied it. God.”
[Not, this again, another one like the rest..] “As usual Morgan..”
“Shut the fuck up.”
“Has it occurred to you that I just don’t want to know, I don’t want to know how you clearly hated me. I was just standing up.”
Ch. 13 Dot dot dot
“Da da daw, it[‘s] wor—”
“T-t-time for work. Bom bom bom ba bom bomB.”
Who that, are these typos or allusions, do I have brain damage! Some do. The rest of this book will not mention any of the preceding topics, because I don’t think I can take this any further without cracking and I’ve taken my share of wear and tear. I feel I’ve done everything for people I stalked, that I can do — and I’ve put myself in danger. But I am not like a victim as someone who prowled into no man’s land and lost my grasp on reality; literally to the extent that in real life sometimes I’d be on a city block and become scared I was like “where am I.” Everything looked the same. I am a scaredy-cat who never wanted to be an It boy. But what do you do, when you imagine that you’ve already become something like that.
Ch. 14 Introducing your cyber klan
Caroline Calloway is someone I shouldn’t mention anymore, evil supposedly, but since I’d guess that she as a writer intuits things like me I just want to emphasize that even if it seems like I have all these people I’m prioritizing, I think she and I are compatible as kindred writer spirits and what makes us compatible is that we need each other.
I hope that the actual Stalking has not become too nerve-wracking. At least I’m pretty much safe in all ways: I just am a frustrated artist who sublimates by picking people to imagine I could take care of as a doctor-writer. She’d be a good one to write about or for.
Basically I have a lot of people I respect, when I pick up on power imbalances and feel that I can surf a wave I might stay up all night writing for or about or against someone more powerful. It’s intuition, it’s passion but it can also be just dangerous. Still I have to say Caroline [even with some disturbing dreams that might suggest I’m the one defending a Voldemort figure] was a major one for helping me with the suicide stuff. And I haven’t even read her memoir yet! So here I’m plugging it in advance. Not sure what the title she picked is just-yet or I’d provide that. Neither of us, I’m guessing, want to end up washed up failures that could have been something. I feel like it’s harder to not be that than to be that.
I do have selective memory to just keep keeping on. But sometimes it rushes back: just like these weird patchy times in my life when I’d say I was probably becoming a psychopath. Glad to say I am occasionally delusional as SHIT, and that’s just something I’ve learned to reckon with, and I am glad that I’m a psychopathic incel-avert. I’m not an incel that is. But I could play the part! Just would make sure it’s on a professional project.
Let’s go back to real life.
My friend Jane is one of my oldest friends.
First a non-sequitur screenshot as I realize some more shit about my future not the past. You’ll be happy to find out soon that my friend are not psychopaths; soon enough we’ll find out.
I think it takes supreme self-awareness to be able to tell when sickness is not just, an excuse for shittiness (a bit like Munchausen’s syndrome) [a chronic condition that I do not have, in which a maladapted person gets almost stuck in the role of sick person, or even sort of addicted to it; for instance in an uneven power dynamic]. I use the adjective “Supreme” in rare doses, because it’s not really my vibe and I can’t pretend it works for me; if the adjective did work-for-me I would own it as my brand — it is the name of a clothing brand that was established the year I was born. I should be out front about that, here in chapter one of this project.
My friend Jane Thompson came from a family of medical professionals but after getting her BA she went back to trade school to be a welder, a career change which came as a surprise to family and friends.. And though I don’t think we’d have a conversation about this because it’s not the type of thing that comes up in conversation (unless brought up formally), I think, her decision may have helped me reconsider some of my own very private identity politics.
Specifically, and this might be vulnerable to admit, it would help me interrogate any seriously profound disgust at my “masculine side,” because Jane’s never struck me as quite-extremely masculine (a bit less than me I think) but she went ahead and decided to be a welder. Not that it’s a man’s job, but, it’s a less traditionally feminine career path than say, modeling which was always a legit option for our close mutual friend Kelly Thorpe.
As a welder Jane’s done jobs on contract for gallery installations by well-known artists, some work that she must have done with sufficient grace to cop rent money by the first of each month. The opposite of “sufficient grace” must be “art for art’s sake” [#aesthetic], but I don’t want to risk making these arguments in simple, maybe crass terms, when it’s not that simple at all.
Neither of us have spare time to wonder whether the bigger artists we’ve done work for — as a welder (Jane) or gig work ghost writer (me, whatever the f that means) — are making their art for the right reasons; maybe to leave the world a bit better than it is currently, even less disdainful than it’s sometimes been to us each; and others have [left] it worse evidently.
To put herself through school to change gears professionally, Jane worked long shifts (~12 hours) as a Minneapolis brewery bartender. I used to go with Kelly to visit her on the job and find Jane in a baseball jersey and denim shorts, pulling the levers to fill up beers and waving bye to customers like “see you next time, dude,” “yeah man” “fire” “dope.” If offered a beer I’d have said, “no thanks.” Nevertheless I’d leave with spirits uplifted but also maybe a bit of remorse, like, she’s nicer to everyone than I feel [*back then*] like I can even stand. I wasn’t drinking much but I wasn’t sound, spiritually. I mean. That’s one way to say, I’d lost all hope. I was alone, in debt, I probably ate too much to get a man; I only reflected on how bad I looked, and felt — most days, it’s all I thought about, from morning to end.
In undergrad I was an intern for a little while at a film criticism magazine called Film Comment, where I’d meet a writing mentor to me (we had a friendly bond), a guy named Kent Jones who once told me in a conversation I think meant to suss me out a bit from a visible state of melancholy—which would get worse, and worse, then steadily less dire; until I finally ended up fugly but comfortable with myself like I am presently—“you know it’s just yourself.” I’d been telling him about some struggles in love and friendship.
“Even if you decide you want to be close with someone, it’s yourself,” he said to me.
First of all I don’t know if I still agree; probably I will after any women I mention in this book finally say “fuck off.” Or I could say that to him.
But I think I get it. It took me years, honestly, to comprehend how much of reality is made up by me—and it took some hard checks and days, months, or honestly years, in bed by myself!
It cracked me to fathom that love can happen in one person’s mind only. If two people are together, it’s really just a pair of skeletons plus organs and flesh and their minds are operating independently? I guess I didn’t like the idea of this, I would rather not draw upon private memories to prove that it’s definitely possible, that only one person can enjoy a very-shared experience. And literally don’t read into this: I still think Kent, compared to other older male mentors I’ve had, is a good and reliable human.
It’s true, I’ve learned, by now, that only one person can love another distantly; the other might not literally know a thing. All these epiphanies about subjectivity would at first cause me to feel perturbed, by how meaningless love came to seem suddenly. I think the more specific problem is being too isolated, and worshipping people over the internet. I hear this problem is common for Americans — loneliness. Lately if I’ve sensed myself developing a certain strain of schoolgirl crush again, and it’s taking place remotely, say like just me in a bed (not to get too graphic), I just shut off my emotions and laptop. I’ve tried to remove myself from social media and mainly regret deleting old accounts because, it hasn’t helped my professional interests at all.
One morning last Fall I woke up alone in my bed in a house in the New Jersey, my mom’s house where I’ve been allowed to stay without paying rent, and went through a routine I’ve since replaced with just-living but, might return to (meditating for ten minutes on my iPhone, walking by myself) to eventually end up with some new perspective on how the phrase “it’s just yourself” might hold potential to get me out of feeling figuratively trapped alone on an island of nearly lost mind near the Jersey shore.
For me, not wealthy, at all, there are considerably high stakes to executing an escape from this prison where the birds screech unsoundly, but, the stakes of me escaping don’t necessarily matter to anyone else alive out there sifting through the subtext of this piece or upcoming ones that I’m sure won’t be seen by other eyes, for a while. (Someday probably, yes.) In therapy, which I believe in deeply and feel should have no stigma, surrounding it, just a more prevalent understanding that it’s a privilege — I keep returning to the question of how to free myself of a sometimes boundariless bond to someone from my past. However if love can truly exist all in one’s head, then regardless of those difficult questions, the work I can do is not on them, not on how they think of me, not on how they love me — but solely on, my self.
Or if someone unexpected comes along. There’s always him.
My granddad Keith Wilcock, whose surname I might just hold onto always, despite desperately for some time trying to get-rid-of-it, has experience as a prison guard for inmates on death row. Later he started his own psychology consulting firm. He said to me recently that “most people go through life with an imaginary cast of characters in their head.” I myself have a tendency to imagine friendships but, this project should help keep me grounded in what’s actually stuck. (I keep a close few but the few I keep do not, suuuck?) I totally knew what my Grandpa meant, and said I agreed, and vowed to never write another piece unless it was based on real events and people I’d by now in life spent a lot of time with. It’s not an easy feat to write about real friends though, at least not for me, since I spent years and years writing fiction and fantasy movies. This is the first piece of a few about a loyal friend — who’s TRUE not imaginary, who might judge me sometimes but who I honestly trust will never leave completely. That makes her one of, some few left.
By age eight (and still to this day) I’d have memorized my own home address and phone number like all kids and less obviously, those of my friendly neighbor four blocks away named Jane; I’d even have been able to recite her old address on Park Avenue where she lived before I met her, because her dad made up a very catchy jingle, to help her remember it, that she used to sometimes sing. In retrospect I’m able to see it as maybe odd that I would choose the Thompson family’s reality over mine, and then would spend so much time at her house around her siblings. She rarely came over to my place. In her basement we’d play Gamecube, then run upstairs to use that swing her dad built and strung up to a backyard tree. It went 25 feet above the cement, and was just the right dose of life-threatening. That was the early 2000s. Probably wouldn’t happen in the 2010s, when people got more hip to safety precautions. We might get slivers on our thighs or ram into a tree branch, but if we mentioned that then her dad would redesign the swing just-according-to-our-feedback and by the next morning, we’d be right back on it.
That is what it used to be like for us kids growing up near Fulton, Minneapolis — an urbane city neighborhood of mostly-liberal white folk, though it wasn’t a suburb and our public high school, the best in the district, offered applicants a grab bag of different ethnicities who took the school bus from the inner cities; but of course it remained a problem that everyone noticed, then, didn’t do much back then to address, that the school was segregated between West building and East.
In our neighborhood, which was definitely not “the hood” like South or North Minneapolis but had some poor and crazy people in the mix, we were fine to roam free. My family was struggled more financially than I realized but my mom kept it mostly hidden, pretty well I guess, possibly to protect my sister’s and my status or, the family’s. I don’t know what to say about that. She would emphasize the importance of not dressing schlubby — which later ended up being a mode of self-expression for me, dressing adamantly schlubby, like a ratty brat, perhaps; I don’t actually know how to describe it and will make a concerted effort throughout this project, to NOT talk about style when it’s kind of been apprehended from me — but anyway, on days when my dad was in charge of getting us to school then we’d show up looking more than a bit rough around the edges. Like, at some point if you’re poor you can’t hide it. I’ve learned THAT the hard way, since “getting fat” on the East Coast. And now I’m being blunt but I was definitely called out on it. I put quotation marks there but I actually did get fat and it’s been probably like 90% of the reason that, I got manically depressed.
I mean you never can tell.
You never can tell, why a person became manically depressed. Or if they even are.
My mom would find it upsetting to see me onstage with my hair unkempt during a school assembly. She’d get mad at my dad about it. They’d have a fight. I remember him running a comb through my hair — doing the best he could which meant leaving it tangled, but passable — while my sister and I rough-housed at breakfast before school. As a kid I was skinny, now I struggle with a pattern of putting on weight and fighting to get some of it off; but my body changed. Alexis my sister, who will never be fat and judges me occasionally but pretends she doesn’t, generally got bullied more than I did in younger times.
Beyond a certain age I started doing my own hair, but not for more than a few minutes. Sometimes I’d let it dry on my walk uphill to school. Either it wasn’t a part of my values, back then, to fix my hair like the other girls, or it wasn’t in my DNA.
Growing up in the approximate socioeconomic range that we all did at my high school, I always was known among my peers for having style, color-coordinated or a little quirky but not excessively so — though it might more precisely (and I’m not actually joking) be described as “swagger.” Out East the dress code can seem a bit more refined or just-defined-at-all compared to in the Midwest, which is why I do feel the need to clarify before I move back from my Minneapolis quarantine bomb shelter (where I started writing this), back to New York. In middle school I got really into hats at one point, and like, offbeat tennis shoes or fairly nice leather boots; I literally never wore mini skirts and tank tops or actually fitted sweaters. Not then, not in high school. Few girls wore mini skirts, it just would have made an obvious statement, but the ones who did were on top of our class and I’m not talking about grades nor am I trying to be disrespectful or funny, it’s just the truth I remember. At the schools I attended, generally girls weren’t bullied for being overweight, that didn’t happen to me until I moved to Manhattan where I imagine the high schools have different rules and ranking schemes. It never happened to my sister; like I said now we’re even in terms of who’s ever taken a few dings in their social life, though that might be a bit generous. She would say something like “it’s not a contest.” I’d be like *rolls my eyes.*
As kids we may not wonder that much, why we get along, but Jane Thompson and I always did. As adult females we might settle with being sort of tough-guys as opposed to strictly girlie, though I should be careful, moving forward, to speak only for my self. I don’t think there are that many female people, who want to be like me. Men don’t even think about me so I don’t worry ’bout that. Men — or just anyone — might want SOME things, that are mine not theirs, like the five to six years in exile it took to write a masterpiece!!
This is not a masterpiece. The masterpiece, in my view alone which is the only POV that matters when you are alone (completely), is a script I started writing in 2016. But out in the real world where people don’t talk about me: that’s what I think and those years spent writing, are just, years I can’t get back.
I’d probably reconsider the choices I made, if I weren’t trying to find peace with what I can’t control now in 2020, perhaps never can.
Janie recently described herself as “pretty masq,” short for masculine, when comparing herself to other waitresses she worked alongside out East (she lives in Philadelphia). Jane said other waitresses got better tips than her, but they’re not also welders for sort of famous artists. She mentioned that she once had a roommate in Phillie who refused to see a therapist because being even remotely depressed — let alone a total crank, like me in acedia times: my mom in quarantine called me “such a curmudgeon” — was very stigmatized.
There’s some idea, just generally in America still or in the communities Jane and I each have been brought up in, that therapy gives a signal or admission of defeat.
If your life is hard, people are more likely to say “tough shit” — though I understand this is changing as mental health awareness spreads, and people become more suspicious of anyone claiming to be actually mental. In my world, many Americans believe that therapy is for people who have ever been abused by family members as kids, and/or for people who, to use an awfully 2020 word, are damaged.
Not for people whose lives are hard, because everyone’s is. That’s what you discuss over drinks with your buddies, not with a therapist.
If I tried to explain being poor to someone on the other end of the gender spectrum — like someone not masq even a bit, at least not noticeably, also someone unkind who might be the type to bully other women (and I recognize that I’m making some assumptions about what it’s like to be Regina George from Mean Girls, played by one of my favorite actresses) — then I’d skip to the extreme of inquiring about whether those humans doing well have ever compared other humans to animals.
Maybe some people living safely and well have remarked in their minds once-or-twice about how really poor folk might be less civilized. They must operate in some Hobbesian state of nature and thus behave less like humans than some other species. Nasty. If some people weren’t thinking in such extremes, because I might be way off base by ever assuming that were the case, well, they probably just weren’t even noticing anyone beyond their cordoned-off friends and kin. Again: I could be mistaken [I can go by what people literally say or put in print], and I’ll never be able to prove the thoughts of a person who I’m standing across from, not meshing with. I can only speak from experience including the times I myself or members of my family have ever been rejected or directly attacked. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I’ve asked for it, maybe to feel that I existed, but I was also, young. Not dumb, young.
Jane doesn’t seem to struggle with the rule, kill em with kindness..
She’s the type of friend who would probably snag me from my house, on my own birthday, if I pretended I weren’t feeling well enough to make time for friends or myself. She’s the old girl who would reorient me with common sense values like just be yourself, if I went to her with some stories about ever having felt directly attacked for, I don’t know, how I looked. As though I’m such a victim, I’m not and won’t ever be, lols.
My question is, can I still believe in just-being-myself when the very notion of the self is challenging for me to grasp, when people forego reality all the time, in cyberspace, to act like someone they’re not? People post pics in which they look better than them selves. At least I’ve definitely done this in the past, not lately though, to pretend I’m named Lola; it’s a different name than Morgan for sure, a doctor once said “more feminine” and acknowledged it’s not all that abnormal, for anyone, to have an alter ego. Reality has stopped me from keeping up the Lola charade, including how I’ve neutered myself (by misbehavior) of online hits or followers or anything to be proud of objectively. In ranking schemes that can’t be measured, I’ve been stopped in my Lola tracks by the reality of being cared about by people who know the truth about me down to some DNA-bred subtleties. The shit in my soul that I have to deal with, or it might get the best of me.
If that doesn’t make sense then it’s not supposed to. I’m talking about subtle stuff that you don’t want to be true about you, that is there either way.
Past age 27 since I’m still alive and trying to have a side hustle as an artist, I refuse to play the victim from now on about ever being rendered powerless. Like I’ve gotten this far I’m not dead, I might not be great but I’m okay.
People who were friends back in high school tend to still be close to one another, though I (formerly “Lola”) Morgan Wilcock might pose an exception to that general rule. Most of my close friends from high school are no longer in my contacts, on my phone or even email since I really did shut down entire email and other social accounts because I couldn’t stand the silence; I tried to control it — though some people might-or-might-not come back and say they stopped responding to me out of concern; honestly it seems doubtful right now.
One of the ways I’ve always been able to remember Jane’s birthday is that it’s the day before September 11, and, when terrorists hit the World Trade Center we were in the same second grade classroom, talking about it. The day before we’d probably all sung for Jane. Later at age 10 we saw Mean Girls together in theaters with her dad (who felt that by agreeing to take us he’d made a huge mistake) [to my parents, he kept apologizing, they didn’t care at all], and we didn’t get all the jokes but kind of liked it then went home and played CD-roms, a Nancy Drew game or forty rounds of Mariokart.
Her dad would later end up split from Jane’s mom. In our twenties we’d meet for coffee — not beers — and talk about how that was incredibly tough, like legit.
Jane and I were in the same Girl Scout troop, though I was the first girl by fourth or fifth grade to drop out of that. For me as a kid it was never fun to be the one who sold 15 boxes of cookies when f***ing Becca sold literally over 1000, though I think my lax approach to extracurriculars (maybe because my parents didn’t have their head in it) served as a steady source of preteen status.
Our friend Kelly pointed out that I used to hang with some of the “intimidating kids” who never would have come close to being in Girl Scouts, more like the kids en route in the long run to become either corporate aristocrats who might never actually work that hard or begin-to-think of themselves as aristocrats, either that or they were en route to become burnouts. I say the word burnout non judgmentally because, I’ve been on track to be a burnout probably but am now committed to having integrity toward myself and others; which might make me less of a burnout. It’s part of the Hippocratic oath anyway. For Jane I guess, I’ll keep giving kindness a shot in the arm every day. Like a vaccine topped off with a smiley face band-aid.
By the end of my first week at a hospital in late 2019, I’d been given the green card to do activities like go to the roof for half an hour — for fresh air. Less stable patients were not allowed to leave their floor. I went up and shot hoops with some boys from other floors, who asked how I was doing. Actually just one dude.
I said, “it could be worse.”
The white guy in his thirties with Christian symbols on his neck that were definitely done not in a tattoo parlor, who I hung out with that day, said, “you’re literally here, how could it be worse.” He did have a point. I think he was flirting.
I shrugged and said nothing at first but thought about this: at least I’ll have something to write about, something dramatic as shit that I definitely did not imagine. There’d be records of this. Maybe the fam would could call it a serious crisis.
Then I said, “I feel fine.”
I had, the end of my autofiction book about a STAR named Lola. The last few words, she lost herself. The book — though, apparently, about someone chasing her great American dream of female celebrity in a world dominated by male rapists — was actually about an exorcism.
Oh and any future as Lola, outside of my writing, was over with.
Back in high school not now that I know of: Jane was more or less the same way, in that she hung out with some of the “intimidating kids” at school, like how she was genuinely close friends with that girl who gamed with fifteen guys at the same house party though to me that sounds like a made-up rumor and there were some savage ones: like that other rumor. About four of my friends, not me, having an orgy in a hot tub. The intimidating party girl and I got along too, on the softball team. Before prom she asked if I was “trynna get it in” (with my male prom date), in response to that question I got all awkward, don’t be such a bitch, Anna — I read sarcasm into it from the jump — of COURSE I am.. I tried kissing the boy, he rebuffed the kiss, and then, he skipped going to RISD after being accepted for his paintings. Not because of me, I told him to go (literally it’s RISD). No, he stayed in Minnesota, went to school for architecture and married someone like-extremely pretty. In my youth: I played some innings for Varsity as an eighth grader and was starting pitcher as a freshman which was honestly rare to pull off; most people didn’t make Varsity until junior or senior year. It meant that I started high school with a leg up (figuratively) among older girls and I got drunk for the first time at age 15 before close friends my age, and then, I wanted to get drunk again, once or twice or ten times with Jane’s older sister Nora Thompson. I might have even developed a problem; as usual when that happens, in my life, no one noticed a thing.
That was a bit awkward—when I’d be at the house with Nora and the older girl gang, and friends my own age were in the basement (like wait Morgan are you hanging out with US or with THEM) but — to scrape out a-bit-bloodily some silver lining, it also meant I got close to her whole family which might be how they ended up a resource for me throughout my late twenties: one that’s probably been lifesaving.
I won’t get into just how because this is chapter one.
In high school when I was smoking weed and drinking a lot and telling no one and Jane was studying abroad, writing a travel blog that was actually quite charming and well done.. it’s true that we might have drifted apart — especially after she went to Spain, missed that year’s prom, loved a hot Spaniard and lost a lot of weight from cigarettes. By late high school after Jane came back from abroad, I was spending almost all my time studying at home, alone, to test well and apply to a handful of Ivy League colleges.
There were a few times, of course, that Jane did come over to my place as a much younger girl. One of them involved, unforgettably I’m certain Jane recalls, walking in on my mom caught off guard, then there was that other time she spent the night and woke up to a phone call informing her that two out of three of Jane’s three family cats were dead — one from old age, another cat literally from a tree falling on her back. It reminds me of a similarly-not-coincidental-seeming incident in Jane’s life when two cars fell on Jane’s car and she came out unscathed except for trauma, and we remarked together on how her planets had been in retrograde (some freaky astrological shit) [which I generally don’t believe in]. Strange enough. Even now after re-conditioning and building upon my math abilities — and in effect my capacity to discern between literally quantitative answers, versus qualitative reality testing, versus what’s just totally batshit bonkerballs (such as: that last phrase) — I still do believe in the occasional bouts of “dark magic” in a person’s life story. Events that are hard to account for, where something like karma kicks in to save the day perhaps, or not, who knows, I am not in a position to say. Events that terrorize our memories though: they’re a truly real thing.
I can imagine Jane retelling these stories in a way that tries to “make light of it” all.
No thanks that shit was f***ed up. How can you joke about that stuff!!!!
Of course I’d prefer to be able look back and be chill about that one not-so-great sleepover with Janie, to work through the pain of losing two cats, both gray, especially at such a young age, but it’s not quite objectively funny: more like seriously tragic. Literally a tree fell on her back, the f***, I am saying this extremely deadpan, that is wack. Obviously traumatic for little Jane — I felt guilty as though it was my fault and it’s hard to remember what it all felt like at that age (we were like 7 or so). I kind of want to apologize for thinking it would be a good idea, ever, to invite my BFF over to my place. If it’s not clear by now, I give my condolences and karmic allegiances to JGT, my purely-platonic old girl, yee hee ha. Remember when we went to the Winnipeg Folk Fest and danced in the mud. It was like a scene from Midsommar legit. Thanks for keeping me somewhat sane; down to earth might be the better term, for what Jane definitely is. She helped-the-f*** out though, I’m being serious.
Do I blame my self too much, for coming from a “weird” family and, as a result of that, cursing everyone around me. By weird I mean there was an unhealthy respect for insanity, in my house, coming up. Probably but I’m, like, almost 30 so the time to blame them is done.
Maybe just perhaps who knows, I was more sympathetic as a heinous, invisible so not remotely famous person; also poor, comma, hapless and young. People could just tell I didn’t quite fit in, they didn’t ask for an explanation, they just knew [?] I marched to my own drumbeat and so I was able to sort of romanticize having some serious problems. (Staying inside. Writing poetry and casting spells to make babes love me.) Maybe I should start-to-question some of my old belief systems before they get the best of, me — or of any possibility of a future as a writer named Morgan now. S’time to get straight.
What? That’s not a good line to close my first chapter on, as the born-again Jew Morgan Wilcock who’s anything but cliché. “Get straight,” it’s kind of a tired expression, anyway. What would be better.. “Get some.“
Ch. 15 The dildo brothers
Will I make my way into and then all the way through med school, honestly.. probably, I will find a way. Will I have any legacy as a medical professional, probably not. As far as crafting a brand, which is a dumb way to drift-in-life anyway, will I ever get published, will I be gay or straight: I refuse to answer those questions. It’s already like, reckless enough to bring it up. Now people are thinking about it and then, if they ask about one of those things I’ll get defensive.
