Fun-Sized Advice

On the new normal

I miss you and I love you.
Honestly, I miss you too.

*screams dear coke talk into the void*
I hear you.

No question, just a message: its been a hot minute since we’ve heard from you. I imagine you living, observing, and absorbing. Thanks for reminding me to do the same, be it through your silence. Much Love.
I keep saying that the silence won’t be permanent, and I mean it. I still read almost all of your submissions, and the day will eventually come when I can regularly post more answers. In the meantime, if you have a quick question for me, you’re 99% more likely to get a quick response if you hit me up on Twitter. My handle is @coketweet, and I prefer direct tweets over DMs. Much love!

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75 thoughts on “On the new normal

  1. Jessica Sen says:

    Coke, my family is staying at my sister’s boyfriend’s dad’s girlfriend’s house in Canada. My sister is getting proposed to under the enforced monogamy rule and I’m very worried but I’m enabling the process. Because I have jet lag and everyone is asleep, I’m up writing. I am desperately trying to look for some coffee and only found an opened decaf tin. I also found an unopened normal coffee tin. Is it rude if I open the unopened normal coffee tin? What do I do? I don’t know who else to ask but you. Please answer this within 45 minutes. There is no Starbucks near me. This lady who owns the house is a very nice Christian lady. Last night when we got in from the airport, my sister’s boyfriend’s dad told us that his girlfriend is in The Church Council Committee. She says she’s probably going to heaven and I’d like to think that I am too but I also have my doubts. Her husband says that he will go along up and say “I’m with her”. I said “But what if god’s like that’s not Hillary Clinton” and already I have offended them so should I just go ahead and open the coffee tin?

    • Chris says:

      Dude, I can’t believe I missed this. How did it wind up?

      Had I have answered:
      (1) Yes, open the coffee, and then clean up.
      (2) What is the “enforced monogamy rule”? The term enforced monogamy means that a culture rewards long-term, stable 2-person relationships. I think I said this in another post, but the example I use is: My cousin told everyone she and her boyfriend got an apartment, and that instead of a registry they’d just accept money. No one gave her anything, because that’s not a thing – getting cash for shacking up with some dude you like. However, if she’d have sent out wedding invites, I’d have gone to the party, given her $500, and remembered the day fondly.
      That’s enforced monogamy.
      (3) The odds are greatly stacked against there being a Heaven.
      (4) He can still be ‘with her’ even if she’s not Hillary Clinton.

      • Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuucccckkkk says:

        Dude, I hope you don’t think any of that post was real or had anything to do with real life.

        • Chris says:

          How dare you! Coquette’s roommate is in a situation regarding coffee, and needs some advice about her friend who may or may not be marrying Hillary Clinton. Here I am, like a hero, saving the day, and all you can do is try to tell me what is real.

          To quote a not-awful episode of South Park: “that girl had fourteen abortions, an’ she ain’t even ten yet. But I guess that’s just not real to you!”

          [it’s from the episode where the kids create their own wrestling league]

          • FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKK says:

            Oh, I’m completely aware of the episode. Matter of fact, it was one of Coke’s and my favorites when we lived together in her earlier L.A. days. Every time the coach said “wrassling” Coke and I would take turns blowing rails off one another’s pubic bones.

          • Jessica Sen says:

            And then Coke brought your infant child to the match and thrashed you so thoroughly that your child disowned you with its own language. You went home crying and realised that you hadn’t any furniture to burn. In your rage you called your husband whose name you’d forgotten because he didn’t own any visible pubic bones. You went for chicken and that was fine until the next day when you woke up with hypothermia due to global warming. You were in a bleeding hell as the hospital only stocked pills filled with MRSA. After that episode you left and went for another match in which you faced off with me. Nothing bad happened. I was nice as hell. Everything was okay.

