Tag Archives: truth

People are People: Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Come morning, everything always changes. New. Nice. No fuck-ups yet. Yesterday’s badness has fallen away, but it’s left me in thought — not surprising, given I dig thinkin’. And here’s the thinkin’ it produced on humanity in general.

Sometimes we get unfortunate reminders of just how far-ranging humanity is. Good people, bad people. Ugly-ass people.

It’s like that moment from the creepy ’50s sci-fi movie where the scared teen boy looks in the camera and whispers, voice shaking: “We are not alone.”

A popular poster of a reliable friendship.

People bring out the best and worst in each other. We feed or flounder off whatever is projected at us. Here on the interwebs? Hoo-whee! We get schooled but good on humanity here.

Anonymity is the greatest thing to ever happen to cowards.

Some people thrive from hurting others, get adrenaline from it. We shake our heads and mutter “I don’t understand.” But what’s there to understand? They’re nuts.

There’s crazy then there’s The Crazy, as my bi-polar friend says.

It happens. Hate happens. Shit happens. Life happens. It happens.

One of the haters from this past weekend sent a bunch of extremely personal emails to the presenters, using our open lives to launch their attack.

I won’t indulge the meglomaniacal jerk’s wish to get limelighted. There’s a reason I moderate comments, his will never be published.

Stupid fuck, as if. Waste yer time if you like, pal — no blogspace for your hate!

But, boy, it reinforces my thinking on people.

I’ve always been that person who knows, if I have five REAL friends when I die, I’m a lucky gal. Most folks just walk away. That’s reality.

Trust me. Wait until life gets hard. Most people will walk. The ones who don’t, they’re keepers.*

The best thing that can happen to you in adversity is to find out who’s real and who’s not. At least then you’re on sure footing. Look at the lemonade you’ve made from those lemons: Now you know who’ll take bullets for you.

And don’t kid yourself, you’ll be surprised when the sieve of life separates the real friends from your illusory ones. It’s often not who you think it’ll be that makes the cut.

Here’s what I know: Good people assume most people are good. Sure, they are. But, the bad, they take up more real estate in our lives.

Have you ever heard the saying about retail, that 80% of your customers take up 20% of your time, but the other 20% take up 80% of your time with their bullshit? That’s kinda like people in real life, too. That 20% of people really know how to dial up the angst, betrayal, lies, and fear.

That consumes us, it takes over. If we let it.

Most people in life have serious flaws. Just remember that. Remember your own imperfections.  Most don’t have it in them to give “true” friendship to more than a few people. Don’t be surprised if you don’t make their cut.

You’ll have a few real friends in your life. But not many.

Welcome to Realityville.

Hey, your dead-body-removal crew should never have more than 6 people in it anyhow. That would make it too difficult to kill those who know your secrets. Too many to bury in your average backyard. Hardy-har-har.

But, seriously, it’s true. There’s only so many people you can rely on. Everyone else, sooner or later, will fail you. Most fail in small, meaningless ways, but sometimes in huge ways. We dismiss the small failings, but they should serve as indicators for The Bigger Things, because some chances hurt too much to take.

That penchant for flaws is not some price we pay in modern life. People have always been flawed. We just like to dupe ourselves into believing everyone has our moral code.

But they don’t.

And we act all shocked when we see this. Really? You didn’t suspect dickheads roamed the planet? Nazis? Killers? ZOMBIES?

I’m really not surprised some asshole spewing vitriol has emerged from this weekend. I’m only surprised they’ve been sitting around making notes for months, trying to create a destructive picture of who we are out of snippets we’ve revealed. Oh, yeah, there’s a healthy life.

That’s what I’m surprised about. Takes a special knack to be this pathetic for this long.

The rest of it, it’s just life as usual. Like great writers say, betrayals come in love and war, and every other time of year.

I’ll smile and chat with most people, pass a few moments in their company, but when the crunch-time comes, I know they’re not who I’ll be calling.

When the word comes down, handshakes are exchanged, tallies added up, I remember: I never would’ve called them for that dead-body haul anyhow.

Would those you’d call still come when asked?

Then you’ll be just fine. Forget the rest. Seriously.

*And people walk for myriad reasons, not all of which deserve your judgment. Sometimes our own battles don’t allow us to be there for others. We have to make our choices. Don’t take it personally all the time. Take it for what it is: Revealing who WILL be there. Don’t judge too harshly those who can’t be.

The Bucket List Shrinks

On Friday, I spoke at this year’s Northern Voice Blogging Conference at the University of British Columbia. I spoke on a panel Saturday, too, but that’s another story for another time.

The conference was great, but I’ll leave the recaps to others.

Speaking? Whew. I was fucking terrified of my speaking engagement.

Not because I think I can’t talk. I know I can. Just because I knew where it had to go.

In a nutshell?

I started “sex” blogging to discover where I really stood on my own sexuality. I went from 75 hits a day to 1,000 inside of my first three weeks, then as much as 5,000 within 7 months. I was getting raves all over the web in places most writers hope to get mentions — Nerve.com, Salon.com, Fleshbot, et al.

At the same time, in “real” life, in only a FOUR-MONTH period?

