I've been trying this approach in the last two weeks, where I treat every fuck-up, frustration, and thing that goes wrong as an opportunity to roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders and just go with it. My usual M.O. is to understand these frustrations as further proof of my own deficiency. So this is a nice change. And it's been a good week.

My parents were supposed to come visit me this weekend, but because of some lingering health concerns (everyone's fine) they're not coming. I am truly disappointed, because I was so much looking forward to partying with them, but I definitely understand the decision.

I myself just booked a trip to Berlina in July. I need to try to find a way to book some SHOWS there as well. To make a little coin to fuel my Club Maté habit while I'm there. I do think that I could subsist entirely off of Club Maté and Gauloises Blonde Rouges. But I don't get to make that choice, because I live here.

So now the weekend stretches before me, after I carefully cleared my schedule. Which feels good. If I had my druthers I'd be cleaning, but I don't so I likely will not. I even took the week off of working on my show, ENCOURAGER, but I know I need to do some more thinking about it this week.

Listen, just as another reminder: if you're reading this and live in NYC or will be here at the end of April, I really, really want you to come see ENCOURAGER. You can get info and tickets HERE.

Last night I went to the OUT Magazine Bowie Issue party at the Hotel Americano. It was fancy and delightful. DJ'ed by Michael Cavadias and John Cameron Mitchell, and featuring a blisteringly brilliant performance by Miss Joey Arias.

Joey Arias is a true punk rocker. It made me think about how the idea of drag as inherently radical and inherently feminist, or even containing the characteristics inherently, is flawed. Seeing someone actually perform gender in a sincere, thoughtful, visceral way was so fucking cool. Joey Arias is the real thing and has been for a minute, and everyone would be wise to learn a thing or two from her.

The performance was introduced by the lovely and talented Miss Pennifer Arcade, who I am totally obsessed with these days. I'm finally reading the copy of Bad Reputation I got for Christmas, and thinking of how when I saw Penny Arcade perform in 2000 at the first Ladyfest in Olympia Washington, how she sort of set the Capitol Theatre on fire by demanding that the audience (mostly women-identified, mostly queer, mostly white and college-educated) hold themselves accountable for internalized misogyny. People got upset. That was the point. I had never seen a performer do anything like that before or since, and it made such a big impression on me. The idea that a performer could actually speak to that kind of elephant in the room, and be taken seriously. It gave me goosebumps and still does. I'm gushing: this is just to say that Penny's great, for a million reasons.

I hung out a lot with the coolest girl ever, Jill from Jason and Jill's Craft Extravaganza and darling superstar Mike. Erin came with me but she saw her uncle so she had to go.  I saw tons of familiar faces, actually. It was a fun night and I did sneak out by 11:30 but only by a half accident.

I want to get back in the habit of blogging about all the cool fun things I'm up to, but am also trying to get out of this rut of only writing about feeling shitty. But it's my party and I'll do what I want to.


When I worked in midtown that summer, right near Grand Central, I listened to this song all the time. I was really depressed and anxious and angry all the time. The traffic (human) traffic around Grand Central, even in the late summer, was overwhelming. I specifically remember waiting in a huge crowd of people to get downstairs into the subway on a September afternoon during a thunderstorm, and trying to focus on this song and stay calm. And it worked. I often come back to this song, or things that made me feel good when I felt bad. Like I go home all the time.


Found A Way Back Here Again

It's been a strange sort of anniversary. I keep having to remind myself the way that time flies! I thought everything bad happened last year, but that's not true. Some of the bad stuff happened way before last year. And maybe last year was the time I found out. By this point last year I definitely felt like the world had proven itself to be particularly ugly and evil. Three people I really cared about in different ways all sort of had the same horrible thing happen to them and two of them are dead and one of them is alive but it's not necessarily my story to tell? I guess I broke my heart the summer before, when I took drugs with a group of my best friends (my better friends) and proceeded to humiliate myself before them. I let out all of the absolute worst parts of my personality. I mean I blasted them. We haven't really discussed it since. And everyone is more or less still my friend. But that was, for all intents and purposes, the end of my 20s. The punctuation of my mental decline. I have not recovered and I have lived in shame, to one degree or another, every day since then.

The last year has been a trip. I guess I could say that for every year, huh? I'm excited to sing that song "Big Stereo" tonight: There's too much, there's too much / treble in here. / We lost some, we lost some / people this year.