It might not have-to-be like that forever. I might have to defensive as fuck.
You know. This is why I rarely talk. Instead I probably write too much. TOO MUCH.
This piece originally was going to be for Kelly, she’s an old friend. Her birthday is December 5, she’s a Sagittarius; as a Capricorn I’ve always been a bit resistant to her happy-go-lucky attitude, even a bit aggressive toward it. Of the old pre-college friends I could probably still hear back from if I tried to reach out — and I think this reflects fine on me, since I didn’t plan it this way — one has gone to Princeton and works in publishing, another is Kelly, who I last saw alongside Audrey Ortiz in a coffee shop in Minneapolis; and Audrey Ortiz [who I knew well in fourth grade] (we were best friends with all these bad jokes, drawing our peers and teachers like some Al Hirschfeld shit and sharing the sketches) recently graduated from Harvard Law School and is working for a law firm in Manhattan. I’ll probably send her this. And there’s Jane already introduced, who comes from the family of almost all nurse anesthetists [anesthestisti?], which is not why I might go into anesthesiology though it might not-take-me-away from it because, these are good people. A reason not to do that is because it’s a little on the nose given by past, given my future it would be more wise to go not into surgery at all period but into: maybe like brain shit and trauma shit and just that shit which I have a lot of experience with. Could hulp people.
Kelly’s got pretty good instincts about people, I think; I wouldn’t put it past her to sort of judge me a bit if I married a freak-like-me but, I actually don’t mind it when that happens from friends or people I was really close to. If they judge what isn’t right, and keep me on track.
It could be useful to re-summarize now, how Kelly lived for years with a sociopath, a model actually [like her] who destroyed her computer and sent her family naked pics; who Jane fondly called “the devil” whenever his name flew up, and who Audrey Ortiz once called dumb to me I’m sorry if that’s private, she’s like he’s so dumb, Kelly isn’t and thinks she is and as often happens in abusive relationships Kelly stayed in close touch for honestly years after they separated — she helped him or did the right things or whatever; ish gets complicated. She said she decided not to stay with him after a bad dream of how things might go, like if she stayed with him, we were talking about those vision-things, maybe that one has in their sleep or half sleep. I should recall how a deterioration of my own loner’s health both physical and mental, was so extreme and noticeable that I suspected my old, not new, friends — who generally have stable lives and healthy habits, it’s just who I’m drawn to when I’m not living with my parents (who struggle with that) — literally didn’t know what to do with it sometimes, when I showed up somewhere in an authentically-deplorable state, or at least, deplorable in my own opinion toward my self because like, I wanted to be successful once. I really did. More frequently than stick around, they [people I knew] just bolted.
Or maybe honestly, sometimes, kept their distance.
Does that mean I’ll be kicking it with everyone who I believe just “bolted,” instead of trying to make some new friends since I’m pretty much a different person? To clarify since I can see how people might assume this, the following what I mean: being a different person now is not a sexual identity thing. It’s other things, I can’t change. What things. What things! That’s another one of those questions, I’d rather not put out there (but just did), partly because I don’t think it’s a choice. It’s life, you just roll with it.
My sister would say: you’re paranoid, none of this actually happened, they all still love you as in EVERYONE from your past. I’d say pull your head out of your ass, I’m giving you forgiveness for helping too to lead me off a cliff, basically because you had a different situation, it doesn’t matter what “happened” or not; it became my reality. Just some warped shit. And in my reality I’ve truly taken alienation and isolation and reclusion and whatever-it-was, for years, to beyond normal extremes; do I think my whole life will be like this, no honestly — I think I’ll be around other people who sort of socialize for me; e.g. my sister who I just insulted but I’m being direct and begging, and maybe some people who I have yet to meet — but, I just like to kind of assume the worst because, still at the start of this project, I don’t see such a problem with assuming the worst, even though I’ve been taught not to, in therapy and stuff. No. Let’s assume. THE WORST. Even though I don’t have proof always. It’s how to stay frosty, in business! Kelly was not one of the friends who bolted and, she kind of surprised me when she’d be the first to congratulate me, actually like “wow Morgan!!!” — being nice or just a good person, when she found out I was preparing to go back to Columbia; basically it’s the best I could do and it took a lot of work to get back in.
I was lucky.
I can’t really think about it or I’ll never finish, actually though. With that GPA. I have a few things I’m going to try, in order to improve it. One of them is continuing with my tutor; another is applying the legal slap of the back of the hand, as a learning experience about parity laws — and I will say I was really sick.
In medical school admissions world, they can always, easily, just “find someone better” and so, like, I shouldn’t mess it up. Grad school is different from med school (I think it’s just easier to get in to grad or postbac school, compared to undergrad; definitely compared to med school) [I mean, depends] but. Not messing up my entire life. That’s been the idea. I’m repeating myself.
Still as far as like, other things that matter in life, not school — I have to say some of the times Kelly and I hung out recently for me at least, me who had such high hopes and prospects as a younger person, were very awkward: I just like, didn’t want to admit what I’d been through, who would honestly. It was too intense. But I felt like we both knew. We weren’t the kids we used to be.
Growing up Jane had the best house, but Kelly’s upstairs — courtesy of cable television and Kid Pix and plenty of nail polish — was the shit. I just remember, there might be one of those junky celebrity Entertainment Tonight! shows on TV and someone would be painting my nails; I’d never have done them alone with myself, ever. I’d sort of be half-watching the TV and talking because we were all so close, probably not paying attention to a thing that we said. I might perk up if something came on about Nsync and associated celebs. At other friends’ houses we’d binge watch Nickelodeon or Disney until we had headaches, before binge watching was just the norm for how television shows were taken in; literally all the good shows were on those two channels, or MTV but that tended to be a little too adult. Like it got uncomfortable or I was lame. People in my friend group didn’t think I was lame, for never watching MTV.
My favorite celebrities were influenced by my sister, I didn’t really have favorites unless they were hers — honestly it’s peculiar in retrospect how much I just latched on because I think I’d imitate her to seem more normal than I truthfully felt; that’s what I said about going to Jane’s house too. I was an imitator and visitor. But if I did have my own favorites they were probably like the lead male characters in action movies, like Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man and Neo in The Matrix (not Trinity though, Trinity was like, unusual to me back then in terms of female stars: and if I were a straight male she was probably not my type). I didn’t grow up watching finer films, only hearing about stuff like Pulp Fiction from my parents; that was like the extent of my exposure to masterpiece stuff. And I liked cartoons like Arthur and later, The Simpsons. I’d watch two episodes a day because that’s when they came on after school. An episode I liked, even though they rarely overlapped, was the one called Two Dozen and One Greyhounds from season six, and the one about a secret society called the Stonecutters (who sing a song called “We Do”) which boasts of rigging the Oscars.
Now. I can’t say if my being drawn to male action stars meant I was non-binary, or trans, which I’ve wondered on some nights — I’d prefer to say I was just a tomboy; but, if I’d been a kid in these days, I might be considered a boy basically because yeah, I got really into it. And did it ever wear off; yeah it did. I feel like just changing my name to something more-feminine (Lola) had a discernible influence on my gender identity. And now, as Morgan, I might be shifting back a bit; not dramatically because I don’t want to be as dramatic anymore. The only exception maybe, to me wanting to be the hero guy in big movies, was like the “second original” Charlie’s Angels, I thought Drew Barrymore was [and all of them actually were] awesome? I remember being very scared in that scene of her getting her mouth gagged; but then I watched it like 20x, like something about it, kept me replaying that scene. Also, though this came a bit later, Kill Bill was kind of a big moment.
So I liked action stuff, I liked the girls and did it mean, I was not straight? To the contrary I might just have liked characters who didn’t give up so easily — and maybe that’s how I approached becoming a female-person in film, for a minute, despite not fitting the bill as a girl; a straight girl. But let’s say maybe (as a thought experiment) I was always gay, from a young age. I got into Annie Hall some time high school and, I was never the same.
Ugh, if I could go back, I’d NEVER have seen it and started dreaming of a life like that. What kind of life? A life like in Manhattan, which my boss at a min wage job said (of that specific film), “[it] was like, filled with all these material things and it seemed like they were still so unhappy, I mean I liked it Morgan, I hear you.” What I meant though was a life like Woody Allen’s as a director-writer. If I hadn’t seen that shit, I just wouldn’t have known Woody Allen was a thing.
Any queer energy would have been sublimated into more violent writing.
I might not even have gone to New York, I might have gone to California. I still might! For med school.
Kelly’s favorite movie and book, respectively (she’d tell me at one point like just after high school) were Girl, Interrupted and Lolita. She “just kinda liked them.” This is how she talks, a woman of few words but, those few words just kind of cover ground.
For my eleventh birthday at a bowling alley (which I attended wearing a T-shirt and cap for Wicked the musical, having by then it seen it 3x), she got me a stuffed cow. Cows are still my spirit animal, either that or puppies; Kelly’s to blame if they are cows. She and her family would always have a golden retriever with a cute name, like “Hunter” or “Murphy,” trained well enough to walk off the leash. As younger adolescents back in her attic, with the door shut so the dog couldn’t bother us, I would lead prank calls during our playdates.
In retrospect I’m not sure the demons that drove me to make fun of people on the phone — or, like, my self, with comedy videos (to me not always funny but actually destructive) — were entirely separate from the lingering demons that later shook me in less trivial ways. What kind of prank calls, I don’t know. I’d call like local businesses and just riff, like “heyy sooo I was in the bathroom earlier and, I think I might have like left something.”
“Sure if you like, I can go check.”
“It’s like, a small bag.. like.. a small rubber bag.. with a tube going in it. Can you please just check for me thank you.”
I was envisioning an enema bag, which isn’t that funny but I was younger then. And already a freak. I don’t know what you were envisioning. I tried to bring back the enema bag prank, in a bildungsroman film script that I ended up deleting. I just don’t think it’s that funny anymore. I mean you gotta admit, that’s kind of f***ed up.
Anyway, my actual sins came later. Like when I toilet-papered Jane’s house? Why, literally because my older friends like, pushed me into it. Jane had to clean it up. Weird kinds of things like that, in our friendship. (“Thanks Morgan, and by the way, f*** you too,” Jane would basically say back, disheartened, getting back by retaining an edge in how she saw me — and I would feel bad, not immediately but much later. She didn’t stop being my friend and I’m still making it up to her.) I could have gotten a misdemeanor, or lost our friendship, I don’t know why I took those risks but, starting early — smoking [METH] (jk weed) without even bothering to hide, doing stupid pranks like putting huge sticks in the middle of the road and watching cars go over them — I was never as good of a girl as people kind of gave me credit for, ha. Jane’s and Kelly’s and my core friend group would see people come and go, though the three of us somehow stayed intact, and I won’t question why though I’ll observe that beyond our squad of three we generally don’t hang out with the same types of girls.
Kelly and I were in the same high school bio course with a lot of the bro-lite kids, which was the term at our high school for the popular kids who weren’t quite as insane as the bros, the bros were like intense, like party folklore about lost virginities and straight guys actually having sex, like with eachother but somehow they definitely weren’t gay, and girls popping cherries with a toothbrush so they could have sex at parties — I never understood that — and DUIs that literally everyone at school talked about, yeah. Even the teachers, they’d like, give spiels at the start of class if there was a bad enough party, one that everyone knew about, if someone almost died (big deal) [I mean literally it is, but if that-someone happened to female then teachers shouldn’t be getting involved IMO]: about drinking and the dangers it posed to the rest of your life, it was a problem at our high school known throughout the district so teachers tried to intervene to preserve the school’s rep.
I hope it’s not disrespectful to say that our high school was super easy for me, except for maybe “SLAP” Physics and Higher Level Calculus. Besides decent grades, a 3.99999999 I got one A minus — that boy I lost my virginity to later told me, I should not be proud of that, I was like “f*** you too” [ambitionless rat] — I had my own grosser addictions. Kelly used to get an unlimited supply of watermelon Trident from her mom who was a secretary at a dentist’s office. I’d ask Kelly to give me some and she’d come with a clear sealed Ziploc baggie of little packets. That’s the year I did my college applications, and got into Brown, Columbia, and Dartmouth. I didn’t apply to Harvard I just didn’t like it, the only school I was rejected from was Yale, which is still a sore spot in my backlogged confidence from a few years that seemed to be going quite well for me, maybe, partly, thanks to the gum — I’ll never know if it literally helped me on my school work, or if I just think it did.
There are studies that show, it improves focus, but, it also has other side effects, that suck, do I regret it now, duh. Because it damaged my gut, the second brain, and worse: it affected my face. I will try not to judge myself beyond what’s necessary to do fine in this life, given certain tribal structures that keep women fighting with one another and keep men pursuing the fairest, which of course isn’t unfair it just is biological. Is this proven, not that I know of. But while I’m on that topic I’ll mention that Kelly is the type of girl who always is remarked upon by men, “so pretty.” If this isn’t obvious by now, it comes at a cost. In Minneapolis, in central Uptown (parts of the city that would later, not then, be messed up a bit by some riots) Kelly took up a huge window on an Aveda salon, just another modeling gig — my dad would remark on it when we drove by, “she’s.. whew.” I guess, something else. She’s humble, professional models kind of tend to be. There’s always someone prettier, nicer; and people can be jerks.
Kelly actually got her degree in business not modeling, and recently won employee of the year as a marketing manager for a creative firm, in downtown Minneapolis, sometimes known as the Mini Apple.
I’ll let the Big Apple do some judging for me and I’ll merely imagine what people have said, when I’ve put my self out there face first in New York.
What was said to me literally, was nothing, nothing at all mostly, except a few things that I got upset about initially (“you can’t sit with us!!”) Everyone started ignoring me. It was the first time I’d been called fat, which now seems like no big deal [I honestly think it’s funny when it’s endearing not like “you warthog”], but yeah it hurt at first. It’s a different town than Minneapolis; and I’ll try to not make the topic of being looked at redundant throughout the rest of this book, but it’s likely it will come up again, just because the goings got rough and ran deep. I won’t be able to help it. As of today though it’s all f***ing fine — I got by on other charms. (Lol.) Actually though I’ve been really lucky because, due to this looks-business and feeling no reason to live if I couldn’t even compete with other women, my values got all f***ed up and my life too, almost irreparably. I’ve been lucky because it could have been worse. The damages were moderately self-contained.
Let’s skip back to the things I can be, proud of. Not ashamed of.
At Columbia in undergrad, like in high school I got mostly A’s, but didn’t party much.
In high school, though, I did like to go to Minneapolis nightclubs like once a month or maybe like drink at the movies, with friends, and I’d go entirely nuts and find it hard to stop like one of those red “fire alarm” latches got pulled in me (good image not actually; it’s disturbing, on purpose). In retrospect I realize that I found a way to cope with trauma, though I’ll refer to trauma in more literary terms, again, as: my lingering demons!! I already had some by late high school. They would just sort of snowball by early college.
Here’s that word again DEMONS. That’s a good way to describe the thoughts that keep me up at night.
Victimhood is pretty.
Like isn’t it sometimes? I’d like to challenge this, and intend to (I actually think the answer, is no there are always clues and they are reprehensible in plain relief); but I also intend to look at my life and what I’ve seen and try to kind of get it right. Because I can think of some counterexamples too. Maybe one is that Heaven Knows What film, I already said I really liked.
In New York I’m probably [not] the first person ever who believes that attending parties, in some otherworldly reality where slick snakes slithered stealthily and monster men metastasized like maggots in my mind’s knottiest thoughts — all that [gross!] would have been more beneficial than what happened to me alone in my room for years during and after undergrad. Writing and sometimes, eating by my self. Actually, it would be accurate-enough to never leave unmentioned, all the many times I tried to fast off the weight. God. It worked well, like, once… but it was like in Joker not at all like Black Swan. It wasn’t, pretty?
Nothing else though, worked, I never did anything else in my room alone; don’t believe the rumors if there are some!! (There are no rumors in public circulation. I hardly exist now based on the numbers I see on all my profiles.) Still I’d never say it’s not-unsafe to party hard as a female person with a bro crowd in the city of New York especially, I would select it as a preferable form of harm reduction, say, if I could choose [and I don’t know if I could] between that and what occurred in my actual reality for me — which was unhyperbolically shitty to experience, though the fucking novel [shut up about it] that I wrote for years alone (not quite partying) might begin to make it sound a bit less like a quicksand hell pit of unpleasantries; I’m trying to make it fun, fun, fun, fun, fun like in the track “House of Tables” by The Weeknd.
Not insane and harmful to many people in my life!! Sound the sober patrol alarm. Here I come, with the truth.
In my dad’s attic four months after I was hospitalized, [we’ll say] for drinking too much, I’d resort to binge-eating instead of drinking.
Let’s say this was after years of being raped. I have only had sex with less than 10 guys but we’ll say it was after years of being raped.
It was like I never, ever, ever felt satiated. It was a pills-thing, I think.
My father would Freudian slip me for our fat dog, he said her name instead of mine, one day, I just knew it was something I should pay attention to (as a bad sign). He laughed out loud. My mom’d said at one point, “Dad doesn’t see weight,” I said: “yeah and it’s a problem, I lose touch with reality maybe just a tiny bit?”
I stepped on a scale, and realized, I’d literally gained almost, forty pounds since moving in with my father! ! That’s a lot!!! ! Holy, f***, no censoring the word from now on. *to the tune of Gwen Stefani’s track “Slow Clap”* FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKDA FUCKDA FUCK FUCK.
I threw out the meds. That probably was [not] a good idea; I’d spend the next year and two months off them.
It was the second time I’d done this: first time was in the dumpster out back. This time down I threw them down the toilet, so I’d get used to living in my screwy new CHAOS REALITY, not muted tamer reality, without them.
On the twentieth floor of the hospital, sometimes they’d have patients talk to students at NYU, who were learning how to be doctors. I did this a few times, as the patient. A Jewish woman there with her son told me, “you’re not like these people.” She literally said that, with this sort of veiled look of looking down a wishing well and seeing a shiny coin. Tired herself. I was seriously out of it, that might be why I still don’t understand if she was a doctor or happened to be there with her son-in-training. She said something about having done this for years herself. I just like, didn’t understand. I was like hi.
But I appreciated what she said, it wasn’t funny, honestly I wouldn’t have assumed that I [still] “seem intelligent.” Another invisible thread of verbal data that she left me to go to sleep with.
So it was an important conversation; it’s the only hope I’ve really clung to, from those two weeks, no one else has said you’re a smart girl since she said it. Just when I’d arrived I was, pretty lost, at sea. I definitely, was not going to be a writer, what could I be instead.
I could be a pirate.
So I’d spend all my time in the mirror honestly hours and hours, noticing my eye had gone lazy which it has from falling out once. Not literally or I’d need an eyepatch, duhr.
Ahoy matee, I’d think. Smiling.
Shortly after I came out of the hospital in 2019, I tried founding a film company Def Ahab [I think I mentioned this] named after Moby Dick, knowing it’d probably be years until I inserted those two words into the opening credits of a film. I figured (vulnerable enough to sense a need to believe in something) that it was God punishing me, for not taking life seriously back then, the lazy eye, the removal from any real friends. It was all just God telling me what’s what, like Kanye when he got his mouth wired shut: look it up if you don’t believe me. It was God talking to him, he thought.
My jaw meanwhile had gotten bold from all the years chewing gum while writing screenplays. I decided in the mirror it was masculine-looking.
On day nine, I started spitting out the meds — the ones that made me want to dance clumsily as though narc’d in the gluteus. I saw that happen to another patient. I’d have unswallowed these bitches sooner if I weren’t expecting a blood or urine test, which a doctor told me might happen.
It never did.
Back in Minneapolis I’d be subscribed some new, probably even worse shit than by the people at Bellevue. I have different views of meds these days but. That’s me being honest.
“GOOOOOD MOOOORNING LOOOOOLLAAAAA,” said John Bayardelle, a painter and performer who once appeared sort of accidentally, like, doing a back flip in an amateur dance video that went viral on Beyoncé’s Instagram. I just think that’s probably like winning the lottery, almost like that — so I’ll keep mentioning it on his behalf. At least I’ll mention it here.
After saying good morning he started dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy,” like a nearly, but not actually, psychotic person.
I was in the living room, not having it, too depressed about how I looked at 140 pounds and other shit.
It was July 2020. I could hardly even look up from my laptop but in my mind I was like is this a joke or is he making fun of me. I wanted to die, and I’d be glad when John would start blasting some Max Richter Memoryhouse after this track. It came as a relief.
Jillian had described him as a genius who’s been through a LOT. From having met John for a couple days I’d have to agree, he had something.
“What you gonna do,” sang Justin before the track changed. I did not get up to dance, but like someone receiving a striptease it was fun to sit on my ass and stare.
The day before John (who sometimes goes by Flowergod) and my self, also his close friend Noruwa, passed around some Mary Jane and I am not referring to Kirsten Dunst in my old favorite action movie; and that’s not funny, if you get it, it’s a rape joke — despite Covid-19 restrictions having begun, we were relaxing togethies all three. And I told John because he asked her to share something deep that she’d always felt more like a guy than a woman. I’m not sure whether this narrative was, sort of a disguise, put-on. Because it’s literally not true at all, but I can say it’s true and skip all the backstory leading up. I walked around with shoulders hunched like a gamer with spine problems, permanent ones, time wasn’t turning back.
Was wearin’ baggy blouse that once belonged to kind white Mormon grandma ’round whom I felt unworthy in weeks before she died; I felt unworthy here too, around these two black guys I’d just met — all in head, was in flux — I felt like, soo however messed, up I’d become in deadass survival drift mode, this whole Lola-thing wasn’t workin’ so smart.
A few minutes after having entered the room the day prior [like having never met him yet] John ran across the floor like a critter and almost caused me and my unfamous friend Jillian to trip and fall over herself. We’d all been summoned by Jill to work on a secret, arguably shady long-term project. The team did drugs, and pasted all these interesting money graphs on everything, pictures of spiders, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. “How did you even move over here that fast, shit,” she’d said to John crawling buglike, her eyes wide laughing incredulously, in that way she usually laughs. Like she’s not even sure if she’s laughing or not? And that’s like, part of the joke; it’s not funny but she pretends. She just puts her forehead in her hands and is like “what,” you’d have to see it but let me try: it’s like she’s laughing while swinging upside-down on a web, her brain’s hardware bleeding out, yeah, not, fucking funny, Morgan. Either that or — we’ll go with this image, it’s like she’s getting off on saying “fuck you, too, literally everyone” (except lover and family and no friends [but me even by the end of this paragraph]) while escaping in a spaceship; although let’s remember, that’s not about to happen for any humans on earth. Least not for me.
It was the first time I’d seen Jillian since 2017, when she and I failed not for the first time, to make a film. I told her to delete all the fat naked pics she had on her phone from that week, of me. “Thanks Jill.”
I emailed her later in 2020, “we never do anything related to film!! What if we just never do anything, ever. It seems like how that’s going to go..” I knew that Jillian Elizabeth — who’d been a years-long babysitter for a producer at Lionsgate — wouldn’t give a shit; she’d find peace in her life either way. I’d called her a nanny, once, she’d reacted.
We?… “Yeah, maybe you’re right,” she wrote back to my question.
Me back and this is word-for-word, also — Jillian, Jillliiiiaaaan.. “I feel like I’m confused about identity and whether power differentials are only real for people affected by them (esp. negatively) — a bit like if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it. Is it the same if someone is negatively affected by predominant biases but no one notices. Does it matter. Who gives a shit if that person is not powerful to begin with.” I threw my head back laughing as I pressed send, I’m so intelligent.
Days later she took me off her quote on quote “shady” ass project. Which it definitely objectively fucking was.
In a short time, as tends to happen to a lot of people just in life (it’s harder to heal or stay intact than to faceplant terribly) [hardest of all where there are no safety nets, e.g. to pay for treatment or a good lawyer or an immense PR cover-up], I’d gotten pretty messed up, I could be disgusted or just like whatevs bitch, I fell from your good graces.
People would notice for months and months and months and months and the rest of my life perhaps, sometimes I felt like a mutant and I told Jillian this — still only by email; we weren’t hanging out. Rather than go through life a mutant I think I would prefer that people, didn’t even know me anymore, I’d be erased, written over.
That was my wish. Be careful what you wish 5, I saw that tweet once on a band member of Vampire Weekend’s account.
In real life, so in actual reality, my daddy recently fell off a ladder — I heard about it not from him but from my mom on the phone. He has stitches across his nose and on his shins.
Apparently he fell and broke his glasses between his eyes; my mom thinks getting hit in a certain place near the eyes is some sort of thing. Like after that you are like whoah. Don’t even ask but I was like “isn’t he in pain”; she said “he’s in pain all the time.” Overall he’s okay, my mom said. I’ll call him later today. Growing up my dad used to play this video game called Riven sometimes; I think it was the sequel to Myst. On our shelf we had both games. My sister and I used to play them at his office, sort of confused by the content: it might have had to do with being stuck in unreality, but it wasn’t really a nightmare or a dream. And it was beautiful and made-up.
