On hearing you

I’ve written to you so many times and never gotten a response, and at this point I have no idea why I keep writing. It’s almost as depressing as sending dozens of resumes out into the world and never getting any responses…like, hello, does anyone even hear me? I try to communicate and connect but am I even making actual sounds, or did I just imagine that part? If a person is crying in a forest and no one is there to hear it, is her suffering even real?


I hear you.

I can’t possibly respond to even a fraction of the submissions I get, but I hear you.


28 thoughts on “On hearing you

  1. Mil says:

    You are wonderful CQ. I write in (did today even) and do not expect a response because of this very reason, but even the act of writing in is therapeutic in itself. You have a keen way of communicating properly to get information across to a majority of your readers in the perfect moments. No wonder this advice blog is as brilliant as it is.

    I’m not sure why I wrote this, it’s not like you need the validation. But if I was in your shoes, I would be extremely stressed over submissions like these, so I want to say thank you for keeping on through the rough stuff for us. You could have quit long ago, and that says so much about who you are as a person. I can only hope to be half as committed as you, to a project like this, in my lifetime.

    And to the reader who hasn’t gotten a response: We hear you too, and want to be there for you if you write into the comments sections, etc. Not sure if that means much, but I just want to spread some love, because I’ve been feeling down & out lately.

  2. PolicyChick says:

    MIL beat me to it – but I’ll echo a few things.

    I’ve written Coke, and I’m considering trying again, but the sheer volume of submissions she gets means she will probably not answer me. It’s a problem/relationship I have struggled with for almost seven (!) years.

    It is therapeutic to just write it down. All of it, stream of consciousness, get it out of you.

    Even though Coke will probably not reply, I like to think she read it (or saw it, or skimmed it, or something.) That means that someone out there heard me. Someone thought a Kind Thought for me. It matters, those small kindnesses, and that is a comfort. Just as everyone who read your letter today, is thinking of you.

    LW, continue to reach out – whether to friends, or here, or in other fora – and know we are all of us, alone yet together.

    • Gaybeard says:

      She has answered my submissions a few times but never anything important.

      I can sometimes get her to reply by sending in questions or (before the comments section existed) comments that I classify as “Coke-bait” that in person I fantasize would be sexually charged banter but over the internet is essentially trolling.

      Example: When she moved I jokingly asked her if she had moved to Tulsa, knowing somewhere inside that it would scratch her sense of humour and get her to respond. Not one to disappoint she responded with something about rather moving to a mental hospital than living in Tulsa.

      Ironically, I’ve never been successful at getting a response when I was in real distress.

      • Lin says:

        Me as well. My fabricated or throwaway questions tend to get answered quickly. The things I really need answers to get ignored.

        • Gaybeard says:

          I wouldn’t go as far as ignored. Sincere questions compete with all the other sincere questions and require a kind of mental energy that a quick reply to a sharp throwaway doesn’t. Funny questions have the ability to jump queue because their chances of catching her eye are higher, depend on how well the writer knows coke, and are much less labour intensive to reply to.

          Sincere questions require the asker’s vulnerability and very little can be done to make them stand out from the multitude of other serious and difficult questions other people are asking. Whether or not you are answered depends on Coquette’s whim.

          The other thing I’ve suspected of going on behind the scenes for a while now is that Coquette vets the questions she answers according to priority, frequency of similar questions, and relevance to current events. I think she goes out of her way to answer credible suicide threats if she thinks it will help the person writing. The priority after that seems to be to answer questions with similar themes or that crop up often, and then to vet for questions that are relevant to keeping the blog interesting relative to what’s happening in the world. After that I think the remainder boils down to whim and rapid comebacks. One type of answer that has been in decline lately is anything related to Coke’s personal life. She seems to be making a disciplined attempt to answer fewer questions meant to reveal aspects of her personal life or bait her, though she will sometimes clarify an issue in the comments now. Tradeoff?

  3. Lyanna says:

    Just a thought though, maybe it would be a good idea to answer submissions from your archive as a way to promote the book.

  4. E says:

    Sometimes I write in without even desiring a response or knowing what I’m asking – just to have somewhere to express myself, and I guess I always trust that Coke sees it, thinks about it, knows who I am. It’s comforting. So thanks Coke for having that tool there for me to use, even when you don’t respond to me.

  5. Rose says:

    While I agree Coke’s advice is hard to beat, I have to wonder why people aren’t seeking other outlets. I know it’s often easier said than done, but if all you’re looking for is to be heard, having a drink or a walk with a friend can go a long way toward easing your mind. If you’re struggling with something so tough or private you can’t share it with friends, you should probably be seeing a therapist anyway.