My father is an avid bicyclist and is often out on some form of a long bike ride. A few days ago he was was riding around the former naval base in the suburb where my parents live, and a stray cat got caught in his spokes and he fell off the bike. He didn't break any bones, but is apparently bruised up pretty badly. I don't know how the cat is doing. He had a concussion and has no memory of the accident or the days leading up to it. He's totally fine, but he was wearing a helmet. I want to just put this down on my blog to remember that things could have been so much worse.

If you are reading this and you like to ride a bike, please wear a helmet.
Everything is scary.

Stevie brought me a huge bag of chocolate fortune cookies when he visited last week from Chicago. I've been meaning to bring them into the office to share with other people, since I don't need to eat so many cookies myself, and I'm fairly terrified of knowing my future. But I've been slowly chomping my way through the bag. I wander into my kitchen to crack open a cookie anytime I'm bored, or hungry, or nervous, or confused as to what I ought to do next. Last night I was thinking about suicide (again) and I opened a fortune cookie. The fortune read: "Your imagination will lead you in a new direction. Go for it!"

I found an end for my show, ENCOURAGER. I was stressing out last night about how fake the ending felt. Some bit about dark matter and outer space, recycled from an old issue of Scorcher. But then I realized that if it feels forced to me, writing it down, it will feel forced to the audience. And I don't want to do anything that seems too extraneous. And I'm not thrilled about the idea of playing a character, in this show. No personal anecdotes. So I just lopped off the ending part. I have written so, so many really cute (hilarious even!) monologues and anecdotes for this show, which I am not using.

I'm saving them. For the next show or most likely my blog. Maybe a future zine (if I care to write again).

It felt good. I mean. To realize that I had already made my point, and that I don't need some flowery metaphor to make it. Maybe people won't like this show. It's not glamorous. It's not sexy. It's not exciting. there's not much to look at. It's kind of boring. I am not a person, in the show, who is interesting. I feel like people will probably say it's derivative of stuff I've never seen. Maybe that's true. It feels like what I need to be doing right now, like, it feeds me to be so in the dark. It felt good to find the ending. That was the only thing that's felt good lately. I forgot!

For some reason this one memory is playing itself over and over in my head and it's this memory: we had broken up. There was perhaps a little bit of confusion as to how or when. I felt like that night we had a date planned, and we smoked a joint and made out, and you wouldn't have sex with me because you thought I had STDs (even though I got a test just to reassure you). I tried to convince you to come out to my friends' party, since we weren't going to stay in and fuck, but you told me you didn't want to party with my friends. So I said I didn't want to date you anymore and I stormed out of your apartment and went to my friends' party and I gotta say, I had a really great time at the party that night.

In the morning, you sent me a link to the St. Etienne cover of the Field Mice song "Kiss and Make Up":

You knew how much I love St. Etienne and how I told you how hot it was to finally meet another boy who likes them. But I didn't want to make up with you. I wanted to break up with you. Several weeks later, I was at the gym, and I got text messages from you saying that you were going to kill yourself. I don't remember what specifically you said, but some kind of bratty question as to what the best (least painful) way to do it would be. You eventually let me know that you were killing yourself because you'd just exposed yourself to HIV and you were positive that you were infected and you were sure that you were going to have to kill yourself. I had been on the treadmill, running, when you sent the message. Even though I didn't want to be your boyfriend (I did want to, but just felt like I couldn't, like I wasn't allowed), I was scared when I saw your messages. I tried to get in touch with you but you wouldn't pick up the phone. I didn't even ask how you had allegedly knowingly (deliberately) gotten yourself "exposed" since you wouldn't even touch my naked body for fear of contagion. But when you finally did pick up, you were really rude and let me know that you were fine, now, that because I had taken so long to get back to your suicide threat, you had called a different exboyfriend to come over and talk you down.

And hey, look. We're both still alive today.



Listening to Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die this morning, I learned that the walk from my house to the subway is almost exactly three minutes, because that's how long this song is and I pressed "Play" when I shut the door to my apartment and the song ended when I got to the subway platform.