Then sometimes I’d play the games all alone, like for entire days, pausing only to sleep at night.
In recent years I haven’t been able to believe in karma, merely chaos and getting out of it, asserting order where there’s none. Asserting a self when so much to do with selfhood is just like, Survival of the Fittest: the post-human sequel to the last phase of evolutionary progress, whenever that last phase was.
**Oliver Sacks quote
Now as Morgan Wilcock, my birth name, not some stage name like Lola that sounds like a porn star’s, I don’t have that many friends left but I had some, I’ll stop pretending that’s just a hypothesis it’s a well-tested theory: why me? How’d I lose touch with so many a trusted pal. It’s because of all that, the things I have written, what I recounted in this chapter, a period of free fall like a descending dead rocket that fucked its whole life up. It’s outlined in this book which I wrote instead of doing Calculus, that same summer 2021; I’d found a website called Bartleby that essentially did my homework for me. I got a B in the course — and, that whole year, right through to New Year’s eve, I felt like a phony and friendless and weird, like a female incel, that weird, and perhaps this presents a contradiction but I felt innocent-to-a-fault.
I used to be quite pretty and charismatic, and magnetic, I no longer think of my self as those things. To the contrary I suspect people kind of get nervous around me, it is something I notice and have been told, moving forward I’d like for it to be something I can help with a friendly remark but, let’s say; it doesn’t always work that well, I might be seen as desperate or trying to prove something, it might worsen the nerves of others in a class or study group — I [we?] ended up feeling, awkward as f*** in the time I was togethies with someone or some two or three others.
It’s hard to trust [my self?] [anyone?] again but unlike Trump, who famously taught kids to “you cannot trust anyone,” and hammered it into their worldviews, I do believe trust is possible — and power is necessary for it, also love compounded with extremely non-phony loyalty, still there at the end of the day, that’s what trust is anyway — it merely requires a rejection of so-called mean world syndrome, the idea that the world is inherently just an awful place *so save you’re fucking self I guess*, a well-tested theory but not absolute fact, something that I understand can be all that people know, mean world syndrome: to get away from it, well, it might require relative stability and promise of financial and emotional coverage not perpetual debts, of one form or another.
To just even begin to try to build some semblance of a perhaps slightly less unkind world — it might require, what’s that thing you lost from ME Lola, trust.
”No thanks, just another coffee.”
Across from Kelly. Putting hands on head, yee heee ee like Taylor Swift in her hit song “ME!”
If I could do it all again, about a month and a half into 2020, before the last scene with John and Noruwa and his girlfriend Jillian chronologically, I’d be sitting across from Kelly at some old café called Five Watt near my dad’s house in Northeast Minneapolis. Trying not to eat, guzzling coffee like water, it wouldn’t make a difference. I’d become groggier, starved yet swollen and stressed, experiencing other weird side effects that only would probably be the norm for those at the bottom of the totem. Deformities of thought and figure, I won’t get into it because no one likes to think about that. No one except for the millions and millions of people affected by it.
My life for a while — not now — would be so so far from what I’d ever dreamed, that it seemed to me, absurdist, maybe, like the end of a play by Edward Albee. By this time, I wanted to be working in media!! Been over this, media is not an easy world to get into and stay well in, respect to those who figure it out, a world many a great female writer has spoken about, where image matters considerably — also the quality of the writing *winces* — too much for me to step in, though a few times, I’d been interviewed and issued a hard pass. Maybe I was issued, like a gratuitiously-unkind dick-in-the-gut, hard, hard pass, Lola? really; in retrospect I was probably too sensitive or f’ing around in places I didn’t belong.
It is very confusing to feel as though people who are defensive of their sensitivity are less sensitive than me, when it comes to just treating other humans decently, but whatever.
The world is hard. I’m not always that lovely a person; I haven’t been. I respect people who aren’t but seem to be humans. By my mid-twenties I’d probably thrown away my chances and burned more bridges than I necessarily had to. Like when the center couldn’t hold with men, whatever, I would attribute the rejections to being an ugly female Jew. True or false, it’s better to not bring it up. Not sure why I didn’t take the hint back, at age 21.
So instead by age 25, jobless and basically too poor, to choose anything else, I’d have to move back in with my dad and work briefly in the electronics section at a department store— where I’d leave work and walk home in negative 20 degree weather, actually-literally, wanting to die even more than before; I suspected my self was probably like “cancelled” and I couldn’t see a way to reboot her. Shunned.
I’d listen to Billie Eilish’s first massive hit album, and that one interesting track “Therefore I am,” and I would feel legit confused about how she was so young and so famous. So young and so many [older] people’s idol, was that good?
I think I felt protective but by then was careful not to get too close to stars in my head not even Billie; not because they were stars, also not because they were ten years younger with much different backgrounds, but because they were in my head: therefore they were my art. At my dad’s house I’d do nothing rather than just, self-destruct further than I had in those four unmentionable “Lola” years from 21 to 26; it was unclear which would be more efficient.. Doing-nothing or hardly existing at some other odd job, where I was basically a number that logged in and left at the end of the Workday (which is the name of an app for logging hours). I spent hours and hours and hours and hours, doing-nothing. I emptied my mind of its self-contents so thoroughly that in the morning I couldn’t get up. Felt dumb. And that was sort of, bliss, like being lobotomized I’d guess — I did not exist that much at all, hurray, then the pandemic hit me.
It hit ME. I’d be granted unemployment which was a game changer, I could say; yes, yes!?
I wasn’t sure if this emotion was better than that other one, grief about a pandemic killing hundreds of thousands [would be tens of millions] of humans [globally]. Which feeling was more apropos.
I turned it all off. Like a soul caught in a mode of A.I., body lost somewhere perhaps even dead: I sacrificed my humanness — just to focus.
To get out of bed, down the stairs with my kind of fat ass.
It’s true, yes, yes I consented to being dumb, I’m assuming that’s how a lot of people get through lousy jobs or three of them, or a tough patch, life — SNAP, brain off — a tough year, I may’ve had an edge when it came to next steps.
My dad might remind me, when I complained about a coworker making comments about my baggy outfits, not even sure if I imagined it, that “you know that job’s all they’ve got,” basically it would be a bitch move to judge them too much for being unkind perhaps. And I felt like, I heard him. I was pretty deadbeat by then but knew I was supposed to like, use this moment and not just, let it go like weed seeds in the wind. Dandelions. Yes. Yes. I felt like I could remember, how not to be very stupid. Didn’t mean I wasn’t dumb, like: I was, I just, could remember. I could remember what it was like to have a mind. To have a body worth fighting for. Worth hanging on for.
And that was something to work with, the memories left. So I could act like I was not. Was not what. I used to be sort of an actress, didn’t I, in that one life, the one that didn’t work out. I used to want to be, therefore didn’t I think?
In 2020 I’d begun to feel like: what the fuck is going on. I had not yet identified a term for it, but by now I have.
Monstrosity. Just the beginnings, don’t hate the messenger.
“You’re not my real mother, and you’re not my sister,” I’d said repeatedly, looking Alexis Wilcock in the eyes from a hospital stretcher, actually feeling like I was on a ride, finally (relieved to be safe on some plane of anti-reality, an island in my head) in care of people who I figured could see, and maybe not tell me, what the fuck was going on. They could try to understand, what was up, and maybe help with their expertise.
My mom had driven in from New Jersey to make sure I was fine. I’m not sure what she thought.
When I came out I started acting like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, on a car ride home. I jumped out of the car and my sister had to run after me. I don’t like remember this time that well, I do remember some things.
If there is such a thing as karma in this world, I’ve only found access to it by taking accountability for my contributions to relationships that were unhealthy, that is: driven by hate, bitterness, unfair competition, ambition, ambition, ambition. And speaking of relationships, I’d still never quite believed in it for me, seriously beautiful sex. I think I’ve only known something a few keys lower than beautiful. Like way lower. Sex driven by something else. It doesn’t seem to work to just screw someone loosely, unless you sacrifice sensitivity to others. And in effect to oneself. To one’s family, probably them above all — though I should speak from my own experience. I mean how do you think I ended up in a psych ward; I’d spent like five years as “Lola” a part-time method writer by night. That does not mean having sex. I did have some sex, and I did once do it for money, and I did once run out of a man’s bedroom having stolen a wad of cash off his dresser, and I brought it to the real guy I was with to hear him say, “you did really good, honey,” and I slept with him not having sex that night.
But, with all that I did in the 2010s with the vanity of my white girl youth as fuel, I was/am lucky to even be/stay alive. Not everyone really has siblings who show up, help their sister out in a pinch. I’m not even sure she knows all this. I am emphasizing that some of this shit is still serious.
And that’s how it should be; serious, not funny.
I’ve decided to become a medical professional (even though it’ll be many years before I’m doing it for a reasonable salary) [that would allow me to stop taking out loans] because I’m probably drawn to hospitals and think I’d be able to help some people other than, my self — and that doesn’t begin to cover my reasons for sticking with it — but sometimes sure I still might go through life like a film writer. And if I were to develop a scene about my love life currently at 27, it would feature me in a desert in all black fabrics including over my face, eyes unconcealed, more focused than they’ve been but still groggy to effectively get through this phase. And because I wouldn’t know which way to go, and because I’d been there so long, I’d reach a point where I’d stop walking aimlessly and start channeling my instinct; including whether it was worth it to even keep trying or whether I might be wise to surrender, to rest and let thirst and heat get the best of me. To die not quite literally. To convey all the above, I might fall to my knees with one hand reaching up to the heavens, just kidding (that would be way, too dramatic). I’d remove my mask and take a few breaths, not too many because I can’t afford to stop moving, and in those few breaths standing still alone I’d consent to just, I guess, being stared at. For better or, detrimentally.
Not for the best. But I would have, not expressly given, my consent. It just would be kind of definitely felt by viewers. If the scene were done well.
Ultimately my sense today is: many Americans are making choices based on what they think they want, which might not be what-or-whom they actually, want. That’s due to ambition, programmed in their heads so deep I don’t think it’s my job as medical professional to dig that out. Not mired in their bodies, held down — honestly I don’t think I can pretend, anymore, that the project of getting back into my body is all that disconnected, from being a better human. But being beautiful. What do I say on that. I’ve been beautiful; maybe that’s not all I want, but it’s not unimportant (for survival in places) [for more reasons I can’t say]. It’s not, though it is relative. I think it could help to fathom those relativities, and how my work as a writer might be different from a star writer’s [including the looks piece, how in all my experience it indeed matters how a (female) writer looks]. It could begin to help me find some balance and just peace; then again, that’s merely my hope, and I still don’t know honestly, basically what to live for.
I may never know. I still do have to keep living — even on days when I can’t make sense of chaos, reality. As long as it’s not “gonna be fun” I know I’m on the right track: it’s just not fun. Like being on the funnest drug you can imagine. Or like being Amy Winehouse, I don’t know.
Hopeless time. “What dreams have you had of me. Let’s just get it out of the way, maybe just in case or something.”
“Just in case whutt. There was that one when you like shined a phone camera on me and I cowered under it like the creature in that painting by Goya where he’s eating his son. I was pitiful whatever. And there was a fucking, there was a fucking, bottle of pills in the dream.. Your best friend was in it, [she] was, so protective..”
“What was the WORST one. You had.”
“Actually that might of been it but. There was this one where, back in real life before bed I’d just gone out with my mom, for fat people dinner and I made some posts on my retard Instagram that actually I’ve assumed some years doesn’t get looked at because — like if I post a video then it gets like REALLY low hits so, I don’t know.. but I’d made a post about some Phillip Glass music and it sounded stupid and then I had this dream that you just like turned on me. You were in a floral dress, not a dark one and I was like ‘she is the Queen,’ and I woke up and was like oh god. It’s over. It was a terror film. Not even a horror film.. like I don’t think there’s a word. I think you were going to get laid.”
“Basically the world lol, or my world. But I just got up and weighed myself, I weigh 130, but I look fatter than THAT even. How ’bout I ask you your dreams!!”
“My favorite one was the sex dream where I realized you were hideous. And then you couldn’t get me off. In all the times I’ve tried you it takes like five seconds.”
“… really.” [THANKS for telling everyone.]
“Well. I don’t have that much experience like with a dick, I think what trans people do is like flay open the clit and enlarge it.” [This is what I mean by ‘over’ guys it’s scary. That’s what happens when a superhuman mates with someone under her league: it isn’t meant to be. But it’s funny because it’s over already so we can just laugh at shit like that.]
“Can you think of any more,” Hopeless threw in and someone reading, somewhere, threw up. They wretched out loud, probably a good sign about their heart.
“This is actually helpful,” Morgan admitted pretending not to hear that. “Because no I do not cover any of this in therapy. Here there was this one, one that became a leitmotif or fixed idea call it what you want, it was said you ‘were free to marry him.’ You almost go married to your best, trans friend. OH Shit. That reminds me.. of another one.”
“The one in which I *laughs like smeagel literally* I killed him. Like I did, like I blew up a car and, just knew he was dead and I was like, running.”
“Sounds very cinematic.”
“I have had no dreams that confirm whether or not you have a son. We’ll cross that bridge over troubled blood (which I know you lost a lot of) when we get to it. Interesting though that the man I killed does not come across in dreams like in real life, and I think it’s really insightful. In a horrible way frankly. But a good way. Like it’ll be fine. AMY 2.0, just kidding you’re still Hopeless.”
“Is he that bad,” axed Hope -0.0. She wanted to believe!
If you want my honest answer. I don’t think it’s his fault., that must be why you liked him so much. God you’re a piece of shit. I’d better go. I’m just getting upset.”
Ch. 16 No one is alone my ass, get away from me, it was nice knowing you, you are alone
I’ve begun telling people I want to be a nurse anesthetist, after failing a test when I thought killers had been sent to get me. A store clerk who gave me his number told me it would be a good fit in a way and on a day that felt prophetic and in sync with my entire destiny; and though I’m obviously skeptical that the feelings of attraction there weren’t just fleeting (they were), I think it could have been good. That career for me. It sort of covers how I might still come across as tradesman-like in public at, say, Trader Joe’s where I met the guy (also I’m feeling quite “chill” as it were, not feeling hot hence my approachability at the food store), and, there is actually a sort of cinematic moment to assign the epiphany that I wanted to be a blood doctor as opposed to mental health professional or neuropathologist. The morning of my aforementioned “long walk on the beach”: I’d just fought with my mom, a horrific fight, unmelodramatically, all the worse considering it was 7 or 8am. This was literally standard by the end of our quarantine, together — a bad fight with cussing and tears, it’s not merely one climactic moment in my life’s movie. I left the house a mess.
Usually I’m dressed like some sort of crazy man.
This walk adopted a different method of crazy, I was wearing depressingly tight Nike workout clothes; too tight literally by a size at least. Like figure it out; it’s what I sometimes wear to sleep. It was a hot day, I was sweating with my hair up, I’d never walked this far from my mom’s home near a New Jersey beach, I didn’t love this part of New Jersey. I saw a fisherman approach me, and I gave him eye contact unbiddenly—it was awkward for me.
The quarantine’d bit me up. So when he said quietly (but I could hear it) that I was “beautiful” I, don’t know what was up!
I’d never judge someone’s odd taste for lady bugs. Or maybe his preference for me was a working class thing, I’ve always been aware of those things, and how the best way to describe them is to not really describe them: I couldn’t see this thing he saw in me ever since I was like 21. What was probably certain is that I let my guard down too soon, when I said it was fine if he walked a ways in the direction back home with me.
The cinematic epiphany and breakthrough I mentioned before regarding my new career (detached from any dreams I left with my old life back in Minneapolis), happened back in the closet at my mom’s place in Jersey. I was going through some old suitcases, with more diligence than I’ve ever done when packing up for a move-out to the city of New York simply because I had more time. I wasn’t running. By then I’d found the tempo of my days had slowed noticeably, in a way I could live with but wouldn’t describe as pleasant. By “live” I mean not-die. I found a bag on a shelf that contained sterile needles, not used — except a dull one tipped with blood, which I got rid of, safely — and the rest of this paragraph would only go into a more officially published version of this project. Or not because I’d be glad to share it and be done with it.
But still not like on a blog that’s already got casual viewers thinking the worst of me, Alex too. I actually don’t think people who encounter this slipshod sometimes incoherent text, in heavy blocks, will bother to read. But that’s what lets me go there so to speak.
It’s been hard to gage audience response from the black hole I’ve existed in for some time.
Looking across the water I heard from the fisher guy about his own years of life indisposed by toxic waste — it sounded like, he’d been exposed to exhaust fumes constantly and used to have to wear a hazmat suit, at work in “the tunnels” (I assumed he meant the NYC subways, when he kept talking about tunnels), and he used to go home feeling sick. He did this for years, and years, and years, until he finally moved away and now he was allowed to sometimes go fish. I took it this [walk] would be the highlight of his day, maybe week. (It reminded me of an analogy Trump once mentioned in an interview with Playboy magazine, about men who worked in coal mines: “the coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son. If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines.”) The man with me; he kept talking about how he wasn’t as strong as he once was. He really lamented getting older, so much, I was like *thinking to myself in the second person* “how many times are you going to say that, dude,” but some days I already feel it my self as I reach age 30 and start wondering if — due to financial struggle, broadly and blandishly speaking — I’m aging faster than a number of my friends seem to age. Like, it sucks. I wish that weren’t true but it seems to be.
He was probably like 50 years old. When we reached a boardwalk paved with cement, some other people walked by. As soon as they were out of sight, he looked left and right, saw there wasn’t anyone around, and then, he hugged me like he was about to die. It’s not like, the first time I’ve had something like this happen with a guy older than me who I’ve just met, it’s much less scary than when it happens with someone I’ve known for some time, I think but I’m not sure about that, oh and also I don’t think I felt even a tiny bit scared maybe-more-like “alright, again I don’t know what these people see in me” (it would make any mediocre-looking white girl full of herself); so yeah, less than an hour into our chat he got a bit touchy about where the conversation was heading — but I was kind of like “alright” like-I-said this feels like my fault and I’m unsure how to proceed.
As I said but didn’t describe: usually on my walks I’m not sporting white stripes or a swoosh, I’m wearing massive jackets and jeans and glasses and clowny ‘do. At some point only a psycho would dress like that, and I know clowns of one sort or another have been trendy in the arts: it might have begun with Heath Ledger, it didn’t end with Joaquin Phoenix. I wish it would end sooner than later. (God.) For me it got to be more messed-up, I assure you, than it’s been for men. Ha, I’m making assumptions but what can I say. It was not fun like when an artist dresses like The Joker; I mean I can’t say. I was stuck and a stranger to anyone who saw me like that. Honestly I have to be real, and insist that it was undignified for me to be wearing those clothes and get stuck deep in that shittiness. I’ve been down toxic time drains in my mind, trying to escape from horrors in the present tense. And I think the dress code I’ve assigned myself has been part of that—it’s been abhorrent, more or less. It might feel, necessary, or like what an artist would do; a serious one I guess.
If I were literal Joan Didion, who in all ways was stunning and had worked for years at Vogue by my age 27 — I might have an easier time fathoming how “just living” is enough, when all I’ve known is survival, for periods lasting up to half decades. It’s like time is sand running through a sieve, and the holes in the sieve I got assigned from birth were much less refined than someone else’s.
To be at peace with my innards (from deep inside of which, I believe still in artistic integrity), I’ll say it’s never been intentional, certain outfits that I think my friends have judged, certainly my Grandpa Wilcock who even noticed a change in my shape and gait [and I’ll come back to him in chapter 6] (he’s not all bad), because my friends tend to have style and their style isn’t broken and lame. Instead of lame I could say unwell, but that would be generous: maybe I looked lame, okay Grandpa *crying.* I could have chosen to dress better and go out, with guys who would have taken good care of me, instead I like, went insane; but yeah, I’m not going to pretend I’ve never like, regretted some choices because I’m basically like 55% male now and if I’d done things differently and, to be blunt slash aware that it sounds resentful whenever I bring this up, I could have kept the weight off at all effing costs (a choice for someone like me, five years ago, that might have resembled the ways-of-life decided upon by the protagonist in the actually good 2020 student film Shiva Baby wherein it’s made clear that the lead character sort of starves herself) [no shit I’ve done that, but I think it’s too late to throw back — and to get that power back]. Currently I’m less vain than a lot if not most of my male friends; vanity though is distinct from clinical narcissism, and I’ve struggled with the latter for phases.
These days I don’t think about clothes beyond what I need to leave the house, which is SO sad but true. I lost a part of me [tragic as f***] but, lots of people lose things in their lives and move on. Anyway, if it were too intentional as opposed to unclear-to-me whether it’s intentional, then I’d know for sure whether or not I was acting like a freak, whenever I chose a bad outfit in my history. Whenever I’ve overeaten, for a chick. I don’t know, at some point I don’t even want to think. I wonder if that’s the problem or the solution, to not think too much about the little things or even to try to forget them, especially when those “little” things (mistakes I’ve made that brought me to this point) are basically — or not basically, [because they ARE..] –small pixels that make up horrifying life events.
And what did that last paragraph even mean. I’d rewrite it but again this shit is self-published; like why.
Just forget it. Just move on.
Just wait for someone else to say “this book needs rewrites.” That person will be some spinoff of an important person in my life: I will not say anything like soulmate or twin flame. Just someone on my side.
I try not to put-up-with let alone spread unselfaware and unending drama, call it the real life melodrama bug (though I find that it plagues my writing — like right now, bugs bunny-style, a catchy TV commercial I don’t want in my head, then might end up barfing onto the page and by page I mean computer screen), because I think it confuses people in their own unstorylike, actually quite ordinary lives.
I know, though, on the other side, for the .001% of surviving bacteria out of the 99.999% that are killed by hand sanitizer — this is a metaphor for the growing wealth gap, how I’ve seen it on my most cynical nights alive [a bitch as I write this tonight] — that getting-high-and-floating off some petri dish of flowery excess and fun fun fun (of so much fun to be had that it’s boring) might become, um, kind of dangerous. It’s a dangerous place to float and laugh and get off. It’s a dangerous place to be high, glorified, adored and badly spaghettified. Dangerous for everyone.
Hold up though, what the hell word did you just use: spaghettified?
It’s a term Stephen Hawking came up with his in his book, A Brief History of Time.
“Spaghettification tears at the matter’s very atomic structures, elongating them and stretching them until they are atomically and cellularly unrecognisable.” **
Spaghettification is not a term that means eating spaghetti at a NY restaurant such as Forlini’s (which I learned about from reading work by Alexandra’s writer boyfriend Alex Vadukul); or not-eating but taking pics of the food there, suggesting to your loyal following that you did indeed eat it. Spaghettification means something else, that I am not qualified to explain here — but I can imagine it is an adequate analogy to use in my own account of how social capitalism works and harms people: how it involves pretending-so-much in order to survive around people whose entire reality depends on being pretended on (not as victims, but as perpetrators) [see this alreada don’t make sense! *slurring words, talking to myself*] that you end up, all fucked up.
And they’re a mess themselves but, as myself, I wouldn’t see someone who fucked me up as a victim.
I’m not going to require myself to qualify that. I’ve been fucked over; usually in my experience of hearing, from women, about “that one [or x’th] time they got fucked over” — it’s something they don’t want to discuss.
I am speaking for my self, from my own experience; I don’t get invited out that much. I wonder why. To be fair and entirely accurate, I probably decline more invitations from Alex than accept them, but it’s because I am a loner naturally!
Alex Warrick invites me out a lot and is a very inclusive person, generally. In other words saying “I don’t get invited out that much” might be whiny. I do not make hardly any effort, I’m like it’s not even worth it.
At home I talk to myself, confused.
This might be a lie; it depends on what you mean by talking to yourself. Am I talking to myself, right now yeah but I’m going to send this out which is different from how I’ve done this in the past. My audience is like the last group of people who need to hear this intervention about destructively overdramatic art. It is big art that’s not even about the art, as much as social gains or obviously their financial self-interest: one’s advancement at the expense of the “little” guys. (Note: Alex has never been like this toward her creative work, though she also hasn’t gotten much in the way of validation that it has any artistic merit.) Sometimes the wiser route — to stay alive as one of the little guys — is to tiptoe around people’s vapid, insane, extreme self-delusion; for instance about how good of artists they are, when they’re lying to people.
It’s scary to be so high on shallow frivolity-up-the-ass that you forget what it feels like to feel. So you don’t feel scared but, perhaps you should. I can’t think of an example offhand, of someone I look up to who talks about knowing they should be scared but not feeling it. Alex has spent time around that stuff, socially and in her kind of covert work life; I don’t know as much about those ropes as she does — e.g. the types of personalities drawn to boutique fashion, or to Bemelman’s for a not extremely formal night, or to nightclubs like The Box [these people really love her; they care who they’re seen with] — and I think my sorethumb outsider status shows (to be specific, there aren’t that many people with 10 followers online who still make posts) and I guess I’m self-conscious about that.
