Tag Archives: vulnerability

67. James Hurts Like a M#th@f*ck3r!

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Welp, I did it; I finally experienced something that I feel uncomfortable broadcasting on the internet. Yep. You heard right. I’ve written about how to clean out your asshole before getting railed, I’ve written about being sexually molested, and I’ve written about the guy who tried fingering me after I ate Indian food. But this, I can’t write about. But I will give you context without explicitly telling you what’s wrong with me, because frankly it’s none of your god damn business:

I am currently in the most pain of my life. Here are things that I have experienced that are less painful than what I’m currently going through:
1) Peeing out these weird crystals when I was younger.
2) Falling on a dick.
3) Strep throat so bad I wanted to drool into a bucket.
4) Broken collarbone from flying off my bicycle.

My pain has been so intense that I’ve called out of work three days in a row. I’ve never called out of work before. Ever. Even when I had strep throat earlier this year, I tried to work. I didn’t know what was wrong with me yet, but I would go to work and then get so dizzy I would lose my balance and then they would send me home. This happened a couple times before I went to the doctor. But on the second day of this current pain I was still going to work. I started my shift on Friday sitting down on the stairs sweating, because I was in so much pain. My coworkers kept checking on me: “Daddy, are you alright?” They brought me cold water and one of them made me this mixture of water, salt and lime. But by the end of my shift I was incapacitated. My abs contracted so hard that I doubled over, and I didn’t end up making it to the bathroom. My coworker drove me home, and I was thankfully able to make coherent silly conversation. When I got home, I told my roommates that I was okay and that I was gonna go to the doctor in the morning instead of work. They went to bed, but then I think Kaylee heard me crying in the bathroom. I told her I was nervous I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night so she came into my room and helped me lay down a towel underneath me. I was still in an insane amount of pain so she gave me a melatonin and sat and talked with me until I fell asleep. She left my room at 4 am and then slept for two hours before she had to start her day.

The next day I texted Kelley and asked if she would come to the doctor with me. We took an Uber, because I couldn’t walk without being relatively hunched over. In my opinion my hunched-over hobble make me look like the monster from Stranger Things. But Kelley insisted on singing, “So I creep, yeaaaah,”  (that song “Creep” by TLC) every time I walked around which I also thought was accurate and hilarious. She came back into the exam room, and she was there when they told me my diagnosis. Honestly, it ended up being worse than what I had originally thought. And when I became speechless from shock, Kelley filled the void with the questions I needed to be asking the doctor. The doctor tried to make small-talk about my vegan diet, but I was already gone.

I waddled out of my Uber when it reached my front door, and I stumbled up to my apartment. Slowly, my friends started to trickle in to keep me company. I told them what the doctor said. Basically I’m not gonna die, but my life changed forever on Saturday. The medication they gave me started to make my stomach turn. Stacy ran out to grab me Pepto Bismal and ginger ale. Caity yelled at me for not asking for help every time I got up to do something for myself. But I got up anyway to do something in the kitchen and then I got stuck there; my pain got so bad I couldn’t move. I laid face-first on the counter, and then Kaylee, Stacy and Caity all just came out and hung out in the kitchen until I could move again. And then when my stomach cramped up so bad I had to lie on the floor in the fetal position, they all came and laid on the floor with me. But the whole time, they weren’t being gross and cuddly. The conversation moved seamlessly from the living room couches to the kitchen and then to the living room floor. No one commented on it; everyone acted normal about it.

But the pain isn’t what I want to write about; those are just plot points. And I don’t read books because of the plot; I read because of the relationships. And Jesus Christ I am so grateful for my relationships. Jian Li came up here from Chinatown and brought me juice, because I didn’t have the appetite for anything else. My friends have been checking in with me via text, offering to help me in ways that I wouldn’t be able to accept. Stacy offered to do my laundry. Caity went grocery shopping for me. And when I couldn’t do anything but throw pillows and scream my body to pieces, Caity sat there and let me be furious. My friends sat and talked to me when I couldn’t stop asking, “Why is this happening to me? How am I supposed to be this beacon of light when I keep getting shitted on? I want so badly to be this optimistic James who looks on the bright side and cares about people, but it’s so hard when people keep stealing pieces of me. Because I’ll never  be the same. And I feel like there are two James’. There’s Light James who loves drag queens, loves being outside on beautiful days and has a fashion sense that can only be described as Harajuku Throw-Up. And there’s Dark James who listens to angry rap music, ignores his fellow riders during Uber Pool and who has this insanely dark sense of humor. And every time something like this happens to me, I feel like I lose a little bit more control of my body; like it belongs to me less and less. And I veer closer to the Darker James. And what if he’s not as lovable as Light James? What if people don’t want to be around Dark James?”

And here’s what they said:

“This is not your fault. You are not being punished. This is science and it happens to people sometimes. We love both James’. And no matter what happens to you, Light James will always be there, because it’s a part of you. And no one can take that away from you; that’s part of your framework. And no one wants to talk to the other riders during Uber Pool; that’s natural.”

And then Stacy reminded me of a story that showed me Dark James is lovable, too:

At my grandmother’s wake the atmosphere was so dark. A bunch of us grandkids were doing our best to cope so we started whipping out inappropriate jokes. My cousin Lani asked, “Where’s the champagne?” And I said, “I don’t think there is any.” And she said, “Well, when I die there will be champagne at my wake.” And I said, “God, I can’t WAIT for you to die.”

(Totally kidding please don’t die but I do like champagne because I am a glamorous lady with exquisite taste.)

After Kelley accompanied me to the doctor even though she had plans with her super hot boyfriend, I texted her to tell her how grateful I was that I didn’t have to be alone when I was in such excruciating pain. She responded with something like, “You don’t have to thank me. It’s what friends do.”

But I know that’s not true; not all friends are even half as amazing as this. I am fully aware that I am so blessed with the friendships I’ve been given. Before all this pain started, I would end every night by listing all the things I’m grateful for. And now, I’m usually hurting so much that I can’t think about a whole list of things. But even as I lie there crying and whimpering, I still take the time to say thanks for my friends: “Thank you so much for sending me these amazing people to take care of me. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such amazing people, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing to keep these people in my life but please give me the foresight to keep doing whatever the fuck that is. And I know that even in these most unlucky circumstances, I am one of the luckiest people in the entire world.”

This is the James I want to be. And you can’t take that away from me.

“This is not your fault.”

“You are not being punished.”

“Champagne IS delicious.”

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES THE  INDOMITABLE

“OLIVE: Can’t you see that I’m a mess?
ROSEMARY: No, you’re not, Olive. You’re wonderful. And you’ll handle this the same way I did. With an incontrovertible sense of humor.”
~Easy A (Bert V. Royal)

66. Dr. James’ Diagnosis: The Trouble With Love Is

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Dating is hard blah blah blah. I talk about it a LOT. But then again, so does EVERYBODY. Everyone talks about how hard dating is. Everyone. Everyone talks about how fed up they are. And everyone is like, “Why can’t I find someone?” Ok. So then if everyone here and everyone there and everyone everywhere is frustrated, you’d think that we’d all be ready to cut the bullshit and get serious about dating. Right? WRONG, BISH. Because it takes work and we don’t fecking WANNA.

In NYC, the dating pool is HUGE with a population of almost 8.5 million people. That is a FUCKLOAD of daddies #daddiesgalore. Knowing that there are so many single, eligible hotties, we feel like the world is our oyster. We go on a date with someone who seemingly fits the profile of what we’re looking for except for that ONE thing. “Oh man, he would be PERFECT if he didn’t drink.” And then we meet someone who doesn’t drink so we drop Guy #1 for Guy #2 who happens to be PERFECT if only he didn’t live in Brooklyn! But then we meet someone who lives in our actual neighborhood so we can just skip home after a night of blowjobbing so we drop Guy #2 for Guy #3 who seems to be PERFECT except he happens to paint his fingernails. But then we meet a masc bro who crushes beer on his forehead so we move on to them and so on and so on and SO ON. We’re told “NEVER SETTLE” so we don’t! We live in a city where we can have Thai food WHENEVER the fuck we want it. “It’s 2 AM and I fegging NEED panang curry with imitation duck. I’MA GIT IT.” You can literally have whatever you want whenever you want it. They even fucking deliver alcohol. You can pay someone else to do your laundry and fold it and then DELIVER it to your front door. You can order your groceries online. OR you can go to the grocery store, buy all your groceries and then LEAVE THEM THERE and they’ll deliver them to your house later after you recover from a day of adulting. You can go out to a restaurant here and tell the server exactly how to cook your food and what sauce to put on the side and you can sub your kale salad for a quinoa parfait while the chef in the kitchen slams his head in the fridge door repeatedly out of utter frustration for your lack of class. We’re conditioned to believe we can have exactly what we want. We believe perfection exists. So we search for it in the people we date. Everyone does it. Tinder is no longer to blame, Assholes. It’s us. It’s our fault. Let’s own up to it. We write people off for a variety of reasons. “Oh, he’s too femme. BYE.” “Oh he’s a bad speller. What a fucking idiot. BYE.”Oh, he’s too eager. He wants this too bad. Desperate? BYE.”