On Thursday night I had to kill time before my appointment with my Analyst and I went to get a slice of pizza. "Open Your Heart" was playing, and I remember thinking that I hadn't listened to the song in a while. I was really excited to go to my analyst on Thursday. I had been looking forward to it all week. There's probably a library, museum of traditions of more glamorous ways to say this, but: I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. Last week. I really did. I might have been. I'm still not entirely convinced I didn't have a nervous breakdown. Have you read Murakami's 1Q84? It's sort of based on a premise that feels like that right now: I walked through a door and now everything is different. I feel like I am coming to or have recently come to a breaking point in my life, where I can't deal with the amount of shit I have to deal with. And unfortunately a lot of the shit I have to deal with is stuff I'm putting on myself, without even meaning to, I guess. So it was hard. I've been having a really difficult time and I don't know what to do. I sort of cried in analysis, which is weird for me, because I never cry. It's totally a problem. It felt good to know that I had the physical capacity, but freaky and weird. I don't know what the next thing to do is, or how to proceed in a way that makes me feel better or even sane. There are some adjustments that I need to think very seriously about making.

One of the adjustments is taking less shit. When my analyst said that it sounds like I really do actually put up with so much shit, and asked why I take so much shit from everyone, that is when I started to cry. I didn't realize I was doing that but I guess I Was. So: adjustment number one: take less shit from everyone including myself. I started to think of the slogan: "Don't overthink it." as a way to get out of this. Maybe that's not really the take-away. Maybe that's unimaginably lazy of me. Maybe not.

On Friday night I went to go see Erin Markey perform at Joe's Pub and it made pretty much everything feel better. Kenny Mellman played piano, Ben Rimalower directed, and I sat in the very front row (like literally) next to dear heart Sarah from Hey Queen. We had an awesome conversation before the show, and I was in a good mood. And Erin totally killed it. I often say that I don't believe in something line in-born talent, that I don't believe certain people are somehow divinely blessed with special powers from on High. But then I see Erin perform and it makes me question whether or not I do believe in magick. Maybe the miraculous is achieved here through the earthly marriage of hard work and inspiration. She clearly loves what she does. That's why she can do what she can do. And she can do it all.

I was thinking of Marina Abramovic yesterday, how obsessed she is with a sort of mortification of the flesh. It's perverse and sort of old-fashioned (in an Old Testament way of meaning "old-fashioned"): that idea that performance is there to illustrate the human's relationship to the eternal/divine through ritualistic mortification, which Abramovic sees as a universal theme.

Erin Markey's work is, to my mind, much more contemporary and complex. Maybe a bit more New Testament, in a way. When she began singing one of the songs (Jewel's "Foolish Games"), she tone of the performance, which had been kind of jovial as she was telling a joke, turned deadly serious in an instant. A few bars into the song. It was freaky and powerful and I almost cried for the second time that week. I was thinking about Erin is a Leo (like me, duh, and Sarah, in the front row), and how Leo is the Fixed Fire sign.

The thing about fire is that fire can kill you, right? People often think about how fire can provide light and warmth, but can kill you by providing too much warmth. Can kill you with heat. But a fire can also kill you by asphyxiating you. Fire eats oxygen. Watching Erin onstage on Friday night, there were moments when all the oxygen in the room seemed suddenly used up. There were moments where we were kept at arm's length, chuckling along to an absurdist gibberish joke, or laughing in spite of ourselves at a particularly dark story. But then there were moments where there was no space for laughing, and there was no time to reflect and there was no oxygen to breathe. Shit got fucking real. She has power. It was amazing. Absolutely the highlight of my week, in a week when I really, really needed something wonderful to happen.