      • Jessica Sen says:

        I did, politely explained at breakfast, and endured a couple of passive aggressive comments. People whose entire culture is defined by being nice tend to depend on being passive aggressive to maintain the facade. Not a fan of Canada, as odd as it is to say. In a place that is highly likeable in which people value likeability as a personality trait, I’m a bored ghost. I prefer aggressive to passive aggressive, but really I’m most at home when people are politely or rudely direct, depending on the situation.

        Passive aggressive makes my skin crawl. It’s creepy as hell, and performed in a household which projects the warm gooey sweetness of stevia, it makes me feel like a dog among humans, the only one able to hear the alarming pitch of someone else’s anger.

        I’m definitely a junkie. But I have hope in neuroplasticity. I’m curious as to what you think I’m a junkie for.

        • whoami says:

          honestly I was just thinking about coffee when I talked about being a junkie iessica ! i don’t play those guessing games 🙂

          (PS : can you tell me why i changed my nick here oh my god)

          • Jessica Sen says:

            I was honestly asking. I’ve written lots here over the years, and as everyone knows, addictions are blindspots and you are bright-eyed. I’ve kicked it all except for cigarettes and writing. Only I can stop the cigarettes, and as for writing, it really can’t be helped. I’m guessing that you changed your name for the reasons of love. Who can tell? Reasons are invisible.

          • whoami says:

            this comes from my personal experience with addiction tbh. i am very prone to addiction, thank god half of the drugs out there don’t do shit for me because of the ADD otherwise i would be sitting in a trash can behind some dubious exotic restaurant right now.
            i have found that shame *and* its lack thereof both play sympathetic and parasympathetic actions towards my drug intake, depending on the social situation. i’m running on coffee and cigarettes atm, might get better very soon however !

          • Jessica Sen says:

            Yeah, coffee and cigarettes for me now as well. I have a rehab plan for quitting cigarettes which involves going to England next summer and rewarding myself by talking to sexy English boys.

            I was addicted to weed for a couple years. I started it to help my depression, but it exacerbated my bipolar (which I didn’t know I had). The last time I smoked was when I was in Canada for my sister’s engagement party. I had three little puffs on a pipe and was thrown into hellish anxiety where I was walking in circles around this suburban neighbourhood feeling like it was nothing but a simulation. The dude who I smoked with had given me a wad of it, but I threw it away and decided it wasn’t good for someone of my mental state.

            I didn’t know ADD made you less reactive to drugs. Curious. Also reading research that microdosing any drug is more likely to be therapeutic than taking a normal dose of it.

            Good luck, Whoami! Always a pleasure talking to you.

          • whoami says:

            ha yes, sexy English boys,,, the most addictive drug of them all !

            ADD typically gives you a slight resistance to uppers in general. you have to take a bigger amount of them to get the fun going, and small doses make you wanna go home and do your taxes (that’s why i used to complain about coke being lame and stuff). inadequate for a party, but that’s why so many adhd medication is used as uppers and vice versa.

  2. Jen says:

    Was having an anxious moment and decided to check in here and…voila! I felt like I got a hug. Thank you for saying hi and sending love.

  3. Barefootsie says:

    Hi Coq! For some reason even though I have a Google Alert set up for this website, I didn’t get anything until I just happened to check today. Anyway. Love to you. 🙂

  4. Jessica Sen says:

    Yesterday, I went to the pub near my house. I’ve been going twice a week lately, for a pint, and to be with people. Even if I’m writing in my little corner, it is comforting to hear bits of people talking. Singapore is welcoming to expats, so there were people from Italy, Australia and England there along with locals. A markedly handsome Italian man flashed me a shy smile before he left, which was just about all the flirting I could handle. A pronouncably drunk woman, butchering the English language, left very suddenly in the middle of our conversation, leaving me with a half bottle of red wine. It was nasty. I ended the evening with two men, from New Zealand and Australia, both teachers. The New Zealander reminded me of a late-preschooler, childish and in need of comforting, which I did not provide. The Aussie spoke of nuts long as a dinner table falling on treefellers in the Amazon, and that a cubic meter of a four hundred year tree cost $20,000. These blocks of wood were for now, shipped to clubs and luxury yachts for paneling. The villagers are eager to help, he explained, as cleared forestry sustains them with agriculture. The real heroes were those dodging the big nuts, risking their lives on the frontline, he further explained, in contrast to “those who sit around imposing their views on others”. I said that I was sure grateful for paper, a good that is my favorite way to spend my money. I wished them luck and walked home slowly and thoughtfully. I do enjoy people, though their company never becomes my culture!

