Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

My relationship is OK. Not amazing, not bad. I oscillate between wanting to end it, and sinking into another comfortable night of Netflix with someone I love. I’ve never been this comfortable and I feel like it’s sucking out my motivation to improve other areas in my life. Is this a good reason to leave?
It’s not your relationship’s fault that you’re a lazy piece of shit. Fucking handle your business. Motivate. Improve the other areas in your life. Do it now or you’ll get stuck in a pattern where you think the best version of yourself can only be single.

I’m 25 and just started cutting myself again. What the fuck?
It happens. Go get some professional help. If you need a referral for mental health care services in your area, email me here.

Coke, I just got to Sydney for my best friend from high school’s wedding. So amazing seeing her and her family. Then we got to her apartment and met…him. Her fiancé is a total asshole. I’m kind of freaking out.
It’s not your wedding, so you don’t get to freak out. Be cool. Kill the fiancé with kindness, and don’t make any part of the wedding about you.

I need to make a career change, and I know exactly where to move, I know exactly what I need to do to get a job there, I’m close to having a significant amount of savings, and I even have a partner who’s ready, willing, and eager to go with me. I hate my current job, I’m sick of my apartment and my neighborhood, and I’m even getting tired of my entire city. So why I have I spent all my free time full of anxiety, goofing off, and not planning at all?
You’re paralyzed. It’s fear of the unknown combined with an ugly case of emotional and/or spiritual inertia. You gotta push through that shit.

Rupi Kaur? Thought you were above that kind of yuppy wisdom.
Milk and Honey was given to me by a friend who was dying of cancer. Y’all couldn’t have known that, but at the same time, y’all could also chill the fuck out. My book lists are a snapshot of what’s on my bookshelf. They’re not a curriculum.

The friend who introduced me to this blog oh so many years ago passed away unexpectedly and far too early. His funeral is tomorrow and I’m so glad that you’re posting more right now. It’s providing an unexpected comfort and connection. Thank you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you read this and think of him fondly.

You followed me on Twitter a year ago, and since then, some of the coolest and most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to know began following me. I’ve actually become friends with some of them. Sometimes, I feel like a fraud because they see me in a better light based on what they think of as a tacit endorsement from you. Either way, I’m still grateful. You are a part of me, even though I have no idea who you are and you have no idea who I am.
Yeah, Twitter has kinda become what Tumblr used to be for me.

Read your post from August 2013, On the harm in flirtation. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Been messaging some married guy back and forth, thought it was harmless since we’re both not interested romantically – but your post made me stop and think. And I realized his wife would be upset if she knew. I just happened to be hitting the random advice button. So glad that’s the one that came up. Thank you.
Glad the 2013 version of me could help.

Hey Coke. Do you know anything about the contents about your identity contained in this review posted recently to Amazon? Apparently, you’re an almost 40-year-old single mom, who fled L.A. because she was unsuccessful in her career and love life, among other things.
Ha! Every single detail of that review is straight-up wrong. The only thing remotely accurate is the fact that I’m a struggling human nobody like 99% of the world. (I mean, duh.) I do love the idea that my identity is an “open secret” amongst some set of people who are either tragically misinformed or completely full of shit. There’s something deeply satisfying about that.

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Thoughts

On a bunch of heavy books

Even though September has passed, any chance we could still get a book list?

Yes, yes. I know I’ve owed you a fresh book list for some time now. Unfortunately, my library isn’t as fun as it used to be, but that’s what happens when an incompetent, narcissistic grifter becomes president and a bunch of punk bitch neo-Nazis feel emboldened enough to march through the streets with tiki torches dressed like little racist Best Buy employees.

We live in interesting times, y’all. I’m still hopeful that this country will get its shit together and the Democrats will win back the House in 2018. I’m also looking forward to the day when the Mueller investigation finally sinks the Trump administration. Until then, stay frosty, and enjoy this list of slightly more serious books about the fucked up world we’ve created for ourselves.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy Lee, MD

The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessions from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton

Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist by Cristof Koch

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll

The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk MD

Fuck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett MD

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (They can’t all be serious.)

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Thoughts

On who I was and who I will become

Are you the person you have led us to believe you are? Some part of me feels that this was some weird social experiment that blew up beyond your wildest expectations and now you’ve outgrown the gimmick. I don’t ask this in any judgmental way. I’ve grown with you too, perhaps a generation or two apart. I am not the same person as I was when you were still “Dear Coke.”