Speaking of Old Testament, Joe's Pub has a delightfully old-fashioned two drink minimum, and I got hammered (figuring as I do that if I have to spend money I may as well get my money's worth). I saw so many really awesome people at the show, it was overwhelming. Friends and celebrities and strangers and cute boys and weirdos. It was after all a sold out show. Miss Molly Pope, one of my absolute favorite performers in NYC, gave me a present of three brand new Deborah Lippman nail polishes! What an amazing surprise. I feel like I have been blessed by the gods of glamour. Like this is a special-meaning gift. I guess, honored. After the show and chitchatting with folks outside, we piled into a cab with Herr Direktor Lady Rimalower, to go to a fancy afterparty dinner event downtown, hosted by Miss Geraldine Visco and Michael Cavadias. It was at a very swanky new restaurant downtown (which I guess is "new" only in the sense that it used to be called something else and have different decor). I hung out with lots of folks there and ate a ton of food and drank wine and only after stuffing myself for a long while, had the slightest inkling that much of the food I had been unscrupulously burying my feelings in was probably cooked in animal fats. One of the songs Michael DJed was, of course, "Open Your Heart". It makes me wonder if maybe that should be my slogan, rather than "Don't overthink it". But you know what? I couldn't possibly open my heart any more. I really do not see how. I feel that my heart is already too open. Weepy. I feel like I am dripping blood all over everything, my heart is so open. I resent the candy cloying of Madge imploring me to open my heart, especially since she is of course an icon of the icy facade around a closed (if not wholly absent) heart.Anyway.  We further retired back to Ben's legendary angular couch for snacks and wine and conversation (PLD ate cheddar on top of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, which I swore to never let anyone forget). I kept trying to tell people about my ultimate fantasy for plastic surgery, which is to have my face completely flattened. No contours, no curves, no shapes. A perfectly two-dimensional face. I want to be flat and easy to see and easy to read. Facile face. I had fun but got exhausted and everyone begged off eventually.

Saturday morning I did the Teen Arts Conference at BAX, where I performed a small section from the beginning of ENCOURAGER for a group of teenage artists from all over NYC. I was of course mortified, but the kids actually really got it, had a totally nice and rational and even really moving response to it. It kind of blew my mind. I felt very grateful afterward. This is part of my "don't overthink it" slogan forming. Maybe I'm just thinking too hard about potential but not actual outcomes. About fear of feelings. The kids got it; why can't I get it? Another BAX A.I.R. presented one of her pieces, and I really loved it and think everyone should check it out:

After the conference I came home and realized that I was in fact hungover, and I slept and then I went to the gym. Sam and I went to the Gag! 9-year anniversary party at the Metropolitan, and ran into so so many friends from over the Gag! years. I had fun, I gotta say. Lauren Devine performed her newest single "Love U Far" and had a really cute look on. It was a fun night. I was exhausted and I did beg off pretty early (2am is early) and got a Hana Food sandwich. I just want to do things that make me feel good because before you know it, they stop making you feel good. And then you can't feel good anymore. Smoke them, I guess, if you've got them, then. Right?

Sunday I went grocery shopping and watered my plants and went to the BAX Studios to work on my show. But I ended up not really getting so much new work done as other sundry correspondence, thinking, planning. I think my final presentation might not have to be so different from the version I did in January. So if you came in January, come back to see the ending. And if you didn't come in January please come right now to see the whole thing. I practiced singing for my set on Wednesday. I came home early and just wanted to sleep, for God's sake. I ordered take-out and watched Young Adult, which everyone said would fuck a person up. And it did fuck me up. I totally identify with Charlize Theron because we're both blonde and we have the same birthday (which Kristin Hersh, who is also our birthday buddy, informed me is the Birthday of Secrets). The movie is kind of about someone who is a fuck-up. I identified with that, to a sort of eerie degree. But her character peaked in high school, or at least feels like she did. And I did not. I don't know if I feel like I ever had a peak, but I do identify with the character, in that people knew my at my best, and that I'm incapable of feeling happy, or something. It was heavy, but I really liked it. And I'm glad I don't have to watch it again. I've been reading Anaïs Nin's The Novel of the Future every night to put me to sleep. It works pretty much perfectly.

So, finally, you guys. This Wednesday 3/20/13, I'm going to perform a set as Max Steele and the Party Ice, which I haven't done in a long time. It's at Apocalypse Wow, a really fun comedy and performance series thrown by Max Bernstein. It features really cool performers and is upstairs at ISA, which is a very nice restaurant in Williamsburg (and one of Gwyneth's favorites-- hope she doesn't show up and ruin my set!). I'm excited to sing these songs, including my Helium cover. If you're in town you should come. It's free and easy and fun. The FaceBook event link is HERE.



Yes, it ever does.

