Advice

On still hearing you

Not looking for a response on this one. In fact, I would be pretty embarrassed if you posted this. I simply owe you an apology.

I’m the one who submitted this over a year ago: http://dearcoquette.com/on-hearing-you/. In a moment of despair, after feeling for a long time like I was flailing wildly, trying to make even the smallest improvement in my life and failing at every attempt, I lumped your lack of response in with the giant mass of external indifference that I felt was closing in around me. Desperate for any validation–or failing that, catharsis–I turned all that frustration into an arrow and hurled it back at you.

Reading your response filled me with gratitude, relief, and even hope; I started to believe, just a bit, in my inherent value as a person. It turns out I trust validation from a complete stranger (whom I deeply respect) more than that of my loved ones; I can’t help but think they’re biased by the fact that I’m already just furniture occupying space in their lives.

However, your response convinced me because your sincerity came across, and that’s when I realized how unfairly I may have burdened you. Reading the comments only supported my fears that I had ridiculously expected you to be responsible for soothing my ego. I’m deeply ashamed to admit that, after following your blog for almost a decade, I forgot that you are a person with feelings, and of course you can’t respond to everything, but this whole community knows you care enough to genuinely wish you could. I saw–too late–how I took advantage of that, and I did not deserve the compassion you showed me in that moment, when I forgot your humanity yet you saw and affirmed mine. I’m beyond grateful that you did, but I’m so sorry that I demanded it of you in the first place. I’m sorry for any and every negative impact that post may have had at the time or any time since—for all I know there were none, but of course I can imagine many, so, for all of them, I’m sorry.

I’ll be honest: I still feel like I’m furniture in other people’s lives. I still believe that I am a cause of suffering to those closest to me, and that eventually I’ll hurt everyone I love. I’m not okay…but I do believe that I have the right to try to be. I am getting help. I’m trying to learn to minimize the misery I cause others, to avoid using my mental illnesses as a reason to take advantage, and to actually ask for help rather than extract it by manipulation. It’s progress, I suppose, since the last time I hit this button.

Thank you for doing what you do, and for being who you are.

 

You are way too hard on yourself.

No doubt your constant Eeyore impression gets annoying at times, but I promise that you are not the cause of anyone’s suffering. You can’t be. People are responsible for their own suffering. That shit isn’t on you.

That being said, having a mood or personality disorder is a totally separate problem than not having any integrity. Good on you for recognizing that you shouldn’t use your disorder to take advantage of people. Keep working on your integrity, and do what you can to quit being so fucking hard on yourself.

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Advice

On unrepentant assholes

I’ve been with my boyfriend almost two years and things are really good between us. We have fun together, great sex, support each other, take turns doing all the boring stuff around the house, try out new things and visit new places together, and generally have a really good partnership going on.

I love him and love being around him, but avoid speaking to him about stuff that matters to me at all costs because I know it will end up in a huge argument and I will want to break up with him.

I’m not talking about stuff like my family or friends or job. If I voice worries about that kind of thing he is a great listener and really supportive. If I talk about my hobbies, again he listens and is enthusiastic with me. I hope I am in return. We believe in each other and encourage each other.

It’s more on a political/hypothetical level that things get ugly. The first warning bell came when I started dating him and saw on his bookshelf the title ‘Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth.’ Or something along those lines. When I asked him about it we launched in to a big argument. I don’t mind debates, but it soon seemed to me that he just totally lacked empathy. At no point is he prepared to concede that, as he isn’t a woman he might not be able to fully comprehend what it’s like to be a woman. He’s all, why should he (as a white man) not be allowed to speak about things because of ‘the accidents of his birth.’ He will argue around in circles about things because he enjoys debating, but fails to ever really listen. Our most recent argument was with him arguing that gay people choose to be gay. He said we should think they have a choice because it is empowering to them, or something equally irrelevant. Time and again I try to explain to him that, just because it would make more sense for the world to be a certain way hypothetically, it doesn’t mean that it is that way; you can’t always reason to conclusions; sometimes you have to accept that there are gaps in your knowledge and that you aren’t the authority on something. He disagrees. He actually said ‘I’ve never bungee jumped but I can have an opinion on it.’ It makes me want to slam my head against a wall.

I don’t know what to do. Am I just being precious and over sensitive? I don’t believe in only being around people who agree with me and always try to listen to other points of view, but I wonder if I’m somehow losing my integrity by being with him.

