The building next door, which is one floor below mine, has been vacant for a few months. This morning when I woke up there were men on the roof doing demolition. Taping up tarps of white plastic, including over the windows just beneath me.
I woke up this morning and the heat was on, somewhat miraculously.
I woke up this morning and had a nosebleed again. Worse than before. I’ve had one for months. Maybe this is related to the radiator being on or maybe it’s related to the asbestos next door, being abated as we speak.
I don’t remember them but I know I had many scary dreams last night. I kept waking up. It could be from the wine and the spicy food before bed. I think I was just upset. I had the palpable feeling that I was too angry to sleep. Too sad, too upset to get any rest. I feel like I need to hurt someone. Probably myself.
Trying to find a way to reason into this without sounding like a moron. I’m not holding the present accountable for the past. I’m not blaming them for making me feel the way I’ve so often felt before. But I’m also not blaming myself for being oversensitive.
It’s like, I don’t want to give them any more power by discussing them.
I thought, it felt like I was kind of doing okay. Like I was making progress. This is the last week of me tapering off my antidepressants. I’m going on a short vacation this week. Other than the chainsmoking I’ve been pretty okay about taking care of myself. I’ve been meditating. I’ve been trying to be in better touch with people. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been listening.
I’ve been trying really, really fucking hard. I’ve been working at this. By myself.
Last week I asked if anyone wanted to get a happy hour drink and Eric was the only one that did, so we met up. I got there early and he got there late so I had a drink before he came but it was fine. We chatted about our weekends, our boyfriends, shopping, etc. I made some comment about how I wish I was like Maria Bamford or Melissa Broder or Jacquline Novak. You know, someone who could parlay my struggles with depression and anxiety into a lucrative comedy project, book, TV show, movie, career, etc.
In the 90s, straight men did this with grunge music. They were rightfully pilloried for this and it’s over.
But no one wants my pain. A pathetic washed up 31 year old loser faggot with no friends. I haven’t earned it. There’s nothing to make jokes about. There’s nothing to complain about. I’m too sad to be sad.
I was talking about this with Eric at drinks. He said he couldn’t tell if I was being serious when I was being sad on twitter, sad on facebook, speaking openly about hating myself and feeling like a loser. He said he couldn’t tell if I was joking.
I’ve had a few people say some variation of this to me recently.
I’m not joking. I mean I’m never joking. It’s hard to describe because there’s a part of me that’s acting like it’s a joke, with no punchline. Maybe I should say that I wish I was joking. Trying to find the humor in it.
But no, I made it abundantly clear to Eric that I wasn’t joking, that I really have been struggling, that I seriously am feeling the things I purport to be feeling.
At a different art opening last night (Raul de Nieves’ gorgeous work at Company Gallery), I passed Eric on my way out. He made a point of inviting me, again, to his show last night. Are you coming tomorrow? He asked. Oh right, I said. Yes. He said you should.
So after work I rushed home and I took a shower and got changed into my nice clothes. I rarely get to go to Talk Hole, the comedy show that Eric does with Steven, because it’s normally pretty late at night and I’m kind of a wimp about that stuff. I have a 9-5 day job that I have to get up early for. So I was excited that this was a show during the 6-8 gallery opening time slot. I thought maybe I didn’t understand by reading the brief, but I did. This was a performance that took the form of an art opening. Okay. I go to a lot of those. I thought Eric and Steven were funny in social media and when I saw them in real life or performing elsewhere, I was excited to go.
They hired a protestor to stand outside the gallery and pretend to protest it.
There was a girl with an ipad at the door, and also a small sculpture sort of blocking the door. She asked for my name and I told her. She said I wasn’t on the list and asked if I’d RSVPed. I said yes. She asked Eric and Steven if I could come in, they both pretended to be too busy to turn around and said no. She kept asking if I had another name I could be under. I said no. I told her to ask one of them again. Steven turned to me and said he needed another name. I said I didn’t have one. He said they needed “a bigger name”.
Okay I get comedy. I get that the thing is that they’re pretending to be awful. I did the bit. I let them have their joke but I felt like it was time to move on.
I told the girl to ask Eric. He turned to me and stared at me and said no. He asked if I had another name “a bigger name”. He asked if I had “a longer name.” I was beginning to lose my patience. Although I was being polite I was, I think, pretty obviously ready for the joke to be over. Eric stared at me in my eyes and said no.
Someone walked by and knocked into the sculpture that was hanging in the doorway. The girl with the ipad hustled to pretend to fix it. I saw on the ipad there were only three names but didn’t see what they were. I walked in. Eric sighed angrily and shove me out of his way, saying I was making a whole thing at the door. I wonder if this was there way of ending the joke and letting me in.
The gallery was packed full of people. Some of whom I knew from around, most not.
There was art all on the walls, but like actual art or something, made by other artists. It wasn’t clear what was part of the installation and what wasn’t.
I saw Ian tending bar, doing this thing of pouring himself a huge glass of wine and then deliberately pouring guests a tiny thimbleful. I just grabbed the bottle and served myself. I saw Brian there and I talked to him for a minute. I felt really bad.
No one else at the gallery seemed to get the treatment I did at the door. At least not that I saw. If they did pretend to not let people in, they certainly didn’t do it for as long as they did for me.
When Eric and Steven saw Brian they made a point of saying how glad they were that he was there.
I felt like I was being tricked into being mean. Like the joke was to see how mean we can be. I wanted to start smoking indoors. I wanted to break something. I wanted to hurt. I felt the worst that I’ve felt in probably years. I stole a bottle of wine from the cooler on my way out. I went to a bar to get a beer and eat a Xanax and chain smoke. I went home and tried to sleep but couldn’t, as I said.
I feel like a crazy person. I don’t understand.
I guess it’s a thing of critiquing the art world. Making fun of art openings. But these people aren’t artists. I’m usually reticent to say that about people, to call something not art, but it’s not. These guys are trying to be actors on TV and they’re making clever performance art about how vapid and bad the art world is by replicating some of the horror.
It’s not that I’m not down for comedy or that I’m particularly sensitive. I make performance art too. I see a lot of work and I’ve certainly felt good and bad about various intense things I’ve seen. I’ve seen Annie Sprinkle do her titty ballet. I’ve had Ann Liv Young smear her shit on her hand then scream at me to say, into the microphone, what it smelled like. I’ve called out audience members to pretend to put people on the spot. I think there is something cool and exciting about live performance.
I’ve seen eric do his slideshow performance where he narrates a powerpoint of his nudes. I thought it was sweet. I saw him do another show where he was going to do a slideshow of things he saw in a store and almost bought but didn’t. But then, the slideshow technology didn’t work, so he got into his underwear and did a monologue narrating how to douche before sex. I thought that was sweet too and kind of brave. I thought it was cool. I haven’t seen Steven perform aside from going to Talk Hole once or twice but I thought he was attractive and funny. I guess he’s on TV sometimes or webseries.
I was excited to go to this performance, as I said. I had been friendly with eric. I got dressed up, I sort of planned my night around it. I felt like I was punished for being earnest. I was being humiliated and attacked for trying to show up.
Granted, unless you read this no one would know that this is how I felt. But that’s just the problem I have – they went out of their way to make me, personally, max steele who knows them, feel bad. I am the audience.