Imagine, instead of one old crone perched across the table from you, a crystal ball between you, imagine instead a pair. Instead of instructions, instead of gnomic commands and directives, imagine that instead your fortune-telling would take the form of eavesdropping. Imagine that instead of pronouncements from the undead, imploring you to remember them, honor them, keep them alive, that instead your fortune-telling was simply a conversation you had to untangle. Two old Bubbes chattering away in Yiddish-inflected English. And you have to think: "What is this about? What is the meaning, for me?" I imagine one saying: "Nothing ever changes" and another creaky voice speaking up in assent, "Yes, it ever does." That's what my fortune would be. Maybe part of getting older is becoming more intimately acquainted with the materiality of Nothingness. It's totally a real thing.

When I was 15 I heard this song for the first time, and it absolutely changed my life. it's about falling in love with nothing, and she made it when her band was still called Get The Hell Out Of The Way Of The Volcano:

So, I've been listening to this song for like 13 years and I feel like I'm finally understanding it. You know? If you're reading this blog you probably already know the song but do your psyche a favor and listen to it a couple times in a row, will you? Get on my level. get the hell out of the way of the volcano.

Anyway, there's this real tension I'm noticing between wanting to be a real person and thinking that the whole project of being a person, being a real person, is a kind of deluded and selfish fantasy which is not disconnected to the forces that are destroying the planet. Like, on one hand: I want people around me to treat me as a real, three-dimensional person. I don't like feeling like I'm just a receptacle for people's projections, like I am nothing but a service-ghost for people to use to their own ends. I don't want to be the crystal ball. But on the other hand, I kind of totally do. I think being a person, living with this ego you have to feed, is so stupid and painful and disgusting. But I guess it's not the kind of thing you can just opt out of. If only, right? The only reason not to go fucking around is Nothing.
(Because you might hurt Nothing's feelings. Nothing might not want you go fucking around. Nothing might want you all to himself).

I did have a fantastic weekend. Jumpstarted as it was by an evidently manic episode in which I accused people I barely know of starting a fight with me online. I think it is kind of important (to me) to document this kind of stuff, stuff like being a crazy person, because I want to be able to remember it when I'm not so crazy in some far-off rosebuddy future. Friday night I hung out with my downstairs neighbors PLD and Sister Pico and Lil Pony Deegs (Miss Jessica was napping). We drank cosmopolitans and smoked in their kitchen and talked massive, nuclear toxic amounts of shit. I felt fantastic. Saturday I went to Vanessa's like I do every Saturday, then Ryan and I went to the Independent Art Fair, which was just OK. We went to the Basquiat show at Gagosian and as R said, it kind of goes without saying, but you do have to say how great it is. Basquiat's art. The big stuff. You know? The scary stuff. Not actually messy. Not actually disorganized or random or cluttered. A modicum of thought going into it, a tiny bit of patience and it kind of winks at you. Like an eye or an asshole. Like: "Oh HEY!" The log/pattern/ethics of his paintings. It was so much better than anything we saw at the art fair. I came home and took a tiny nap before getting all gussied back up. I went to Miss Erin and Thee Irish Horse's fantastic Greenpoint hideaway for dinner. Irish Horse made not one but two fantastic gluten-free vegan pizzas. In addition to being one of the studliest rising stars of NYC's performance art demimonde, Becca B is also a totally amazing cook. I've been privileged enough to have dinner cooked by him a number of times and will usually drop literally anything else I am doing to eat his food. So, this is all to say I had great dinner nyah! nyah! nyah!

After dinner I met up with Teebs and Deegs and Lola and we took a very long and exciting cab ride downtown to go to Duchess' birthday/housewarming party. It was so nice to be in a cool remote apartment party, listening to music and talking gossip with homegirls from our academia days. I think I speak for everyone when I say I had too much fun. A perfect night. Sunday I went to the gym then cleaned my bathroom then walked down to Bedford with Paps and Teebs, and came home to do my taxes. I owed some money, like I often do. I kind of console myself with the fact that it means I did get paid, during the year, for my independent work. But payment is just one way of measuring satisfaction.

Last night was dear heart Walter's RESURRECTION show at Munch Gallery. I read a story from his book, Nicholas Gorham did a sort of scary and totally gorgeous performance, and Walter's art was perfect. A kind of greatest hits for the living.

I'm on my way out the door to go to the dentist then to go to the studio to work and then home, I think, to sleep. I'm so stressed out and overbusy and leaving (as always) a million things left undone. I am in bad need of a vacation or at least a day off. I am miserable right this second, and consoling myself by repeating (in my head): "It's okay to be miserable. It's okay to be miserable." I want to hold nothing by the hand.