Alex isn’t even that intense at all, as a social climber or object of platonic guy-friend crush desires, despite expressing constantly (not remotely as a joke) that she’d make a skilled dominatrix. She did a good job of it in a revisionist college production of Frank Wedekind’s play Lulu. It wasn’t bad — she’s not even that intense; what I mean is that, if Alex never ended up a dancer like her mom because of her attention issues, what she inherited is the ability to balance, tightrope-walker-like, all the dark outcroppings of a particularly uncomfortable situation like someone at a circus. She helps calm other people down, with a performance and it affects her.
Someday the sort of unseen self-sacrifice will pay off. It’ll be a little bit!! Although she’s unknown, not famous, because none of my friends are, and I keep relatively few — I’ll say Alex Warrick, is the only writer who might “get it” in herself and from exposure, who I deeply trust. What do I mean by “get it,” get.. h’vhatt?!!?
I’m gay, now, or will be by the time I get married I’m sure. I am not in a war zone of colorful corny excess though. I’m not in the line of fire; I’m not setting myself on fire in any crazy person protests, because I just have to watch that or I might actually fly off the handle. That said I might know about excess, and I feel like writing about i t— excess: either of riches or classlessness or whatever — runs the risk of sounding resentful in a way that’s unhelpful and that shows a certain disrespect or ignorance like what I might have toward actually-academic astronomy; I’ve taken two courses and averaged a B- (not the best). I don’t know what to do, sometimes though, as an unseen artist [and I got A’s in most arts classes ever, not that it’s rocket science]. I’ll speak for my self and try to speak for any other people who right now are feeling confused while reading news about frequent shootings — that definitely, without any question in hell, did not need to happen and should not keep happening. It is hard to write about though, I will say that up front.
I mentioned excess, I’ll start by talking about an excess of drama; say, in big art.
People talk about so-called aesthetic, a term that’s taken new weight in Generation Z and Generation Alpha, the online gens [collectively among who-or-whüm the word might be thrown around, not even ironically as a hashtag on posts that are considered visually appealing; the cream that rises off the crop and gets people off] (and that’s a bit simplified, but it’s simpleminded, sort of). I wanted to give a shot at defining aesthetic since I’d say whatever aggravations and grievances I possess might have to do a lot with this thing and what-I-see as someone who considers herself ugly and probably is; but who has always been floored by how much it can be subjective, what another human finds beautiful, or so not.
It’s like you either exist, or do not. (I mean, as a female human.) It’s not that big of a deal but you have to get creative when it comes to protecting your rights; or even your whole existence, if you hardly are seen. To me, maybe that’s just how it feels. I also don’t even know if I’m strictly female, I’m just a human. I don’t know. I think it’s easy to stay on the self-pity wagon and that can cost a lot of time. It’s time you’ll regret losing.
Just move on. No one uses wagons anymore. I’m picturing like, a prairie schooner.
This certain subjectivity about beauty might even be similar to humor, a subject I’ve probably spent longer on, and which my friend Alex wrote about academically and won *checks to see what it’s called* the Andrew Sarris Memorial Award for Film Criticism for, at Columbia, where she’ll now be immortally classified as a scholar on a weirdly relevant topic for our times, in my view: considering events like the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015. I think the year after this we took a class together with Rob King, a super popular professor and historian at our school who’s written about comedy and once said he liked Alex’s work. My mom thinks I’m “more like SNL than [Alex].” That might feel a bit boundariless to share, I have no idea why; because it reveals plenty. My mom likes Alex. I’m here to talk about “aesthetic” not even humor. I wouldn’t actually assume that they’re mutually exclusive topics. I would want to have a nice grasp on my intention as a visual artist, if I were to make films — oh and yeah [I should add], I’ll be doing film with my sister Alexis Wilcock, who I’ve hardly introduced but I could say-here-now she is not mentally ill, never was. She wasn’t ever known as a class clown, I was insofar as that I got bullied on the softball team once for saying “I love Tina Fey”; their response was “do you like her or love her.” I probably writhed uncomfortably on the spot — it must have been funny. Ha.
The films my sister and I do as a team might honestly suck but neither of us want the films to suck: if they were to it might be an issue of budget honestly (just thinking realistically), but one thing we have in common is that we’re pretty picky about what we consider good work. I think we’d both agree, too, on what we consider good work; we both find ourselves in awe [not quite envy (if it’s possible to do this, as patrons of the arts, we’ve outgrown those envious feelings)] of the same good movies, plays and musicals. Growing up my sister liked movies starring Anne Hathaway; I was probably drawn more to new films starring Scarlett Johansson, the ones that were critically acclaimed. Later after college, we’d develop some slightly more niche taste — by then we might even decide what shows to attend or watch based on whether we personally knew someone involved; not extremely often, but occasionally. Of the work we’ve actually made, I’ve been critical of Alexis’s plays [she directed] for various festivals: I think the best two have been one about a boy with autism and another written by the playwright based closely on first-person accounts of what it was like to suffer mental illness. Respectively they were called Shapes Like Things, A Soup Play and Grieving for Fish, both titles that I immediately would have classified as shows I’d not like to see, if this weren’t my literal older sister. I do not doubt her ability to do a good job was related to how she despite-my-paranoia does seem to care about me, her mentally ill-ass sister. Perhaps similarly — as far as not seeing or wanting to see the same things — I remember Alexis said my student film Dark Lady Blues (co-starring Alexandra) was “graceful” which is the last word I’d use about it; my sister was complimentary, and said, good job. I’d only refuse that adjective “graceful” in retrospect, because of the feedback I got from strangers based not really on the film’s aesthetic but on mine, as the ratchet female star who basically [minus a cast and crew’s paid time on the sets I reserved and rented] made the whole thing alone.
I don’t know that it was grandiose of me — I was young and bold and being myself back then. I would dissuade anyone from doing that: writing, directing, acting, then killing oneself, not exactly in one fell swoop but over time. I think Alexandra Warrick could also direct and perform not just write, but as I said I would discourage anyone from doing all three at once unless they’re willing to lose hold of intentionality when it comes to what shows up in the project, for everyone else to witness and feel unable to critique due to (or thanks to) their basest sensitivity — in response to someone else’s loss of it toward them self.
In response to someone’s personal chaos: “get over yourself,” people might think and secretly judge. I can only say that because I feel like I’ve been there. People didn’t say much to me about any of my autofiction work as “Lola”; the criticism I got was usually veiled as something else. The veiled criticism across the board in subgrams and subtweets, not on that show, included digs at my intelligence and how there’s something I just don’t get, an inside joke among smarter people. That’s not the same as being unintelligent: not getting the joke.
Anyway I thought being called dumb all-the-time by these people who were [by definition] bullies, who are successful fucking artists, was odd because I hadn’t thought of myself as dumb, ever, until the end of my twenties by which time, like literally at this moment, I took it for granted that I surely the fuck was.
And to this day and moment I try to roll with it! I work on my brain, very hard. I don’t think I’m insane. 🤷♂️ Despite having not much say or influence, I try to support young women-artists and writers who I think are okay or pretty good. I try to support my friends most of anyone — of course I don’t have that many who are actually full-time artists in New York and I think I’ve covered the reasons already in hardly tacit terms. The good news for me as an outsider who takes care of my brain is that I think plenty of people who aren’t artists, do have an emotionally intelligent side that’s just supportive of “the arts”; especially when it’s honestly, uncomplicatedly just good.
It resonates, they might say something like “I can’t even explain why.” And usually normal humans [me included, if I’m doing well] have a sense of when it’s not good; when it’s unhealthy.
The thing about comedy as opposed to much finer arts is that, you can easily tell if you’re good or not, by whether people are laughing — or I suppose in these times, hitting the like or share button. Having a ball on Reddit or on far worse websites; hitting the upvote button (ba-da ching). It’s not the same as laughing, but, with the exception of live comedy shows it’s how humor works — these days, isn’t it.
I take laughter seriously, I think, because it’s proof: people are trying to get the jokes, therefore listening. Therefore interested even at all. There’s room to help people’s brains; I wouldn’t overthink that part. The thing about rarely going out with Alexandra despite talking to her frequently is that I’ve sought refuge entirely from other humans, like the ones who I used to think saw others [such as me] as subhuman or like fat or something, though Alexandra has razed from inside of me, a dead belief that trust and intimacy in friendship can have healing properties, maybe, clinically for one’s brain and stuff. Probably, also, for the circulatory system. So far in premed school I’ve only learned a little about the heart, the muscle not the love thing.. “urhm, uh, ugh..” [Okay, stop.] Regarding A’s searing kindness to literally everyone, though, including people who I daresay DON’T deserve it, I don’t want to lose my footing, say, with inaccurate compliments projected from a tender place inside Alex’s heart when I wonder if her +/- delta H (delta H= symbol for entropy, which, although it wouldn’t be totally accurate could be used in place of the word CHAOS) has a much narrower range than what I felt while working the night shift at a Minneapolis Target store, which, 100% sucked, but for me it was a fling in my career. For me only; not for everyone stuck in a job of such a distinctly not fun, shitty, character-warping nature. I met incels working there, actually just one, Adam, and he was like “I’m glad I stopped.”
We were in love. No, generally my sense with guys like Adam is that I’d be the type of female person (and this is one of my only superpowers: I listen) who he’d actually open up to. I kind of wonder why that is. It’s almost as though I were a guy friend — who isn’t gay either. And I’m fine with how this seems to describe most of my current relationships with men. Deep discussion city. I’m like “are you [guys] alright.”
They’re like. “I’m fine.”
Ch. 17: Why everything that’s supposed to bad
When I began on this chapter in 2021 , I’d embraced defeat: I was scared of “artists” honestly, and wouldn’t even mention I was one if I was meeting people who I may or may not ever see again.
I’d tell them I was a premed student and librarian; which is factually correct.
I was scared of visual artists who I must have assumed, without asking about their priorities-as-artists, took some modicum of loveliness in their surroundings and social interactions, every day, for granted in a way that had become foreign to me. Working in a library was nice, aesthetically which (I’m being sarcastic) is the single only reason I considered it nice, but I hustled to get there; before that as noted I’d been a Target Tech saleswoman — a Karen — and the person behind concessions at a rundown movie theater, and, some other gigs on the side. The reason I’m back in school is because my uncle Steve has helped cosign my loans and pay for a lot, including some medical bills. That’s probably TMI.
These were not the jobs I expected after college: I’d probably envisioned something in an office, specifically a media office; how many times do you have to harp on how you were exiled from this world in NY. The term “media” like “the arts” is a bit indulgent in that covers a massive swath of career paths but, that’s because most people in media are not just writers. My suspicions were then and continue to be that I was not viable material because working in media, these days, means having an internet footprint. It means having clickability. If you’re clickable you’re working in media. By then I’d already acquired a bit of a footprint, and there was dead human skin on it: some art projects I’d done all Han-solo that may not have been what hiring staff wanted to glimpse or if they did it would be laughingly. In that regard I’m not a victim. I am someone who might have partaken in too much unweighed behavior, not really having been taught something different by my parents. I honestly think that I was closer to my dad, living with him, when I was working those “gigs” I mentioned before; maybe it’s because, that’s what he did — he never worked in say, an office above the 6th floor. He did used to work alone on the 6th floor of a building in downtown Minneapolis called The Sexton Building, which is now the Sexton Lofts; he’s always worked in busier if not-yet-ritzier parts of downtown, and lived in Minneapolis, despite the urgings of his father (and actually at one point, of my mom) to move to the suburbs. So that’s kind of been part of his legacy on me; I’m a city girl, a lone soul and maybe an outcast. My dad used to get bullied; I’m not sure he’s open about that.
Since the last chapter was ostensibly for Alex, who I’m not done with in this book, I’d like to make this one for Sienna Cohen instead. She also used to get bullied, and though she may not remember or would pretend she does not, I think I bullied her once. No, it wasn’t the time all three or four of her closest female friends turned on her suddenly and she left school, high school, for an entire half-year (which isn’t normal in high school; it was fucked up). It was just some little thing I said, when I think that I even bullied her: I was critiquing her paintings, believing then I’d be the boss on a small movie shoot and would hire someone I knew to do the posters for my stuff. She’s not a painter per se, but she’s good enough, and we haven’t actually talked since the paintings-thing — Sienna do you remember what I said — except once by email, not because I know that she’s mad at me for this (I also think she’s maybe paranoid too and this is like a “Dear Prudence” scene: she used to spend a lot of time indoors alone, like me). I am bringing it up because I know, now in retrospect, I was going downhill.
That was the beginning of the end, when I was just like saying weird shit to people who have better things to do than listen; or if not always TO people then I was just saying weird shit constantly, in my head.
I literally don’t remember what I said to Sienna but I don’t like that we haven’t talked honestly for years, when she’s someone I used to open up to. I guess, what’s art for if not to break the ice on tense areas of difference, or for that matter indifference. So, quickly and openly I intend to cover some of what happened or changed all at once, on my end — and if I feel like it’s for Sienna it might come across a bit more sensitively than if I just decided “she was so hot,” or something ridiculous, not ridiculous because it’s untrue, no, only because it would be just me parroting all these people at our high school for reasons that remain confusing to me as I hash this out. I don’t know; I guess what I’ll say now is “show some f’ing respect guys, kay.. damn..?” Not that it was ever us versus them.
I do remember being kind of an outsider too: it would be nice to have other people confirm that this isn’t some fiction, because it’s not something I’m ashamed of.
Sienna was half-Vietnamese and half-Jewish; another thing we had in common [ha. good joke.] was that she had an older sister who sort of the theater star. (We are all of us half-Jewish — I don’t know the precise percentages, of our Judaisms.) Sienna did a play once, I have no recollection of what play but I remember everyone was like “she was SO good in it.” I thought Jade was the better actress, well, a better performer, but it’s interesting that last I knew Jade Cohen ended up becoming a doctor, or maybe I should say, a doctress. Ahhaahh 🤘 rock rock rock.
I know how to do smoke screens. In my own mind too. I know how to put them up and focus on just surviving. I’ve always loved my girl friends so *cleaning some blood off my wolverine daggers, dead serious about all I’ve done to get this far* we did what we each had to.
But I think everyone who’s ever cleaned blood off their claws has some self-righteous narrative, that sounds a lot like this: I did what I had to.
And maybe we should each think about that.
I love being invisible — but much like describing good and evil as light and dark, that’s no solution, or for me it probably is not. It’s just a form of not-doing and not-thinking and letting oneself off. It’s like wearing a ghost outfit or sheep’s skin, staying invisible. Don’t pretend you’re on someone’s side, if you intend to ghost, or fuck her up then let her go, it’s really fucked up. Basically a way of keeping things how they are, when “letting things be” is bystander syndrome.
Speaking up is just, hard to do when no one’s listening, or when the dominant language to keep good people safe literally needs to be broken or tampered with. That might just be my opinion?? It’s not just my opinion though, it’s not, even an opinion, it’s true and poets far greater than me such as Audre Lorde have said this famously — “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support” — and then, they’ve taken the painstakingly slow and arduous step of actually-doing-it, and then they’ve taken another step, and another. You could call them “baby steps,” but that wouldn’t be the right term, it just wouldn’t.
In talking about racism with Alex in mid-2020, from Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed, I had to start asking myself what Common Sense is—and why it’s telling me that “murdered” is a more appropriate term than “killed” even though when I wrote most of this it hadn’t been proven yet that an officer from my hometown, a hometown I know quite well though I’ve dealt more with New York cops thank god for me, absolutely intended to take this man’s life, it could have been unconsciously, but still absolutely —on one hand because I think a lot of people try to disabuse themselves of racism by saying that it’s just-common-sense not to loot a Target, on the other, because “common sense” on an instinctual animal level (common sense that only a commoner might possess from growing up basically if not liiiterally, on the streets) would allow someone to understand hitting a threshold and cracking and doing something regrettable. Everyone thinks they have street smarts but I’m talking street genius, not everyone has a PhD or is born with an aptitude for it. The brain has a remarkable capacity to rationalize what isn’t rationalizable; but the thing is, maybe everything’s rationalizable. Actually though I’ve had teachers warn me, you can argue or talk yourself into like, anything. And that’s why being an intellectual—who talks about her beliefs, openly [like this!!] (or say if I did have a life and readers)—is potentially dangerous, evidently to me. It might be dangerous in that it’s a waste of time. People’s lives are happening. Writing and writing doesn’t do that much to rewire people’s brains in a more animal state or position or however you prefer to talk about gut instinct that helps people not-die or in George Floyd’s case use his last moments, unthinking, to probably live forever.
It would take some GREAT fucking art to make an actual difference.
I’d prefer it literally as a consumer with some conscience, who likes to not be force fed horrible footage, though I do not regret watching it because it was just the truth, but as I was saying, I’d prefer it if that “art” weren’t a video of someone dying. That’s literally not art, that’s someone dying, how can a country treat it, almost like a performance and watch it like a film. I just take issue with that being what it took, for people to notice what everyone’s been writing about in words for years, and demonstrating in their actions collectively (and sure: saying in films or other art maybe melodramatic 3-star art but occasionally good stuff too), because it suggests that nothing’s considered real until there’s blood on the streets.
I know there wasn’t blood. I saw the video, everyone saw it in America.
Post-March 2020 I think everyone started reading and viewing art through a somewhat different lens; for better or in some cases, for worse. Like putting up blinders so you could just get through a horrible time. Then getting comfortable with the blinders up, on the sides of both your eyes. (You’re ignoring the harder challenges, when is it going to be time to get to work on the harder stuff.) In the past when I was doing just a little worse, than now, I’ve been cautious to my own detriment about the self-subsuming will to prove how unracist someone is, my self — and/but I’d be hesitant to adopt the BANNER of pop culture anti-racism when (let me finish: or literally don’t) it might for me specifically be a concern of what is or isn’t practicalif I intend to ever get picked up as a writer, albeit a controversial one, and then I guess if all goes according to plan, to someday live a somewhat stabler life than the manically depressed one I’ve led violently toward myself when I guess that is what felt appropriate. My failings still flare up and tempt me to relapse on (say) substances or to fall into slightly less unhealthy acts like overshopping on Amazon, when I actually can’t afford it, less than someone else who actually 100% can’t at all, but anyway, I don’t currently believe it was ever anything other than clinical narcissism which convinced me that buying the right junk at the right moment would make me, a better person. This paragraph is probably the most misunderstandable and problematic but I have a lottt of other work through which, if I’m not cancelled for it, I might still have time to rebuild a somewhat decent legacy though my goal is probably more just to keep my own Self, or I guess a sort of revised version of me that at least feels, human. That’s my priority.
It’s why now I feel drawn to the idea of learning a trade, instead of trying to make it on my own, as an artist. My friend Jane would say of me her friend that she’s “casually becoming a doctor” but, I might be a nurse and also; it’s not casual. It’s an immense, extremely stressful commitment. The side of me who wants to make films, though. What happened to her. Her. Did she leave this planet when she was past her prime.
That side of me has been a critical section of myyy identityyy I’ve sort of, put on hold while living in certain areas of our great nation in a fog of some many hundred million foggy unrealities that were not even mine. They were someone else’s. Male fantasies, or not, most-not-all of my favorite artists who I’ve lived through vicariously on Instagram are women, who know how to look good, I don’t know, I’ve set it aside, to merely keep my head on and survive; my will to engage with great art, a masterpiece, and understand what went into it. Not her.
I said it because I’m talking about art. Not her.
For most of 2020 I couldn’t even stomach anything fine. Any art that’s actually deserving of the adjective, stunning. I could sometimes, not actually to my detriment, stand to binge.
My Jewish mom, who is, obese although that shouldn’t be relevant, and a therapist who struggles to keep young clients, still has some clients near my age — and she says that a lot of people are walking around, not sure what the fucking is happening. I don’t know. If I can find someone who isn’t like that, and who also pressures me to be a better person, and who somehow gets along with my mom maybe even better than me, as I myself (unlike my mother, a terrible optimist) have a tendency to be bitterly logical to stay sane at the cost of any hope that humanity can do better: I’ll marry them even if they’re not like the manliest hunk. I sometimes feel like a female hunk myself, honestly. Do I contradict myself throughout this project on whether I’m LGBTQ or just S for straight. Yeah, but Walt Whitman definitely sort of says in his poem “Song of Myself” that it’s probably fine to contradict oneself? I’ll figure it out when I fall in love, again. Sure.
If Alex herself has ever once thought or spoken negatively about me Morgan Wilcock it was probably more or less well-meaning (like along the lines of, “why is she damning herself like that, it might actually be unnecessary,” the d-word) or maybe she’s been oddly protective, building the types of smoke screens steeped in cleverness I’d truthfully need to be fine, perhaps I don’t want to know but ultimately: I won’t allow my paranoia to influence this piece or, like, my choices too much—I should however mention the paranoia up front, so that it’s not surprising when it surfaces as a motif I didn’t intend for, in our friendship again and again until hopefully the trust flays it bloodily to shreds, yielding NOT pain but, flowers and good parties, a wedding or two, and sometimes happy moments????
No one gives a good pep talk like Alexandra, but I’ve seen her tap people who I don’t like as much as she does, namely her exes who treated her cruelly!! 🔪 Alex will never be the Cruella, in those tales, even though she’d look just fine in that costume. I am not schmoozing though I should also be up front about the following: I envy her beauty. Who, with good taste, who’s seen her in real life, would not. I think it’s subjective, actually, but she does look better up close; and some people like, don’t look better all up in your face, they look better [or worse] on posters; not saying it to terrorize anyone okayy. Okay good moment to stop talking.
Oh and P.S. I wrote this before all the Emma Stone Cruella posters showed up like every few steps in the city; the second I wrote it they started showing up. So, like. I’ve always been a step ahead of what’s hot.
Alex, Warrick, I used to tell her, those boys (her exes or sort of exes), were selfish and unkind, though they billed themselves as heroic via their own internet profiles, self-subsumingly [btw: that’s just a roughly pretentious term I made up] (self-subsuming means “selling out”), lending themselves to popular sentiment and never questioning whether Alexandra was the good influence on them despite her well-meaning bitchy remarks now and then.
As for my role as Alex’s underground friend, the literal savage beast who always told the TRUTH as brutal as it might seem; and my need to explain why we got along right off the bat despite being so different—maybe despite how I’ve genuinely lost faith at this moment in true love because my history with guys has gotten increasingly crappy each year, at least, I can say this much for sure about me and Alex: there’s chemistry. Yes she scored slightly higher on the SAT, on the ACT I got a 33 I could have done better. However, I’m proud of my work ethic and improving ability to work with numbers not numerology which I think is pseudoscience, garbage, yuck. The moments I’ve hurt Alex were sourced from an unchecked resentment toward others, now foregone, toward all People but especially people who maybe aren’t, like, struggling as much as, I don’t know, my parents?
My parents! I hhhhaaate them! Sorry to mention all this really private stuff it’s literally all necessary. (It’s not.) I think, if Alex and I could stay lifelong female allies and proverbial whores — the proverb I’m thinking of is “whores before hims,” isn’t that, the right one — ultimately, it would be fairly spunk of us to pull that off, because it’s true we come from opposite ends of various spectrums including the spectrum, of love. Not that we’ll end in different places. Team building tip from where I’m at, like the furthest edge of the spectrum about to faceplant again: yo girl not a lesbian-thing! Or non-binary or whatever I am.
Let me tell you, it’s a good thing not bad to be different, as long as you can forgive the occasional misunderstanding and become a cooler (correction better) person from developing: sensitivity toward, a will to honor, slash intimacy aided by — those differences. If you’re really close frands [shut up, we’re friends, we’re not broken up] maybe you can make jokes about the various differences and stuff. But let’s not be d-words or c-words from now on, I mean let’s not be c***s. Because we’re not and people like, notice fraudulent stuff.
I know about all of Alex’s screenplays, I’ve read them and don’t always understand the brattiest New York jokes like legit, but I could learn-to-understand the way I learned over time from Woody Allen’s films. That said: until the day I learn to talk some hard smack, to the bone I am kind. I am Minnesotan. For a while I woke up early to dance alone, I was fat, I am nuts; I am not that graceful, I frequently regard me in the mirror with self-disgust. True mee is a stranger to most everyone. I am not sure why I keep mentioning the dancing bomchikka wa throughout this project, or what I’m saying so I’ll just keep talking, I think we’re almost done here.
Bing bang bum.
I’m having clang associations.
The fiction feature screenplay of Alexandra’s that I think is most potentially powerful also has the most potential to get her cancelled is called “Baby Baby!” which isn’t actually set in Manhattan. It’s set in America. Like a road trip. Anthony Bourdain thought his good friend Darren Aronofsky’s best movie to date was “Mother!” and though I used to be a fan of Darren Aronofsky, I’ve let my pure obsession go for some of the same reasons I lost summa cum laude my respect for Woody Allen. I judge by the work but what if the work has weird stuff, impure. Ulch. By the end of “Mother” I have to say I wasn’t sure, the point of certain blood all over the sidewalk. (The “Where’s My Baby” scene literally, wtf … who on earth needed to go through that, I thought it was too much.) Anyway I my self didn’t have much fun, watching Jennifer Lawrence give the performance of her lifetime, supposedly, but really just like get dragged or something — within the film? — and she didn’t deserve that. I thought he [the director] deserved, to get just a bit more well-meaning flack than I actually witnessed; not within the film. I know that directors and their actors sometimes fuck. Does it bother me? Not if I don’t even know them. I just, wouldn’t do it, if I were directing a film. Because it doesn’t actually make the film better!!