And you know what, I am fucking eager. And that’s what makes me undateable by NYC standards.

There’s all these fucking weird rules to dating, and I don’t get it. Basically, it sums up to being “COOL” ALL the time, which I fail MISERABLY at. I go down in a blazing ball of glitter when I attempt to Keep It Cool.

Here are the rules to being cool:

HOW TO BE COOL:
1) First of all, your Tinder should only be flattering pictures of yourself looking SO Cool.
2) On Instagram, you need to delete any picture that doesn’t get a sufficient amount of likes. (Sufficient amount of likes= Enough likes that it stops listing the individual people who liked the picture and instead lists the number of likes.)
3) Never make the first move. If they’re interested in you THEY will talk to YOU. Because being Cool gives you the right to also be entitled.
4) NEVER send more than one text in a row to a boy you like. NEVER. It must be a volley of texts back and forth, and sometimes it’s fair to respond with just a stupid emoji. And remember if the conversation dies, LET IT. If they want you, they’ll keep talking to you, even if you respond with monosyllabic, noncommital texts like “K,” or “Cool,” or “Yeah.” Be entitled. It’s like, you could actually die in real life and they should keep being like, “You okay?” for like DAYS, even as your body rots. They should stick around. Because your’e Cool. And Cool people deserve that kind of deranged commitment without any reciprocation. #Coolpeoplerights
5) Keep conversation light. Cool people don’t experience difficult emotions, and they DEFINITELY don’t talk about them. You may discuss breezy topics like: the weather, celebrities, TV shows that aren’t too femme, your favorite places to throw up, etc.
6) You may creep through their Instagram/Facebook but don’t you DARE like any of their pictures/posts. Being Cool means remaining disinterested and aloof.
7) Do not dole out specific compliments. You may say things like, “You’re attractive.” But you’re NOT allowed to say something like, “God, your smile is dreamy.” That is not something Cool people do. Don’t show them your whole hand. Stay in control. Keep a sense of mystery. They should always be wondering, ‘God, does this person actually like me or are they just killing time by sending me inconsequential emojis and making meteorological observations?’ Mystery is the MOST Cool.
7) Most importantly, at the exact moment that the hottie starts to show clear, obvious interest in you, you MUST drop him. Because being eager makes him UNCOOL. And Cool people can only date other Cool people.

I fail at being Cool. I send five texts in a row. I tell men exactly why I think they’re hot. I resurrect dying conversations by asking questions like, “If you could slap anyone in the world right now, who would it be?” Or “What Britney lyric most describes your life right now?” I post pictures of me looking absoLUTEly foul. (See below.) I tell them that I crept through their Instagram. I am honest about what I’m looking for in a relationship when people ask. I check in with them throughout the week to see how they’re doing. I show interest. I make an effort. I put myself out there. I BREAK the quintessential rule of being cool: I’m eager.

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My sexiest Instagram post, by far.

Yes, I’m eager. I know that I have my shit together. I feel very comfortable with where I am artistically/personally/financially, and I’m ready to bring in a significant other. I want a relationship. But is that a bad thing? Is it wrong to be honest and openly state that I’m looking for something serious? Am I supposed to pretend I don’t want it? Am I supposed to stop looking for it and then it’ll come? IS THAT AN ACTUAL THING IT’S NOT STOP SAYING IT. No one ever got something they really wanted by not pursuing it. That’s stupid logic. No one tells you, “Oh, you want a job? Just stop looking for a job! Then you’ll get one. Someone will recognize that you’re unemployed by your sharty clothing and they’ll offer you a job. But when they offer you a job, PRETEND YOU DON’T NEED IT THAT BAD. Because wanting something is WRONG.” No. No bitch. No. It’s not like that. It’s like this:

I’m ready, and I’m realistic. I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist. I recognize that no one will have ALL of the qualities that I want. When someone asks what my Perfect Guy looks like I just laugh. Because to me, that doesn’t matter. Yes, ideally I would date someone my height. But if the guy is shorter than me, I’m still gonna give him a chance because PERSONALITY, Y’ALL. I don’t care if you’re tall; I care that you call me back. I don’t care if you’re skinny; I care that you are real with me if you lose interest. I don’t care if you’re younger than me; I care that you are emotionally available. Because I hope that someone would do the same for me. I know that I will never the most anything; there will always be someone out there who has a better body than me, someone who is smarter than me, someone with better skin, someone who is funnier than me, someone who is cooler than me. That’s fine with me. But no one is my combination of things.

And I think I deserve a chance, God damnit.

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

“And my hopes, they are high, I must keep them small. Though I try to resist I still want it all.”
~”Fools” by Troye Sivan

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My attempt at a 420 look at the ripe old age of WHAT AM I WEARING, MOTHER?!

 

 

65. James Stays the Same if You Do the Same

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How many times can I write a blog about dating?

I tried it all again; I put myself out there. First I told all my friends that I was looking and to set me up if they knew any eligible, drug-free bachelors. Then I consulted my mother…

Mom: I just feel like you need to date a doctor. Or a lawyer…
Me: Got it, Ma. Loud and clear. Totally agree. Though, quick side note, it’s not like I’m turning down offers left and right from lawyer-doctors. I promise if they come along, I’ll give them a chance.

Then I downloaded a dating app to find a man for my mother…ahem, excuse, to find a man my mother would approve of. I chose to go with OkCupid, because my Facebook survey showed that it had the LEAST amount of fuckboys. So I created a brilliantly eccentric profile that was described by my friends as an “accurate depiction of who James is” and “intimidating”. I decided to go with the screen name “Asskitty”. It felt equal parts fun and daring. I created a profile with excessive use of CAPS  lock and Fetty Wap references, all brought to you by COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE. But I had some pretty good luck! I went on dates with some really awesome people, and I was pretty honest whenever I wasn’t interested except for one specific person, and I apologized. Not perfect, but I tried. All in all, it ended up working out NOT A BIT for me. To oversimplify my dating woes, I met someone and the interest to pursue a romantic relationship wasn’t mutual. Yes, it was all more complex than that, and it ended in a mature, amicable manner. But I couldn’t help but ask him, “Honestly, is it something about me? Was it something I did? You can tell me.” He kindly assured me that it had nothing to do with me, and I know he meant it. But that didn’t stop that insidious thought from continually detonating in my mind: “What did I do wrong? What did I do wrong? WhatdidIdowrongWhatdidIdowrongWhatdididowrongwhatdididowrongwhtdddwrng?”

The following week, a friend of mine experienced the same thing: they were interested in something serious with someone who was NOT looking for the same thing.We were texting about it, and they texted me: “This always happens to me. What am I doing wrong?”

Nothing. You’re doing nothing wrong. It’s not you.

Then I had ANOTHER friend go through the same thing. And they said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Why is this happening to me??

I said…

“Nothing! There’s nothing wrong with you! How can you put this all on yourself? Dating takes more than one person’s effort. If the success of a relationship depended on just one person’s solo effort, you would be fucking married by now! But you can’t take full responsibility for the dissolution of the relationship. They have to meet you halfway, and you can’t convince someone to want to try; they have to come into the relationship with the desire to make something work. And it’s not your fault that they weren’t inspired to give a shit. You can’t say to yourself, “Oh, if I had been more interesting, they would’ve wanted to date me. Or if I had been prettier or funnier or more self-assured or more laid-back or this or this or this. It’s not your fault. This isn’t on you. Sometimes it’s just not a good match, and that’s real-life, sucky-ass adulthood. Sometimes you don’t mesh; you’re looking for different things. That’s okay. It’s not personal even though nothing could FEEL more personal. It’s just life. So stop beating yourself up. You did your best. You showed who you were and you were honest about your feelings. As far as I’m concerned, you succeeded on your half. And if they weren’t prepared for something serious, it’s not your job to wait around for them to be ready for you. Their fear of commitment isn’t your fault; they were that way before you came along. You can’t MAKE someone emotionally available. That’s not on you. And it’s not your job to fix the parts of them that need healing. You’re not Bob the Builder; this isn’t a Coldplay song; fix yo damn self! We all need to recognize our baggage, address how it’s holding us back, and then move forward. We’re not going to get anywhere sitting around feeling bad for ourselves, and there isn’t a Prince Charming who is going to come along and fix you UNLESS your therapist just happens to be called Prince Charming which is equal parts fucked up and amazingly cool. Not everyone needs to be ready for the heavy, serious, committed relationship. But those same people also don’t need to be Hurricane Hot Mess, sucking in other people in and hoping to feel something. You won’t absorb wholeness from someone else. Don’t take my others down with you. Because if you’re the Titanic, I will NOT go down with this ship #Dido ! I will be Miss Rose and I will cling to that floating door with my dear life and I won’t save NOBODY, not even no god damn purple Leonardo DiCaprio. BYE GIRL. GETCHO FLOATIES AND DOGGY PADDLE, BISH!