Dream Boy

Two people told me they had dreams about me within the span of 24 hours. Have you ever heard someone described as having "one of those faces"? Someone whose appearance is preternaturally familiar? I'm like that but with dreams. People often tell me that they have dreams about me, and I have to admit that it does irk me a little bit. As I'm unable to remember my own dreams (for the most part) it's mildly dissociating to hear that I appear in the dreams of others. But I do take it as a kind of compliment. People see me as so immensely vacuous, so totally blank and void of personality, that I become a cipher. A blank canvas, on which to project one's subconscious. Which is sweet, in a way. It's like saying that I'm a good actor (which I so happen to be). The only thing that ruins it is the fact that they tell me, that I'm aware of it. Appearing in the dreams of other people, doing god knows what, seems to confirm some deep-seated hunch about myself. Which is that I do not exist, that I am only a representation of the way the world feels about me. It's sick, I know. But, of course, me being aware that I am this glorious dream cipher is, I guess, the one and only quality which I can claim as empirically mine. The horrible part. The real me.





My analyst asked if there was anyone who might like it if I weren't around. We were talking about suicide. He asked if perhaps there was anyone who might be happier if I killed myself. I had to admit that I was certain that there was, that there are more than a few people who would be happy if I killed myself. They’d probably also be happy if I moved away or stopped doing anything in public. They’d be happy to never have to see me again.

Are you one of those people?

Later on in this conversation with my analyst about suicide, I felt like I had to qualify the whole discussion and I said: “I’m not seriously considering killing myself. Not really. It’s not that I want to kill myself, it’s just that I don’t see how my life is worth living, right now. I feel sort of ambivalent about being alive. Ambivalent about the... project... of living. Or whatever. I mean, I know that sounds extreme, but that’s how I feel sometimes, and how I feel right now… Or, how I feel these days.”

After a long pause my analyst said: “Well, there are… you can kill off parts of yourself. You don’t have to do the whole thing at once. Not… right away.”

I somehow lost my copy of Ann Cvetkovich's Depression: A Public Feeling. I was reading it on Saturday night in my bedroom and now it's gone. I'm terrified to think that I subconsciously hid the book from myself to avoid having to continue reading it, because it was too painful and uncomfortable for me to deal with. I'm so embarrassed. The good news is that I started reading this Ariana Reines book that Kayla sent me. It's blowing my mind and making me miserable at the same time. it's like everything; I don't know. I think either my subconscious is taking over or Mercury Retrograde is working it's magick. Or fate or God or something. But I think I'm meant to be really inspired right now by people like the nocturnal bad girl soothsayer Kayla Morse and gut goddess Ariana Reines. So totally blown away. dJust trying to stay open to what the Universe is throwing into me and not asking who's throwing it.

Such a weird weekend, week, month. Year. Two years.

So obsessed with Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her lately. I saw them play once, in Olympia, at Yoyo-a-Gogo, in 2001. But I actually missed their set because I didn't know who they were. Endlessly kicking myself for that. I've been listening to that Future or No Future album a lot lately, while cooking. I'm going to listen to it while I cook dinner tonight. Does making a salad count as cooking?


Modern Hearse


I was walking up my block from the laundromat to my house. I just saw this hearse driving up the street. But like a new hearse, a modern hearse. It looked just like a regular Lincoln town car but with the boxy corpse carriage part built onto it. Tiny windows with tiny curtains drawn. I wonder who gets their corpse carried around like that, in that car. I couldn't see if there was anyone in it.

I had just put my clothes in the dryer. I know you're supposed to stay and wait for them, but I only live at the end of the block and I never stay. I figure that I don't have anything worth stealing, and if someone wants to steal my panties, then they probably need them more than I do. I trust this neighborhood. I had been late to take my clothes out of the washing machine. I was at home admiring my pedicure. When I got to the laundromat, the guy who works as the attendant had taken them out of the washing machine and put them in a cart so that someone else could use the washer. I felt embarrassed.

Putting my clothes into the dryer, I saw this young white chick next to me. I used to be one of the very few white people living on this block. Or, at least, there used to be a lot fewer. Now it's becoming quite hip; a gigantic luxury apartment building opened across the street from my house. We live across the street from housing projects. I feel superior to the new white people living here, walking very small dogs at midnight, getting drunk and hanging out on their tiny balconies. I feel smarter and older than they are, more authentic. And poorer than they are.