I can think of like 40 counterexamples and one thing I love about Darren Aronofsky’s films is, the performances he gets his actresses to give. It takes two to tango, a man and a woman: I didn’t say a man and a girl. I just take issue with it because, I can’t think of that many counterexamples of when it wasn’t just about the artist and his legacy, comma, a father.
But whatever, I used to say JLaw was my favorite actress. She already has an Oscar so like do I feel BAD for her or him. Okay kiddos, call it a masterpiece if you like.
No one is going to say anything about how fucked up that was, a film about a literal baby killer played well by Javier Bardem with that particular ending, but *shrugs, with emotions off* I missed the part where that’s my problem. The reason however that I believe “Baby Baby” might be solid is for how it might start to deal humorously and precisely with at least some of said weird stuff, including the internet and social apps and the evil it’s probably incited for 99% of young women and others. By others I mean kids.
Of identifying and surviving online abuse, Alex is probably a seasoned vet by now. I’m probably kind of browbeaten, maybe pitiful but like narcissistic about how pitiful I am which is off. My mind, is presently half-gone: I’m literally just being honest, people can and will call me a baby for whining about what happened to me from about 2015 to 2020 when I didn’t get published even once despite identifying as a writer, l’ve reached a point where I’m self-pitiless. People, they might kind of be right.
It was hard for me to write this somewhat cogently; some chapters are better htan others. If that’s not obvious then I’m proud of myself. But I think it’s pretty obvious.
Lol, I could probably try to stop dressing like a strange clown. By strange I mean reprehensible, misfit. Did I ever give a shit, that people didn’t like it. Actually I could pretend I didn’t but I 100% did. And it sucked to be cancelled and probably, hated on, and I lived through that shit, and it’s done!!
In Lena Dunham’s first feature film vaguely about being in undergrad as a white girl pre-2010s, called Creative Nonfiction, she looks younger. My understanding is that it was her own passion project which got picked up by The Criterion Channel sometime after Girls; this would situate the making-of-it at the top the gold rush of good-seeming fortune that carried her, as a young creative, from being the daughter of a sort of famous artist to Oberlin to a solid cameo in a Quentin Tarantino flick. By sort of famous artist I mean, I hadn’t heard of Laurie Simmons her mom who appeared on Gossip Girl in its earlier times, but people Lena grew up with probably knew and thus (I imagine but can’t confirm) might have paid artists, fine artists involved in the arts, visual artists too, women artists, at least some due honor and respect; this might be something I pick up on, in a good way I think, in interviews Lena’s done about her creative process and all the measured steps that ever went into a piece of work, including room to try one thing and then another because (I heard Meryl Streep say this once about a Brecht play she was in, and according to the internet, Meryl Streep was someone who Lena’s mom worked with on fine art) “process is messy.” That was a messy sentence; don’t ever assume I’m very smart and I won’t assume, you were privileged, that you had it better than I did and that’s the only one reason you made it, Lena Dunham.
Whatever Lena Dunham put herself through, she got through; I know from a screenwriting professor that Lena was picked up after a BAM showcase, and that Judd Apatow (I don’t know the specifics) had been keeping his eye out for a girl, so not a young male artist: something to do with the actual producing mainstay. Anyway I don’t feel that her art — which she indeed was at the helm of, as a writer and sometimes-director — made the world a worse place. Would I have said that about my own work if it had gotten through; which is a scenario that kind of requires magical thinking on my part, if only just to feel better. I would not have ended up overdosing, probably going downhill worse and worse. Bombing. I don’t actually know, and I can’t guess; I can cease to be resentful because I don’t think I am currently. But I can recognize the dangers that star worship of any kind might actually present, to young people in much different situations without enough context to go by, when they’re trying to be the “next” whoevs: I think I have a protective side and, like Amy Winehouse said she herself possessed a “maternal” side too, honestly. I don’t like to see people just be dragged and dragged.
I’d also have the perspective now as a writer who’s ever attempted [and failed] to leave a dent to wonder if Lena Dunham herself is “a Hannah,” even. It’s got nothing to do with looking the part, or with bringing this upcoming hyphenated term and topic — being-looked-at [insert Laura Mulvey reference]— into any discussion.
I was probably not quite trying to be the next Lena Dunham, but did I watch all her work and consciously try to do things my-own-way, yes: absolutely.
I was younger then, like in the Sondheim song “Someone In a Tree” (since I’m just mentioning all my influences or idols, and Stephen Sondheim is an idol) — I could climb n’ shit, I saw everything — and it’s hard to remember my intentions as 21-year-old artist, especially one who developed a drug problem but was still sharing my work here and there, even if that meant sending it out to all my mentors at Lincoln Center Film, somewhat classlessly, and to a few girl critics, sharing it places it might never have belonged: I think my intentions were to be remembered at all. And that’s it.
To that end (and this might explain what I meant about Lena’s now, definitely-iconic character Hannah), I remember sometimes choosing takes that I thought were “stronger” [and not “younger”] that were stronger not for the reasons a girl would pick a profile pic on Tinder. But in this paragraph I am discussing film and fiction film, not real life. In this paragraph, I am not talking about Tinder either, please be advised. Lena Dunham, when I was a white girl in undergrad, was the writer-director on everyone’s lips; controversial. Not totally beloved in the circles I walked in, as a lower middle class person (a mess at first sight), not even discussed by the men I worked with at Film Comment — but supported by pretty much every famous female person I’d ever either encountered or looked up to. If I could do something differently as a white Jewish girl I thought it would be related to my hot takes on race, and sex, or sexuality: I started writing a screenplay called Black Satin, based on this weird anecdote I knew about how my mom in her thirties and in the seventies had once been a call girl for Miles Davis. I am not sure it’s something she’s open about because it is shameful, for her, the whole story of what happened and the years after; I am sure it’s true. She was younger, when this all occurred.
I actually knew this was the film I wanted to make back when I tried one out in college with a Billie Holiday soundtrack (Miles had a thing for Billie). But Black Satin didn’t work out. Plenty happened — but not a second film shoot for a script, by me.
I do spend a lot of time wondering what it’s like to already be famous and all-the-rest before age 30, as a female — I think some of what I’ve identified, that would be different, is stuff that I could attain just as well as a doctor by twenty years from now, including well, a partner for life. I think if I were a star (and artist) my sex life would be more exciting, and the sexy narrative capital would be something I used in my art, and being unable to f*** for a long time is something that has given me more grief than I’m willing to disclose here, but I guess in the ways of some silver linings gleaned in my prison years, I now think humanitarian work on behalf of women could be done by me as a physician, probably more effectively than me as an artist: I just spend a lot of time writing, because I don’t know how to make friends when I feel like weirdass shit all the time. I’ll be mad at myself if I don’t plot my way into medical school (honestly I’ve made it remarkably far considering what a mess I was when I started after god-knows-how writing the application) [the writing was much worse than now, and I don’t think my writing sounds “human”] (beep beep boop); I’ve already had my share of pitfalls as a student since starting school due to idiocy and laziness — arguably just me not dealing with mental illness, further arguably me just not facing the fact that I didn’t imagine things like men [not on campus but nearabouts] spitting as I walked past in my weirdass queer clothes; maybe it’s also because I looked like a mess, a way without overthinking on their part of saying “you can do better” which is true, I know it is, but I also could do better in school and I only have so much energy per day. If I decide it was only mental illness I’ll build a good case, looking at my own symptoms. The facts. What I can begin-to-say for myself, before I build a good case that doesn’t sound idiotic, is that the idiocy was always genuine, including that moment I made a video ranting about idiots: a mad girl’s rant. Picture me wincing as I clarify the following, because it’s a bit like “why’d you think to say this Morgan.. creep” (I have paranoia that lots of real writers, real artists with active sex lives, on the internet, think I am a creep and actually would campaign about it in their gossip rings): I am not becoming an OBGYN, I should say since I began to mention medical work on behalf of women.
I was serious about doing that, how else would you do it [?] in a post-Roe landscape (there are lots of ways, one way might be trauma work), but I am friends with someone who wouldn’t appreciate that joke about me-even-if-I-were-becoming that — that’s actually kind of creepy and I hope that someone who went in there in their heads would question their chains-of-associations: this is real life, here now, as I write this feeling exhausted as shit about how these kinds of misogynistic incel meme-style jokes, be them about pregnancy or looking pregnant when you’re not — or about any great-even-legendary female artist’s body or I guess I can say their entire sex life not the guy’s sex life, have become commonplace online if I’m not totally off base and it’s getting worse (I only know because I’ve been at the butt end) [I think it made me go nuts!]. The friend’s traveled to
Now onto the question which I feel is important of whether I’ll be a female doctor, as opposed to female artist (which is indeed what I used to be), or what. The last time I had to confront this head-on was out with some other premeds; a guy I’ve gotten to know said “Morgan, whether you’re gay, non-binary, whatever I’m happy to serve as a wingman”; he knew that by then I’d tried the pronouns “they” because he sat by me once when we had to pass around a form identifying each of ourselves. Does anyone, give a flying fuck in the cunt.
Benny Safdie, a famous co-director of mainstream films who sometimes acts and has worked with The Weeknd, was going to study physics but switched to film; I am the reverse in all ways of his brother Josh and himself. My older sister is the smarter one, and if we do a film I’d be the one with a cameo as a trans character, not her. Another way I’m a reverse is that I wasn’t a sincerely great film artist by age 25. That’s the age at which Chantal Akerman (a less famous director but regarded among cinephiles, as an auteur and legendary, a major deal to film gals who do their history reading on how big of a deal this person was), made a masterpiece, a film known in shorthand, as the name of its leading character Jeanne Dielman – a film that’s probably saved lives but/and/which is boring as fucking hell.
It is boring — unless you are really in the mood to be brought back in touch with women’s real, lived reality. Then it’s like, a cure for being out of touch with it: with what? I guess though, just the truth for women or girls. I should add, white girls. I could add, Jewish. Who’s making films about the real lived reality, which reflects that reality in the form of the work: a not-always-just-so-pretty reality, that of course changes in each decade? Not anyone since Chantal Akerman, that I know of: if I had to say the closest thing, I’d go out on a limb and say Lena Dunham.
But Lena hasn’t made a film or show, in years; just podcasts. I know that Caroline Calloway (who I still like, too, even though she’s listed, I think, on Jewishwomen’s.org as an antisemite to watch out for) prefers podcasts because they are harder for the press to misconstrue. She — we’ll say each girl — was a big deal in the 2010s, at least among women in media. I used to want to be a woman in media so, as I’ve gone over in depth, I wonder if I regarded her resentfully, partly out of envy, not entirely out of envy. One thing each can say for her own self that I can’t, is that she made history and it wasn’t all horrid like it was for Fat Hopeless.
I will never call you Fat.
When I’m all torn up about something usually I think of what my dad would say.
Like just really frank statements like “well he’s not beating her up or anything” “he seemed kinda gay or something..” only if someone actually was. About the *paraphrasing* “I’m a tranny now” thing, from me, he would probably just be like “wait didn’t you say you were gay” and “you just can’t seem to make up your mind” and I’d take that as a green light to be in a relationship where I can dress pretty much like a guy-or-something but probably never get, like, surgery: that is too much, I would be a freak and would lose everything. If I told him about some guy I HATED he’d probably just be like move on (I guess), you never even liked him (did you? No)—and I literally would consider that good advice. He is not much of an advice giver but I’d be like “hm.” This is that true feminism. I could point out that I haven’t had a single successful relationship since passing adolescence despite having options and that my depression has gotten worse, then maybe I could wonder if there’s some valence to the me-being-gay thing, at the very least bi. That is: gay, and bi, people are real. I’ll just use the word queer and give myself some room to be serious about what to me always seemed like a community I’d never quite fit in with, as much as with a literally more conservative straight old school world [I did not say white Old World], where I’d have just kept straight to pass through undetected (no one would have noticed me) if that plan hadn’t gone awry, yes even me-undetected, or maybe that’s exactly what makes me me; my skill for being undetected, as me who shouldn’t fuck around with that New Money Old World (it’s scary, when you get into the icky nitgrits, and now I am scary, like my eyes sometimes turn red like Hal the Robot, that’s what I get for just “staying in” and not pulling weight but staying in tangentially, spending a lot of fucking time in a room with a laptop), because I don’t like feel comfortable at all with sex, my own body—no, I’m not comfortable with my lunky frame let alone with some cyborg spin-off of the sixties free love out in the Tinder world, where it’s really easy to fuck any gender or any number, of genders and just try it out. I am not being critical either, really just self-aware of what I’ve done.
You know who else were probably gay? Homosexual. Not whatever else terms. This is something I would say not my father but it’s true—like, I’m not the first to say this or actually study it. The Nazis were.
Rather than get my hands dirty there (look up Ernst Röhm, bro I’m serious) I’ll just, let you assume that I’m a far right Christian who’s saying that to persecute gay people, and women NOW. Moving on.
My dynamic with Taylor if I were to guess is that she’d see me as lame (I make this assumption based on the imagery in her video for “ME!”) [I think the lame guys, look like me] [they also look like the rightfully cancelled Ryan Adams, who looks fucking horrible in real life, now I’ve never seen something so hideous] and then I’d prove that I’m not lame and I wouldn’t do so with visual, verbal, physical-domestic, or actual violence. But that’s a total approximation of the truth.
It’s an approximation because I don’t know what our dynamic would be.
So I’ll add to it. It’s true, furthermore and factually, that I am not dead and I have not raped or killed anyone. I might have made people anxious, or been extremely mean; but some close people have stood up to me. Some might call this chapter ABUSE.
I could even harp on it. But *says this stoically* I’ll let that be it.
[Pauses for five minutes, stretch break. Gets some water.]
And then I will add that I get weirdly defensive in this very-literal-damn way about a phase of Taylor fandom. I am like, her songs and social media were designed to trick my brain’s chemistry. Sometimes I’m like, she knows who I am, we’ve basically been friends!!! And that’s what I call: delusions… of grandeur?
Maybe even… entitlement?? I’m entitled, I was entitled to her behaving like a pal from very far away.
It is probably something she’s a professional at doing.
What would I tell my family, if I felt empty one day, because my headphones weren’t working and I couldn’t listen to my friend Taylor.
“Seriously it’s like I know her!! I wrote about her abusively, affectionately too. It was a cycle. And I figured everything out, about how she’s nearly a seeerrrious artist, but she isn’t quite, no. And there might be something at stake with all this fucking weird humor that’s violent and, and..”
“Morgan leave that shit alone. You’re acting like a meth addict and your meth is weird stalking habits of famous people.”
“I am offended and extremely taken aback by that statement,” I’d have felt like saying in my Jesse-Eisenberg-as-Zuckerberg voice, with a slight snarl — back in my twenties. Younger, not stupid. Less mature though.
In all honesty though we in the family never WOULD have had this conversation, because having a conversation would’ve yanked me right off my delusion; like a creature being wiped off a cliff. I’d have stayed cooped-up in my room like a pet, taking meals there alone. (This is true.) Any conversations we would have had, might have caused me to feel ashamed of myself for being legitimately mentally sick: still categorically depressed like everyone or most people, not yet diagnosed and treated for more specific issues. The only times it truly seemed real, that these celebrities were friends of mine—Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, more recently Tavi Gevinson, and further in the past, solo male artists with big egos [usually rappers whose lyrics I might know better than any poet’s oeuvre] (these were my “friends”), The Weeknd, Kendrick, Asap, Jay, Drake, and should be I scared to admit Kanye West; I know all their stuff —[oh and I was saying, the only times they became my “pals”] might have been times when I was very VERY alone and could not communicate, not even with my sister and mom.
I’d be so far off, in a painful lonely place. It’s all I could take. I was getting sicker. While getting sicker I would find that I listen more to music than any other kind of art (counting video games, phone games); music is the easiest to do while bedridden. Anyone who’s had addiction problems including online addictions, who finds themselves bedridden, not yet in old age or injured physically, in-my-view-with-its-perspective should at least consider psychotherapy — and should might be a judgmental word and I might be forgetting some people who would be bedridden and not actually mentally ill but; I don’t think that’s a good sign, if you spend days in bed feeling ill. I might be a cautionary tale, please listen then. Even if you’re comfy with your laptop there. Don’t get too comfortable, friends. And if you did for-some-reason [whoever the fuck reads this and reflects someday], realize you got too comfy cozy fuzzybird (tell those happy thoughts “STFU”), it’s not too late to leave the house and do some birdwatching, or whatever: now and then is good.
Expect the world to be hard if you’re not just staring at birds though.
Birds aside, real birds or fake — there are good, nice people left in the world, and welcome to the club; you can be one of them yay.
You might even be part an exclusive, fucking club. Depends, I mean, unfortunately myself along with Viktor Frankl (author of a Holocaust memoir Man’s Search for Meaning, which I’ve mentioned already) both might agree on this point: truly, truly good men are the minority. But I think the choice is a no-brainer if it’s not too late, to choose the good club….
People aren’t going to listen to this chapter because it’s not stylishly DARK or smart enough but then, they’ll think about it later. Perhaps.
Flash back to me listening to music all night IN THE DARK. All it took, was a five minute conversation with someone real and relatively down to earth after using my laptop as a substitute-brain for ten years, for me to be like “oh shiyt, what did I just say ouch… holy shit… crashing burning, in real life so not on the TS page of this incel forum…” (reminder that at-this-time I’ve never actually been on a site scarier than Reddit and I was only there to crack the nut that is Caroline Calloway) [but I’m illustrating a point] (and the point is that my voice, from listening to music and commenting and having that be my life, did not match who I was in reality). In the real chats with some real human beings, on the ground in public, I would not be able to mention my love-hatespeech problem behind the screen and how I’d probably accidentally masturbated to the song “I Can’t Get Enough.” Eww, it’s a song with a video that I also thought, was nearly serious art but definitely was not. I’m sorry and this is not a joke.
On 9.4.2020, before an argument that left my mom with hurt feelings — a fight which started quiet when my mom said, it’s good Morgan if you want to be a surgeon that you aren’t on meds that give you the shakes [a bipolar thing] — my sister Alexis, initially horrified at my mom’s insensitivity to how hard it’s been for me to try out various prescriptions that caused any unwanted side effects (tremors being one of the possibilities), later suggested to me, that, “it just seems like you keep putting off taking care of yourself.” I wouldn’t quite disagree though I’m reluctant to submit to my sister’s guidance, despite how she’s been my go-to for feedback within our immediate family. (I no longer go to our parents.) The specific implication, I think in this context, was that I probably could have benefitted from finding a psychiatrist or therapist or both, long ago, e.g. starting in Minneapolis where I lived for close to a year starting in late 2019 after the hospital. I had to pause momentarily and listen to my instincts. Why hadn’t I been seeing a therapist? Oh yeah. I didn’t feel willing to explain to my sister, how I just didn’t like the one I was assigned through the outpatient program I’d been attending in a suburb of Minneapolis. It was a 12-week program, from which I was discharged about a month early due to problems with my insurance.
They found out, I was still on Medicaid in New York; it complicated the situation of being treated in Minnesota. I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket of course. I remember feeling relieved. I didn’t feel I’d been treated as an individual human with unique needs. More like, “just another case,” which is fine; I wasn’t receiving preferential treatment, which is how it should always be, duh. Right? It might be true that I still looked (or dressed) like a roughnecker, sodden with distress, and that’s where my sister was coming from when she said, “you keep putting off taking care of yourself.” The previous sentence might just reflect how my insecurities sometimes get in the way of good advice. I didn’t say anything, when she said that, as I tend to avoid speaking up to anyone in my family when I have complicated feelings on correct next steps in my own life. At the very least I can say for sure, I had a defensive reaction internally. If I would have spoken up (and maybe I’ll still say this, now in this chapter which she might confront me about including), it would have been to say something like: I’ve actually taken good care of myself, the best I hardly can, considering where I’ve been.
As younger girls: I’m not sure how Cece found her way in that crowd without ever wearing mini skirts. Actually I do know. Even more than me back then, she was funny and crazy like one of the guys. She wore T-shirts that said “Hummer” on the front, and would take me in her basement and pretend to bag my virtual corpse in 2-player WWII video games on Xbox, each time I was killed by her which was not really ever vice versa. hI remember sometimes feeling upset but not speaking up, and then we would do stuff like buy remote control cars at Walgreens and place them on the roofs of other homes on her block and drive them to the top until they fell off and broke on someone’s back patio. As we got older I’d keep a bit of distance from being with Cece 24/7, probably knowing that her house at night would host parties dangerous enough that she once called me in seventh grade weeping, because her own older sister had thrown one where Cece’s Xbox and all games were stolen. This was the same older sis of Cece’s who would be hospitalized, for high blood alcohol content, at least three times in high school. In the hallways, this drama would be discussed by strangers but Cece would describe it to me more graphically; how she’d been passed out on the floor, in their front hall with the staircase and grandfather clock, how her parents were on the ground slapping her and thinking she might be gone. She’d had her stomach pumped, once; then it happened it more than once. If this were a secret I wouldn’t mention it. Later Cece would be the one throwing parties, but it was maybe kind of different; at least, she called her own shots. Sometimes I remember, her dad the heart surgeon would stop in the basement and say “killing Nazis?”—a quick pat on the back before leaving his daughter to shoot ‘em up.he hood. From then on I was only funny and crazy, for role play; like, if it was for a performance, for a talent show or sketch comedy.
As younger girls: I’m not sure how Cece found her way in that crowd without ever wearing mini skirts. Actually I do know. Even more than me back then, she was funny and crazy like one of the guys. She wore T-shirts that said “Hummer” on the front, and would take me in her basement and pretend to bag my virtual corpse in 2-player WWII video games on Xbox, each time I was killed by her which was not really ever vice versa. She was the killer. I remember sometimes feeling upset but not speaking up, and then we would do stuff like buy remote control cars at Walgreens and place them on the roofs of other homes on her block and drive them to the top until they fell off and broke on someone’s back patio. As we got older I’d keep a bit of distance from being with Cece 24/7, probably knowing that her house at night would host parties dangerous enough that she once called me in seventh grade weeping, because her own older sister had thrown one where Cece’s Xbox and all games were stolen. This was the same older sis of Cece’s who would be hospitalized, for high blood alcohol content, at least three times in high school. In the hallways, this drama would be discussed by strangers but Cece would describe it to me more graphically; how she’d been passed out on the floor, in their front hall with the staircase and grandfather clock, how her parents were on the ground slapping her and thinking she might be gone. She’d had her stomach pumped, once; then it happened it more than once. If this were a secret I wouldn’t mention it. Later Cece would be the one throwing parties, but it was maybe kind of different; at least, she called her own shots. Sometimes I remember, her dad the heart surgeon would stop in the basement and say “killing Nazis?”—a quick pat on the back before leaving his daughter to shoot ‘em up.
I was Jewish too, relatively though by then I wasn’t practicing anymore, and was half-Mormon on the other side (also not practicing). On Christmas as kids still, Cece called me about thirty times and said if I didn’t come over now to play Xbox, she’d stop inviting me. I was like, “I can’t today, Cece, it’s Christmas.” I’d be back over next week, not to get shot but to help shoot them up. At some point we got into WWII Nazi Zombies, a 1-4 player game separate from the solo campaign in Call of Duty 3; after that we were a team not competitors. We never kissed on the couch or anything but a mutual friend with strong gaydar later told me, he suspected we always had a bond that ran deeper: Cece and I. She made me into a killer, combating genocide.
“Who wore it best,” was my mom’s other incursion last night [in 2020 when I wrote this part], which still weighed on my mind this morning after too little sleep. My sister had just revealed that the shirt she was wearing, was one that we’d salvaged from Grandma’s belongings. Alexis and I both caught each other’s eye; all I could think, for once not alone with this kind of thing, was how nice it was to briefly have some company. Reinforcements. Even if things would go back, and my sister was just going to say for a day, and get my mom’s best side, and learn driving from me, so she and her boyfriend could go to the beach more frequently and not feel beholden to carpooling through people in our legitimately dangerous family, with which I hoped to identify less each year but sometimes felt I could never ever escape. Usually if my sister came here with her boyfriend, I would slink into the shadows, unwilling to fight for dignity in the power dynamics that probably didn’t exist, but somehow didn’t go away. My mom clarified, “it’s awful when celeb rags say those things,” then said to just me that Alexis wore it better (than our grandma). Again, I pretended not to hear; my mom knew I was pretending, and I knew she would take that as a slight and be upset with me, I guess for not laughing. Being an old professional, my sister upon overhearing something that we both agree might be weird, or crossing the line, tends to help defend the densely walled-off mental emotional fort where I hold out alone 7 days a week. But she also might not care to think about me, in there. I think by now in this book I’ve taken her and other family members, unflinchingly, to court.