    • Chris says:

      I read this, and cannot get that time back.

      I wrote this, and cannot get that time back.

      We are nothing.

      Nothing is everything.

      Time wasted is all there is.

      • Jessica Sen says:

        Life is not antithetical to death, as light is not antithetical to dark. Light contains dark, or we’d be blind. There is all, and there is some, but there isn’t none.

  5. Barefootsie says:

    Jessica, we’ve never met, but I do wanna say that I enjoy reading your stories. This one has a big smack of truth to it, from my experience traveling in far-flung places. Hope all is well in your patch of the world.

  6. Jessica Sen says:

    Thank you! 80% of the stories are true. It’s probably the detail in this one that lends it verisimilitude.

          • valerian says:

            Yeah, no. She ain’t coming back though. Which is a real shame. I just hope she’s doing well.

          • I check it every day too. Sometimes I click on the random button, because I have still to absorb so much of what she’s written. Sending love to you guys!

          • Barefootsie says:

            I have every faith she is coming back. She hasn’t really given us any reason to not take her at her word. I have the distinct feeling she has enough on her plate that she just can’t devote hours of free emotional labor to strangers on the internet when other parts of her life and her self need her. In the meantime, there’s always the “random” button if we want to go back and look at some of the best series-of-tubes free advice given in the past decade.

            Take care of you, Coq.

          • Sally Rider says:

            She ain’t coming back. This road ended with her book that wasn’t much of a seller

          • Anaïs Enders says:

            Sally Rider,

            You seem to be implying that she gave up writing for us when her book didn’t sell.

            First off, it’s not a bestseller but it does sell widely. I’m in Singapore, which tends to stock only well-known titles, and we have her book. Second, her advice required much of her time and emotional labour, which she posted for free, on her website, for years. She published a book, I’m guessing because many long-time readers value her advice and love a physical copy. I know I had that desire to hold a physical copy of her words when I read her post (on her personal blog page) about printing out her blog for a friend in prison.

            Look, you can say anything you want about her writing, or book sales, but I do not like this insinuation against her character – that all her efforts in this blog were to ultimately end with profits in book sales.

            This isn’t just a blog. That isn’t just a book. Not to many of us. It’s a tribe, of weirdos, sure, but we have grown up together with her words as sanctuary.

            Hold up on your snap judgment and differentiate between your cynicism and sense of entitlement.

        • Ami says:

          Coquette has not left us. She just prefers treating us with candy and not vegetables at the moment. Only reason why I got a twitter account. If you followed her from tumblr, you can follow her there too.

  7. Valerian says:

    Nah, I know we’re not entitled to have her around and she’s busy as fuck. Just feel kind of lost without her though. Then again I have no life whatsoever, so.

        • Chris says:

          Because if we adopt Coquette’s POVs, then we don’t have to think for ourselves. Like any good religion we were like “look, she says to respect yourself and others, and to have integrity,” which made us better people for having read and considered. For those who like dogs better than cats, there was that, too. I absolutely loved the time she said “if you can be a doctor, but choose to study philosophy, you’re an asshole,” and also her responses about hard work and wealth, and other things.

          Add in the laughter, tears, and times we thought about getting to meet her (like when you die and Jesus is there!) and it’s hard to let go.

          • Valerian says:

            Nah, I have no problem thinking for myself, and there were plenty of times I didn’t agree with what she had to say. Thanks though!

          • Jessica Sen says:

            Chris is charming, but followers who completely makes up quotes are what make good teaching turn into stupid religion.