 

About half of all the submissions I receive are some version of “Hey, CQ. I really love my boyfriend, but it just occurred to me that he’s a chronic, unrepentant asshole. What should I do?”

Over the years, I feel like I’ve been fairly consistent with my recommendation: dump his ass, learn from the experience, and do better next time.

You, my dear, are with a magnificent asshole.

Act accordingly.

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Advice

On sober reminders

A few months ago, I took an overdose of beta blockers, and when I was in the ICU my heart stopped for almost a minute. The doctor showed me the chart where my heart was beating and then it wasn’t, although it was all rather difficult to comprehend at the time and the oxygen mask pushed on my glasses and made seeing clearly somewhat difficult. I remember wanting to ask the doctor if I could keep the chart, but thought that might be inappropriate. I wish I had asked now, because it would have been a sober reminder for moments like these.

I stayed in hospital for a few days and told no one where I was. I was so ashamed. As time went on, I was desperate to get out of that lonely and stale environment. When I got out, I felt so lost and wished I were back in the close quarters of predictable ward life. No one except my therapist knew about the attempt, and for weeks afterwards I wandered around in a surreal reality where my world had changed but the world in general had not, and everyone around me went on about their lives. I wanted to scream.

Soon enough, I returned to work. On the surface I appear to be doing alright. But in some ways, I’m not, and although I’m not exactly suicidal, I’m extremely uncomfortable with myself. I feel quietly desperate and lonely.

I don’t have a question, I just wanted to say that I don’t know how I feel about anything anymore, least of all myself.

 

Since you don’t have a question, I don’t really have an answer, but if I were you, I would go back to that hospital and request a copy of that chart, specifically whatever data and documentation they have of your heart stopping, and then I would go frame that shit.

You may be lost, but you’re alive. Please stay that way for as long as possible.

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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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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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Advice

On saying weird shit during sex

Okay: Four dates, spread out over two months. On the fourth date, dude tells me he loves me–twice–while he is inside of me. I didn’t respond. I am not in love with this person.

My question: Was that a fucked up move on dude’s part? I’m not furiously angry or anything, just kind of… bleck. Have this feeling of “Yeah that was unfortunate, maybe fucked up” feeling about it.

 

As a general rule, people are allowed to say weird shit when they’re fucking me and I don’t hold it against them. It’s an intimacy thing. If a dude needs to say he loves me to cum, I’m okay with it, and after four dates, I also know not to take it personally. (Believe me, I’ve heard much stranger shit than “I love you.”) That being said, if he keeps it weird afterwards by repeatedly wanting to talk about it or if he continues to make inappropriate professions of love, then that’s something you should squash quickly.

I don’t hear you telling me that this guy is falling too hard for you. I hear you complaining about some words he said during sex. One is a problem, the other is just a minor kink. You’ll soon know which one you’ve got on your hands, and in the meantime, don’t let the weirdness stick to you. Shake that shit off and go about your day.

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Advice

On running for congress

God I hope you read this one.

Someone working with the Democratic Party approached me and encouraged me to run for US House of Representatives. It’s a red district in a blue state, but the district went for Hillary in ’16, and has gone for democratic presidential candidates since at least 2000.

Coke, I’ll barely be 30 by election day. I have no formal government experience, but I am politically active in small ways. The thought of running for something this big is terrifying, but the incumbent is a dick, and I keep coming back to the fact that even though it’s scary, somebody has to do it. Why not me?

I have major imposter syndrome about doing this, but at the same time it feels like the rulebook has been thrown out and everything is upside down. Since the 2016 election I’ve been thinking more and more about running for something, but didn’t think I actually would for another decade or so. It feels crazy and unattainable, and yet maybe a millennial with healthcare experience is exactly who we need in office right now. Maybe it’s time for a paradigm shift.

I guess my question is: should I do this?

 

Fuck yes, you should do it. Run. Campaign your face off. Win.

You’re young, but you are ready for this. I know it seems terrifying, and I get the whole impostor syndrome thing, but I promise, you can totally do the job. Not to be a dick, but a trained monkey could do the job. Congress is filled with idiots and empty haircuts. You’ll be shocked at how many grinning simpletons there are and how few noble geniuses. You can be one of the good ones. I’m serious. You really can do it.

Let me know if you need any help. If you decide to run, I’ll be there for you every step of the way. Hell, if you turn out to be cool, I might even help raise you some money.

Go on. Do it. Get on out there and fight the good fight.