Whenever I’ve let my own resulting weirdness overflow beyond castle moats, my shame has been something I can only deal with retroactively—ideally in safer spaces, therapy, or if that wasn’t possible or comfortable for me, in screenplays written while half-asleep [writing that might admittedly, cross the line]; otherwise it’s just too much for me to even comprehend without the walls cracking.
If I used to think my mom was the bee’s knees, and be convinced of that reality — which I did as a kid for all the years I slept in her bed 7 days a week, because I couldn’t sleep alone — at some point, in the past few years through all the treatment and exposure to new ways of comprehending the world and my trauma, it’s possible that I slipped one toe into a new set of beliefs. In 2019, I thought I’d landed a job as a paralegal with a resume that said “Lola Morgan Wilcock,” though I must have behaved presumptuously in the aftermath. It was a decent interview, we were in contact for a short while and discussing next steps, but, that can be a head fake and, I know I’m in denial when I start acting on blind certainty. Unfortunately that is how I acted.
The details this time should not concern anyone but myself. I should be clear before continuing, also, that my parents were, in ebbing and flowing phases, the best any kid could wish for (truly like the dad in a classic film The Bicycle Thieves, each of them at moments). If financial hardship was the main source of their turmoil, it’s only something I came to understand with perspective: in how I saw things, it is hard to cite a point when the gauze over my eyes was pulled off to the sounds of me wailing, when I lost my voice and then my sensitive face, and started feeling that rejection and heartbreak were too terrible to choose to fight through, or fight for ultimately — my humanity felt not worth-the-battle-for-it — compared to fighting substance abuse and other addictions including some really sick ones. Those too I have seen in my parents, and don’t have to write about; that way I can rationalize that I’ve actually been, at moments, generous in how much I’ve disclosed on the page.
So now before I go back to real friends, not non friends, I’d like to clarify that Hope all along and how I acted toward her — toward this imaginary woman — was how I couldn’t act toward my sister, without the words or sensitivity to do it, to confront her about everything that, well, factually has happened. This book is my consolation offering, probably better kept from now on in conversations in real life. Hopeless you aren’t a homosexual; don’t kill yourself, goodbye and good luck.
Ch. 18 Honestly I made it for fun
“Has it occurred to you Morgan Wilcock, that you’re just a crazy person,” said Anon.
Morgan hesitated before answering: “I think that would be a good card to pull. For the other person, yeah.”
“For the enemy side.”
“I’m not trying to make enemies.”
“Well you are.“
“I might have one or two by now. Maybe I am trying to amp it up, for the work which functions like a puzzle I think. Maybe I went crazy in the process of writing this.”
“What do you expect to come of it,” said Anon.
“Well it’s about nothing. It’s all in my head and nothing can come of nothing,” said Morgan Wilcock. “I clarified somewhere at the start that I’m not sure love is a real thing, and while I don’t believe that I also just think it is something that you only come to appreciate like fine art once you’ve realized what the other thing is.”
Anon said, “what’s the other thing.”
“Just pure ambition. Vanity and ambition. All is vanity, I’m never surprised to be reminded.”
“What do you want people to take away from this piece of work.”
“Just be a good person. I don’t know what else.”
Noelle was the mother of an arbitrary famous person. She’s a character Morgan has been developing since 2017, when Morgan first wrote about a famous person and felt like shit got “realer” than she’d intended honestly. That star had been Selena Gomez but in this case Noelle is just an arbitrary mom figure. She had a few questions.
“How did you know my daughter was having a hard time, besides that it’s not really something that famous people keep private anymore; that they struggle.”
“I don’t think your daughter even knew. To be honest Noelle I think I was very shaped by the experience of receiving an email from Woody Allen, it was a life-changing moment for the immediate shift I observed in how much power I had. This is what I looked like back then, I think I sent him this picture, it’s alright in retrospect.” (My mom actually suggested it; those are my uncles in the background, one of them killed himself.)
“Do you trust your mom.”
“I trust her on some subjects; my sister and I have a complicated relationship with her, each. And it’s helpful in bring us two closer.”
“Okay, so understand this has been hard on us two.”
“You mean like your family? Honestly Noelle this project was done on a blog where I’d check my views just to be sure that I had zero views. Sometimes I’d get like one like. So it’s hard to say if it’s been for me; or if writing is more powerful than just, putting words onto paper or running your fingers across a keyboard.”
“Can you say a bit more about how you knew she was having a hard time.”
“I didn’t even care,” said Morgan. “Like I’m not that much of a star chaser, it’s true ‘you are the company you keep’ so writing about people who are successful is a tool I’ve used to remedy how no one wants to hang out with me. But it was like one of those things where, honestly I woke up in the middle of the night. Like holy shit this is not okay with me. Recall that my background includes drug abuse, having been raped (badly) but not really sexually abused in a more sustained way, and plenty of encounters with famous powerful people — and with men. So something must have come together like pieces in a puzzle, just like in my unconscious. Granted I do not know if I handled it that gracefully. It was really costly to me. So then after it was really costly to me I was like: well I can’t just go back to my old life. I needed to seal some loose ends. Unfortunately that’s when I started realizing things and it got worse, and worse, and worse — and voila. Here is your book Noelle. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in your position, as the star of someone that brilliant who was acting like someone 1/4 of her level.”
“Why do you think she was functioning at 1/4 her level.”
Morgan paused. “I think you’d be the type for me to be direct with. Can I be direct.”
“Sure it’s fine, be direct.”
“I think there is such a thing as being pussy programmed to need something, and it runs so deep that people pick up on it in this disgusting hedonistic way: and it’s not her fault that she got pussy misprogrammed from a young age. And I just have only sympathy for her, because I understand. It’s kind of gross overall; I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. But what is art for.”
Noelle was like tired but she said “what is art for.”
“I think it’s for things like this that just don’t make sense in any other way. It’s not for helping people achieve their American dream, especially when America is literally like the worst bad guy in the world — we’re so fucking stupid. At least the other villains on the world stage know their countries are fucked up and admit it. And again: none of this added up for your daughter, I’ve been a fan of her work and she knows all of this, so why is she doing all the American dream bullshit. I just don’t know how it happened. I know that no one is reading this and I know it isn’t over, hell I’ll probably meet this person.”
“You think,” asked Noelle, who had like brownish hair originally.
“I’m not defeatist about these kinds of things. I think I’m a real writer and stuff. I don’t want to repeat that I think they were going to try to stick together: maybe Noelle I was just an actual stalker, possessive and jealous like fucking Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, but when I mentioned this in therapy she laughed softly like no. I don’t talk about specifics in therapy. No one knows shit. I don’t come across like that. Someone else, might! Sinking feelings in my gut. Swear to god.”
“Are you wondering how I didn’t do anything.”
“Fuck, No because — I don’t know anything, here, I have my mom and she totally would have supported this… but then again I don’t know, I think it got really weird and veiled and methy and beyond bizarre and I don’t think she’d do stuff for exposure; certainly not BAD exposure. That said I’d encourage you to be less certain that some glamorized fucking ideal about what it means to be an artist, a revolutionary cool fucking artist, is anything close to what it’s actually like: this was some bullshit. That’s why I got upset. It was copping something from me, my genuine struggle as an artist — making it into something creepy and retarded, then calling that ‘what it takes to come up with something legendary.’ Let karma decide on that one. Genius. So maybe it has been self-interested; to seek justice I guess.”
“So it wasn’t love.“
“I think we’re in a weird fight. I can’t write the answer to that. I don’t know why I asked it, besides to say that he never loved her. I am really careful with love — that’s probably like, surprising because I’ve confessed my love to 40 women in this book. Including you! I just did. (I’m a player; you know it too. Not even a gross gigolo just like a player.) I just am careful with it though for real. I don’t think I can say that and feel like, it’s just a front, now that I’ve calmed down and I’m writing this scene,” Morgan said to Noelle. “It’s true.”
“Actually I’ve wanted to write more about why I think this is, and when it changed. I guess now could be a good moment. It changed after I went to a psych ward, and after that I knew my brain was just pruned to the shits. Like it wasn’t working the same and I didn’t tell anyone that: because it was just depressing you know, I avoided people, it was the loneliest time in my life, even though I was surrounded by support from family after a sort of tragic thing I went through. And what did I learn. I learned that I could sort of only read people’s minds to the extent that MY version of them, was THE version of them that got picked up by my brain. That definitely went against my OLD ideas about writing, where I’d just be rawer about it: I’d take a character and become them or something. After the ward I couldn’t be like that, because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t just kind of hurting myself with writing some lies basically. And that made me immensely solipsistic and lonely; but in a way it was also freeing. Because it meant that if I could get some control over that, I would be less chronically vulnerable like the retard dog at the dog park to being mauled. Literally all I had to do was stay away from people like that, the maulers. And I could write my own narrative in my head about me. Well. Turned out it wasn’t so easy.”
“So you were just self-defending.”
“I don’t think you care enough to ask me questions like that and I respect that. No one, no one, nooo one in my life — thought this was a big deal. I was scared, also actually from having seen celebrities do this maybe even, this is like a stretch, but maybe even BECAUSE of my writing, I was scared.. that said celebrity in question was going to get surgery she probably didn’t need!! So I guess that was not MY problem but it felt..”
“Do you think that you thought that happened?”
“No no no let’s not talk about surgery I think she’s really fucking lucky. That’s my ANSWERRR. I think when I consider it this way, ‘they were really in love,’ then I feel my heart breaking but. That’s why I’ve become careful. If my heart is breaking for a stalkee, and I’m talking like someone younger than I am ‘stalkee’ ga ga goo then it’s time to make some changes. And like, stop stalking I guess. But that was hard because I kept just fucking having nightmares and stuff.”
“Just about my famous daughter.” (Said Noelle.)
“Nooo I’ve fucking been having celebrity dreams for years, sorry I wrote this scene a little bit ago so it still has this kid voice. But I hear that’s normal, to dream of ‘stars,’ usually they represent either your friends like in real life: or just something idealized. Thing is they were never really idealized in my dream-versions and sometimes these dreams were just, so upsetting because I was like shit ‘I am soo unhappy and powerless,’ so clear in such short time in the dream, you know how dreams can be like that, they just announce the truth and then you get on with it, I was so powerless compared to these people that I just woke up and wanted to shoot myself or write some weird Instagram post [I have 3 followers]. I was like my life is not worth anything to the world. Basically that’s it.”
“Currently. How do you think I feel.”
“You’re the mom of [famous]! That’s how you feel.”
“She can be a real handful. Well not her but this.“
“It’s worth it, don’t question.”
“Mmmmh.. lately you have no idea.”
“I think I probably do, a great writer can write her way out of this. Noelle Noelle, lol, I don’t think I’m psychic per se, I think I just do my homework. And a lot of the homework I’ve had to do out of necessity is homework on tracking the difference between fantasy and reality, because — literally I’m someone who’s had psychiatric treatment for losing touch with it. With reality. And with all my friends and better values and so on. With my.. self.“
“What’s your opinion of what you’ve intuited Kiddo.” (Said Noelle beginning to sound like a crazy person herself.)
“God, I think that’s giving me a lot of power over a narrative that I have very information on with some official stamp to verify that it’s not bullshit. But I’m generally not a judgmental person because I am so fucking off. (No I’m not.) Of course I just want space from that one famous person, that one who I don’t like. That’s my answer I guess. I don’t have to be like fucking JFK this time, at some summit of the nations. I just want my fucking life, I’m a stranger this is creepy. I am. Do you think that’s unfair.”
“I do wonder if there is some fantasy in circulation that we’d all just get along. That must be his! We should all give ourselves a restraining order against his narrative interpretation of events. He told me in a dream I was ‘fabulously beautiful.’ My answer is resoundingly no. Those aren’t the words. No. This man is a fag, he’s not even a pedophile — that would be like his out from the worst things he actually is!! Okay, just from being experienced with my self, I know myself.”
“You rely too much on dreams.”
“I’m aware. I agree,” said Morgan.
“You think you’d be mad all the time. At him.”
“Wow Noelle did you go to college *in Anthony Hopkins voice,* I know nothing about you!! Let’s get to know each Other. Don’t ask stupid questions. I think I’d become quickly depressed not angry just sad about my self within some dozen feet of this person, you just don’t think of me because you’re thinking of your daughter, I am already depressed near him from miles away, wilted like a rotten Lotus by this boss boy who I have so much in COMMON with (no I don’t, that’s like a really vapid interpretation of what makes someone who they are: maybe I became like it because this shit was fucking weird) [and he gives me the ‘weirds’ down to my toes.. AWH AWH AWH.] no scenario where ‘we help each other out’ kumbaya-style could solve that: yes I have had payoff or payback fantasies about it too. Mainly, comma ones that were sexual and that I didn’t fucking want to cum to. I’m sick over it, I don’t know about you Mom. Ew. Literally like in that Chantal Akerman film. Literally it’s a masterpiece. I think your daughter did this to hurt you. *says Anthony Hopkins*”
“Whoah a masterpiece? I don’t know what you’re talking about, but say I did and say I thought you were talking about Je tu il elle.“
“Alright we can end the scene on that; it’s a little cringe. I’ll throw in that I think your daughter is talented so that’s another thing that puzzled me, of course like everyone hated her and just, I’ve seen that go SO wrong and never end for the person and just ugh. No one deserves that but especially not someone who basically just got molested [by another Shithead everyone still loves] and handled having been raped so many times by men and by the media quietly, that she just finally gave up. It was obvious to me; that’s what gave her that-thing like someone on literal meth. Not uncommendable how she’s just a survivor. But then it started getting sad. Just so, fucking saad. Maybe I was worried she wouldn’t make it. I died about this just WATCHING, so sad. Like literal Amy Winehouse again (obviously different with different things in place of one thing, still the same overall plausible trajectory). I never thought I’d have to see that again but a hundred times worse. I didn’t know, what to do… What to do, besides call her a fucking whore so I could get on with MY life. I’d never have sex with it, I wasn’t attracted anymore; not even like a flea to a warthog carcass. That would be more like her to me: and actually let’s be real she’d be Timone not a mere flea to me. We’re talking about an arbitrary celebrity. Okay. Nice talking, Noelle: I can hear you telling me to get a life. Watch me. I’ll be around and alive as long as I can last. I’m not the next Amy [who in her time got a huge boob job!] (that’s not a big deal..) I’m basically a trans like IDK how the fuck this happened. I’m sorry though.. :)”
“These emoji things 🙂 — I’d rather skip those at this time. And do not ever write a scene using my ‘likeness’ again, you do not know me *like dead fucking serious* and that is very clear.”
“Did I use your likeness.. no not really. I’ve never gotten to be the type of writer who describes people. That’s for sensitivity reasons. Anyway if you don’t like your lines it’s probably my internalized misogyny, very subtle, we all have some and it’s terrible and — Noelle who I said honestly [someday people might confirm] is a character I’ve been developing since long before you even knew who the fuck I was.. I won’t do that but the fact that I intuited your previous line might suggest that I do know you a little.”
“*You’re making it worse you sound like a boy, this like Mr. rational devil’s advocate bullshit.* You lie to yourself. [This is not all about you.. Author Author. Auth-ur Auth-ur.]”
“How many minutes, till the end of intermission, whether that is true or not — I think this is my book, and it can make sense to me alone and there are things that I don’t know that are probably going to make me puke all lady-like in front of you when you do tell me. So how is it not about me: besides that I obviously don’t fucking care at all and I genuinely would like to emphasize that I think this could have been worse. Why is that. I’m going to release this book under a pseudo, then change the title LATER to Out of Nowhere and also put my name on the bottom and in that period of change I can clean up this sort of purely procedural scene!! These might be dreams but it’s hard to write — in a vacuum, which is one of the devices I could use to suck it up while cleaning it up. I DO definitely, take on a voice that’s like very waxy or something, waxy poetic!! Not even but it’s because when I peal back like all six waxy lesiony layers of what I’ve been doing: I start shaking like a leaf on a tree! And not.. ’cause I’m dancin’. I start sweating as well.”
“[This is just the author setting up Q&A: no voice to interpolate into someone who doesn’t appreciate it, or deserve it I should say] (you’re a jerk) What’s your timeline for that.”
“*not sure for what, the rewrites?..* I may not go to medical school, right after I finish my program. But if I finish it it’s good because then I am set up to go to medical school when I do decide. I have an F on my transcript but that will go away after 7 years definitely, 7 years, and probably sooner because I just have to appeal it and I actually despite coming across as miserly loner with no prospects have a lot of support for just making this work. Will tell a sympathetic story in the appeals process not some shitty-sounding over-apologetic thing when that would just get im off; I guess we’ll see but that’s the short, easy A!!!! I generally can handle a lot and that’s one thing we can bond over Noelle; over cocktails like weird East Coast women with their hair straightened at age 55, sometimes I do stuff these days like sit down in a coffee shop and see someone and just shudder because I’m like OMG that wretched wife type is the thing I almost didn’t incel-avert [<– verb not noun here –>] with all my never-stop-Cocking. Bawk bawk. Yawk yawk yawk. Remember what I said about God not being a pedophile. I’m the bitch who Woody Allen liked so, get off your high horse; she’s done a really good nose job on her self, protecting her self that is. And you don’t know SHIT about what I’ve been through with this. In those pics I love in a floral dress she looks like a fucking sunbaked meerkat carcass about to disintegrate with a fart. I can’t anymore you know. I like don’t even wanna know. [She actually looks really good. I’m just being my self.] All the press about it sounds bought. Literally just don’t fly ANY closer to the sun, I am fucking warning you all. As I presume you’re not–“
Noelle was like, “stop. You look really bad.”
“You’re right. Thank you. I am a sinner, who’s probably finna sin again. On fucking purpose. In response to what you been sayin’. It doesn’t have to be like that.”
Morgan: Hope 2.0 do you remember who you is
Hope 2.0: Sir yes I can be fair lady in waiting
Morgoth: This is an intervention. I need you to stop, like, monetizing your intimacy.. Do you mind..
Hope 2.0: Anything for you
Morgan: You’re mocking me and I just got an erection. But listen
Hope 2.0: [oh god]
Morgan: The nightmare-you just doesn’t know the difference. You lose track that way. I know you’ve been poor but shit, people think you’re a fat sociopath
Hope 2.0: Me, fat, me, poor
Morgan: Fatter than me.. I don’t know about poor
Hope 2.0: [She means it] (and you can take that advice ånd..)
Morgan Wilcock: you looked in your screen test, Edie. You know what MY type is and all you want is MY affection [by that I mean erection]. Just keep the faith
Hope: hmh *cringes with that big ugly face*
Morgan Wilcock: you’re not just a beautiful fat girl [to me] but if you used that as your brand, hmh, I think you’d make a lot more money. In the mooovies! ‘F that’s what yer afta. You just need a stylist, clearly that ‘flick you were on was like.. what’s the word [going crazy, dumb].. I can’t remember the word. Tth are all fucking things like this? Makes my original beef seem like a fluke, it could have been ANY flick. This book is a fluke like a fucking whale
Random people tittering who are actually on Morgan Wilcock’s side: she’s been a terrible friend
Morgan: You always know I’m up to something more than it seems like. I mean don’t like overestimate that. I trust the tittering though thanks. The date is June 6 2022, I just woke up and watched just the end of Not Okay, and I’m going to study Physics all day because I have a final very soon: v soon I should say. Kaitlin used to type emails that said “v” this and that instead of “very.” And I woke up feeling like something wasn’t right, about, it.. about the Physics or maybe about “Roe v Wade” or just. I woke up. Better diligently check the work for typos! Actually I won’t be..
Me later In a session with a shrink recommended to me by Vandenburg your thesis advisor during her office hours, during which I mentioned you [wasn’t stalkin’]: SHE just wanted ME to crack and was sabotaging ME by telling me, too much at once (I cracked), not kind of letting fate run of its own accord!!!! I’ll never forgive her god. Is there anyone I can trust anymore.
Ch 18: She’s a pedophile
“I know you [used to] like Justin Bieber but what about The Weeknd.”
I shrugged and answered, my friend Lacie said she didn’t like him.
“That makes sense, honestly I thought you were gonna say it’s cause he’s black.”
“Well, that too,” she said, perhaps unsarcastic. It was unclear, I smirked, eyes veiled by chronic exhaustion like: when you hear about someone you love, screwing someone they shouldn’t. And it’s not the first time you’ve heard them doing this.
Lacie sealed the jar of red nail polish she had brought and applied to my hands, swiftly and simply, on the deck of a coffee shop I’ve always liked, Dunn Bros on Xerxes Avenue, which wasn’t at all in sync with Lacie’s shit, her brand. She preferred another Twin Cities original coffee brand called Caribou. “Maybe you should try to lose more weight, Lola, and see what it does to your face before you commit to surgery.”
“I guess,” I said quietly, before changing the subject. I’d recently been to a consultation, without telling anyone, the surgeon creeped me out a bit. “How about Selena Gomez, are you a fan.”
We agreed some of her songs were pretty dope, but, that she might be another brat.
“I know it’s literally retarded,” I might have said, referring now to the phase from ~2017-2019 when I imagined I understood Selena well enough to write roles for her in a musical porno. “But I blocked her on Instagram, just for good measure.”
“I get really into that celeb stuff. I was writing her creepy DMs.”
“I swear your phone has something spooked on it because whenever something bad happens to you it syncs up to her.”
“Haa,” I said again, knowing that this was not truly the case. To review my celebrity addictions and provide context, for when Lacie rereads the above conversation [after which she’ll probably confront me for making her sound racist when she isn’t actually]: I literally believed I was fated to work with The Weeknd on film/music and to help give him a quote “male makeover” to appear onscreen alongside Selgo, back when they were still dating. Justin Bieber, I used to love, but after he got married at 25 — and therefore, couldn’t marry me — I found, queerly, I couldn’t listen the same it was the saddest thing. That’s kind of a joke, but I really liked him growing up; a bit like Billie Eilish, who I didn’t know about yet, Bella Hadid was cool but was a bit far-up-there in the stratosphere of beauty for me to even go there mentally back then; it was terrifying or something. Probably exaggerating. Both were younger women. The rest of my imaginary dream collaborators were 20s-30s women (age-wise) who for the most part came out of New York City. None of them were as crazy as me clinically-speaking. These days since recovering a bit from delusions like these, I’m able to frame it all as me thinking like the psycho I still was, short for psychotic not psychopath (it’s an important distinction); named Lola. She hadn’t yet been effectively treated for all-the-above “dreams” which in this case would be a euphemistic term for impossibilities that drove me to rock bottom.
I swam froglike out of the deep end, somehow alive and driven to recover my self—god knows how I made it up—named Morgan Wilcock again. No longer a fraud but no longer a rockstar in my head! A flawed but functional human, definitely female by sex. I could only pray I’d be in touch with the truth from then on, as drab as it was? As Morgan: I didn’t have many friends left, they didn’t want to catch the cracker bug, and I might have been this desperate but — Lacie B was actually one of them.
It had been just four months since I “came out of it,” so it was all still raw: I was hearing voices when videos of George Floyd came up on Twitter and the gram.
The voices kept saying, “stop staring at me” or “I’m staring at you.” I didn’t know what it meant, that’s kind of how it works having schizoaffective symptoms. I didn’t have an Instagram but for some 180 scattered followers, an account I deleted, because most of those followers were fake-seeming accounts of people I hadn’t met. I didn’t want to be pretending like that. I’d used a service at one time called Gramblr, to make it appear that some people were liking my posts; no one ever did. I figured I’d been cancelled, at some point, after making a film in college that I’d taken just a bit of flack for from guys on the internet. Oops.
I hardly existed and felt like a ghost non-existing in the presence of the new posts I saw in 2020, on racism, were these more of the same such posts. Nothing ever changed. Videos of a guy in cops clothes looking deranged with his knee on the neck of a black man, crying out for his mom (to me it seemed insensitive to even let such sounds kind of echo in my brain, at that moment sending out all the wrong reverberations). It was hard to watch so, I didn’t watch it initially; later I’d be essentially forced to like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange‘s final scenes. It just was everywhere, no one could avoid it, the outcry online, for me, was indistinguishable from the voices telling me I looked like a child with down syndrome and other really bad things: unless you assume, for some reason, that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes reassuring things, I guess, I heard it all. In my own voice over the voices I insisted that the others are racist, not you Morgan. You’re not racist, anything but that. You might have no friends and it’s because you’re clearly weird and awkward on the internet and just everywhere. You might be a creepy Jew who can’t keep her dick in her pants when near black chicks, not necessarily because she wants to screw but because she always parties way harder.. harder, than anyone (around her) wants to deal with, and she ends up naked. You’re helpless and might qualify as a stalker, of pretty famous people, with potential to become a rapist if you were hypothetically naked in the same bed. You might have a face that people on Zoom mistake for that of a post-op tranny; the people on Zoom have never said it, but you’ve suspected this based merely on the voices in your head.
All of the above, can get a pass.
It’s paranoia, you’re fucking fine, you’re forgiven for even thinking so because it’s literally due to [sometimes self-] diagnosed severe mental illness.