(Wow, James/Asskitty really uses CAPS lock a lot, he sure is intimidating but oddly…dare I say, sexy?)

…Then I realized I should probably take my own advice.

Someone once told me that in the initial stages of dating, you should just see if you could even be friends with this person. Because essentially a boyfriend would be my best friend that penetrates me. Currently, my best friends penetrate my soul with their kindness but unfortunately they don’t penetrate my anally with their wangs. So in the meantime, I’m looking for a male best friend to love me and STICK IT IN.

Therefore, if I start treating a prospective boyfriend like a new friend, I start looking at everything differently. Usually when I’m dating someone new and learning things about them that don’t mesh well with my personal values I ask myself, “Hm, is this something I can deal with? Should I just sacrifice little pieces of me to make us fit together better?” But my friends would never DREAM of making me do that. NEVER. My friends wouldn’t ask me to change. Kelley hates my fashion sense and she REALLY hates when I say the word “pussy”, but she still loves me. (PUSSY!) Caity rolls her eyes every time I yell, “IT’S BUTT O’CLOCK,” but she wouldn’t have me any other way. Friends see you as the cuckoo daddy-mess that you are and LOVE you that way. My mother gave me the best advice when I was in middle school. She said, “Wipe front to back James; you’re getting shit all over your balls!” I’m just kidding. She never told me that; I STILL get shit all over my balls. But she DID say, “James, your friends are who they are. Don’t try to change them. You need to decide if their personality traits are something you can deal with or if they’re deal-breakers.” Dating should be the same way. When I meet someone new I need to say to myself, “Wow, this quality of theirs irks me. Is it a deal-breaker or is it something I can accept?” For example, I can deal with someone who doesn’t love flossing or someone who asks too many questions during movies or someone who loves Halloween or someone who wasn’t valedictorian. But I CAN’T date someone who likes punting babies or someone who’s racist or someone who’s an alcoholic or someone who hates men in heels because of deep-seeded latent homophobia which also leads to crippling sexism or someone who uses #gayboy on Instagram for the gratification of likes from an absolute stranger. You shouldn’t change to accommodate someone else, and you shouldn’t ask that of them either. You HAVE to take someone at face value. No person is a fixer-upper. You can’t go into a relationship thinking, “Well I would really like them IF they changed this thing about themselves. But we’ll work on that. They’ll change.” No. That’s not how it works. You take who you get when you get them. It is extremely damaging to tell someone you love them ONLY under specific conditions. That’s selfish, and love isn’t just about your needs. Conditionally love ain’t real love, booboo.

And when it isn’t a good fit you have to walk away. You acknowledge your irreconcilable differences, you shake hands and you cartwheel away. For me, every time a relationship ends it feels like someone just took a sledgehammer to a ten-foot tall Jenga tower. It takes me a while to regroup. I know there’s nothing wrong with me, but the sting of rejection never loses its punch. So I need to lick my wounds for a bit before I jump back into the Dick Party. So I go home and tell my friends I want to be left alone for the night. And then they all come over anyway, because they’re a bunch of soggy assholes who don’t listen. I cry while they listen intently, blow raspberries on my belly, poke me in the penis and repeatedly flash their waxed vagina at me. And I hate them for making me laugh when I’m so determined to be devastated, but I lay in bed that night thanking Whoever-The-Fuck-Is-Listening for sending me this whorey handful of people who genuinely care about me. And I know that they, my Chosen Family, have set the standard of what to expect from a boyfriend. They tell me not to change. They encourage me to be my true self, even when my true self wakes up at 7 AM hyper AS FUCK, starts speaking flirtatiously to the closet door and then humps said closet door because the chemistry was just ELECTRIFYING. They pay attention when I tell them my shame stories, and they tell me, “I’m sorry that happened to you, but one bad action doesn’t define you. This does not make you a bad person.” They lie on my bed before I go on a date and tell me how gorgeous I am, and then I flounce down the street with the MOST inflated self-esteem, the MOST offensive coffee breath and a STRONG panty line. But most importantly, when our relationship isn’t working, we talk about it. I can say, “Hey, you’re hurting my feelings,” and we work through it. I can ask for the things I need and receive them, because they know I would do the same for them. My Chosen Family is the ULTIMATE boyfriend. I have found these incredibly functional relationships with HIGHLY dysfunctional people that I plan on spending my whole life with. And I know in my heart that these will be the most meaningful and fulfilling relationships I will ever have. These relationships shouldn’t be discounted or ignored while I’m sifting through clearance piles of fuckboys in search of a boyfriend who will one day call me HIS TRAP QUEEN. #ZOOGANG. Because these people will always be there, no matter how many times I fuck up. And if my best friends have displayed such beautifully imperfect examples of what a relationship can be, WHY would I settle for anything less from a boy just because he’s hot and he got MAD fingerbangin’ skills? Why, James? Why?

“Nobody touch me ya not righteous.”
~”Work” by Rihanna (feat. Drake)

#CHOSENFAMILY

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#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

A Sense of Humor While Telling An Incredibly Sad Story

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Lemme start with some trigger warnings.

TRIGGER WARNINGS:
1) Self-Harm
2) Sexual Abuse

If either of those things are gonna put you in a bad, bad place. Please stop reading. Otherwise, you can’t say I haven’t warned you.

I was having a conversation with some friends about my blog, because some of them haven’t read it. They asked me what it was about. That’s a question that I always struggle with; sometime’s it’s funny and I write about cleaning out your butthole, but sometimes it’s sad and I write about boys who don’t want to date me. But I tried to describe it nonetheless: “Well it’s a comedic blog-” and that’s where my friend Bumpy Cakes cut me off. “No, it’s not. You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”

Alright. So here’s an incredibly sad story told with a sense of humor:

I used to want to be a model. I thought I would be good at it, because everyone told me that I was pretty. ‘Surely modeling can’t require more than being gay and skinny!’ I thought to myself. When I lived in Wisconsin, I once got paid stupid money to eat ice cream and smile without drooling. I NAILED IT. Then I did an ad for a major soft drink company. All I had to do was drink from my bottle without covering the label and look like I was REALLY enjoying myself. I nailed that, too. Except that they had to repeatedly replace my bottle, because I kept chugging it. “Oh, sorry! It’s not my fault that this drink is DELICIOUS and LOW IN CALORIES and ESSENTIAL TO MY LIFESTYLE. Also WHERE’S MY MONEYYYYYY?!”

Then I moved to NYC. Ten-out-of-eleven cows in Wisconsin thought I was really pretty, so HOW could people in NYC disagree? I somehow got into a party with some hot-ass working male models. I went up and started conversation with them and told them I wanted to get into modeling. They approved of my height, my age, and my workout regiment. Then I showed them my abs and they winced. “Oh,” they said regretfully, as if they were looking at a puppy that was too old to get adopted because it’ll probably just die soon and no one wants to love something that’s not gonna live forever. Well, after that experience, I just KNEW that I was gonna be the next Tyra. NOT the next top model; I WOULD BE TYRA. Because I have such amazing abs that I made professional male models CRY. Lez GO!!!!!

So about two years ago, I decided to really pursue this modeling thing. I wanted to go to go-see’s or whatever the fuck models do to get paid to pretend to eat things that aren’t including in their diet. But I needed to build up a portfolio of pictures. My friend Reeves helped me take some amazing modeling shots. He’s the sweetest, hottest man to ever exist. He told me to look at the camera like it was something I wanted. Now I know most men would look at the camera and think, ‘Mmmmmm, sex. I want sex. I’m gonna stare down that camera like I wanna stick my dick in it! *THWACK*’ No, not me. I looked at the camera and thought, ‘CHICKEN TENDERS NUM NUM NUM!!!!! WATERMELON! HONEY MUSTARD SAUCEEEEE!!!!’ That’s when I really started to nail my shots. I was serving STRAIGHT UP SMOLDER. And then Reeves photoshopped out my drool and the insane glimmer in my eye and I was ready!