          • Jessica Sen says:

            Forgot about that post. The context though. “Advanced degree” vs med school (also a grad degree as I understand in the US). I don’t think there’s harm in studying philosophy courses in a liberal arts education and keeping an open mind before deciding to pursue a medical degree. In my limited experience of people, those who doggedly pursue medicine, or any specialist discipline (including philosophy) from the beginning of college end up having very narrow worldviews. One reason I like the liberal arts collegial system in America. I studied law in the UK straight out of high school, and as the course progressed, found myself thirsting for knowledge in sociology, philosophy, literature, art history, anthropology and psychology, while losing interest in the dry and heavily technical courses like “Corporate consumer law”, “Criminal procedural law”. On a somewhat related note, I’ve been following the primaries closely and feeling hopeful for y’all!

          • Jessica Sen says:

            I have to say, Chris, you are really good-natured. It’s something I admire and am working on in myself.

          • Bella SNatchos says:

            Wonder if Coke will post before someone has to acknowledge they jumped all over you on this and were totally wrong.

          • Jessica Sen says:

            Chris, I’m sorry for jumping down your throat like that. I’m have a long way to go in humility and courtesy.

          • whoami says:

            maybe i’m just not accustomed to some quaint anglosaxon jargon here, but last i checked, theology is not philosophy ? there’s a thing called philosophy of religion, which isn’t theology. personal views on anti-clericalism aside, that’s like, a huge difference.

          • valerian says:

            Oh. Just stuck is all. Stuck with very few prospects, and it’s been that way for quite some time.

          • Chris says:

            Valerian, if you don’t mind, is it stuck in a job, city, relationship, debt?

            I feel stuck in my current job (hit the pay ceiling and there’s nothing new to learn) so I started filling out applications and after a year of hearing nothing, had 2 interviews in 2 weeks.

            There’s a delay between the un-sticking action and progress, but it does happen.

  8. valerian says:

    Thanks, Hanbanjo. I really appreciate it.

    Chris, I’m stuck on a few levels, nothing particularly interesting. Lifetime of mental health issues so I’m basically completely unable to handle people or, y’know, the real world or whatever. Cut all my friends off because I don’t know how to not be a doormat. Didn’t go to college, no real skills. Health issues and trouble concentrating, plus broke, so learning anything that would be considered “recession-proof” is kind of off the table. Every time I try to change things up I either short-circuit or get into this weird haze where it feels like I took a Benadryl and tried to headbutt a tractor. I just keep finding myself in this perpetual failure-to-launch type of situation. (Okay I’m done whining now! lol, god damn.)

    Anyway. I’m glad you jump-started yourself out of your situation. That takes balls, and a lot of people would’ve been content to tread water for awhile. Glad the interviews started coming in!

    • Chris says:

      A huge problem is that the days are so long when trying to improve your situation. And there are so many days. In someone else’s life, it’s just good movie-plot-development, but when you have to go to sleep depressed 5,000 times, it gets hard.

      Being around People:
      So many people fail to see how lucky they are if they enjoy being around people, as opposed to suffering from them. If you’re in the latter camp, I hope you do well to call it quits when it’s time.

      Mental Health:
      In 2008, I was unable to work, diagnosed with Chronic PTSD, and some physical injuries. Abstaining from alcohol and drugs helped in the long run. I was also extremely lucky to have the money I needed to go to college.

      Being a Doormat:
      In 2014-2015 I began putting friends and family on notice, to the point that I had to ask, “am I the problem?”. No, I wasn’t. When someone publicly disrespects you, they’re the problem. When someone knowingly leads you in the wrong directions, or lies to/about you, they’re the problem.

      Of those I called out, zero said “you’re right, Chris, and I’m sorry.” But some fell in line and others fell away.

      The truth is that people need to either (A) Fuck off and stay that way, or (B) Make amends for the amendable. When your value of yourself is too high for their drama, your life improves, but the correction is painful – like when you stop speaking to your siblings because it hurts too much to keep trying. It gets better because you removed the malignant parts, but hurts because of the idea of what the tumors could have been had they not been tumors.