And you’d never ask someone if they thought you resembled a trans person; if they thought so, you’d roll with it, work it into your brand, a brand which is currently non-existing: a word you once heard Justin Bieber use that made headlines. It might be nice to have something to fall back on, as like, your brand.
The freak. Fine!!
The one thing you’re not, though, is a racist. Damn, anything but that — you could even be a miserly wretch for the rest of your life and remembered as a horrible person in all other ways Morgan, Morgan, Morgan. You’ve heard people think that, the voices have said it: she’s a freak, who’s both a freak and, apparently transphobic, a loner, dyke, she’s Jewish ulch, the f-word, et cetera to infinity and beyond with a round face like Buzz Lightyear’s.
But you’re never going to let yourself be known as a racist. Just so long, as you’re not, that.
And then all my voices spoke at once, like fleas coming in fast upon a lamb meat left in a Greek food cart. 🤠 Is there anything else…. we need to worry about?? 🤠
‘Round the Iron Range from where Lacie came way downtown, with a 2-year-old at age 21 — Bob Dylan grew up. Her hometown Eveleth was actually better known for housing a Hockey Hall of Fame, including the world’s largest free-standing hockey stick. In the time I spent there, I heard a few stories about untimely deaths. Murders, almost definitely, they said: girls falling down mineshafts “drunk” while out with longtime boyfriends. All women in Lacie’s family were married with at least two kids, chain-smoked, claimed they were psychic, possibly “witches.” Yeah huh. I kept getting eye contact with her family. Lacie asked why I kept avoiding it.
I shrugged, couldn’t answer the question.
“Yep, you have some big stuff coming up,” said Lacie’s mom Corinne, finishing up her fifth Coors Light and setting aside the can. “But it’s not in New York, you know.” I wondered if she was just convincing me to stay, because she knew Lacie liked me back home in Minneapolis.
“And since I’m honest this way, I’m gonna tell ya this too. You’re gonna have some more struggles.” She said it in her thick Midwestern accent, which I have some of myself. When I moved to New York I changed my accent with some practice.
Wow, yuck foo, I thought (sarcastically, to myself), feeling lost up in those parts.
Is it that obvious, my future is fucked up. Lacie had been certain I’d get along with her mom and sisters on that side of the family. They all lived in Northern MN. You know like when a friend says “you’ll love them!!” about someone they love? And you’re like, “well I generally don’t dislike people I’ve just met but, they haven’t met me, yet..” (That’s always been my response; I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone.) Truth be told, I felt nervous about what they saw, my glum comportment. My weight, my BOYISH frame, my kind of fat butt. After putting in a few hours at Lacie’s niece’s joint birthday bash with some other girls, her daughters included, an outdoor party complete with bouncy house and egg hunt — I took a break inside Corinne’s North Star rambler.
I felt comfortable inside, alone. Wood walls and stained beige carpet, baskets filled with gift wrap and laundry still not done. Lacie came in and gave me some sort of birthday cake in clear seran wrap; I put it in my the Coach bag, a gift from her, for later, still in 2018 unwilling to eat in front of literally anyone — a problem? (It’s one authentic feature of an eating disorder, it’s called Deipnophobia.) Most of the interior space was crammed with baby toys belonging to her sister’s not-quite newborn son. Lacie kept lifting him up to the ceiling, singing “Everything is Awesome!” She bumped his head on the ceiling, accidentally, and was like “ope.” He frowned as though thrown off for a moment, from having fun, but didn’t cry quite. Lacie kept lifting him, he laughed. Which was cute, I remember thinking it made me want to weep; like a religious experience, almost.
It reminded me of my childhood, the toys and noisy air, all the people’s dizzy gazes. The decor, it wasn’t fine art. It filled the space up. I wondered if Lacie’s brother-in-law hunted, hung the taxidermied buck head on the wall himself. I didn’t ask, but—I kind of liked it, the guy art. Made me feel grounded, n’ shit.
Lacie’s mom, according to her oldest daughter’s confessions in group therapy (before we were friends), was somewhat of a bystander while she and her two younger sisters were being badly abused by her mom’s husband, sexually. Lacie thought the man abusing her, physically and verbally, was her dad by birth. As an adolescent she learned — her father was a different man, though this other dirtbag was the biological dad of her younger sisters, who she loved so much she might (and apparently, did once almost) die for them. The abuse started when Lacie was around age 8, and her stepdad used to have men over for band practices in the garage. After practice the men would come into the girls’ bedrooms. The garage doubled as a meth lab where the drug was made and bought by Northerners, and Lacie’s stepfather was a meth addict, which might begin to explain why he was such a heartless fuckcunt, skeezetard, a sad excuse for a male adult and while I could try to think of a good word na I’ll just he was evil. Lacie’s real biological dad was a paranoid schizophrenic who woke up at 4AM to indiscreetly go shopping at the grocery store. Not a loser but eccentric sure. Having issues myself with agoraphobia, I wondered if that’s why Lacie was able to get along with me better than almost everyone. Her father had also self-published a few books, or something. I was ”oh god no.” I didn’t meet him. When I went to visit her family, the mom’s side that is, her sister (bombed at this point, slurring words) made a comment about how Lacie was schizophrenic now too. And Lacie got upset.
This was Lacie B, whose middle name was literally just a letter. It was on her birth certificate — her mom picked the name . Lacie B who had once taken a baseball bat and trashed the entire house of her ex, on the spot when she found him cheating. Lacie B who got knocked up by a much older man, then left the hospital back then wearing the same jeans she wore pre-pregnancy. She who called my family when she realized I was alone, having an episode in 2019 (thinking I was being watched through the walls [actually by the celebs I’d been writing about] and poisoned), to have them initially tell her she was wigging. By my sister, treated a bit like a weirdo. Fuck her!!
“Do you want me to show you my papers!?” she said to her sister, because she’d been diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression after weeks of assessment from medical professionals trained in the process of diagnosing this shit, literally i.e. clinically.
Officially with the help of professionals I’ve come to identify and accept that I have bipolar — I’m fine with it I guess, have mentioned by now in this book, and, I tend to think it’s more obvious than it would be if I didn’t confess.
Lacie sort of one-upped me on that one, her diagnosis was less intense. Neither of us think being some crazy bitch, despite all the songs and films about hot ones (like by The Weeknd), is quite actually ever glamorous. Not sure why men go for that, it’s something I look for in their exes — before I confess to them that I’m bipolar — as a bad sign definitely.
Like the chicken and the egg, where does it all start and end?
In 2018 Lacie’d give me a Tarot reading, even though I kept saying I was “scared” in a voice like Selena Gomez outside of Starbucks, telling paparazzi to give her space in a video I saw once. (“You’re scaring me,” she said in that video, worth looking up if you haven’t seen it.)
I was all like, “I am very fragile the devil’s on my BACK you literally met me in treatment, Lacie, I don’t know if this is a good idea.” She dyed my hair black like Selena Gomez’s in her bathtub, and said I looked like I must weigh 110 pounds; I said, honestly, I don’t use the scale at this time of my life. Yo, I’m trying not to live my life based on the numbers. I’ll never win against someone like Selgo.
My tarot reading from her would confirm a collapse of expectations and ideals, frustration with the slowness of progress, a possessive male figure holding me back, dishonesty in my past which I figured might have to do with writing about people (like Lacie right at this literal second and Selena in other work) and never telling them I was on their ass. The tarot reading, further might reveal, that others viewed me as burdensome, and then it promised better things on the horizon—including better future finances which I’d be like-I-said scared to believe in, scared of the repercussions of hearing that shit and letting it go inside of me, but of course like literally everyone: probably wanted more than having nothing.
“Rappings, stars. Turn it ALL off puliss. That tarot card could refer the movie projects, the dreams and delusions related to ever meeting celebrities,” I remarked to Lacie laughing like the crying cat emoji when she pulled the Tower Card. “And I was just texting my parents, kind of about how I felt like a financial burden.”
“Have you been eating,” she said, suddenly concerned that I’d become anorexic.
[Actually, I had been.]
“Have you,” she kept interrogating.
“Those meal preps you gave me—yes. I’m not going to tell you my eating schedule but I ate them all last night at 4am.”
“Your face has thinned out.”
“For now,” I mumbled, honestly confused because I didn’t see it and was sort of sure my face was damaged irreparably from chewing gum instead of ever eating as an actually-probs-anorexic undergraduate student. Right so. I no longer chew gum; I literally have come to see it as a gateway drug, to worse addictions.
Lacie showed me pictures on her phone of women in specific sort of indigo hues of blue skinny jeans and linen shirts and sunglasses, I won’t try to sound like a style writer. They were uncomplicatedly pretty and happy and chill: prettier than either of us women. She gave me a book by reality star Whitney Port and told me to read it, I did later that week on a flight back to New York. She said if I wasn’t going to wear make-up, one day, then I had to straighten my hair. I couldn’t do one or the other. And she didn’t want me getting looked at in public, because I was wearing a skirt in winter! Wait, Lacie literally, don’t people wear skirts in winter.
“I don’t get that,” (I actually still don’t know what she meant) “fat girl skirts?” I asked.
Feeling like a cunt again, I turned away to watch the news on TV.
Lace, who ain’t be perfect no sir, tended to let out quiet squeels like “ooh” whenever someone unstarlike was caught by the HD lens. I wasn’t sure if her coos and caws were (1) sympathetic or (2) just unkind. I didn’t mind that much because I wanted someone discerning to probably unfair extremes to be in charge of the makeover thing, still not a foregone “dream”; I didn’t want help from someone who didn’t notice when HD just wasn’t right for a woman. Which turns out: it usually, was not. I knew that being photogenic on film was a specific skill set, not fathomed by like, most humans definitely, certainly not by her at that time or she wouldn’t have been so harsh. Maybe it took some hella fails one-one’s-ass to really fathom, how tough it truly was. By then, I felt I’d been there, and could stand to not lead a life where it happened again and again and again and again and again: being humbled like a bitch. Poor female celebs on their asses, no wonder they sometimes stay inside, in a bathtub with the curtain pulled and lights off. Ugh.
“This is why I need your help, Lacie. When I lose a few more pounds. We can do screen tests.”
“Did you vote in the last election,” she asked me, watching the news.
I shook my head, shifting moods suddenly; like someone with bipolar. “I feel fucked by that choice of mine,” I said.
“Who would you have voted for.”
“Hillary. I mean–”
She said back “–I voted for [🙀 PSYCHO SOUNDTRACK, PRELUDE 🙀] (he’s probably finna win twice. I mean. I don’t always get it right.)”
“Oh,” I said, how charming 😿, I died — I wondered if not-voting was exactly the same?
“Only cause Hillary got on my nerves. I don’t even know why,” she threw in.
“Because she was ugly,” I asked. I wasn’t sure if I was being a bitch, or she, was the bitch, or if the world had any good people left in it. I wanted to kill myself and die.
“I watched the debates and it was just something. But I regret it now, I do, cause of all the garbage that’s happened,” she said.
“The garbage.. Lacie. Literally what can I say,” lols!! 😹
And, that’s when I gave up on the makeover, it felt irrelevant to me and (more importantly) to my duty to the world. My repentance and so on. In the next election I’d be a bit less wishy-washy about what I stood for: I might even repeat many times who I’d voted for, so long as it wasn’t DT. Byee no thanxx I’ll put back on the Spanx, I said, suddenly depressed and confused about why this makeover felt like a moral failing, when what I’d been wearing for Lacie wasn’t shit I’d ever the fuck wear if I were being true to my self who-at-the-time wanted a bikini wax but only for the right one. Is this relevant to the narrative or not?
Otherwise it, hurt too much; it wasn’t worth keeping up. If I were being true to my real spirit I’d just be naked. But alone? So like, not naked in the middle of Times Square. Being filmed. No.
Also: maybe not someone legitimately mentally ill.
Having diagnosable-ass issues with exhibitionism. Fat.
Skimming the literal Bible, we went back to doing confessionals in silence, two deplorables enjoying the other as one disgusting friend at least. Everyone else female of course, sensing me talk like this, spitting and sneering viciously, had left me in the dust. I was certain, by now, they thought, I was, a racist creep and moron-fuck.
Lacie was enrolled in a Christian college, online, which she herself was uncertain about. She kept asking me if she should transfer and I was like, it’s up to you dumb kiddo. I spit in the dust where I imagine she’d soon run away from me.
But you know, it was convenient and affordable (as advertised) and fit into her schedule. It’s alright you can do it, not fine but alright.
I was listening to Drake’s Scorpion while doing Lacie’s homework, for her, that summer. Later she’d do it herself. She wanted a career in social work, not car insurance sales which she was actually good at.
She made a small killing and had a house in Edina which is like the Upper East Side of Minneapolis. Lacie asked for help with assignments including something called, confessionals yes, as mentioned, which I actually enjoyed. I was like, “here I am, good at school, I’ll help—in exchange for the pressure to get out of the house.” Lacie told me the makeover was going well, however: the resurrection of Lola Christ was cut off suddenly, as though by an extremely sharp knife. Shing!!
I abandoned her to interview for a job I didn’t get at Sony Classics in N-Y-C.
I strode into the Sony lobby in an outfit Lacie had planned, to a garage door-sized screen playing Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” with surround sound, a video of Calvin Harris with a tray in his hands, music blaring like supersonic angels reverbin’ all loud on white marble floors and walls and stairs and still insane I was led to one of those elevator enclaves without buttons even (some sort of like read-your-mind system that gets you to the right floor, somehow), by a doorman who hit on me with a smirk plus the up and down-down — yeah, and that’s when I knew already, I wouldn’t get in!!
For a New York media job interview, with another woman, I looked like raw clit. Alllll woman.
Not a fleck a fashionable masculinity in me. Wrech.
Friends don’t just have sex constantly, I don’t believe that at least. “That’s quite a switch from trying to become a doctor,” I’d text back my sort of ex in a way he perceived as condescending — I’d thought at the moment I could knock some sense into his nogs.
He’d recently decided to become a cop instead of a doctor. I don’t know why, with that choice-of-his I had some sort of problem.
“You literally don’t know how much I hated that the whole time I was studying,” he’d responded. Actually as a premedical student I did, it absolutely sucked. “Don’t make assumptions it causes you to make errors.”
What the fuck do you know about error analysis, like what did YOU get in Gen Chem lab. BIYTCH?
Wasn’t funny even a bit. I’d later apologize to Dude, which was not his name, my mom said it was good he was becoming a cop, he could go far with his degree and make a meaningful difference that way. I did get along with doctors generally, not cops. Maybe that’s why I’d fucked him all those years, I thought it might lead him somewhere. Him or me, I don’t do that lightly. Eventually after more texts and the sense that he wasn’t doing well, rather than try to be a “friend” to him again — I’d do what I usually do with people, these days feeling I owe no one a thing, yeah, when something just isn’t working: I block the person on my phone and, if we did, I try to forget we’d fucked in the first place. Also I try to forget they exist.
Falling out is a term I used to hear Scully say often. Scully was a drug dealer I might have mentioned in this book, not mine ever but someone I’d met through a guy who knew him that way. Falling out, it’s another word for overdosing on the wrong medicine.
It’s not quite the same as dying, but if you’re about to fall out and know it, you might as well just plan to be basically dead for some years, decades even — if you’re unlucky a lifetime: but you best fucking believe, it won’t be for some days or minutes.
In Minneapolis, still, my mom entered my room at 2pm even though the door was shut with a sock up in it. And she asked one day, after finding me in bed with the covers on, “Moooorg?”
[me: ohh shit pulls up the covers] “No..”
“I just wanna know something. Can I ask you something.”
“I said no.”
A scary pause.
“Mom!! I said GO, please hurry up–”
“–I wanna know… what I need to do, so that you can get your head back on.”
I looked up. And sighed like a ghost with his head off.
“Hmm?” said Rose Ellen.
I don’t ass the fuck, know… “MOM. SHIT. Holy fffuuuuuck. I don’t know if I can, this time. It’s like, is this my life, I fucking found diarrhea last night all over the walls of a bathroom stall [working at a cinema in Edina for old creeps]. Who the fuck does that literally.”
“What do you mean when you use the word old creep.”
Did I say it in those words? If so I forgot what, I was emitting from my mouth, projectiling, it wasn’t you mom it was me! My mom went on about how setting the bar here (*puts hand near the floor*) versus here (*raises hand high*) was important and changed one’s approach to this life. Then she left me, her daughter, to basically let myself go more-and-more alone and to finally die without a follow or a mention or a single fan. Very few friends. [In the present tense I whine.]
An old friend, again NOT my dealer who used to take me on dates to the McDonald’s on W 34th street once said Lola I’m not racist but they cut my face, that’s what he said. I said Scully I believe you (I can see the ugly scars). You’re not the same as the character played by Necro in Heaven Knows What, you lost weight at Riker’s and you’re a lot more grimy in a way that I think weirdly appealing. Everyone on the street has told me you’re a piece of shit, literally actually a pedophile, someone said that once, but I don’t think so Scully. You’ve been so kind to me! I never thought it’d be something I’d have to worry about myself, as Lola, getting my face fucked up by that word you said, a word I never could imagine myself saying out loud, like you just said to me.
“I mean I’m not gonna shave your bush for you, what do you expect Lols.”
“Holy mother of fuck, Lace m’damely ho. *In monotone* Sheer thongs and leather straps. I never, said, a thing about my black pussy how dare you assuuume it needs any help. You’re the one who was swiping right for ratchet trashy fucking hos on Tinder, I don’t know what you’re into, Madame Tussaud’s wax dolls, if you wanna see it Lacie.. L-M-K it’s here waiting honey, le dark silk. But I’m really holding out for someone — obviously, I mean, the right guy in marriage, so. Someone who would just, make a good dad. I’m sorry I’m wearing a large made-for-male polo. Let’s get this makeover MOVIN’ ayy bom chikka waaa wikki waaaw *quack quack*.”
“What are you into, then.”
I showed her pics on my phone, people’s Instagrams. No! said Lacie, uh-uh, just one of them was Dude from college. “A cop? That’s not a friend to you.”
“You’re right about that.. I sucked his cock in an empty lecture hall,” I said. And this was the whole truth.
“–I’m just gonna put on my sweatshirt and glasses and go studyyyy,” said Lacie, mocking me a bit like she was imitating someone with down syndrome; that’s just how I heard it, though. “I’ve got a read on the real you,” she said, “you fucking whore.”
“Whore? It ain’t me, you must be confused,” I said, before turning around to cover my face, like my waist on the wider side, forevs, not sure where to go but, back to sleep during the opening of Natural Born Killers — one of her (the real, evil, violent Lacie’s) favorite films. I reminded her that I was the greatest fan [actually, at the time greatest-ever career incel stalker] of *Oprah introducing-voice* Selena Goooomez.
“After this we should watch that one horror film, featuring Timothée Chalamet,” I suggested.
“Jumped a hundred feet down, aiming for a rock. Fractured my ribs and arm, didn’t die. Tied a rope, put it round my neck on a fourwheeler, kicked off the four wheeler off the edge of a hill. Woke up three days later in the hospital. Friend cut me down. Didn’t die. Swallowed a bottle of Oxycodon, laid down to go to sleep. Woke up with tubes down my throat. Three bags dope, bottle whiskey — blacked out, opened eyes. ER that time, ain’t dead. Grenade detonated ten feet from our truck in Afghan’stan. Can’t serve more time cause my hands shakin’. Can’t even fire a gun no more.
“Oh no. That’s tough,” I said outside our treatment place called Prairie Care. “It sounds like you’ve really tried..”
“—my son’s here in the child inpatient program. Can’t be around the house with his mother, my ex-wife, without hurting her. Fraid he might kill her. He’s hurt a couple employees. They put him on drugs, he can’t hardly open his eyes.”
“I’m sorry, that’s tough.”
“I’ve had it all. House with seven bedrooms. A 12-square foot walk-in closet, for ma wife. Had it all,” said one my treatment fellows, showing me pics on his phone of his ex-wife.
“Wow, she’s beautiful.” (She was, pretty.)
“You shouldar seen Emily weeks ago, she couldn’t even speak. Last week before you got here, she didn’t show up, turns out—she tried to kill herself.”
“The athlete, the anorexic woman? I think her name’s Amy. I like her a lot, but if today was really her last day… I’m not sure how she’s gonna, do..”
“No… she might.. nawt..”
Some silence. I changed the subject, “What did you think about the morning’s talk. I couldn’t stop crying I was embarrassed.”
“I don’t care what they say. I’m not forgiving my mother. My ex-wife. I’m not forgiving them. Never gonna happen, for what they did ta me.”
“Huh,” I thought, thinking of my, self.
“What are you doing for lunch.”
“I think, I just kind of wanna, chill, alone. I don’t know, I mean..”
“No one’s actually tarkin’.. With fones n stuff. I like talking. It’s gotten bad, out there.”
I hesitated and said, “I think that life right now is like weird… if no one knows what’s weird anymore then like… oh shit, who knows though ha, I can’t compare it to any other time. That’s one reason to stay alive, though. Maybe you can like, help, people out a bit, right. I seriously don’t know..”
“I still just try.”
“Yeah,” I exhaled, honestly eager to leave, “what else..”
“It makes me feel lighter, I get stuff done.”
“Can you put some fucking clothes on?”
“No one’s looking.”
“There are people up and down the block, they’re gonna see you through the window. Get a grip.”
“It is weird,” I chipped in with my hands on my hips, wearing an orange crewneck and shorts with an elastic waistband. At the time I had a problem with sleeping, too much. “Can you let me agree on this!!”
“You guys… it’s fine. Listen. Do you and Dad want to help carry this dresser downstairs to put into storage.”
“I don’t want to, if that’s what you’re asking.” A pause, I realized in horror, I was starting to sound like my father, it was true. “But ch’knowww I’ll firkin do it,” I said, “Gawwwd!!” I threw up my hands, they felt all stretchy like a wacky waving tube man.
“How are the meds honey.” (Antipsychotics.)
“Girate,” I said smizing, flying batty off the edge.
“Let me know about the side effects, let’s keep an eye on them.”
“Absolutely, mom. Liiiiiiiterally what side effects thouuuugh..” my eyes rolling back in my head…
“I’m so smmmmarrttttt,” someone named Alou had said in the psych ward before I met Lacie in outpatient. He was sitting next to me during coloring time, arts and crafts hour. I’d gone to be a good sport but was probably flirting or more accurately insourcing some power. From the male gaze. I wondered if it was because he was sitting next to me, that he even said it. Soon I’d leave to take another bath, what else was there to do. I drew two llamas, one of them was purple and the other black and white with stripes.
They were lesbians but not like dykey ones, I spent a lot of time getting the colors just right.
If they weren’t fem lesbians they’d be more, or less conscious of their color? Their images? I didn’t know, I just knew they wouldn’t identify as quote “dykes.” Just as in love. These were the two female llamas I’d drawn, queer ones, or maybe one [the rougher one] was more a tranny. And, as noted they cared about their style together. Like me alone, not noticing that I was acting at least 20 years younger than my real age… at coloring hour.
My sister Alexis wouldn’t be there to visit for a couple hours still but time was so stretched, two hours felt like a good amount of it to allot to prepare for her visit. So I went back to my room with my llama drawing and hung it on the wall. I was shaking a little, I noticed as I used a bit of stale toothpaste to stick it up on my bedside, I wasn’t sure why. I’d get fixed-up in the bathroom for two hours before my sister arrived. I was just happy to have my weight down, everyone said when I came in that I looked like I hadn’t been eating, they said they’d need to get some food back in my system. No one ever stuck tubes down my nostrils, let’s not get all dramatic!! Wasn’t that bad. Armed with just the two or three outfits, just my complimentary blue fucking gown and some other new clothes (a shirt from a guy, we’ll say named Peter—I’d been pals with him like actually just pals), I hadn’t enjoyed getting ready this much, in such a long time. I could even dress up in private and sometimes dance, more than a bit clumsily on the pills I’d been swallowing. It felt so good to dance again, even if it wasn’t well, the dancing, even if I was alone with my self.
In hell. Dionne, my only friend there: she was 45 and gave all her clothes, to me too, on the day she left — the tank top I wore in the hall, black Nike airs — she said, she just never wanted to remember a thing from her time there. I saw her son come pick her up and shared a glance; he must have been my age, she must be hard to have as a parent you love. Actually I could, probably, begin to understand it.
A male nurse once asked “how old are you,” and Dionne said, “25” (in front of me, she knew how old I was actually), and he said back “you’re beauuuuuuitful.” She laughed madly. By the time she left, we were friendly enough that she told me about thinking there were darts flying through the walls and, even if she wasn’t, that she was about to die or get killed. She’d phoned the cops on herself to get out of her head. Yeah I’d done that too, for what sounded like a milder breakdown actually— but I didn’t go into all that sitting across from Dionne on her last day. I said, it might still be okay Dionne, sounds like you might just be sensitive to, stuff, just don’t give up on your self. I’m not sure what she was thinking.