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This is one of the amazing pictures taken by Reeves. I’m looking at the camera like I wanna cut a bitch because I thought about someone revoking my Chicken Tender Rights. Oh SHIT, that got me worked up!

But I wanted to keep building up my portfolio to show modeling agencies that I was an seasoned professional with a whopping two months of experience. So I used a modeling site to find more photographers. I found a guy who said he would take some good modeling shots for me as long as I did him a favor. He said he was working on an artsy piece on the intersection of masculinity and femininity. He would take discrete and tasteful pictures of me naked while wearing heels and panty hose. Oh and my dick would be painted in glitter.

‘Cool,’ I thought. ‘I’m down. I’m all about challenging the traditional definition of masculinity. Let’s fucking do this.’

So I go to this photographer’s apartment with all the clothes I’ve ever bought, because I couldn’t fucking decide; I look fucking amazing in EVERYTHING. Guess we’ll just have to photograph EVERY OUTFIT. Oh well! #beautifulAF

After I walk in and get settled, I ask him about possible outfit choices. He kinda pointed at something nonchalantly and I put it on immediately, instantly inspired by his great amount of enthusiasm for my modeling shots. Then he asked what music I wanted on. I told him I was really into Miley Cyrus, but he didn’t want to listen to that. Instead he put on something slow and moody like an indie banjo cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, ya know, some real panty-dropping bangers. I kind of expected music that I could do cocaine to, because that’s what it’s like in all the movies. But whatever, I could still serve some fierce fucking Watermelon Face to his depressing-ass hipster music. BECAUSE I’M A GOD DAMN MODEL.

We took a few shots, and then he made me put on a fugly baseball jacket. So put it on and served some straight-up bro face. And then he made me unzip the top of my pants. ‘Hm…That’s weird, but he’s the photographer, and I trust him!’ I was giving angles and shadows and hunger, but I could tell he wasn’t really interested. He was just doing this, because I needed it.

After I dropped into the splits for the third time, he decided it was time for that part of the photoshoot to be over. Now it was time for his artsy project. So I started to put myself into my artsy-fartsy mindset. I started thinking about that scary painting of that dude screaming and about that lady who sits in the chair in the museum and makes you cry while she stares at your face. ‘Ah, yes…Zen. I’m ready.’

He asks me to take off my pants and my underwear. And then my shirt. So I was naked, but I did nude modeling college and I didn’t fart ONCE. So I was used to this. I’m a professional. Then he got the glitter and a bottle of something else.

“I have to use lube first to make the glitter stick,” he said.

‘Ah, of COURSE,’ I thought to myself. Every time I tried to make my dick glitter and sparkle, all of my bedazzling work always went to waste because I wasn’t using LUBE! ‘SO THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE THE GLITTER STICK!!!!’ I already felt my artistic mind expanding into the horizon. ‘Namaste, god damnit. Where’s my latte with low-fat cashew milk?’

So this stranger rubbed lube on my dick while I sat there thinking about glitter. He told me my dick was pretty, and I made some comment like, “I WARSHED IT TODAY.” He went on with the lube longer than necessary, but I guess he wanted to get every nook and cranny. Then he applied the glitter. That also went on much longer than necessary.

Then he gave me panty hose to put on and my bright pink heels to match the glitter. And then he posed me in a way that I was sitting against the wall with my knees up while he photographed me. He had assured me that my face wouldn’t be in any of the pictures; that was the only reason I had even agreed to this in the first place. Then he made another comment like: “Mmmmm, I can see your butthole.” And I said something flippant like: “Well I’m glad it’s exactly where I left it! Right behind my SAGGY BALLS!”

God, I’m so good at this professional model banter.

And that’s when I started thinking: ‘…God? Are you there? It’s James. Just wondering…. What have I done to be here? Why am I here with my dick doused in glitter while an old creep stares at my unkempt grundle and comments on the state of my asshole? I went to church camp once! The youth leader me and the other boys that it was a sin to fuck animals. And I haven’t fuck an animal! Not even once! So why am I here??’

I was pulled out of my daydream conversation with God when I noticed the photographer was rubbing his crotch. (I assumed his dick had gotten tangled up, a problem that I frequently have and I have on more than one ocassion asked my male friends, “Do you ever feel like your dick is an accordion?” But they just stare at with with deep concern, so I stopped asking.) He said he was getting “excited”, and he asked if I wanted to see his penis. I was still sitting on the ground with my back against the wall and my feet on the ground but my heels were so tall that my knees were practically in my mouth. I couldn’t really breathe, I didn’t really know what to say. “Sure…”. He unzipped his pants to reveal he wasn’t wearing any god damn underwear. What the fuck, bro? And then he inched closer and asked if I wanted to taste it. “…Okay,” I said. So he put his dick in my mouth and moved it around while I sat there for a little bit. Eventually I moved my face away. He told me I could shower, and he gave me a towel. After I got all the glitter off, I came out, and he was lying on his bed naked. “Come here, and lay down,” he said. So I did. He put his hand on my penis, and he took my hand and put it on his weird floppy dick. This went on for about 30 seconds until something inside me exploded. I felt sick. I sat straight up and said, “I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go.” I was shaking. He asked if everything was okay. I just kept packing up all my clothes and I reassured him everything was fine. ONCE AGAIN: reassured him everything was fine.

I ran out his door and onto the subway. I felt myself unraveling so I reached for my sunglasses and I slipped them on my face as the tears started boiling over. I stood on the train and sobbed quietly to myself as my tears burned down my cheek.

“You’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay.”

The next thing I knew I was sitting in a Chipotle. I have no idea how I got there. I looked down and saw a burrito bowl sitting in front of me. So I ate it while I cried. How many times have I fucking cried my eyes out at a Chipotle?! And you really can’t properly taste a burrito when you’re sobbing into it. It mostly tasted like boogers which, sadly, is a taste I’ve outgrown. #puberty

I went home, and I told my close friends what had happened. Thankfully, I was also in therapy at the time. This is what they told me:

“This is not your fault. He was in a position of power, and he took advantage of you. He molested you.”

“But I didn’t stop him. It’s my fault, because I didn’t stop him,” I said.

“No, James. It’s NOT your fault. He took advantage of you. HE did this to you.”

But it’s hard for me to remember that sometimes. Sometimes I just blame myself, and I don’t want to tell people this story, because I don’t want them to judge me and call me names. When it first happened, I knew that I could only tell people that were worthy of hearing my story. I could only tell people that I trusted enough to have the appropriate response. Because the scariest question to be asked, especially by someone I love, is this:

“Why didn’t you do something?”

“Why didn’t you leave? Oh, I would’ve hit him if I were you. I would’ve bitten it right off. Oh man, if that happened to me, I really would’ve done something.”

Oh, you would? Well that’s awesome for you. Ya know, in my head, I’m a superhero, too. In my head, I have the perfect response to every insult. In my head, I beat the SHIT outta anyone who tries to rob me of my beloved iPhone. In my head, I kill anyone who ever tries to molest me. At least that’s what I thought. But then it happened, and I wasn’t a superhero. I was James. That’s it. Not a superhero who doles out justice and defeats villains. I was just a normal guy who ran away and cried.

What makes me so mad is that I’ve worked my whole life to improve a terrible self-esteem. Terrible self-esteem. When I was little, I used to tell my mother I wanted to die every night. I would cry and cry and repeat that phrase to her: “I wish I was dead.” I saw how much it hurt her for me to say that. So I stopped saying it. But I used to lie in my bed thinking of ways to kill myself that wouldn’t make a mess for my family to clean up. I just didn’t want it to be messy and a burden for my family. I just wanted to be gone. To not exist.

I was 10.

And I worked so hard to combat that part of my brain that tells me that. I’ve had two rounds of therapy. I used to cover my face and talk to myself in public to tell myself I was okay. I used workbooks and journals to reprogram that part of me that told myself I was ugly and worthless. I’ve worked hard. REALLY fucking hard. And it’s a constant battle. Some days are harder than others. And some days I can forget that I was ever so sad. I’ve let go of people from my life who weren’t fighting on my side. I’ve said goodbye to people who put me down; I’ve let go of people who told me I was unattractive and untalented, who told me I couldn’t sing, who told me I wouldn’t achieve my dreams. I’ve dismissed people who posed as loving boyfriends who were undercover gremlins whose sole mission was to demolish my self-worth. I’ve fought tooth and nail. I’ve slayed demons on my way to the top of my personal mountain Fuckerest. And then. After 14 years of fighting, one photoshoot unraveled all that. And THEN. To be asked, “How could you let that happen to you? Why didn’t you do anything?”