I ran out of unemployment insurance four months earlier than expected, came close to losing my home, started onto a birth control pill that would cause a massive chemical depression for two hard years and lead me to suicidal thoughts within 3 months of my blog’s peak, with a cry for help to a therapist when I thought I was gonna harm myself, lost a job for sex blogging, got laid off on my first day at another, had a relationship go horribly awry then end, and a few other little things.

I mentioned the whole going-completely-suicidally-nuts-with-chemically-induced-depression thing?

The gist of my talk?

Wanna write a blog and have people read your story as you figure out where your little blogging journey’s gonna take ya?

Careful what you wish for, honey. The worst thing that can happen to you is to have 30,000-plus people a week reading your figuring-shit-out journey every time you post something. Especially if you start the wrong meds a few months later and take a walk on the Dark Side.

What DIDN’T I get to say in the 30-minute speaking engagement?

That I would do it again — I’d walk away from a failing blog and say “Fuck it” and focus on my life. In a heartbeat.

I kept blogging, but I didn’t care about traffic, I didn’t try to get ads or advertising product, I stopped reading blogs so I wouldn’t be writing much about “hot-button issues” that might draw attention to me, I didn’t try to write great content or be relevant to any cause or way of life, I didn’t engage my audience anymore or even try to gain their loyalty.

I just… wrote. For me.

And I’d do that again. I’d walk and figure my shit out and use my writing for me and only me.

(But I’d share it still. We all need to do that more. We owe our truths to one another. Strength in numbers isn’t just a cliche.)

Know why I’d walk so casually again?

Because I wrote the content that made me a success in the first place. When I wrote that early content, my life was going much as it is now — fairly smoothly. I had time to write and a willingness to do so.

Now, though, I’m different. I don’t doubt I can write, I don’t doubt that was my “golden” period in writing. I don’t think I’m done for. I’m not really sure where I want this to go right now. I’m just… ready to give it a shot, ready to say something.

Ain’t worried at all. Because it’s about just being real, going where you need to go.

I have the guts to go there. It’s my THING. It’s what I DO. Truth is good. Knowledge is power. Like I said Friday, rip the fucking Band-aid off and just go.

I’m looking forward to the journey back into sometimes-sex-blogging. I know where I’m at in much of my life, and this is a path I’m willing to retake. It’ll be a fun ride. And I’m pretty confident my voice and what I have to say on the matter is relevant. I’ve got that part covered.

That’s one thing about having had the ticket to ride, getting that acclaim and that success so easily before — I know precisely how I got there. I think I can get there again. It’s about content. Period.

And how do I feel about my speech?

Fantastic. I’m loving how many people took the time to tell me how much they got out of it. I love that I got to talk to a lot of my audience over the two days, and how genuinely they seemed to dig what I had to contribute to the Northern Voice experience. People who pulled me aside to make  sure I heard what it meant to them really rocked my weekend, and I thank them for returning the sharing.

It was a big fear, getting up there and being raw and talking about my experience with mental illness and how it crushed my creative soul and killed my opportunity, and the price I paid to win that fight after I made all the horrendous decisions through which I killed my blog and walked away to quietly lick my wounds and return to figuring myself out.

I mean, that’s vulnerability, man.

“Hi. I’m a fuck-up who went a little nuts and wrote really hot shit about sex, got lauded in important publishing centres as an exciting new voice, and sorta became famous for five minutes and then pissed the opportunity away. LOVE ME. Hear me!”

For 30 minutes.

Ouch.

But I really, really, really wanted to go there.

And it was a fucking awesome ride for me. Awesome audience!

I knew it’d be scary — the first real time I’d addressed a crowd since I was 20, in college, in 1993. More importantly? First time I’d ever talked in person to a crowd about sex blogging, why I do it, what I wanted, how I fucked up, or how nuts I kinda went.

And I barely scratched the surface, but that’s why I want to write the book, I guess. Whew. There’s a wild ride, baby.

My only goal?

I wanted to tell the truth and be honest and raw. I wanted to make no excuses and pull no punches. I didn’t want my shame to get in the way of what I had to say, I didn’t want to hide behind my pride at the expense of not teaching others what to learn from my mistakes.

I know it’s powerful when people tell the truth, and I really wanted to be genuine and honest.

I told my two best friends Mark and Jon on separate occasions that all I wanted was to be like I was in our quietest, most real conversations. I wanted that conversational and open tone, the snarky humour and the quiet vulnerability that I get when I’m with a really good person I trust.

I just wasn’t sure I could conjure that side of myself for an audience of 125, plus standees.

That I’m told I did conjure her just blows my mind and makes me so happy. I loved it. I’m thrilled I’ve given people food for thought, and I look forward to speaking more often and being a part of a new dialogue on both mental health and healthy sex.

My engagement was probably as cathartic for me as some people in the room tell me it was for them, too.

It’s a really, really, really great gift of an experience on a weekend that, for 10 years, has usually sucked. I hate Mother’s Day thanks to the Dead Mom Factor. I miss my mother a little today. But for the first time in a long time, I’m not sad this Mother’s Day and I’m not angry.