 

I’ve been completely open about the fact that this was a weird social experiment that blew up beyond my wildest expectations. Anyone who’s come along for the ride also knows that I’ve outgrown several gimmicks. I’m certainly not the same person I was a mere two years ago, much less a decade when all of this ridiculousness started. Hell, we’ve all grown up. It’s what we do.

What you’re sensing is real, though. My life is much less frivolous now, and the world is a much more sinister place. I’m still living a relatively comfortable life, but after changing careers and changing cities, my day-to-day has taken on a much more serious tone. People depend on me, and I’ve taken on very real responsibilities that would have terrified my former self.

I’ve been making all of this up as I go along, and the question as to what happens next has never had an answer that extended beyond the next six months. That’s still the case. I’m not going anywhere, but I have no idea what this will become in 2018 and beyond. We’ll see. All I can say for sure is that this place will always reflect my true character, and the only promise I can make is that even if I end up having kids one day, Dear Coquette will never devolve into some craft-sharing cutesy-ass mommy blog.

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Advice

On smug little shits who think they deserve my time

Do you care to substantiate your claim that Ben Shapiro is a fascist? Or offer some counter points (backed by peer reviewed sources) to Gaad Sad and Jordan Peterson? Or are you now a part of the anti intellectual regressive left that prefers to just sling terms like “fascist” instead of engaging in the open market of ideas?

This is why you can’t find a girlfriend, Bryan.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On some long overdue fun-sized advice

I feel like you abandoned us when we needed you most.
Don’t be silly.

It hurts when he chooses someone over me. Calls me when it doesn’t work out. And I know it and I hope he loves me. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Every time I forget him he comes back into my life. I let him.
You do this to yourself because you enjoy the pain. The flood of negative emotions you feel when he chooses someone over you serves a greater purpose in your life than the tiny, twisted dose of joy you get when he comes back around. You’re using him as much as he’s using you, and the only person who respects you less than him is you.

I live in a cute neighborhood with a couple of bars not even a 5 min walk from my apartment. Is it uncool, unwise, and/or unsafe to have a drink by myself once in a while to try to meet people (not for hook-ups)?
It’s perfectly fine. Get to know your bartenders. Become a regular.

I work with a bunch of super-‘smart,’ hipster, trendy, young, ‘digital nomad,’ techy people at a company that is basically a glorified recruiting firm for freelancers. Everything is just a little too, I know know…. ‘start-up awesome.’ What is my deal?
Nothing. You’re experiencing the new normal. Keep doing your thing, get to know as many people as possible, and don’t ever get too comfortable.

Why did my fiance’s ex start following me on Instagram? We’ve been together for four years and I’ve never met her.
Please. You’re the evil bitch who’s about to marry her first love. She’s gonna be hate-following you for the rest of your natural life.

I cheated on my boyfriend, and he assaulted me (broken bones, etc.). Both are moral failings of course, but am I self-centered for feeling like the assault was more egregious than the cheating? All of my friends feel as though I deserved it, and are distinctly “Team Ex-Bf”. Does infidelity justify violence? Is this my penance?
Physical violence outside of self-defense is utterly inexcusable. Anyone who even remotely defends your ex is not your friend. Get the fuck out of that situation and as far away from those people as possible.

I’m 19 years old. My mom keeps talking about how she wants to kill herself. I don’t know what to do. I feel useless.
Call 911 the next time she does it. Don’t hesitate. When the emergency first responders arrive, tell them that your mother is suicidal and demand that they take her to a hospital. Go with them. Tell the doctors that she has a long history of suicidality and that you believe she is a danger to herself. Tell them she needs to be put on a 72 hour psychiatric hold. Take control of the situation, and don’t back down. Ignore all the horrible shit that your mother will say to you. It will be scary and it will be difficult, but I promise, if you follow through and get your mother admitted, I guarantee things will change. I can’t promise that your mom will stop manipulating you with her depression, but I can promise that you won’t feel useless anymore.

You’re leaning a little less to the left these days, aren’t you? It’s understandable considering the chaos of late. I wonder if you listen at all to people like Gad Saad, Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson who have reasoned, intelligent ideas on politics, gender, race etc.
Reasoned and intelligent ideas? What the fuck could you possibly be thinking? Gad Saad is a lumbering asshole, Ben Shapiro is a creepy little fascist, and Jordan Peterson is just plain wrong. Ugh. Just because these pricks make the rounds on respectable podcasts that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. Fucking hell, have some intellectual integrity.