Well I’m fucking doing something now. I’m writing this.

It still hurts a lot. A lot a lot. I thought I was over it, but then I was at the gym and someone was staring at me, and I got uncharacteristically angry. I left the gym, and I cried outside. All this last year, people have been commenting on my darkness. Then I started to realize that it’s been affecting me ever since.

When people check me out in a bar, I wanna pluck their eyes out. When someone grabs my ass, I wanna rip their arm out of the socket. And when someone in a position of power takes advantage of my subordinance, it makes me want to fucking give up. Oh no; this is not an isolated incident. No. It’s not the only time I’ve been sexually harassed.

So I’m prickly and cold? So be it.

If you wanna be scared of me, cool. Boom roasted! Or whatever the kids say now. If I’m unapproachable, cool. How bout dem apples. Snapchat THIS. (What’s Periscope? Is that an app for peeking up boys’ shorts? I don’t know; I’m 26.) Do what you want. Telling my story isn’t brave. It doesn’t FEEL brave. I’m recounting events that happened to me. I just hope this does something for someone else who feels like no one understands them. And if you decide to quit modeling, cool. I won’t ask questions. Because sometimes your dreams don’t come true because someone shits on them and no matter how many times you wash them, they still kinda smell like shit. So maybe you don’t love the things that used to be your gospel. And I don’t want someone to take that away from me. But you don’t always have that option. Sometimes people rob you and you just watch them run away with your iPhone or your dog or your baby or something else that you really love and you’re sure gonna miss. But robbers are selfish and unkind and they don’t care about what you want. Otherwise they wouldn’t ROB YOU.

I know I’m not alone in this struggle, but sometimes I wish I was. I would rather be alone in this suffering. I would rather that no one else has to go through that. I used to turn up the shower as hot as I could handle it and stand there. Once I grabbed the loofa and scrubbed my skin as hard as I could handle. But I can’t make it go away. All I can do is own my story, and realize that this story doesn’t define me. It’s part of my narrative, but I am more than that.

About a week later, I went to his Facebook page just to make sure he hadn’t posted any of the pictures. But I couldn’t get to his profile, because he had deleted me as a friend…. He deleted me. Cool cool cool.

I’m not a superhero with a superhero response. But if I was, this is what I would say now, after the fact:

I do not belong to you. You are not entitled to any piece of me. Just because I am baring skin it does not give you the right to say inappropriate things to me. You do not get to touch me. EVEN IF you employ, I owe you nothing. Nothing.

Part of me thinks that maybe I should search my heart for empathy for you, you who stuck a screwdriver in the garbage disposal of my life and turned it on. But I can’t. I don’t have the energy. In another universe perhaps I could muster up the energy to analyze what events transpired in your life to royally fuck up mine. But in this universe, I don’t fuckin wanna. I used all my energy to get from there to here. Let someone else feel bad for you. Because I don’t.

Lastly, I wanna say something to anyone who still asks, “Why did you let that happen to you??” If this hasn’t happened to you, it’s not because you’re smarter than me. Or more wary than I. It’s because you’re lucky. That’s it. We’re the same. Except I was unlucky.

It took me a long time to write this. I know haven’t written a lot lately; I only blogged 6 times last year. But at the end of the day, I don’t wanna confront this. And I’m not sure people want to read this. I feel like people go to my blog when they wanna giggle about the new way that I’ve shit my pants in my twenties. (It’s been three times so far.) But at this point, I don’t know that reading this blog is so much about desire as it is necessity. I need to write this. And you need to read it. Not because of the quality of the writing or my ego, but because of its content. The simple facts.

It’s not a comedic blog.

“You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”

God if I didn’t have my sense of humor, I don’t know how the fuck else I deal with the assloads of fuckery that bitch-fuckers dump into my life of glamour and ecstasy.

DON’T GIVE UP

JUST GET THROUGH

JAMES

“You’re funny, James. You should write more.”
~My super nice friends who deserve to eat gallons of cookies without ever gaining weight.

 

62. James and His Search For Love: Falling Victim to the Fuckboys

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A little more than a month ago, I started an internet campaign to find me a boyfriend. I posted these pictures with this description: “Hey friends. I’m turning this into a Facebook campaign. I’m looking for a man. If you know someone who won’t pick their nose at the dinner table or ask to see my butthole on the first date, send them my way. Share this post, and Jesus will be a biscuit and sop you up. This is not a joke. ‪#‎comethru‬

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photo (7) - Copy

I had many friends that helped out by sharing my internet campaign on their own Facebook pages. I was in awe of how many of my friends came through to help a bitch find a man. I think a lot of people were really excited to see how everything turned out. At the time, my friend turned to me and said,  “James, you should really blog about your search for love.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever written about anything else.

So here goes; a blog about my search for love:

After my post started getting circulated around Facebook, I started to get lots of responses. There were some guys that I honestly wasn’t attracted to, but that’s okay. And then I had some guys that I thought were really cute that expressed interest. I started to get excited and hopeful about my search for love so I redownloaded Hinge, a dating app on my phone.

I’m just gonna let you know that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

I was messaging back and forth with some people who had reached out to me either directly or through a mutual friend. But any sparks that were ignited in these new interactions were swiftly extinguished and it wasn’t for wont of huge romantic, earth-shattering conversations. Some people are insanely busy; we live in NYC, I get it. But for some of these guys it was as if maintaining any sort of conversation was a monumental effort:

Me: How was your day?
Them: Good.
Me: Did you kill anyone?
Them: Just one person.
Me: Who?
(Two days later..)
Them: A coworker.
Me: What was the crime?
(Three days later)
Them: Huh????
Me: Why did you kill your coworker last week?
Them: I don’t remember.
Me:…Cool.

Jesus Christ, didn’t anyone ever tell you how to conduct a conversation like a human being? Does it cause you physical pain to have a personality? It’s like it takes too much effort to type more than ten fucking characters. I’m not asking you to be interesting; you can be the most boring motherfucker in the world. Clearly, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point anyway; I’m putting forth effort to participate in a conversation with this Australopithecus son-of-a-fucker. Be boring all you want. But at LEAST ask me about myself, because I will spice this shit up like sriracha in guacamole, motherfucker! I’m like a piñata full of glitter; crack me open and you will NOT be disappointed. But Heaven forbid you express any interest, because we may both be queer but we will NOT be so feminine as to care about anyone but ourselves. HELL NAH! You’re so boring that I’m becoming a boring person just by electronic association. You know what, I would probably have more fun peeling lead paint off the wall and eating it because it would KILL me, and death would be a kinder fate than this torturous conversation with someone who is “interested” in me. You just keep being too cool for school; let me know how that goes for you.

Which brings me to my next point. Yes, a lot of my friends shared my post after they saw other people sharing it. But I actually personally asked a lot of people to share my Facebook post. I made it extremely easy; literally all you had to do was click the “Share” button and then “Share Now”. It would take two clicks. Yes, probably too much effort for the fuckboys who can’t be bothered to have an intelligible conversation, but I knew my friends could handle it. And after asking them, almost all of them shared it without hesitations or dick-pic bribes. Truth be told, I know a lot of them would’ve seen my post and just ignored it without sharing. But I knew that in directly asking them they had to take a clear stance: yes or no. And if they said “no”, then they had to have an explanation. One of my friends responded, “Why are you doing this?” My response was, “Because I’m a fucking go-getter”. This friend didn’t end up sharing my post, but they weren’t the only one. Listen, you absolutely aren’t required to share my post on your personal social media page. That’s your prerogative, and that’s totally fine with me. I’m not gonna hold that against you as long as you know why you wouldn’t share it. There’s this stigma about publicly announcing that you’re looking for love. Yes, some people will judge you and say things like, “Wow, James is really desperate. I can’t believe he’s doing this. I would never do that. That’s embarrassing.” But fuck those people; they’re not your friends. And I don’t always love this part of myself either. But there’s a line in the book I’m reading that says: “If you truly love someone, you will cherish what they despise most about themselves” (The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness). In a nutshell: your friends won’t judge you and everyone else is a fuckboy.

In a nutshell, the campaign was mostly a bust.

Then it all started to go downhill after that.