Literally with his pants down in the hall, Dionne said she’d seen Alou. She ran and used a phone to call 9-1-1 when none of the nurses, who generally did very little to protect us, didn’t take her request seriously that he please be put on one-on-one (which means being monitored closely by staff). I didn’t see him in the hall and was glad — but I myself got in trouble once for wearing a tank top in the hall, something I’d never have worn outside the hospital.. where it went against the dress code enforced heavily, against patients.
Soon after that incident Dionne said she knew someone, on staff who was nice, and because I’d stopped talking much by then, she spoke to him for me and, got me into a more-private room. So I didn’t have to worry as much about all my friends down the hall.
The bed was electric but not plugged in; the more-private room Was more like a storage closet that wasn’t being used than a decent place to subsist. In the room next door someone who’d been there for months, clearly, with a sign on her door that said “no dogs allowed.” She would throw things and scream the words filthy ho in the middle of the night. She wasn’t yelling at me but sometimes it felt that way, not that she’d have been right.
I thought of Dionne fearing she’d get killed.. I knew exactly how many days I had left, I practically knew how many seconds though I could sort of adjust the tempo I experienced each moment. I was there for two unbearable weeks which compared to some others was not terrible, but compared to others still was a pretty bad sentence. I remembered this time as a kid, at a birthday party for my friend from preschool Lea, the first best friend I ever had: they’d had us play a game where all the girls tried to say “now” at the closest moment to exactly two minutes after her parents said “start counting in your heads.” I’d spoken up at almost the right second, precisely, to hit the two minute mark. All the other girls had said “now” too soon, but I’d not been swayed by their premature shots at it, and I ended up hitting it at just the right second. I had a strong internal clock, her parents had emphasized and told my mom, and I never forgot that from Lea’s parents—I guess it meant something to me or by now I’d have forgotten.
I’d never called someone a nigger until someone there called me fat. He didn’t call me fat, he told me to stop eating. And I hadn’t been. It was the first thing I’d eaten since I got there, and he told me not to eat it. A piece of white bread. And I called him a nigger. Not to his face. But I figured, if I went back to my single room and said it, I might feel better, I definitely didn’t. It’s the only time I’ve ever used that word and I still feel sore that I did; even in complete private from me like that.
“You’ve been looking at me and giving me a hard time, ever since I got here” (which was true he wouldn’t get off my case—or that’s merely what I perceived) “and I just am asking you, to please leave me [the fuck] alone,” I said to him after he’d waved a finger at me while trying to eat a second time, I wondered, just from his vibe, if he was a pimp. I’d been around one or two of them. I never asked but I did overhear, when he was talking to staff, that he was homeless.
I turned away, then quickly turned back, just as he gestured a punching motion in my direction.
“Dr. XYZYX, so – I’m confused about why it’s next Thursday, I feel like, I’m fine. GET ME out OF here,” I didn’t say this but wish I’d spoken up. I’d gone mute by then (after saying the n-word that one night) because, yeah. Not in a good place.
A number of patients, who I’d interacted with a bit, were admitted then released within one or two nights. My mom apparently tried to negotiate but, they wouldn’t listen to her, and, also I didn’t want her visiting (she did once anyway). I preferred just my weirdo sister Alexis witness me, that way.
“I don’t think you’re a lost cause, all the doctors have remarked on your intelligence,” she said like a creeper.. in my perception. Why do you keep coming back. Are you like getting off on this.
“To you?” [Didn’t say that to me.]
XYZYX was the head of the almost all-white and mostly female staff in this region of Bellevue Hospital Center, who struck me as uncaring but also overworked. My mom thought their outfits were inappropriate for a hospital; I honestly don’t remember. If they weren’t overworked they might be nice, they might focus more on their patients and just wear uniforms but I took it no one enforced the dress code on them; some of the women honestly DID seem to have some style and yeah boys there hit on them. I remember that part. Of the twenty or so patients on Floor 20 West, the shittiest horror-floor where I’d been admitted for having no insurance, I was the only white female person who was a patient. Not the only white guy, there were a few white guys. Older white guys. I tried to say just enough to make it through my stay, thinking always, every second, jesus what the fuck is this place, how did I end up here. My mom and sister had wanted me to go to Sinai, thinking (probably correctly) the facilities would be better, but since I’d been the one who called the cops on myself, I had further insisted upon Bellevue nowhere else, not really knowing why I was so deadset on that point specifically. Maybe I was racist and going by the titles.
I also had no idea I’d be admitted to the psych ward; I thought it would be just for a night not two weeks.
What changed those plans was my confession, in the ER, to doctors not my family, that I’d actually, that I’d actually..
Probably the most important choices I’ve made were the ones that came on whim. Like one day I’d be like, I’m just finna finna finna DOOO IT. Boom. I scheduled an appointment with my school’s Academic Resource Center to help plan a schedule even though I anticipated feeling shame about how boring it all is (compared to other students), my life; beyond writing like this, about the past; horrible things. I almost cancelled the meeting in to avoid that nippy dose of shame which might put me over the edge but probably not, I have a high tolerance anyway. It wasn’t always like this, so boring; so what if my life is boring, now — I prefer it that way to chaos or mania, which given any momentum, never ends.
Still I seemed to be ashamed. Of just having no life to flex.
It was a life-changing decision, just for how much more productive I’ve been probably, and, for how it helped me conceive of structure, especially toward time, as something quite sacred. Like placing notes on ledger lines and putting scores in a key just right for the lead singer—for real, have some respect if a woman deserves the honor, truthfully.
It truly did and should still matter. Honor!! Rightfully allotted to good, dependable and ethical people, humans. It wasn’t just nothing, it isn’t.
A similar statement, I guess, to the one I started this section with: the most important goals I’ve achieved were the ones that came to me. Avoiding shame is what’s ever caused one to set goals beyond their means, i.e. to set goals very forcefully — basically in my life wanting to rise above what has felt like it was, beneath me. That’s a mishandling of one’s maimed ego; it results in a need to be great, not always for the best though. Not selflessly, not remotely — rather: for oneself alone, to leave a dent on history. On humanity, sometimes at the cost of one’s own.
That’s who I wanted to be, someone who left this earth having made a masterpiece. I at least have begun to see, setting goals is not always about leaving dents, maybe, it can be about healing bruises where a denting hit the skin, which starts with saying, “this is not very good,” and then doing the good thing because why wouldn’t you want to be good. (The question’s rhetorical but maybe it is not to ambitious people—like younger-me, the me who changed her name to Lola, a name I left behind at some point with its infamy: then saw buried and freaked like I still wanted younger-me back. E’no.) By after a progression, once you can discern good from just not good, it’s just kind of like, not a tough decision. Pick what’s good and stay on the balance.
It’s not a tough decision. To do the good thing, when posed with a choice between that and something definitely not good for you, or definitely not good for someone else — e.g. someone you want to see do well.
A lover you want to see do well for you and thus for others; not to just do you well. Yes. To be a good lover, what overhaul would that require from me.
At rock bottom, so alone. I had to ax my self. What the fuck would that require from me.
We all die alone so I try not to dwell on it. But still, I dreamed for years of not-dying, alone, a one woman show safely solipsized by her narcissism, enough to ever change her name to something “greater.” In the past that’s who I’ve been. Now I’m just Morgan. Now I’m just a human, and a no body.
Just a hater.
“You there,” a patient on my first day at Bellevue had pointed at me, “fuckin.. cocky.” I weighed near 100 pounds and thought I looked terrific. This was the one who cried out the word “rapistses” regularly and got in fights with staff.
When I left I got her hooked up with the more-private single room. That insult landed, though, somehow, like if I were to be called insane, now. It would land. It still rings in my head, a reminder, people notice real shit.
From the jarring moment I had my phone and laptop taken, and realized they could tell more-than-I-could how suicidal I literally was, not just playing (I guess my sister thought): this is what sunk in. First of all I felt like there’s good in the world. There is, that is, good—such a thing as it. To be taken care of. To be helped by people who know their good stuff. But what’s it like to feel otherwise? I’ll try to recall as accurately as possible for this neverending monologue.Yawk yawk.
Everything is projection and nothing is certain at all. From the imagery that makes up our dreams to the way we interpret posts on social media and emails and texts, to the way we might mishandle our relationships. But — behind some projection device modulated by our brain’s chemistry, we sometimes get glimpses of actual unsubjective harrowing facts. The projection is sort of overruled by something too real, not to be just-how-it-is. It’s the reason I pray these days, y’know sometimes, knowing that must be the crazy thing. At least it keeps me believing, not in God but in truth. Not in God but in objectivity, maybe, though that word itself — like the word “literally” — can be thrown around by humans as though to force truth when it’s not something attainable by force. It’s just not.
Neither are the words “I love you too.”
“Say goodbye to your sister,” said a nurse in a Bellevue hall protected by two bored male guards watching videos on their phones.
I said, “please Alexis, vouch for me now. I’m not going in there!”
Alexis said nothing to stop them. They gave me my blue cotton dress, more like a sheet with a clip on the back; I went in.
“If you ever feel unsafe again—just let one of us know, okay Morgan,” said XYZYX a few days later.
Alou asked me to be his girlfriend, I said no, he said “what’s your deal,” I was like omg but I agreed to just hang out. We watched Entertainment Weekly on TV and talked about Meghan Markle. Alou said she’s so beautiful, I was surprised at his, tenderness? At least from him, to me, it came as a shock but the good kind. Using words like she’s beautiful just, in casual conversation; where I’m from, I didn’t often hear men do this. (They used words like hot or bangin’ or sweeeet, or pretty.) I told him, the last time I’d been to a hospital—must have been when I’d fallen out! He said “that’s so intense.” I told him I’d been through more than people assumed, say, from ever encountering me in my flannels and winter skirts with a loose waistband. I was more intense, than how I dressed up. In the psych ward I tied my blue sheet so it fit almost like a dress I’d have actually worn; I guess, I felt like myself.
God. Alou’d been admitted after hitting his head, though the story behind that was never fully elaborated by him. He said he made a move on some girl in Times Square, who called the cops — I could believe it, his come-ons were pretty strong. He kept asking that question “what’s your deal” and telling me about the time he spent in his room wanking off; I figured he was out of it. Gave him the benefit of the doubt. “Don’t tell me that, ha,” I said. “I don’t wanna hear that.” I wondered what would happen in the rest of his life. I guess at some point I’d decided I was on his side, an ally not an enemy — and it’s true I’d never forget him. Sayin’ a prayer for him now.
“There was a time when being here” (it was his second stay) “was better than where I would have been.”
“I get the impression that some people come here and just hang around, or something,” I said.
“Yeah it’s true. Was that your sister visiting?”
“Alexis? She’s a friend.”
“I don’t like, that guy. He thinks I’m fat-and-beautiful but was better off as Chihuahua he basically said it I’m like, you know what I can’t right now, what the fu–..“
I wondered, if Alou might now have thought the same thing, I’d just said before, don’t tell me that.
He actually said, “your face has gotten chubbier, since last night, but,” he looked down and then up, “you’re good,” he said it (or I heard it) like yeah you pass.
“Oh. Already since last night..” I repeated, thinking this, that’s observant; not buying-into his reassurances in my own heart, but, probably sort of nourished by the moderate compliments. “Kay. Thanks Aloou.” ❤
I used to sort of take pride in how I could never stop writing. These days I see it as a sign, I wasn’t a real writer. Apparently real writers don’t ever write. I said it before in this book, and, I’ve heard it said and then confirmed by real writers. Realer than me. More published.
I never understood that, until I felt it. Like, why.
Why would you even, when you’re that type of person, who has a life beyond their work. Who has friends or a true lover, or not even that but. Experience being around people and learning from them and kind of, feeling time pass but also feeling it stop. The life [to me] worth fighting for, writing about. That awareness, I guess, of subtleties, of good nuance say in love while it lasts, those things that are worth sharing to keep others “there with you” by reading? To keep them from falling off. From falling out. Or to take them back. Having nostalgia for that, peace.
Why would you even write, you might get a paycheck but otherwise why, literally why would you ever do that to yourself: writing, it’s like wasting time from being alive — being alive and actually, a human and your self, still. Why like, waste that precious time.
This is boring. I have a General Chemistry professor who, when asked a question unrelated to chem — say, about the course logistics, or exams — he shuts it down. Like flat out says, “I’m not answering that [you moron, implied but not literally stated].” This happens frequently, and since our lectures during the pandemic are being administered by Zoom, hundreds of students in the chat type the letter “f” which is internet slang, a bit like saying RIP or roughhh. Usually I put a window over the chat so I’m not distracted by some jokes that I don’t need to understand.
I have to pay attention because this is my second chance; I’m already a late bloomer in medicine, and on top of that, not a natural in math or science. Who am I then!
I’m the type of girl who (when I wrote this) gets up at 5:30 or 6am to exercise, sometimes I do old school actually mellow stuff like shoot hoops or kick a ball against a fence, alone in the dark and not very well, just to improve my hand-eye coordination because it got off-kilter due to “nvmenies,” which I’ll go ahead and define as all my enemies from earlier in this project. I don’t even care. I’ve gone into enough and given them hell, you too, it’s all connected though, the harrowing events which brought me back to school which.. [cue Will Smith’s track ”Switch”] — I’ll insist — became a truly lucky turn of fate’s key. For the first year my heart wasn’t in school one bit. I struggled, and I figured (vulnerable enough to sense, a need to believe in something) that my struggle was God punishing me, for not taking life seriously. When he gave me a lazy eye, I still am convinced, and removed me from having true friends. When he made it really hard for me, to think clearly.
Some things are complicated, like deriving formulas for Chemistry and Physics (at least for me!!); some things only become overcomplicated because people make it that way. There’s such a thing as a formula that just isn’t the right one. It should be self-evident, but not everyone’s going to notice if their answers are totally in-or-out of bounds — to naturals in math and science, it would be insane to not notice. I’m getting better at noticing insanity, in the worlds of math or chemistry; though, I may not ever be great at anything other than being a survivor, a survivor but always, lowkey unwell. I just can’t take care of myself. Even as someone lowkey struggle bussing, still as an artist I believe in hitting one’s marks. That’s how some people feel about fashion and how others feel about value systems.
Of course they’re not confluent —art and value systems and the right words at the right moment— is that the word for-now even, confluent? When I woke up the morning after writing most of this part of the book, I was crushed by, the truth, a feeling I often get upon waking up but some days it’s different. What feeling? Truth that slaps like holy fuucking shit.
This was the reality of how alone I actually was, crushing this time more than the usual. Whoah. I’d be a character in the Beatles’ track “Eleanor Rigby”: I could just imagine a funeral for me that no one attended, a boom box for the sad tunes I asked for please if even that. I doubt my mom would let that fly—but it would be a betrayal, to die in time for her to plan something better than that.. In attendance would be, like, my family and an additional one or three pals including Lacie and Jane and Kelly; Jillian’d be there definitely if it weren’t from an overdose, otherwise I don’t know it might dig too deep the wrong way, we might be too sore about what should never have happened. I hope we can move beyond it. And then there’s the people I’ll mention when I’m done with the WORST parts, next section. (I guess yeah it gets worse. Let’s go!..) But ya sure if I’m trying to give a good ballpark estimate of what I sensed as-of-then, 2021 maybe: as noted and fathomed already, I would absolutely, be dyin’, alone.
It takes a while before it hits you like a dusease. The sink. The sink that makes you fonna stay in all day with her worst parts ploddin on you, as if, you were, her master and she your slave, n she a jigsa fonsa see ya happay. You can feel it, when you, find the kumquat sun. But, feels like when you just awake, it’s so far away. She’s a like, all muscle, and fuckin, fat, like, moffun tops, fuckin, sunk fat, clock shape, not fin be how she stay, she’s yars to gitt okay, viz a viz, time games insida me, all day—stop trying to make me feel better, she a say, in a dracoollae voice lower than her last-year voice, she just wonna fuck, trulae—and a lak, why does everythan feel so much heavia than ut all dud when you was late aduluscent. She jox boud duh ratardd thungg buddd yar noissus in fuckin soundin almost like ritard fungss. Ritarda ma. Keep ma inside and fucka me all smurdah. Fasta rap mae in yar dizy chains til she a black out & scramm. Keep our frand insade to plae, your frand actillae, actillae not mine yours cos yar, possessive, not okay, let him stae, dopin-up on hormones and smilin lika dracoollae, he a so happay to gitt ascape. Issa fin take flash-ating h3ll scape, to git you 2 okay. Like cainbal sux, fon be wud taki save wirld 2 dae. Jissa 2 31 boom. Or 12, priss plae. But, don worry, bae, she gon speed up time a loose not gain. The clocka dillodae whirr fastha, when she gitts you to came. She the onalay fang, can spudd up time agin. Make her stay. Her pussy, is like actually, your salvation, okay, so. Don’t assume, she is effer okay. Make sure, she okay, cos it ain’t sumple or aisy. Okidy cay? So get her ploddin on her tick tock and let’s get whew! goin, and you hear jenius in dah killin yur track by Ye (ma bae to bring up da craist man, aw. but like juh ga still fonzy!! sorra) where he turns up, the spaid, high voice, gainsta, slow failins, he ßetta git safe. I’ll take a hit for you my baist. And this the kinna shid that macks you think Lolus jissa same. She was borna sacrifice, so you fon treat her more than gr8, cause the sink fon git ja even you don’t fuck her up to gr10 or gr11 or gr69 or beyonda (starring, Nurse shock– nuh, uh– she bites it sharky) so, fuck it up dhen. Gr9nd, puhlissy.
Somewhere North of the Twin Cities IIIII took a breather. Then climbed back on the passenger’s seat, she was resting in the driver’s, her daughters had just gone in the gas station, a pee stop, shugger break. What jur gurls want, trolli brites? Weeze our way on home from da Iron Range.
On the SUV playin song by Taylurr!! I put my hands up. My dunce, bell sa ringun, perfect times to be a life.
“How bout her, do you like her,” I asked Lacie from the front, me still double duncin’ back then, octupah. Hah? Not nuh, don’t know wurtt. Not zukah high no mar, just sky. No boda, if there ever warsa 1. Yaaah hoi hoi hoi, ruh roh. Get me back on my purry vibbies. Hee he he. Worrrds!
“No,” Lacie said to my question, in 2018. “Do you.”
“I don’t know, I don’t, know LACIE I can’t tell you out loud,” screeching na inside my deep hurrts, “I don’t want to throw gross dirt on my NAME by endorsing her when she’s like, a chisho pathic witch, whatt? I just, don’t know, actually I literally, curn’t even. Brr. But.. I dooo like this track, I musta say so,” in my Eeyore voice which is how anyone can tell when I’m, just being honest.
“I think the idea of soulmates is romantic, that’s not exactly what the Bible says. But you find someone, you stick with them, no?”
“I. don’t believe in that, shit.”
“Huh, what [the fuck] about—the Bible?” I hissed through phlegm and venom, my therapist kept chipping away at me sitting there in a chair, piping hot.
“50% of marriages end in divorce. And of the ones that stay together, only… I think… 20% are content?”
That’s the gist of what this Minnesotan therapist, apparently a Christian, told me a few days prior to my trip upstate to meet Lacie’s family in Eveleth.
🙂 Oh also that I have executive functioning problems. And meth eyes. 🙂
I interpreted the news like this, “yeah, you’re re*******.”
A few years prior, to nuh uh, eh, I would have found this a dismal fact hands off ho. But now I see some hope tharin. If more n half all marriages are trash not content, if no man is really ever going to be “da 1″ for me (nuhr not even Hope if that exists any Mo) then it takes some of the pressure off being culpable for literally everything that’s ever gone wrong nunca ever since Eve first got a taste of the app and jacked it, ALL, op.
Last year 2021 my sister visited my room one time, we did not bond over how I have a picture of Caroline on my wall, currently. It’s one from The Cut piece because I printed it out in-Sept of that year and marked it up a bit, and — this is true and how I’ve gone and will go about decorating, until I can afford art or have friends who are artists, slash until I have friends — it was on my floor anyway and I was like “I’m gonna fucking do this.” I just took same tape and put it on the wall. My sister was like “is that Caroline da-da-da whose friend wrote about her in The Cut, I heard her on a podcast, “Haha, yeah.” I have some other things that are just like black and white printouts — including (I said I would do this when I was still writing those horrifying Goodreads reviews) page 21 of White Girls because it has this passage I like that was like ooogga booga, it reminds me of my psychosis. I was like here hee he can be the little passage that helped me explain my whole Spunk genre-thing, you know, of like; it’s only in my head. Right. Don’t assume you know what I’m talking about. I’m trying to connect worlds; like creating an anal fistula. Whatever I said. It’ll come back out the other end. In the next room, before I switched rooms within the same apartment, I had this kind of drab poster for the film Vagabond which I don’t even like but learned a lot from; mainly I learned from watching it, just what I don’t want to become. Caroline will be the first to use my name which she says “you creep me the fuuuck out,” shit. I haven’t let anyone into my room since moving into school other than Alexis and my parents once because they wanted to see it; not even my roommates. We have convened in our living room area, which currently looks like shit.
I do think I used to embody a nervous seductress but the more I talk about my self, STILL as we approach the very end here—the more I think of this Hilton Als quote from White Girls which could only have been written by an essayist who spent his whole life writing essays, and reading, and being around artists; documenting what he saw and [I’d say] what-specifically he discerned as someone with a unique way of seeing — so.. not also doing STEM homework which takes hours and hours each day and in some way makes me into half a fool, when I could be looking for my other half. (I’m just wondering if I should leave school still. As long as I don’t become a sociopath; that’s what will ruin any art I do, the absolute most.) I might have just answered my own conundrum [a great real writer word that Grammarly provided]: studying STEM will give me my own unique way of seeing!? Other artists don’t got this on me. But I don’t actually know. One reason I want to end this memoir-thing? (It’s a diary, kind of, not completely in that I edited it quent you tell. Not enough but a little.) So that, whatever happens in the next five years can be kind of elusive and just something I keep especially, no strings attached, absolutely just the fuck private.
Oh. Right the quote I have in mind to include-here-now is actually from Diana Vreeland not even him, and the real her, not to be confused with another character in the book called “Mrs. Vreeland,” and I could kind of touch on the queer performative aspect of having a “celebrity” name or alter ego, or street name hoes, even if it’s a fantasy, sort of, I don’t know.
Here is the quote from the actual Diana Vreeland below, included where-I-first-saw-it in Hilton Als’ essay on [since January, the late] André Leon Talley..
“There’s nothing more boring than narcissism — the tragedy of being totally … me.” (159)
I am wondering if I should still act in the short films I do; I think the reason to do it would be to access a very specific touch of “mentally ill queer character” that I might not get right if I hired an actress, or actor, and I am thinking about aesthetic too (or just just just [*unjust] a lack thereof, of any aesthetic to speak of). Did I get satisfactorily at a definition, an answer to why this thing ~aesthetic~ which might be a broad swipe at the-word-for-it, is so serious—how Cat Marnell, probably from having a doctor dad, considered serious questions about bioethics in her fucking self-centered assss memoir (without ever the f realizing it herself: what she was writing about, not herself) [get off your high horse though, Cat you’re not the next Hunter S. Thompson, you’re a fucking (party) girl] (and my Calzone is not that fat: but, she does have some clinical grandiosity or something fucked so I can see.. I can see why..)—[anyway] after writing a while ago from some other angle about “aesthetic,” without mentioning books by Oscar Wilde basically about aesthetic – or after reading all the definitions on Urban Dictionary for what that damn word aesthetic aesthetic means these days?? Did I hit it on the head. Duhr. The drawback of acting would be that I don’t think I look good onscreen and this is considerable in dealing effectively with the knotty parts of making a halfway decent nano budget film. It is “considerable” because it was hard for me to git bullyied nyeh nyeh but, also because I think there’s an expectation on screen actors to look presentable or wear prosthetics and I’m hardly at that point. I have friends who were at moments dead-serious about becoming professional actors — I haven’t talked to Gabriel Schwartz in a while, we used to be really close, we fucked but he was pretty good at being a villain [literally like a German or cop] (not same as the aspiring cop I was fuckin’ who vasn’t a vhite min!! ) who also somehow renders pathos and I like the idea of working with people who have been through a lot, Alexis would probably have to reach out first to some people like, “so my sister is not the girl she used to be”; a lot of people I know, by the way, on the bottom working shitty and miserable, have lost friends to suicide including Gabe who if he hadn’t raped me by the delicate definition of what that means, would be cast in the seminal role of Roger down my back and possibly pussy so I had to resort to Plan B. That’s probably like a dealbreaker for getting to work with a woman. Don’t rape her. Even if you don’t even you did anything wrong. It is hard being a failed artist.. Alexandra I think, if she accepts that she has a serious side, would be really good in my movies. But not me in hers because I don’t want to appear in a film called Nance and the Ham, as a beautiful girl. Not all that complicated; we’ll be alllll güt. These are all reasons to prioritize being an artist over [my] rock hard cock beauty which is not meant to be mine. I gave it away. It’s like. It’s not meant to. be mine
I’m competitive though. 🏴 Bombs away bom bomb bom.
Ch. 19: I got you bae (but I’m scaring you? Too much pressure just tell ME but I’m not that loving.) 🏴