I’m getting very close to checking out early. On an individual level, I’m struggling to keep my head above water. On societal and global levels, everything seems to be unraveling. How do I keep moving forward when it’s getting harder to believe that there’s even a future?
Your problem is that you think struggling is the same thing as suffering. It’s not. Learn to separate the two and you won’t resent your existence so much. Your other problem is that you think there’s supposed to be a future. There isn’t. We’re all gonna die in the next few decades, and on a geological timescale, nothing we’ll do as a species is ever gonna matter. That doesn’t mean you get to check out early. You still have to show up and do your thing.

I was raped 3 years ago in an alley by a stranger. I have just now recently (last 6 months) started therapy for my bouts of PTSD. Why do I feel like my case of PTSD has less significance than say, ongoing sexual abuse or childhood trauma, when I’m trying to discuss it? And why do I care? And why am I letting this get in the way of making any real progress in healing?
In a word? Guilt. You’re letting guilt get in the way of healing because deep down you blame yourself for the rape, and rather than do the hard work it takes to process that guilt, you’re unconsciously taking the easy way out and allowing your guilt to manifest in the form of therapy interfering emotions. Whenever you start feeling like you aren’t as worthy of treatment as others, catch yourself. Recognize that it’s just your guilt talking, and remind yourself that none of this shit was your fault and that you deserve to heal.

I read that Portland has a very racist history. I’ve never been but I liked the idea of it until I read more about its past.
Wow, you’re really gonna be bummed when you hear about the history of literally everywhere in human civilization.

Is it true that you can’t be racist towards white people?
It’s certainly true in America. (You can be prejudiced against white people, but racism requires an element of systemic or institutionalized oppression, and the dominant cultural group is, by definition, not oppressed.)

What’s the difference between making it work and settling?
The low quality of your relationship versus the low quality of your partner.

He just broke up with me. After 7 years. Said he didn’t want to marry me. Why do I feel surprisingly okay right now?
Because you didn’t want to marry him either.

I’m Indian. I started dating this black dude a white ago, and he’s friends with this vegan white chick with dreads. Why does this bother me?
Because vegan white chicks with dreads bother everybody.

House to be completed in October. Should I lock my mortgage interest rate now or wait for Trump destabilize the economy between now and the end of October?
Lock in your rate immediately. That shit’ll be half a point higher by Halloween.

What is your opinion on people who have wine glass charms?
The only thing I feel for them is pity.

I’ve matched with everyone in this small town in Tinder/Bumble for a year now, and no one has replied.
Move.

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Advice

On turning the first page

Six months ago, I moved to a new city after graduating. Five months ago, I met my best friend here, and he kissed me the first night we met but then told me he has a long distance girlfriend. Since then, we’ve spent a lot of time together, traveled together, and done a fair amount of drugs together. Additionally, we have been each other’s support for our respective anxiety/depression. Sometimes it feels like we’re friends, and sometimes he asks me to spend the night when we’re coming down and I do it because I want him and he’ll just ask me all the “what if” questions while we lay there spooning in our underwear. He’s the first person I’ve ever loved, and a few weeks ago I finally saw how unfair it is to me and to the girlfriend that he treats me like a girlfriend even though he has her. I realize I am not exempt from blame here because I should not have let myself fall for him and I should have drawn a line and held my ground when he would cross lines (to be clear other than the one kiss, no sexual line has been crossed, but lines have been crossed). Additionally, something that has been helping me to fall out of love with him is realizing how he doesn’t deal with his mental health problems in a healthy way- he tends to lash out at people, myself included, and then apologizes profusely and does it again a week later. But it’s hard to fall out of love with someone. What do I do now that I’ve realized all this? He is still my best friend here and I still want him in my life. There has been far more good than bad, and when he’s not being weird. which to be fair 90% of the time things are normal, he is an amazing friend.

 

This is really sweet.

You should know, this new friendship isn’t the first chapter of your adulthood. It’s barely the first page. You’ve got so much more headed your way, and if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll be fine.

Keep drawing those firm lines. Cultivate your moral center. Listen to you conscience, and don’t for one second let him or anyone else violate your boundaries. Savor the process of falling out of love more than you did the falling in part. There are so many deeper truths to learn on your way out of relationships than on your way into them.

Keep exploring. Learn. Grow. Enjoy the drugs, but don’t ever let them become the reason you show up to the party. Also, whatever you do, don’t let the anxiety and depression become a part of your identity. That’s your best friend’s problem. He defines himself by his mental disorders. You’ll see it eventually, and it will likely be the thing that finally extinguishes your romantic feelings. That’s okay, though. You’ll finally be able to turn your first page.