I went on some Hinge dates, and not all of them were successful on my end. But whenever I had a bad date that I wasn’t interested in seeing again, I always made sure to send them a text to let them know that I wasn’t interested. Yes, it was uncomfortable for me, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. And every time, I received a response saying, “Okay. Thank you for your honesty.” Of course they could’ve responded rashly and called me terrible names, but that didn’t happen! It didn’t happen, okay? The world will not end if you are honest with people. Yes, you might let them down, but isn’t it better to know? I know how it feels to be on the other end of that situation, and being ghosted just sucks. For those of you who don’t know, “ghosting” is when you’re talking to someone regularly, and they suddenly stop responding. They disappeared; the Rapture took them away but left their social media accounts running at full speed; they ghosted you. I got ghosted by people I went on actual dates with! I know you exist; I fuckin’ met you, bitch; you can’t claim the Rapture as an excuse cuz I JUST SAW YOU.

I’m juggling all sorts of man-fuckery in my life, and then I’m walking down the street and some kids yelled out their car window, “YOU GAY ASS MOTHAFUCKA!!!” We can make all sorts of jokes about it. “I mean, were the wrong?” “Well what did you expect wearing that outfit?” “They were just talking about your hot ass!” It’s easy. Making jokes is what I do. I understand why these assholes say stupid shit to me, but it still hurts.

62.4

This is the outfit I was wearing.

I understand that those kids don’t have to take accountability for their actions, because they could just drive away after they yelled hurtful things at me. I understand that the fuckboys don’t have to take accountability when they ghost me because of their foolproof out-of-sight-out-of-mind reasoning; “If I don’t see the damage I’ve done, then I haven’t done any.” I understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own fucked up issues. But it still fucking hurts god damnit.

So I went to the gym to take out my aggression against everyone and then I took a picture with this caption:

Bitch I don't know how to photoshop; I'm just a gay ass mothafucka.

“Bitch I don’t know how to photoshop; I’m just a gay ass mothafucka.”

Then one of my friends commented, “You seem angry.”

….

I AM ANGRY. And here’s why:

After I posted this picture, I got some really amazing comments from my friends. Here are some examples of their amazing comments:
“You are fucking fierce! I cannot even!!!”
“You are classic movie star gorgeous.”
“You need to be on a CW show.”
“#canIgetamopforallmycum”

But then I had some fuckboys come crawling out of their filthy cum-dens due to the utter thirst. So for all the fuckboys, this is my ode to you…

“Oh, Stupid Fuckboys who come scuttling when I post a picture of my abs. No bitch. No girl. No sir. You don’t get to just disappear whenever you like and reappear when I yell ‘SOOOOEEY!’ It may be dinner time for some, but bitch, tonight you’re going to bed hungry. If you didn’t want me when all you could see was my inner beauty and my killer personality then you DEFINITELY don’t deserve to drool over my outer beauty. Go join the other fuckboys. Because while I’m here being a fucking 26 year-old man, you’re just a 14 year-old boy who yells at his Super Nintendo and slams his controller on the ground because of prepubescent rage. Grow up. Call me when our relationship wouldn’t be statutory. Girl bye. Go slam your dick in a door; it’ll be kinder than anything I would do to your golf-pencil dick. But still that would cause you less pain than all the emotional and mental torture I’ve experienced with the fucking fadeaway and the ghosting. Girl bye. Fuckin scrubs. And yes, I realize I dodged a bullet in the long run, but it’s impossible to avoid all the shrapnel flying through the air as I sprint blindfolded through this fucking minefield that is Looking For Love In The 21st Century. I don’t know how to play by your rules, Fuckboys. I don’t know how to be “sort of interested” or “neither here nor there”. I’m either in or I’m out, and bitch, you are OUT. So yes, sure, you did me a favor. Give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back for circumventing giving me the full brunt of your adolescent fuckery, but don’t for a second think that you caused me no pain by ‘letting me off easy’. You’re a coward, and they don’t have no reward for that. Oh, and Fuckboy, if you have time to post a Facebook status about some sort of assery that narry a fuck could give two shits about, then you have time to send me one of your painfully inane and succinct text messages saying, “not interested sorry #toocoolforpunctuation”. But you seem really busy sucking on a binky that’s twice the size of your own personal penis. It’s not hard to respond to a text message. I promise it’ll be easier than ignoring that annoying homeless man asking you to spare some of the plentiful change you have clanging around in your backpack. So girl bye. But no, you don’t deserve to be likened to a girl cuz women are far cooler than you, because they did you the insurmountable favor of pushing your sorry ass out of their vagina. So bye, Fuckboy. Good-the-fuck-bye.”

*mic drop*

JAMES

“Tell me what you know about love”
~”Tmwykal” by SoMo

58. James’s 2014 Gratitude List

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So while I was home for Christmas, my mother asked my sisters and me if we would make a list of five things we were grateful for from 2014, and she wanted us to share these lists on Christmas Day. Well, we all sort of dropped the ball on that one, and when Christmas Day rolled around we were all a little too shy to be super vulnerable in front of each other. I know it meant a lot of my mother that we make these lists so here’s mine now:

1) Career Success: The year started with the biggest high and the biggest low of my life. I was cast in my first real professional show as a dancer in 42nd Street. It was fucking amazing. I got to wear all the original costumes from the Broadway production, and I was getting paid to tap and sing every damn day! I am so grateful for that. But near the end of the production, my grandma passed away unexpectedly. I flew home on my two days off for her wake, I sang at her funeral and then I flew back to Florida immediately afterwards. It was really hard for me to be a tap-dancing ray of sunshine after that, but I told myself that she was sitting there in the front row watching me. After that, I performed every show for her with the biggest smile I could muster. Also 2014 ended with another career success for me: I was finally cast in my first professional lead role as “Burt” (or if you’re my mother: “Dick Van Dyke”) in Mary Poppins. I am very grateful for all the gains I made in my career in 2014, and just so everyone knows: it took me three solid years of auditioning in New York to be cast as a lead. So if you’re moving to NYC to pursue acting, BE PATIENT, GOD DAMNIT.

2) Stacy: When my grandma passed away, I called Stacy to see if she was available to come to the wake and the funeral since she’s basically like an honorary Hansen. When she picked up the phone she said, “I’ve already asked off.” The wake was on a Monday, and she worked a 9-to-5 desk job at the Department of Transportation. After she finished her workday, she drove for an hour to make it to the end of the wake. She then took me to the church where I practiced the song I was going to sing the following day at the funeral while she sat quietly in the pew while I learned a song I didn’t know at all. Then she drove another hour to take me home. She came to the funeral the next day, and when she tried to sit in the “Friends” section instead of “Family” my older sister yelled, “STACY. GET OVER HERE.” After hearing my big sister raise her voice at her while in the House of God, I think she was so frightened that she unintentionally shit her skirt for the second time in her adult life. But she scurried over to sit with my sisters and me. She sat next to me the whole time, and she didn’t try to comfort me too much with touch. Afterwards, she drove me back to the airport. When my parents tried to give her money for the gas, she refused. And when it was just the two of us in her car, when I no longer had to put on the façade of being the big brother who keeps the show running smoothly with jokes and smiles, I started sobbing as she drove. And she didn’t pull over to give me a hug or try to hold my hand; she just calmly put her hand on my knee while she drove. She understood the core of loss. She understood that there was nothing to be fixed or bandaged, and she let me be un-okay for a few minutes of my life. I have never been more grateful to Stacy in my entire life.

3) Caity: 2014 was a big struggle for me. I remember having just a really terrible day after a particularly grueling night of waiting tables. I trudged into my apartment, went to our room, took all my clothes off, turned on my box fan, laid down on my stomach on the hardwood floor in my underwear and just started bawling. Caity came in to see if I was alright and I remember saying, “I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere. I’m not suicidal, and I don’t want to die; but I just want to not exist for like ten minutes.” Everything finally just got to me. The unkind people, the auditioning life, my self-doubt, my wreck of a dating life, my loneliness. I cracked. And I laid there on the ground crying while Caity laid there next to me rubbing my back until I calmed down. To be frank, I’ve cried alone in my room countless times. But this was the first time it happened in front of Caity, and I’m grateful that I didn’t have to feel so alone this time.

