Monday, September 10, 2018

Saying Good-bye to Kelly, Katy, and the IELA Title

Blog, it's been a rough week.

As one of probably a billion millennials with depression and anxiety, I spend most of my time in a constant state of mild concern.  My life has a Jaws-esque soundtrack, a constant eerie violin thrumming that makes it seem like things are imminently about to go badly.  And sometimes, they do.


Side note, though.  Anyone else think it's weird that so many people of my generation struggle with depression and anxiety? Part of me thinks that this is a natural consequence of automation; there are fewer and fewer meaningful jobs and we feel adrift in this world, questioning what purpose our lives have. (Even the best and brightest among us struggle; according to Jeff Hammerbacher, a Silicon valley mogul who is 2 years younger than me, "“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.")


But I think that the whole existentialist crisis of an entire generation may have a physical basis.

The lead-crime hypothesis postulates that Generation X, for example, was affected by lead exposure in gasoline, leading to a lack of impulse control development and, in turn, making urban children more likely to grow up into violent criminals.  When gasoline became unleaded, the next generation saw a drop off in crime rates, especially crimes of passion in urban areas where more people were being exposed to gasoline.

My point is, maybe there's some currently unknown contagion in our lives that is affecting our generation, and we will discover it in a few decades.  Like, the lithium batteries in cell phones is giving us anxiety.  Or gluten or something.  J/k I love gluten.  But seriously, I do feel like the level of depression and anxiety that affects my demographic seems to be disproportionate and I wonder if there's an environmental trigger.

ANYWAY.  Like most people in my demographic I have anxiety but that's not what this post is about.  This post is about the rough week I had, which would have been sucky even for someone with a normally operating brain.

Normally I do a good job of wrassling with my issues,
mostly using self-depreciating humor and memes.

Last weekend was the step-down from my leather title, which was a bittersweet experience.  I was MCing it and I sure do love being given a microphone, but I was hyper-aware that I was being scrutinized as a contender for the my next title run, LA Pup.  I was also, as MC, highly aware of every little bump in the proceedings of the title contest.  Not that you needed to be finely tuned to be aware that the owner of the venue showed up nearly an hour late, making the entire contest behind schedule from the get-go.  Although there was nothing I could do about it, as the MC, I felt a degree of responsibility to keep things moving forward and running smoothly, and the scheduling screw-up gave me a sense of general worry throughout the entire day.

The whole thing culminated in a bit of drama.  One of the two people running for the title said he could not show his face online because his husband isn't out.  One judge asked why he didn't just wear a mask or something, to which he replied that he had breathing problems and couldn't have his mouth/nose obstructed.  The judges unanimously decided he couldn't represent the title if he couldn't be seen with it; he proceeded to accuse one judge (a previous holder of said title) of "sabotage."

 Most gays would leap at the opportunity to be this extra.

Personally I thought the whole thing was ridiculous.  Does it even matter if we give him the title or not?  If we give the title to someone who does nothing to rep it, isn't that functionally the same as not giving him the title?  So it doesn't matter, either way.  There's literally no possible consequence to the title.  A "lame duck" winner would be the same as no winner.

I will say that, if you have a leather title, you will inevitably be outed online.  I suppose the judges were trying to protect him, but that's a lesson I feel he should be warned about and then left to learn on his own.  Why he would want the title when he cannot be in the spotlight is a whole 'nother question.  Ultimately, I left feeling unsettled by the drama, and worried I had not done enough for the title during the time I wore that mantle.

The Inland Empire title is produced by one of my close friends and knowing it was causing her stress caused me a degree of sympathy stress.  I had fun, but I still felt like I needed to settle down and recover, emotionally, once the weekend was over, because the whole affair had been draining, and navigating the interpersonal conflict was a bit of a minefield.

Two days after the contest, Ann, one of my best friends (who had been a judge at the contest) called me, crying, because her dog had passed away unexpectedly during a routine dental procedure.  I had seen Kelly that very weekend (Kelly went everywhere with Ann) and Kelly had seemed fine.  The shock of losing her was enormous.  I don't deal well with grief and feel terribly awkward about comforting people.  I had known Kelly for three years, from her adoption to her passing, and losing her was an unwelcome shock.  Not to mention seeing one of my best friends experiencing inconsolable grief.

 RIP Kelly.
Your influence was positive and your memory is treasured.

They say losses always come in threes, and sure enough, later that week, I got into a devastating fight with a friend.  It wasn't a loud or dramatic fight.  Simply an irreconcilable disagreement.


See, we've been close friends for two years, online.  And at the outset of our relationship I told her not to make plans to visit. 

This may sound weird, but follow me here.  I have had many, many online friends over the years, and because I live in Los Angeles, they often start to fantasize about coming to see me.  We'll go to Disneyland and the Hollywood sign and all sorts of jolly things, they think.  And often, their fantasy requires me to end up spending time and money on my end.  And then the visit never materializes.  This has happened three times already with people making (seemingly concrete) plans that fell through and left me feeling hurt and lied to.  In the previous three instances, it led to the slow decline of the friendship, which I believe would have remained robust if it had either remained online OR if they had actually done me the courtesy of taking my time and energy seriously.

So.  Onto this friend. 

Earlier this year she had suggested visiting in the spring and it hadn't happened.  The plans weren't really ever made concrete so I shrugged it off.  Then she wanted to visit this October.  This time, she began talking about dates and plane tickets and hotel reservations and the logistics of a visit.  I blocked off a weekend (not an easy feat for me because my schedule is totally loco-bananas).  Then she started asking me about hotel reservations (despite not having bought a plane ticket yet).  You see where this is going...


Just last week she told me that she wasn't coming because I had told her not to come.

(In fairness I had probably said something like, "Either shit or get off the pot."  I told her if she was planning on visiting, she needed to buy a plane ticket and send me a confirmation, and that if she wasn't going to do that, not to bother.) 

Based on a single conversation she had promptly jettisoned all plans to visit.  From my perspective, it appeared she'd never been serious in the first place.  After all, you don't cancel big vacation plans on a whim or due to a single instance of minor inconvenience or discouragement. 

I told her, honestly, I felt resentful and was annoyed that she had fulfilled my prophecy.  I had told her not to do this very thing, and she had.  I told her I didn't believe she had any intention of visiting and while maybe it was fun for her to plan a trip, it was also interfering in my real life in a real way, and I didn't appreciate that.

"Well, maybe I can visit next year," she said.

She was still doing the thing!  Even in the very moment that I was asking her to stop!


I told her I honestly did not see how I could not resent her for wasting my time and energy and leading me on, and that while I would try not to take it personally, I was probably going to be really hurt for a really long time.  At which point she said we couldn't be friends anymore due to the "anger, drama, and resentment" on my end.  I was honestly shocked that she would throw out a two-year friendship over one fight; I told her she had my number if she ever wanted to reach out but as of right now it looks like things are over.

It's a strange thing to experience as someone with anxiety; my brain is constantly telling me that my friends are imminently about to abandon me and don't really like it, and when it occurs, I feel this strange sense of disappointed acceptance.

This week, my brain told me things weren't going well, and for once, it was right.


There's no real thing I can do about any of the things that happened this week on my end.  I can't bring back Kelly, for example, only remember her.  I can't alter the hurt feelings at the title contest, because I was not part of that situation.  And I can't do anything to repair a friendship without the other person's cooperation, because friendships are two-way streets.  So really, the only thing to do is to move forward and hope that next week things go well (and maybe try to avoid gluten and lithium... just in case).

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