    • Wendy says:

      I agree with you, but there are a lot of people who have no real friends, and either have no access to a therapist or don’t know how they would get one.

      • Rose says:

        That’s absolutely true. It just reminds me of several friends of mine who have access to therapy and could really use it (they have debilitating anxiety, depression, and panic attacks), and they don’t seek therapy because… who knows. It’s frustrating.

  6. Jessica Sen says:

    I took an afternoon nap today and had a nightmare that my friend from college had started taking ice and was behaving like a special snowflake in a Korean drama. I wrote in to you asking if I could borrow your words to write her a letter.

    You comfort me even in my dreams.

  7. unicornsrpeople2 says:

    I don’t often write in questions, I think mainly because I’ve read every piece of advice Coke has written and I like to think I have a bit of an internal CokeTalk to help me solve my problems. Most of the time I feel like I know how she would respond and that helps me answer my own questions. But I have written in a couple of times, once recently, and just the act of writing was definitely helpful. My question didn’t have an answer and I think I just needed to let some of my feelings out, so not receiving a response was neither surprising nor disappointing.

    Coke did respond to one of my submissions. The day I was officially told I had met all requirements to graduate from college I wrote in, “I just finished college!” and it turned up in Fun-Sized with the response “My condolences.” Oh my how true that advice was haha, but I get a laugh out of it now, and it still made me feel all warm and fuzzy to receive a response.

    Thanks for listening Coke, you’re still the best!! <3

    • abab says:

      I’ve read every piece of advice Coke has written and I like to think I have a bit of an internal CokeTalk to help me solve my problems.

      YES! Me too ^__^

  8. Lucie says:

    Sometimes I get disappointed that my questions have never been answered when I see people in the comments section saying they’ve had two or more questions answered, and then I wonder how boring mine must be in comparison to theirs!

    But really, I don’t write to you expecting to get a response. In fact, if I did get a response I’d probably be very surprised and confused that you chose mine. I just like getting my thoughts together and forcing myself to admit cold hard truths by talking into the void, whether the void hears me or not. I think it’s because you see through bullshit so thoroughly that I’m forced to be entirely honest when I write to you, even if it’s something I’d rather not admit. Otherwise, you’d still know what I was trying to say, except you’d be judging how full of shit my question actually was, and how hard I was trying not to admit the truth.

    So I guess thank you for making me come face to face with a lot of difficult things, even without directly doing anything.

  9. D says:

    To echo what everyone else has said, the act of writing/asking is therapeutic in and of itself. But more than anything, for me, I find that editing the question, of honing it down to its essential parts, to try and make it more “Coke Talk-y” (i.e. will she judge me for asking this question?), to be a creative act in and of itself.

    You’ve only answered one of my long-form questions, and when I read the response (drunkenly, at 3 in the morning), it rocked me to the core. It was several weeks after the fact—I had forgotten that I had even asked. Looking back on it, I had written so many variations of that same question, had edited that exact question so many times, that by the time I submitted, it was distilled to its very essence. The reward wasn’t even the response, not really – it was in the act of articulating exactly what I was struggling with.

  10. Brynn says:

    Coke, have you considered attaching a forum to your site? Maybe if we can’t hear back from you, it would be nice to hear from each other.

  11. coskel says:

    As someone who runs a private forum that used to be associated with a quasi-famous person, there are risks in that. Sometimes people come in and dump tons of details about medical procedures of loved ones, legal issues, upcoming court cases, all kinds of stuff.

    Then I have to gently extract the info that creates liabilities, without causing injury to the person who wrote it. It takes up a TON of my time (sometimes) and I already work an obscene amount of hours…

  12. Daniel says:

    Cokes answers have always been about being critical to your own mind and everyone else’s. Don’t believe in your own bullshit, be proud of who you are, even when you think you’re broken, then be a proud broken bad ass unicorn motherfucker! You have just as much right to be here as anyone else!!!

    Don’t take shit from people and don’t be shitty yourself…

    She’s like a modern bible without the religion. You’re only here for a limited time and your NOT coming back when your time is up so enjoy, don’t take crap or make crap and try everything.. at least once.. Even if it means sniffing coke from a drummer’s dick! Whatever rocks your boat…

    Well.. That’s how I see it

    Ps! Buy her damn book! We need her wisdom to go global!

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