Letters

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Dear Michael,

Okay, so you married a woman. I want to hiss at you, you rotten so-and-so… You community betrayer. You no good fucking breeder…

Just kidding. I imagine the reactions were something similar to that though – with sprinklings of misogyny (“vaginas are yucky,” that sort of thing).  Men! Am I right?

Funny story – a co-worker was into astrology and all that jazz. When she did a reading of the stars I was born under she said the spiritual side was so strong I would pretty much become gay Jesus. As an unabashed hedonist, I was rather disappointed.
Luckily she noted that the same house that determined religiosity also determined addictions – or something to that effect – so it could be that I’m just going to become the world’s greatest alcoholic. Let us pray… May my liver put the fattiest of fois-gras to shame. Martyrdom is for fucking chumps – no disagreement here.
People always regurgitate the same shit like “it gets better” –  as if they are magical incantations that put broken things right again. When I was 16 and broke under the stress of being different in a small, religious, backwater agricultural town, I wound up deeply suicidal and stuck in a psychiatric ward for a few months.
No friends or relatives came to visit. Nobody asked me how I was doing. A month in I remember my dad yelling at the head psychiatrist “fucking fix him – how long until he’s fixed?” Once I was released back into the wild, good friends were wary and distant. Adults looked at me with reserved suspicion. Word had clearly gotten out about my failed attempt to hang myself from the gym rafters.
I’m young and stupid, but I also feel old and pessimistic. The old man inside knows that people don’t want to emphasize with unpleasantness, and they don’t give a flying fuck about the problem. They just want it fixed, and removed from sight.
So I would love to give you a pep talk about how everything is going to fix itself, but I’m not sure how to do that without feeling like a no-good shyster. For a while I was focused on becoming an activist. I couldn’t change what happened to me, but I could help stop it from being inflicted on others. Ha!
Even as I type this I’m laughing at myself.
I moved to the city, baby-faced and free of my bonds, and got to work – majoring in social work and volunteering with various LGBT advocacy groups. They gay community was wonderful. After drinking too much at a party, three gay men raped me and I remember drunkenly slurring out pleas for help but nobody answered them. People in our incredibly accepting and noble little “community” called me a liar and a slut, and shut me out much the same as the straight one back home.
Make of it what you will.
I don’t think the community turned its back on you, so much as the “gay community” never existed in the first place. It’s just a variety mix of superficial bonds and assholes, and uncaring people inconvenienced by the suffering of others. I think you should stop giving a damn about things that make you unhappy, get a bunch of baby parrots like we agreed, and sail into the sunset with your fiancé.
Congratulations on your marriage,
GP
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GP,
I totally agree…
There was a powerful politician that tried to harm me once, and a sweet couple – they offered me food and delivered brutality.
Nobody remembers that. It isn’t fun, but it’s true.
Don’t stop telling your story. Don’t ever quit.
And don’t forget you’re one of the good ones.
If you quit telling your story, the evil people win. They’ll keep talking. You keep on too.
It all balances out.
Always remember: You don’t have to be a great man. Just do your part.
Always,
Michael
P.S. Jen says ‘hi’ and wants you to know we’ll cook dinner for you in Pasadena.
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Stop. Be still.

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tri vo studio

Him: Are you okay?

Me: No. Obviously.

Him: Stop. You look tired. Stop. Don’t. Don’t hug me. You always try to hug me.

Me: I need affection. Please hug me.

Him: Stop. Fine. Yes. Here. Hug me.

Me: Thanks. Let’s lie down?

Him: No, I’m not here for that. I’m here for you.

Me: I’m fine.

Him: You’re not.

Me: I am. I’m fine.

Him: No, Michael. You’re not. You’re not fine at all. Some very traumatic things happened. You’re trying to act like you’re fine, but you’re bouncing off the walls. Be still.

Me: I can’t. I don’t. I don’t have time for being still, not for one second. I have so much to do.

Him: Why am I here? Why did I come over here? Do you know?

Me: Kiss me.

Him: Stop. No. Stop.

Me: I need affection. Hug me again.

Him: Okay fine. What happened?

Me: Lots of stuff.

Him: How was LA?

Me: It wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped it would be.

Him: Are people mean?

Me: Uh. Some of them are, yes. Extremely.

Him: You mean at the Network?

Me: No. I mean other comedy types that I thought were my friends.

Him: How was the Network?

Me: They were nice enough.  I had no idea what I was auditioning for. I had to stay in my hotel room for three days straight while they grilled me about who I was. I was isolated. I quit my job, lost Alex over it, and I got so exhausted that I might have showed too much ‘realness’ in the final interview.

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Him: Wait, you lost Alex over it?

Me: He was terrified of being alone for six weeks. Maybe he just didn’t really love me to begin with, though? Soon as he said yes to moving in with me, the smiles stopped.

Him: He stopped smiling at you?

Me: Yes. He would look for reasons to provoke me. He wouldn’t smile. He wouldn’t eat food I made, even when I knew he’d skipped dinner. I got a few promotions, and career advancements. He wouldn’t show up to celebrate them.

Him: Wow.

Me: He left me right when I needed him most. He left during the hardest callback process of my life. Whywouldyoudothattosomeone?

Him: Michael. Slow down. Things are fine now, right?

Me: Sure?

(long pause)

Me: I hate this so much.

Him: Stop.

Me: Lie down next to me.

Him: Stop.

Me: That’s why you’re here.

Him: Stop. Stop pacing around. You’re crawling out of your skin.