4) Summer Vacation: For the summer of 2014, I finally gave myself a summer off. I did what I wanted to do. There weren’t really auditions happening, so I just stopped looking. I stopped working on my craft for a second. I’m sure I went to a dance class and a voice lesson here and there, but for the most part I gave myself a summer vacation. I laid out almost every day. I woke up early, took the train down to West 4th Street, walked to Starbucks, ordered the largest iced coffee they had and laid on the grass of the Christopher Street Pier until it was time to go to work. Then stumbled to work, crispy like a piece of bacon, worked a lazy summer shift, went home, passed out and did it all again the next day. I also realized I had never been to California, and I had been told by a therapist that I would enjoy it out there. So I asked friends when they were available, and everyone responded back with their finicky, specific schedules. And instead of doing what I always do which would be to plan my entire life around everyone else’s, I thought to myself, ‘Fuck it! I’m going by myself!’ And it was fucking amazing. Kaylee accompanied me for a few days, but then I hung out by myself. And I had such a good time. I am so grateful for the courage to travel alone, and I’m so grateful to have had the means to take a little vacation. Yes, it took me a little bit of time to catch up on my finances, but it was worth it for a real fucking summer, god damnit.

5) Strong Sense of Family: Most of all, I’m grateful to have such a strong sense of family within me. After the sudden loss of my grandma, I’ve made myself try harder with my sisters. It’s not that we aren’t close, but I wanted to feel them even closer. And I can feel the mutual effort. I can feel us all trying to be more vulnerable with each other. We tell each other that we care about one another instead of assuming that we all know. We reach out to each other even though it’s scary to put ourselves out there. And my New York family feels stronger than ever. Stacy sleeps in my bed every night even though she has her own room. When I’m getting ready for a date, she sits on my bed telling me how beautiful I am so I don’t get nervous. And then when I’m on my inevitably boring dates, I can’t help but think to myself, ‘Man, I’d rather be at home playing with Stacy.’ Whenever I fly back to NYC, Caity offers to meet me at the airport. Even when I ask her not to, sometimes she shows up anyway just so she can ride the bus home with me. Also, she waits up for me every damn night. Even if I get home super late from work and she has to wake up super early for work, she’ll be waiting up for me. Whenever I go visit Stephanie and Chaz, they offer me food and coffee the second I walk in the door. And we all fight at dinner when one person tries to pay the whole bill. I have long-distance friends that I don’t talk to for weeks or months, but when they call it’s as if nothing has changed. They make me laugh within seconds, and we don’t hold it against each other for being MIA for a bit. We recognize that everyone is dealing with their own shit. With all these people combined, I feel like I’ve unknowingly assembled my own team of Avengers. I have a whacky group of people who are all vehemently Team James, telling me that I deserve better every time someone mistreats me. They tell me it’s okay to be picky when selecting the people who deserve to share my joy. Team James cheers for me when I’m winning and lays with me when I’m not.They constantly remind me to be my own friend. God, I only hope that I reflect the light that they shine into my life. I love you guys, but it’s absolutely your fault that I can’t find a boyfriend that meets my extremely high standards. Thank you.

I remember laying on the beach with Alison at the beginning of 2014. I told her, “This is gonna be my year.” And she said, “Yeah? Well, good!” My spirit was definitely tested, but 2014 brought be a great influx of love. Though I wouldn’t say it was the best year of my life, I’m grateful for the things that the Universe gave me: hope, love and peace.

I hope you enjoyed, mom. 🙂 I’m grateful that you asked me to do this.

#dontgiveup

JAMES

57. James is the Glue

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The first thing I ever wanted to be was a comedian. Well, the very first thing I wanted to be was a magician, because I used to be obsessed with Harry Houdini. But then I learned that even with his powers of sorcery, he was felled by a punch in the stomach. ‘Fuck that,’ the 8-year-old James exclaimed! Well, then I wanted to be a firefighter, but then I realized that I was terrified of fire; I just wanted to look like the firemen that I saw on TV. Finally, I decided I wanted to be a comedian…with the body of a firefighter. Even as a small, prepubescent pervert, I wanted to be making people laugh so hard it hurt while my body… made them so hard it hurt.

Ah yes, readers, let the fuckery commence…

But let me start at the beginning. Let me start at a time when I had a more innocent sense a humor, a time before I laughed incessantly at the thought of a “dick fart”. Yes, readers, let start with the first person who taught me the meaning of comedy: my grandfather. (Just for the record, while my grandfather is mentioned in the cultivation of my comedic talents, this blog does not in any way reflect his personal endorsement or his condemnation of my disgusting fucking sense of humor. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…)

Flashback to my early teen years: I was having an angsty time in high school just like every other teenager tossing and turning on the tumultuous, cum-stained waves of puberty. I distinctly remember a specific time during which I thought everyone hated me; I’m pretty sure I was having a disagreement with every single one of my friends. I also struggled heavily with depression when I was younger. In middle school, I frequently cried hysterically to my mother and said, “I wish I were dead.” Once, she burst into tears after I said that to her. She asked me to stop saying it, so I did but I didn’t necessarily stop feeling it.

In a nutshell, the struggle was REAL for this lanky gay in his early, early teens. So my mother suggested I spend a weekend at my grandparents’. I remember feeling a combination of absolute nothingness and utter desperation to get away from everything. This was the first time I fell in love with my tried-and-true method of problem-solving: running the fuck away. So my mother dropped me off at my grandparents’ house, and I stayed with them for about a week. I spent my days playing with my Neopets on the computer, biking to the local swimming pool and being rendered breathless by my grandfather’s flawless sense of humor. For example…

One day, I was sitting on the computer checking on my Neopets, wondering if anyone would ever need me as much as these digital monsters, and all of a sudden I heard a quiet chanting coming from the living room. This was also the time in my life when I was really into the TV show Charmed so I’m pretty sure I had come to the conclusion that the mysterious chanting was coming from a demon that had come to take my life. I bowed my head, I solemnly bid my beloved Neopets goodbye with a lengthy, inexperienced tongue-kiss to the computer screen and walked towards the living room, resolved to die at the hands of this inevitably sexy demon. As I reached the living room, I raised my eyes to make full eye contact with the demon, but instead I saw my grandpa standing the middle of the room, arms extended halfway in front of his body, palms to Jesus, eyes closed, chanting in Latin. He must have felt my presence, because he slowly opened his eyes and smiled at me. I smiled back knowingly; he was up to some type of fuckery.

“What are you doing, Opa?”

My grandpa replied back without a single hesitation, “Oh, I’m just sacrificing this baby lamb to Jesus.” And with a twinkle in his eye, he resumed his Latin incantation to Jesus as he offered up the nonexistent baby lamb while I LAUGHED MY FUCKING ASS OFF.

This memory has stuck with me for at least a decade now, and I think it’s because it was one of my first lessons in comedy:

  • Don’t hesitate. Just go. When I asked him what he was doing, he just said the first fucking thing that came to his mind. He didn’t judge his thoughts and think to himself, ‘Is this funny?’ He just trusted his inner comedian and succumbed to a violent, hilarious case of word vomit. I know that even if the first thing that had come out of his mouth wasn’t initially funny, he would’ve worked his way into it. Cuz he’s a fucking pro and shit.
  • Commit, god damnit. My grandpa fucking went for it. He stood in the middle of the living room, chanting in Latin for fucks sake, over an imaginary lamb carcass. Does my grandpa even know Latin??! I don’t fucking know, but I believed it! And he wasn’t giving a half-ass performance of his “Latin” incantation; he was giving all he had! And he went on for a considerable amount of time in Latin/Gibberish. (Let the record show that it is highly probable that my grandfather actually knows Latin. Among the many things he studied in college, I know he took a few classes in Theology.)