Getting the fear of opening up in public speaking off my back? What a gift.

I’ll probably be writing about things this weekend has stirred up for a while.

It might not be the kind of conversation and end product Northern Voices normally results in, but I think it’s true to the life of the conference — the belief each of us needs to not only find our voices but sound them out.

It’s a message I’ve been on for years.

Speak up. Being heard is a beautiful thing.

Own who you are, live out loud.

The video will be aired on the web someplace and soon, when it is, I’ll post some linkage for those who are curious and couldn’t be at the engagement. Thank you to everyone who wished me well.

The Bi-Monthly Friday-Night Bottle-of-Red Requisite Posting

In vino veritas.

The price of truth, it seems, runs $9.99 per 750 mils. Yum.

I’ve recently cut out my crack-like addiction to the tasty, chewy, buttery, vanilla-y Rice Krispie squares from the market down the street. That, coupled with yoga and a few more veggies in my diet as well as weight-lifting, and I’m noticing (just as of tonight) some new toning in my midsection. Like, what? I have rib bones? Who knew? Continue reading

Words, words, words: To Speak or Not to Speak?

At 1:27 am I turned the television off and found myself alone in the dark. It had been a long time since I’d last just sat there in that darkness, that silence. The day had been long, frenetic, and while good as a whole, was the kind of day that prevents you from getting the shit that needs doing done.

Suddenly, silence. Calm. Through my large sliding glass doors, the clouds have that murky coral-tinted charcoal look of a dreary winter night. But the city behind that glass is absolutely silent.

Know that old joke, why do you keep hitting yourself in the head with a hammer? Because it feels so good when it stops, the guy responds. This was one of those moments. The throbbing concussive pain that has been my life of late had momentarily ceased to be.

My head-hitting has all been of the cerebral sort, though, of late. My mind’s been in overdrive and I’ve had no outlet for it. I’ve actually been writing some of late, I should confess. It’s been the literary equivalent of the quickie. Fast’n’dirty, when time permits. Stolen moments, hoarded words.

I’ve yet to go back and read any of it. Tomorrow, today rather, is a day off. My plans include laziness and self-indulgence, perhaps self-pleasure. That’s a double-entendre, kids, since sitting around and reading your own work is about as intellectually masturbatory as anything can get.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching about this sex writing gig of late, folks. I’ve had cause to do so. A recent opportunity arose in which I could try to do a certain quantity of writing in a certain form for certain people who happened to be of a certain religious persuasion. The opportunity would essentially mean I would receive a stipend weekly, with guidance provided in order to aid me in being completely self-sufficient (read: no more corporate whoring) over the next year. The only stipulation? Certain envelopes being pushed would constitute my possibly being uninvited from the party, and the cash cow going bye-bye. (IE: Big Brother and censorship rear their ugly heads once again.)

For a few days, I held off on writing or posting on here, the very politically incorrect “Cunt,” because I wanted to toe that line. I wasn’t sure whether it was in search of simply getting money for doing what I wanted to do, or simply “holding back” with the same goal in mind. Holding back, I can handle that, I thought. It’s not like I really take it all that far, I thought.

Or do I?

But in the last couple days, I’ve woken the fuck up. I can’t toe a line. It’s hypocritical. Shit, man, I can’t even get within a sidewalk’s breadth of that line, dude. How ass-backward would that be?

Pretty goddamned, I’d say.

I think the biggest thing wrong in North American relationships today is our almost Puritanical approach to talking about anything sexual. We have so many hang-ups and inhibitions when it comes to sex. We got to get past this, people.

We refuse to talk about it. Or most people do, that is. It’s shunned. We talk about things surrounding sex — the flirtation, the outfits, the seduction, the wining’n’dining, the commitment, the logistics — but never the nitty gritty, the real stuff that affects us on an individual level.

Face it, the whole notion of sex conversation tends to be along the lines of the boring and uninvestigative, like, “Do you like that?” You know what rule number one in the world of journalism is? Never, ever ask a question which can be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.” If you want to know your interview subject, you always, always investigate for long, thorough answers.

You’re trying to bring your partner the best pleasure they can possibly experience, and all you’ll ask is “Do you like that?” Jesus. And people wonder what’s wrong with sex today? Worse yet, even today there are a lot of women who will NOT even ask their man if they’re likin’ it. That’s a whole other issue that I just won’t address right now.

The human body isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s complicated. We need to talk to each other. You wanna improve your sex life? TALK to your partner. Get to know what’s working and what’s not. Asking’s the only way to do it.

Be a scientist. Gather evidence. Learn. Study the subject in as many conditions as you can. Experiment. Document your findings. Verify. Rinse. And repeat.

So, then, I ask you: How could I possibly live with myself if I began to censor myself just for a meagre stipend so early in this game?

Throw a few more digits at me, though, and maybe we’ll talk. For now, no whoring’s good enough for me. Hand me that megaphone, will you? And go talk to your lover.

I’ll have a few more things to say about conversations regarding sex in the near future, a couple examples of ways to go about doing that, for those who are a little awkward on just how to find out what’s really working. It’s so damned important.