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Advice

On more fun-sized advice

2016 was the year you died as my hero. I wouldn’t be surprised if you started being okay with banning words and inciting violence against conservatives. Still, we had some good times together. I’ll always cherish you for that. But for fuck’s sake, can you answer some fun questions like you used to?
I’d punch a thousand Nazis in the face before I’d ban a single word. As for fun questions, here you go:

Kill, Marry, Fuck: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon
Kill Donald Trump. (Duh.) Fuck Mike Pence in a sex tape scandal so he’s forced to resign. Marry Steve Bannon and immediately take half his money in the divorce after he slaps me around on our wedding night.

Fuck, marry, kill: The bastard child of Andy Warhol and Edgar J. Hoover, Nikola Tesla, Farrah Fawcett.
Kill the Bastard Child of Andy Warhol and J. Edgar Hoover. (Because that sounds like a really cool movie.) Fuck Farrah Fawcett (Mainly for the alliteration.) Marry Nikola Tesla (I like ‘em smart.)

Fuck, marry, kill: Freud, Jung, Lacan. (I apologise: I’m *really* high.)
Kill Lacan. (I’d cut off his dick with a mirror.) Fuck Freud. (The sex would include oral, anal, and genital.) Marry Jung. (Mainly because I wanna be in a poly relationship with Emma Rauschenbach.)

Worst case scenario query: Would you rather have The Donald go down on you or eat Kellyanne Conway’s box?
Both at the same time, on camera, for the whole world to see as evidence at the impeachment. (Don’t ever say I’m not willing to sacrifice for my country.)

Do you support Calexit?
Fuck no. I’d let Texas go, but never California.

Are you a capitalist?
We’re all capitalists, darling. The best of us are merely reluctant and try to cram as much socialism in with it as possible.

But can Canadians do anything?
Stay cool and re-elect Justin.

I feel really lost without you at a time like this. I wish you could be our leader. Would you ever run for office?
I’m not the one who runs for office. I’m the one who gets fucked up with senators and congressmen and then changes their minds.

can my life get any lower than dropping out of art school
It’s not as bad as you think. Trust me. Go find your hustle, get shit done, and make your own way. Do that, and I promise that in ten years, “art school dropout” will carry a lot more weight than “art school graduate.”

I’ve just realized I’ve been writing my secrets in this little box since I was a teenager. That’s beautiful. I love you.
I have them all here. It is beautiful. Thank you.

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Advice

On three responses

i told a guy that i’ve always wanted to get a tattoo. he said, “why put a bumper sticker on a ferrari.” do i have a stick up my ass or is that kinda fucked up.

 

Response #1 (The High Road): “Comparing me to a car is a particularly disrespectful form of objectification, and it’s insulting to imply that a tattoo would somehow be degrading.”

Response #2 (The Middle Road): “You don’t get to have an opinion on what I should do with my body.”

Response #3 (The Low Road): “You put racing stripes on a Ferrari, motherfucker.”

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Advice

On serving in the trump administration

Dear Coquette,

I was contacted by the Trump transition committee.

I read your blog religiously, and I think that you’re a measured person. I really need your advice on this matter.

I ‘m an African-American man dedicated to alleviating poverty, housing, and homelessness. I submitted my resume, cover letters, and letters of recommendation to both transition committees before election day. My entire life is devoted to helping people out of poverty. The Trump transition committee, to my amazement, contacted me for an interview. They’d like to interview and screen me for a few positions in HUD and HHS. I was told I will be interview for a policy-related position, working on a team to help implement his would be “New Deal for Black America.” The next position is more managerial, “something like a Deputy Chief of Staff” for an Office. I told them my dates of availability for the interviews, and they said they will soon get back to me for a confirmation.

I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted for Clinton thinking that she would win. I love persons of color, I want to help homeless low-income families and help calm the perverted and pervasive stigma that exists in these systems and institutions, and so I want to act as a pocket of resistance.

What do you think? Should I work for a man who has heated rhetoric with the promise of working on policy issues that could help millions of Americans?

 

Yes. By all means, serve.

Fight for the position. Act as a pocket of resistance. Protect the interests of the left. The Trump administration desperately needs forward-thinking subversives to fill its ranks. The worst possible outcome for this looming nightmare would be if the executive branch of our government were to become constipated with a bunch of right-wing, reactionary goons.

There is no shame in working in the Trump administration. You wouldn’t be working for him. Fuck him. You would be working for the American people, and we all need you now more than ever.

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