      Job Stuff:
      People have no idea how hard it is to climb up the frozen face of this mountain, even if you’re born in the US. It takes a lot of persistence and consistency (preferably, with a team), and without those, it might be impossible, even with luck.

      I’m an example of this, once having supplemented my income by collecting cans on the side of the road while ghostwriting for a penny-per-word. Even with an MBA I’ve been an Uber driver.

      Before this seems too depressing, things can get better. Since 2015 (when I started putting my foot down and keeping I there) my income has gone up, and friendships with people who aren’t shitty to me have improved.

      Is there anything for you that is a bright spot? Loved ones? Volunteer work? Maybe some changes you made, like using a gym or leaving your phone at home sometimes?

  9. monochrome says:

    Coke, just listened to your new playlist.

    For reasons I don’t really understand, I’m pretty happy in my life right now. It’s just so nice. And that playlist felt like the perfect soundtrack.

    I hope you’re really happy too.

    Stay Wild.

  10. Jessica Sen says:

    “On the questioner the effect is a feeling of enhanced power. He enjoys this and consequentially asks more and more questions; every answer he receives is an act of submission. Personal freedom consists largely in having a defense against questions. The most blatant tyranny is the one which asks the most blatant questions.” Elias Canetti, “Crowds and Power”

    With regards to The Coquette, I have zero judgment towards ourselves for submitting questions. But I see each question as a set of training wheels, equipping us to extrapolate from each answer to our own specific situation, encouraging us to extend its wisdom by considering how our own problems might differ circumstantially or aesthetically from the original askers’.

  11. Jessica Sen says:

    I think my drinking problem is coming back. I practiced restraint and didn’t drink for a week, before that drinking sparingly – a beer each time. But last night I was gripped by the need to go to the pub, and drank 5 pints. At first merrily, and then with bad temper as the talk with a French man went on, and he continued to insult my country. I didn’t punch him. (I know that’s not praiseworthy but I have punched people who I felt were bigots, misogynists, or racists in the past.) I slept 3 hours and woke up to the roof leaking fantastically like pouring rain in my bathroom, and felt horribly bad. I have bipolar and drinking makes it worse. I honestly don’t know what possessed me to drink so much, or to alter my plan from a pint to 5. As a writer, I’m aware of the legion of writers that turn to drink. But I don’t romanticise the habit or compulsion, and dislike that of myself. It might be a disease, or lack of self control, and I’m starting to worry it’s the former, because of the sensibility I generally hold dear. Well, at worst, I will have to check into a mental health facility to seek help for alcoholism. At best, I cut it out entirely and start taking walks or swims to cope. I’m not proud. I’m worried. I’m very isolated in my life. I have good friends, but I don’t see them often because of busy work schedules. I deal with it by going to the pub and talking to strangers, which is fine at first, jotting down notes from what they say, but a couple hours later I’m stumbling around, not discriminating (in terms of sensibility), going beer after beer completely thoughtlessly. I’m ashamed. I’m abashed. I’m a little afraid. But I’m going to be okay. As Coke once said, “You are allowed to scream. You are allowed to cry. But you are not allowed to give up.”

  12. Jessica Sen says:

    “The only source whence anything like consolation or composure could be drawn, was in the resolution of her own better conduct, and the hope that, however inferior in spirit and gaiety might be the following and every future winter of her life to the past, it would yet find her more rational, more acquainted with herself, and leave her less to regret when it were gone.” Jane Austen, Emma

    • Grouch says:

      I think it basically is. I think the website will probably stay active as long as she’s alive, but it’s in a place where there’ll be an update a few times a year. Coke has a whole life, and I’m guessing some combination of marriage and having a baby happened. She’s still active on Twitter, though.

      • CaliMom89 says:

        Or she was the unmasked attacker of Andrew Gno in the AntiFa beating in Portland, and she’s got very sudden legal issues.

        She could also be Santa Claus. After all, she gave us all these presents!

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