my huge world
Thursday was spent in a coma. After six days of partying, visiting, driving, walking, laughing and drinking, my body was done. I was tired. I couldn’t stay awake at all. And the strange thing is I kept dreaming about all of my friends. It was like I hadn’t left at all. And this trip was just long enough that it was really hard to leave Austin this time. Yeah, it’s nice to be back here, driving to breakfast seeing the Hollywood sign in front of me with the blue sky and the palm trees and the pretty boys, but it was really hard to hug my friends goodbye this time. I was home just long enough to feel like I was back home again. And I didn’t get to go everywhere and see everyone. And it’s different this time because I wasn’t making this trip to Austin with Eric. And he was there and I was there but we weren’t there together. And I was worried my friends would find that awkward. I guess they didn’t, which is good. But you know, you worry that people are going to pick sides (as they often inevitably do) and you worry that people think you hate them or they hate you. You wonder what the other half is doing while you’re out because normally you would all be together and now you’re split into these different groups. And the dynamic changes. And sometimes you know what’ll happen, even though you have no proof– you just have a hunch because you know people and that’s how life goes. But it’s a different visit home. It’s one you’re doing by yourself, but with lots of people. You’re introducing friends to other friends and you’re meeting some people for the first or second time and you find yourself sitting at a table full of people and you realize that all of them are there because of your journal.
There was a point in this week where everyone in the room either worked for, read or I met because of my journal. And it was very strange the night before when there were people that have never met each other all in one room and the only common thing between them was that they either did comedy with me or read my journal.
And it’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. The past couple of weeks have all been about my journal, or how it has changed my life, and I keep sitting back thinking, “It’s just a fucking webpage.” But then I look around at the people that are in my life directly because one day I decided to play around online. There are some wonderful people in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything and it’s all because my words touched them or influenced them or something that brought them closer to me and now I can’t imagine what my life was like before I met them. They are my best friends, my confidants, my employers, my buddies and my peeps.
But there’s another side, and one that for some reason keeps coming up lately. At my panel during sxsw one of the guys I met kept asking me about squishy, asking how it worked and why people keep reading it and started kidding me about stalkers. While we were talking, a girl I knew from Squishy came up and gave me her card. I knew who she was — I recognized her name — and said it was nice to meet her. The guy was shocked. “Is that a stalker?” he kept asking. Every time someone came up to me he asked if it was a stalker.
In Austin I did comedy and theatre for years. I also have a weekly column. It was also an interactive festival that I’ve gone to for three years. It’s a time when I see lots of people that I don’t see every day. The problem is I don’t always know if the person saying hi is a friend, a friend of a friend, a reader, a fan, a blogger, a friend of a blogger that reads me, or someone I did a show with three years ago. And Omar was teasing me for being some sort of celebrity, which I don’t really think that I am, but it’s a very strange feeling.
I have met people that are terrified to talk to me because they think I’m too much of a rock star. Me. I’m a dork, people. I’m a huge dork. There’s no reason in the world to think I’m too cool to talk to. Now, that being said, please don’t follow me around while I’m shopping, but it makes me uncomfortable if you’re uncomfortable.
I’ve also met people that can’t seem to separate the online world from the real world. I don’t write about everything in my life here. There are some things that are just mine, or they are about the people I love, and really aren’t for public airing. But you have to know that what I do tell here has my spin on it. It’s not always exactly how things happened — it’s how I saw them happen. It’s how I felt about them. My friends that I talk about here are painted through my loving words. I’d never discuss my friends’ flaws here. I really only talk about my own flaws. So, it can seem like I have this ultimate world with cool friends and neat things happening, and the truth is I’m only telling you the good stuff. But there are some people out there that can confuse that, or feel like they’ve spent so much time reading about me that they know me very well, and because of that they feel like we’re already friends, even if I’ve really never met them. Or they over-romanticize my life and want to have parts of it, or make their lives like mine. These are things I wasn’t ready to handle, because really I’m just writing a stupid webpage. And suddenly my life, which used to be pretty separate from my webpage, has all sorts of my webpage in it. The people I meet and the things I do and the paychecks I cash are all related to this space.
I can’t walk away even if I wanted to. And lately I’ve really wanted to. Because it feels like there are lots of people in my living room. Most of you I don’t mind having over. But there are some that I don’t think should be reading. I can’t stop them, but I didn’t invite them. And there are some that shouldn’t be reading that I don’t even know about, I’m sure. I wonder sometimes if an ex-boyfriend reads every day and checks up on me. I wonder if he does and what he thinks about me. I’ve met people through this webpage that I’d never expect to hear from. I’ve been reunited with people. I’ve lost friendships. I’ve been hurt. And through it all I’m thinking, “This is only a webpage.” And my audience, really, is small. What happens if the audience gets larger? Do I lose even more privacy? Do I write less about myself and more about coffee and cigarettes? Do I shelter my own life to protect myself? I’m feeling a bit vulnerable these days and I feel like sometimes this webpage is an easy way to take advantage of me.
No, it’s not even that. This webpage is an easy way to feel like you know me, know the people in my life and that you have a relationship with me. I’ve seen people start to get awkward around me after reading a few months of archives. Because they know much more about me than they’ve ever offered up about themselves. And they want to ask questions and swap stories, but they don’t know how to approach it. Or they just want to come over and hang out. Or they expect me to just fly up to where they live for a visit because they think I’d have a great time.
I don’t know. All of these things have been in my head lately. I don’t want to feel like I share too much. But I don’t want to feel stupid and taken advantage of. I don’t want to feel like people think they can do whatever they want or say whatever they want to me because I’m so “cool” that it won’t bother me. I’d hate for someone to think that I was above getting hurt by their actions. And to have someone call me mean or tell me that I ignore them or that I hate them or whatever when I don’t even really know them? It’s hard.
And here I am writing about this, putting myself in another situation where people could think I’m talking directly to them. I’m not talking to anyone in particular here. It’s been a long string of events that have brought me to this entry. But by voicing these thoughts, I run the risk of having someone I don’t know very well, or even someone I don’t know at all get upset thinking that I’m talking to them.
I’m not talking to you. I’m just talking. When I’m talking to you, I’m really talking to three thousand of you. It’s never to you specifically. I’m glad you feel a bond. But please don’t think that means you can come into my life as effortlessly as I came into yours. Because I might not have room for you here. And I might not want you in here fucking shit up. Understand?
That’s not you specifically. That’s this great big “you” that doesn’t concern you if you are one of the healthy ones.