Me: Why did he do this?  I hate this the most. I told him I didn’t want a relationship but he kept at it. He kept coming over.

Him: You need to be still. People play games. They don’t even know they’re doing it.

Me: Somewhere along the line he stopped smiling at me. Started making me beg for affection. Cruel. I had to work so hard for every morsel.

Him: That’s how us Asian boys act when we don’t get monogamy.

Me: I offered him monogamy.

(pause)

Him: You offered him monogamy?

(pause)

Him: What did he say?

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Me: He told me it was too late – that I should have wanted monogamy the whole time. That I should have known when I met him. I told him the next time he tries to change the mind of a grown man, expect it to take much longer than 8 months.

Him: Hm…  That doesn’t sound right. That sounds like an excuse. Maybe he’s just a kid? Maybe he doesn’t know what he wants?

Me: People are cat-fishing me now, online. They’re making up fake profiles in order to say cruel things. Why is everyone so awful?

Him: Stop. Be still. Okay. Lie down. I’ll lie down with you.

Me: Kiss me?

Him: No. Just lie here with me. I want you to be still. It’s okay to cry, but don’t move. Just be still. I’m going to touch your face a little.

(he touches my face. tears slip out of me. we are quiet for a long time.)

Me: (whispered) He tricked me. I don’t trust anybody now. He took that away.

Him: Stop. You trust too much anyhow.

Me: No. Not anymore.

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(long silence. i am still. my diaphragm shakes.)

Him: Stop.

(long silence. tremors build inside me.)

Him: Still. Be still.

(long silence. i control the tremors)

Him: Good. Still.

(i turn away. i am still. i breathe, but not too deep. he starts to snooze. he has no idea i’m still crying)

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Kevin Allison, Adam Gardiner, Dale Cooper Episode 2

 

 

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Me: Did you ever go through a Vally of the Shadow of Death with RISK?

Kevin: I was terribly paranoid during the first few months. But then when I stopped [relying on the safe distance of my childhood stories] and started talking about my kinky stories.

Me: “When I was a kid I shit on a Frisbee!!!”

Kevin: Yeah, yeah.  But the first time I sort of sat down in front of the mic and told a story about something I was wrecked about right then, right now and when I pressed send I was terrified. I was like, what is the comedy community going to think of me? What might my parents eventually think of me?  What might anyone in the entertainment industry think of me?

(pause)

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Kevin: My show… is kind of a philosophical “Fuck You,” to that way of thinking.

Me: Absolutely. I felt that way about PIEFOLK. I had been doing comedy for more than 10 years. East Village Boys asked me to pose apron only. I thought, all these straight, white hetero-normative comics  are never going to let me live this down. Also, my Mom – she’s going to see this and go – I guess he’s not really a comedy person. I guess he’s just a porn star. Overcoming that shame. Overcoming the idea of ‘what will people think?’

(pause)

I always have to brush up that creeping voice inside me that says ‘No one will do your site and no one will take your seriously.’

Kevin: Oh, God, yeah…

Me: But then what I found is… Well, first of all prostitution, porn, all that stuff [that we talk about or traffic in, or tell stories about in our professions] – that’s in the Bible!

(laughter)

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Kevin: Old testament!

Me: People have been bored of that for thousands of years!!

(laughter)

Them: Right right.

Dale: Sorry to interrupt. Speaking of RISK. That’s any internet exposure.  People now with Facebook, Twitter, etc. – you’re in a constant state of managing risk. What photos [will I allow] to get out there? You have to constantly police your online identity because it has repercussions.

Kevin: That’s a great point. I feel like we’re on the avant guard – the people who are saying – you’re being so self conscious about what you’re choosing to put out there into the world, and you know what? We’re choosing to put it ALL out there.

Me: Not all of it.  There are certain things.

Kevin: Yeah yeah yeah.

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Me: I never show penis or sack on my site. I never want my grandmother  – my mom and dad regularly read my site and I don’t want them to see my nut sack.

Dale: They’ve seen it before.

Me: They have. But it’s been 30-someodd years since they’ve seen it. And they don’t want to see it again.

Dale: That’s understandable.

Dale: (to Kevin) I was going to ask you because you brought up kink and whatnot. Does kink play – dom and sub – come into play in your everyday life as a performer? Does doing kink make your more true to yourself? Is it also just playacting?

Kevin: I have not been in enough serious ‘scenes’ with super serious kinksters where I have felt like I’ve taken the role play seriously enough to feel like I went into subspace, or to feel like there was a part of my psychology that I went into – It happened, once where I had an out of body experience where I sort of found myself being submissive in a way that I never thought I would enjoy. I was basically bowing at someone’s feet and worshiping him like an emperor.  Smelling his shoes. Getting whipped. All that sort of stuff… [It put me] in touch with a part of my psychology that I didn’t know was there.

(pause)

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Kevin:  It was very early on into my getting into kink. I shared it immediately on the podcast.

Me: That was a touching story. The way that you tell it now is sort of matter of fact, but when I listened to it on the RISK podcast I was running in McCarren park and I literally had to stop so I could cry.

Dale: Wow.

Kevin: Yeah. It took me back to being a little boy, basically. It was very emotional.

(pause)

Kevin: Since then I’ve been asking when can I meet a kinkster who takes things seriously enough, and is into the psychological side of things enough that I can go back into that mysterious realm? It’s difficult to say. You can’t really force that type of thing. It’s kind of an adventure.

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