(LIGHTS A CIGARETTE AND SMOKES OUT THE OPEN WINDOW) So, this young white chick next to me was cute and wearing a messy ponytail. We both looked exhausted. She looked how I felt. We were loading our bedding into the dryers (not that I was spying) and I felt conspiratorial. Here we are, I though. The yuppies, doing our small loads of laundry, which are mostly bedding. Here we are, these fashionable young white people washing out colored bedding. Did you get laid too? I wanted to ask. This is what my life has come to. Mocking the other people at the laundromat and then feeling guilty for mocking them (only in my mind) and then identifying with them.

I feel like going online now is like looking into the future. Sexy children, angry children, sad children. Dead children. Imaginary children. I see these cute kids nowadays going so apeshit over Nan Goldin, like they should (of course), but taking out of context that quote about how if you don't take a photo of it, then you don't know it happened. That's so dangerous and it makes me so sad. That misconception that you need to document your life to give it meaning. That in order to live a life worth thinking about, you have to think about your life. Like: treat yourself like a star and then you will feel like one. Maybe you'll become one, or maybe you'll realize that treating yourself like one is just as good or better (especially if it's as close are you're going to get). You think that you need to know that you are worthy and treat yourself that way and prove it by documenting it. But of course that's a trick, right? You can't exchange living your life for documenting it. You can't get out of it by taking a photo. You think that if you write your life like a play, then it will feel like one. But most plays suck, most lives aren't worth documenting. Most of us are not really exceptional or interesting, which is actually pretty great, right?

We want to put a little distance between ourselves and the things that scare us. And the things that scare us include our own lives. I wonder sometimes about, in putting such a distance between "us" and "our life" (or at least the scary or difficult parts) what gets lost in that distancing. Who is the you that you are when you're just noticing, just documenting, just being. Just surviving. Who is the you that you are when you think you have reached Nirvana. When you think you have found a way out. If you think you're so smart then what is your name when it's not your name?

Everything gets replaced. New cars for carrying the dead, new neighborhoods, new memories, new doppelgangers, new secrets, new allergies, new annoyances, new friends, new flavors, new preferences. It hurts to think: who are you when you're not you?

As those yoga-acquainted yuppies amongst our readership have surely heard more than a few times: Pain is an indicator that you've gone too far.


Friday Lion Tips

Rob Brezsny:
July 23-August 22nd
The history of your pain is entering a new phase. Gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, an emotional ache that has been sapping your vitality will begin to diminish. You will free yourself of its power to define you. You will learn to live without its oddly seductive glamour. More and more, as the weeks go by, you will find yourself less interested in it, less attracted to the maddening mystery it has foisted on you. No later than mid-April, I'm guessing that you will be ready to conduct a ritual of completion; you'll be able to give it a formal send-off as you squeeze one last lesson out of it.

Jessica Lanyadoo:
July 23-Aug. 22
Taking full responsibility for your life and the things you are committed it to needs to be priority-one, Leo. Your world thrives based on the delicate balance between how you’re handling the present in concert with what you’ve got on the horizon. Don’t invite anything new into your life this week.

Barry Perlman:
LEO (July 23-August 22)
That unguarded quality your heart is presently brandishing, Leo, comes with its advantages and its dangers, you should know. The major advantage—and it's a big one—is that you now find yourself being inordinately exposed to some of the grandest, deepest, fullest and most intensely instructive feelings known to humankind. Though this magnified level of emotional engagement isn't always pleasant to shoulder, it is friggin' real… the stuff of epic love-stories, legendary feats, poignantly tragic plot-twists and/or consummate experiences one might brave in order to touch the high heights and bargain-basement bottomings-out that, at the end of the day, help us put everything into perspective. You must appreciate, then, that by the time you've muddled through your involvement with all this, your psychological insights into the human condition will be sharper and more sophisticated than ever. The danger, of course, is your exaggerated sensitivity: Other people currently have more direct access to your tender spots, making you that much easier to woo, impress, inspire, convince, manipulate and/or injure. You're already typically more of a softy than folks give you credit for being… only, now, you might lapse too far into compassionate generosity, at the expense of certain necessary self-protective measures, if you're not careful.