I Went to the Mitski Concert Last Month and Also I Am Sort of Miserable
People should be less weird to Mitski. That's not the point of this newsletter entry but it needed to be said!
Yesterday I received a very kind message from one of my college friends congratulating me on a recent cool thing that happened to me. She ended her message with the following.
“Hope ur doing as awesome as the internet makes it seem u r !!!!!!”
We all know how social media works. You share the good stuff, maybe keep the bad stuff to yourself; the above is a thoughtful, compassionate and aware response in that manner. I’ve made it no secret that the past few years have been tumultuous, especially to the people who were in my sphere during this time. She was right to phrase it in that manner. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing that well, but most of the time it’s undercut by the constant demoralization and dread of having to self-censor myself in the name of safety.
At the Houston Mitski concert (which was very good but also very cold), I stood in the merch line with a friend, talking about my recent experience with having one of my plays in the Sin Muros festival, which was super cool and genuinely nourishing for my soul. I made an off-hand joke to him about being bisexual, and later on as we made our way to the lawn, pizza and beer in hand, he mentioned that he didn’t know that I was bisexual. Although I had never come out to him directly, I had thought that was a facet of my identity was pretty obvious, and the realization that my coded presentation isn’t as readable as it might’ve been in college, surrounded by other queer and trans people, especially those weren’t white, reminded me of my loneliness in being home all of the sudden in that crowd of people that night.
I had dinner with two other friends the week before then, and one of them – again, thoughtful, compassionate, and aware; too kind – asked me how I dealt with the constant misgendering and lack of recognition of the people I work with, who speak to me, and who I love. (I briefly remembered the joy of sending a picture of myself smiling to one of my friends in the summer of 2018 with the caption, “not a woman,” relishing in the rush of sharing this realization to another person for the first time.) The truth is, it’s difficult. Having to refrain mentions of me being nonbinary and using they/them pronouns on my social media in fear of the withdrawal of love from my family and friends is slowly taking a toll on me, and I do not know what to do other than to pour this into the characters and stories that I write.
There’s a deep sadness in my works being read out loud and praised and critiqued and heard and somehow feeling that I am not actually there, that although the people I work and write and love with know who I am, and that I know who I am, I worry that I am not enough to actually be fully present as my actual self. It’s not detachment, it’s not self-hatred, and I really doubt it’s self-preservation if it’s really driving me this nuts. And as it becomes clearer that I do want to spend my life in my home state, even if I go to grad school elsewhere, I wonder how much longer I can keep this balancing act before it all comes tumbling down, knowing the certainty that I face rejection from my loved ones.
There’s not really a good answer to this all of this. I know I’m not the only person this has ever happened too; it would be incredibly presumptuous of me to go “WHYYYYY MEEEEEE” when this situation is probably more common than I think. And there’s still hope. People I know from way back in high school came to see Count Yourself Among the Lucky and took in stride. The people I worked with on it, besides being ridiculously cool and talented, made me feel more myself than I have in a very long time. I am loved for who I really am and it’s something hard to remember that, but it’s there.
Which comes to the playwriting stuff. Right now, Your Mileage May Vary, a Napoleon Dynamite-with-more-Mexicans-esque story, is slowly taking life of its own. Mayel, the main character, is deep in denial about her gender expression and identity, and deals with going outside for the first time all summer, all while being haunted by the ghost of her favorite character actor, a transgender Mexican-American man known for his 80’s Western movies. IYKYK, or Untitled W*ll*sl*y Play, is my open love letter to the queer and trans students of color who kept me alive during college with their friendship, love, and refusal to be anything else than themselves. In it, Dan and Cynth spend their senior year slowly falling into each other’s orbits, only to find their budding romance interrupted by an unexpected global catastrophe (guess what I’m talking about class of 2020!!!). Even if it’s not me, at least my characters are themselves. For now, that’s enough for me.
BEEN READING, LISTENING, WATCHING:
“Telling a Million People You Want to Kill Yourself” by Molly Lipson
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
“Gender Euphoria, Episode 2: The Case for QTPOC Slice-of-Life Drama, with Dillon Yruegas”
also, this incredible video edit of Devilman Crybaby set to “I Bet On Losing Dogs” by Mitski. sorry it was all I could think about during the performance live!
Love Life Season 2
LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) dir. Daniels (SOMEONE PLEASEEEEE TAKE ME TO GO SEE THIS)
Los Espookys Season 2
all of these movies on my March Letterboxd Scavenger Hunt #84 list