Of course, not to predict the future, but as soon as you’re done falling out of love, his long distance relationship will come to an ugly end and he’ll show up at your door making every overture you wished he would’ve made in the beginning.

If you’re smart, you’ll keep the page turned.

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun sized advice

My childhood best friend and I had a stupid falling out and haven’t spoken years, but just today she finally deleted me on Facebook. Is it stupid to still be upset about this?
No, but grow the fuck up already. Call your former BFF and mend the fucking fence. The falling out was stupid. Put forth the effort, and fall back in. You don’t ever get to have more childhood friends. They are valuable. Reach the fuck out already. Apologize. Show a little remorse and regret, and you’ll be surprised to find out how easy it is to make up.

Your “Be Vulnerable” button scares the shit out of me. I’ve always been brash, unflappable, guarded; it’s my schtick and I mostly like it but I know as I age this is unsustainable. I know it is time to grow out of it but how do I start? How do I soften without melting? How do I deconstruct without falling apart? How do I actually become vulnerable?
You are already vulnerable. You are already a jumble of constructs. You are already soft. You don’t have to start doing anything to grow. Just stop with the schtick. Lower your guard. You’re not gonna melt. You’re not gonna fall apart.

When is the right time to tell your romantic partner that you have a mental illness? (Bipolar II). Are the rules any different for boys and girls?
The rules are not different for boys and girls. You don’t ever have to tell anyone about your mental disorder, but a good rule of thumb to consider is that if this is the person who you would list as your emergency contact, then they should probably know about any health conditions you may have.

Is your job supposed to make you happy? Is one person supposed to make you happy? Are you supposed to make yourself happy?
No, no, and yes, to the extent that we are each responsible for our own emotional states, but never forget that happiness is fleeting and often shallow. Happiness is not the point. Growth is the point.

Would you ever excuse the death penalty? Say, for an unapologetic racist who murdered nine people? People who hacked children apart? Ever?
Not by the state. Not ever.

If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Australia. I’m in the mood to not give a fuck, and those crazy bastards make me happy.

What is your purpose in life? Overall or right now in this season? Does this blog fit in to what you feel your purpose is?
I thought for a while I was an explorer monkey, but it turns out I’m a helper monkey, so yeah, this blog fits neatly into that purpose.

Did Sarah Silverman just plagiarize you in her Netflix special?
I’m not the first person to notice that we’re insignificant specks of dust.

LA or SF? (as they both exist now)
Portland.

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Advice

On hitting the reset button on your life

I having been looking so hard to find some advice online about my marriage- but basically all of the advice I find is Christian based. And “serve yo man” is not really my thing.

So I’m coming to you.

My husband spends probably 75% of his free time with his friends (out and about- movies, fitness, etc,) or playing this game Paragon with them. I feel neglected, but when I bring it up I feel like such a nag and frankly pathetic- because I’m literally begging for attention. We haven’t even been married for a year and it feels like we’re living parallel lives.

I’m so lonely Coke- how do I reach out in a way that doesn’t seem like the angry naggy wife?

 

Fuck reaching out. If you don’t have any kids, immediately file for divorce and walk the fuck away. You were an idiot to marry him in the first place, but hopefully you’ve learned your lesson.

If your family shames you or pressures you with religion, tell them all to go fuck themselves. If you belong to a church that doesn’t support your decision, give them the finger on the way out the door. If you’re surrounded by friends who judge you for taking action to fulfill your emotional needs, then those people aren’t actually your friends.

You’re lonely and angry because you’ve been sold a lie, and yeah, it’s kinda your fault for buying it, but this is your opportunity to wake the fuck up and recognize that you’re miserable because you’ve been leading an unexamined life.

You are not finished growing. This is not all there is. You can have more, but you have to be willing to make bold moves. You can’t sit around and hope things will get better — they won’t. Don’t ask for permission — demand the things you want for yourself, and spit in the face of anyone who expects you to apologize for it.

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Thoughts

On your los angeles

I just came back from spending the weekend at Coachella. I had an all-access artist’s wristband, gifted to me from the hot drummer I’m currently fucking whose band was playing the festival. It was my first time at Coachella and easily the best weekend of my life.

It’s funny, when I woke up in the late afternoon on Monday, I immediately thought of you. I proceeded to sift through your archives, first reading every post you had written about Coachella, then scrolling through all your old musings. (I still am.)

I started reading your blog when I was a 14-year-old attending Palisades High School, dazzled by your style and dreaming of a time where I would be old enough to experience the LA playground the way you had. I’m 22 now, and ever since I left my parents house at 20, life has been a constant flow of wild and introspective events. I know my Los Angeles and yours are different. But I’m so excited for this one, and I can’t help but feel like you had something to do with this feeling.