Luckily, he gave me subsequent lessons in being absolutely ridiculous:

It was a sunny day in Horicon, Wisconsin as we rode down the highway. He was driving while I stared lackadaisically out the passenger-side window. The lady driving in front of us was cruising at a speed much slower than that which my grandpa desired. Honestly, it is very likely that this woman was driving the legal speed limit, but my grandpa just wanted to go faster. Or he just wanted to make me smile. Either way, we just road along behind her for a bit. But I guess the forlorn look on my face was too much for my grandpa to handle, because he looked over at me and said, “Hold on.” Then he slowly rolled down his window, calmly reached out his head and yelled, “DRIVE FASTER, YOU OLD BITCH!” I remember laughing so hard I cried, while my grandpa put on his shit-eating grin, rolled up his window and continued driving. This was Lesson #2:

  • Make fun of yourself. More specifically, be aware of which groups you belong to, and feel free to make fun of them all the time. Quite frankly, my grandfather also could have been classified as an “old bitch”. Therefore, he had a right to make fun of other old people. He had the right to “berate” this old woman for “driving slow” when she was surely driving the speed limit.
  • Do the unexpected. My grandpa is a super well-mannered man. He studied like a million things in college, including a P.H.D. in “How to Be a Gentleman”. He never raises his voice and he never swears. So he knew that it would be fucking hilarious for him to scream profanities out his window at this woman. Also, just so the whole world knows, this woman absolutely did NOT hear him yell at her. Her window was rolled up, the wind was roaring, she was an old bitch, etc.
  • Know your audience. He looked at me and thought, ‘Here’s a teenager who gets scolded if he ever swears in front on his parents. Hell, his mother won’t even let him say the word “fart”! I know that watching an old man swear will really make him laugh.’ And he was right!
  • Go all the fucking way. He didn’t pretend to yell; he yelled at the top of his voice. You have to give it 110%! I apply this to my life by abusing the literary device “hyperbole” every time I tell a god damn story. Everything is funnier when it’s bigger, especially an “accurate retelling” of any “historical” event.
  • Comedy is the best medicine. This might have been the most important lesson that I’ve taken away from all of my grandpa’s jokes. Comedy can literally fix anything. If I am ever sad, I trust that my grandpa still knows how to make me laugh, even though my sense of humor has devolved into a disgusting rompery of foulness. For example: my roommates are currently singing a Christmas carol where they replace random words with “ass-queefs”, and I can’t help but randomly bursting out in laughter. Despite my current extremely sophisticated sense of humor, I know that my grandpa can still have me rolling on the floor laughing. #partridgeinanassqueef

I’ve taken all my lessons, and I’ve fully integrated comedy into my daily life. I use comedy every fucking day. Comedy is the adhesive that binds the book of my life, and I find myself constantly using comedy as a heavy-duty sandpaper, aggressively (read: effortlessly) smoothing over all the rough patches that I encounter in life. I do it now without thinking. I find it to be my innate duty, necessary but exhausting.

I used to call myself “the glue”. The first time I called myself that was my senior year of high school. I was really worried about going away to college, because I felt like the glue of my family (which is comprised of me, my two parents and my three sisters). I remember crying to my dad and saying, “You guys are gonna fall apart without me! I’M THE GLUE!!!!!”(Cue EVERY crying emoji.) Okay… So first of all, yes, I have been dramatic for a long time. But second, I wasn’t being a pompous ass thinking that my family needed me. When I left, who was gonna smooth things over with a joke? When I lived at home, if my sisters were fighting with my parents I would easily diffuse the situation by firing a well-timed joke. The gunfire would cease, everyone would laugh and immediately the tensions would disperse. What were they gonna do without me?? My father looked at me with compassion in his eyes and chuckled, “We’re not going to fall apart.” I went away to college, and my family didn’t blast itself into smithereens without my tactful, diplomatic jokes. Life went on, but I kept comedy in my back pocket as my reliable Secret Weapon.

Now I work in a restaurant. Every shift starts with a brief meeting, and sometimes the morale of my coworkers is kind of negative. Hospitality is hard, and customers can be assholes. Unfortunately, this negativity can spread like poison in the bloodstream. But I take it upon myself to be the antidote, and I try to lighten the mood by making a joke. For example, there was once a competition in one of the preshift meetings about who could tell their most embarrassing story. I gladly told one of the many stories of me shitting myself. I think people were more horrified than anything, but I know that, even if for only a moment, they forgot about their shitty days as they thought to themselves, ‘Wow, I’m so glad I’m not half as nasty as James!” But my job doesn’t end there! When we all go downstairs to start serving guests as they give complicated martini orders as if I’m a fucking Starbucks barista, it’s easy to succumb to the general soul-sucking energy that the customers bring with them. So even then, I continue to make jokes in an effort to keep the mood light and easy as I trip theatrically on a chair in the dining room and suggest that we put some orange cones and caution tape around it. Or how about the one time when I was reaching across a table to grab some empty plates and the guest turned her head and got a face-full of my crotch, and I asked my manager if I should charge her extra for that. Most people just think I’m fucking weird, but I don’t really care as long as someone is laughing (…most of the time that “someone” is just me).

Meeting people is a pretty vulnerable situation, but I use the same gameplan every time: make them laugh. That’s it. Step One: make them laugh. Everything else comes after that. Once I can make someone laugh, I can figure out how to navigate the rest. Later in the conversation, I can make another joke by referencing back to my initial joke or use a piece of information that they revealed to me earlier. For example, if when we met they told me they were a professional goblin hunter, later in the conversation I will ask them to clarify: “I’m sorry. Now when you said ‘goblin hunter’… Is that a real thing or was that your way of telling me that you murder ugly people?” That way, I continue to make them feel more comfortable by making them laugh, and I’m showing them that I care to get to know them because I’m listening to the things they’re telling me. Once I make someone laugh, I know how to win them over. Eventually if this relationship grows into a friendship, I will know how to diffuse an argument between us in the future. When someone is mad at me, if I can make them laugh it’s gonna make it real hard for them to stay angry. And no matter how upset they are with me, once they laugh they’ll remember what it is they love about me (besides my devilish charm). And if they’re sad about something else, it’s even easier for me to make them laugh. I just give them two pieces of good advice and then my third piece of advice is something silly. For example: “You know what you need to do? You need to be brave, tell him how you feel and then eat all the fucking ice cream.” Tada! The rule of threes! It also helps to deliver a joke in the midst of a serious moment. For example, a friend is opening up to you, crying and wondering if someone will ever love them. And then you look them straight in the eye, wipe away their singular tear and say, “Hey. Now you listen to me. You are the filthiest fucking person I know, but I love you, you nasty fucking bitch.” Bingo bango! Sentiment with humor! Never fails. And if it does fail, you slap them in the face and give them a cookie; after that, at least one of you is bound to feel better.

Comedy is my foolproof lubricant in vulnerable situations. I have a bad habit of using comedy in my moments of uncomfortable vulnerability. For example, if I text someone and say something like, “Hey, I really miss you,” but they don’t respond right away, I am bound to then text something like, “Oh, man, sorry, that text was meant for my mom… and the dick pic I meant to send to you accidentally went to my mom. Fuck! Oh man. I hope she likes it? No, that’s fucked up. I hope she hates it! Wow, but I hope she doesn’t tell me that she hates it; that would really hurt my feelings. Does it turn you on when I use a semi-colon in a text? Maybe my mom won’t recognize my penis, and she won’t know it’s mine. I’ll tell her my iPhone was hacked by North Korea. That’s a thing, right? Also, do you love me?” And then I would insert a slew of emojis, starting with the crystal ball emoji and ending with the poopie emoji. I know in my heart that I should just sit patiently in my vulnerable moment, but sometimes I just can’t HELP but scramble to use comedy as my emergency parachute, uncertain if anyone is waiting to catch me as I careen towards unknown terrain in the Land of Vulnerability. That way, I’m safe either way. If the feeling is mutual, they’ll return the sentiment and my joke will just make them laugh. But if the feeling isn’t mutual, my joke serves as a landing cushion for me and it distracts them from my moment of vulnerability, like that super bright white light that the Men In Black use to erase people’s memories. Their conscience will be scot-free and unburdened while over in my apartment I’ll be sobbing wildly facefirst in my Stitch stuffed animal.

This leads to me the lesson of comedy that I appreciate the most: comedy is an excellent way to deliver a sincere message. You get people to like you and make themselves vulnerable to you by making them laugh, and then you sock ‘em where it counts.

Comedy is my lifeline. It’s my signature and I scribble it on everything. But it does get a little tiresome, being the social lubricant all the time. I feel like people look to me to save the day sometimes… “Oh, I’m sad… James will fix everything! Make it all better, James! Do that thing where you tell a disgusting story, and I forget about everything!” Whether this pressure exists in the physical world or only in my head, I frequently feel it’s my responsibility to be some sort of superhero of comedy, like it’s my duty to heal the hurt with my jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than to make someone explode with laughter and know that it was me that did that. But sometimes, I just wanna sit back and be the one made to laugh. Sometimes I don’t wanna be the superhero; I wanna be the damsel in distress who desperately needs to laughs until she sharts. Sometimes, I wish I was 15 again, sitting in my grandpa’s Buick while he screams out the window at an old woman to drive faster. I just wanna be sitting in that passenger seat, breathless with laughter while my grandpa smirks to himself, secretly satisfied that he made me smile while pretending he didn’t do anything remotely out of the ordinary. If only. But I can’t go back. I can only go forward when my eyes are open. So. In that case, I fully intend to soldier onward, carrying the blazing torch of comedy handed down to me by my grandfather and ignite the world with shart-inducing laugther.

Game on, Life. Here comes the giggles, you fucks.

“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?
~”Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

#dontgiveup

Love,

James / The Glue

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I'm posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I’m posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?