Thank you for your steady influence through all these years. Thank you for answering a question I sent you when I was 15 and had just lost my virginity. Thank you for involuntarily being the super cool big sister I never had. You’re amazing, and I hope you’re well.

 

This made me smile. I’m so happy for you. I’m also a little bit envious at the thought of being twenty-two and backstage at my first Coachella. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it, but you’re right — what I miss and what you’re experiencing aren’t the same thing. That’s why I know better than to go back. I’d be looking for something that doesn’t exist, and I’d find something that belongs to someone else now.

That’s okay, though. My time was mine and your time is yours, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m just honored that you thought of me. Really. That feeling you’ve got, I know exactly what it’s like. It’s so pure and beautiful, and for you to feel like I had something to do with it means the fucking world to me.

This past year has been one of the most difficult and transformative of my life. I haven’t been able to share myself like I used to, and I haven’t been able to give your questions the attention that they deserve. I’m sorry about that. I appreciate that you’ve all been patient with me, and I want you to know that I still read as many submissions as I can. I plan on coming back. I know I keep saying that, but bear with me.

In the meantime, thanks for scrolling through my old stuff. Thanks for sending me new questions to answer. Thanks for thinking of me every once in a while, and thanks for sharing it with me.

Stay wild.

 

 

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Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

What about couples that have good marriages? Is there anything wrong with desiring that kind of special bond with someone without including the children and family portion.
Pair bonding is as human as human gets. Healthy relationships are fucking wonderful. Of course there’s nothing wrong with couplehood, with or without children. You should know this by now. Do what makes you happy.

How do I escape the broken record player of my painful memories?
EMDR.

What makes god more important than me?
Your ego. It’s your sense of self that makes your idea of god more important than you. Kill your ego. Lose your sense of self, and it’s possible to recognize that you and your god and the entire universe are all the same thing.

Which contemporary conservative writers should we be reading? Is anyone making any sense over there anymore?
David Frum has been worth reading lately. Even David Brooks is occasionally getting it right. Of course, it’s only because of all the shit they talk about Trump. Credit where credit is due.

How is Lena Dunham so successful?
She had a good meeting at HBO in 2010, and nobody within earshot has told her to shut the fuck up since.

Was Bill Maher always such a festering boil or is this a new development?
Bill is stuck in the late 90s. He was progressive back then, but he hasn’t told a fresh joke or had a novel idea in two decades. What’s worse is that he still thinks he’s edgy. That’s what makes him so insufferable.

Is your yearly sabbatical a way to purge fair-weather readers?
Nah. I’ve been busy doing major life shit. I’ll be back for real later in the year.

I lost my almost full journal this morning and feel really fucking bad about it, even though all that was in there was personal scribbles and self-reflective stuff. I’m 24 – is this a ridiculous reaction?
You lost a valuable artifact of your own identity. It’s fine to grieve its loss, but if I were you, I would go right out and get a fresh journal and let this be an unintended ritualization of you letting go of your past.

you always have an interesting perspective on things. how much longer do you think the modern nation-state will survive? and what comes next?
The modern nation-state is already old news, and if we manage not to annihilate ourselves, then best case scenario we’ll end up with some kind of post-labor, pre-interstellar transhumanist society. (We’re probably gonna annihilate ourselves though.)

I am beginning to think I was designed to be alone. I want to be ok with that. I don’t think she and I will ever be. We had all the chemistry, but the worst timing.
You were not designed to be alone. No human was. That doesn’t mean you were designed for contemporary Western couplehood, but still, it’s much more likely that you’re conflating chemistry with compatibility.

I went on a second date with a guy I met online. He’s objectively attractive, polite, intelligent, and has a steady job. But I’m just not that into him. I felt ambivalent after the first date, but decided to give it another chance. The conversation still felt forced, even though we’ve been texting back and forth for a few weeks. Also, he’s a decent looking guy, but I found myself unsure about whether I was attracted to him. I felt like we didn’t have a lot of chemistry. I just graduated from law school and am new to online dating. I am used to meeting people in class or at parties and then going out later. Is this normal for online dating or is there something wrong with me that I’m not into a guy who should be “perfect on paper” for me?
You are not attracted to this guy. There is zero chemistry. There’s nothing wrong with him and there’s nothing wrong with you. That’s just how it is, and it’s perfectly normal. The intensity of focus you’ve placed on this question is leftover anxiety from law school. Chill the fuck out, counselor. You’ll find a guy.

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