Saturday, January 12, 2013

Paradox


What follows is an excerpt from a really important letter I wrote to a really important person. I took out the super personal stuff, but I think the rest is essential to share with the world and record for posterity, so people can decide now whether they want to like me anymore, and so I can move forward with honesty and purpose and keep my promise to me, to her, and to the world.
 
I was in a bookstore today and I picked up a book called Vaclav & Lena. I have no idea what it's about. I have no idea why I picked it up. It was the only book I picked up. I wasn't there to buy a book. I was killing time waiting for my husband and stepson to get haircuts.
I read the blurb. It was something about a teenage love affair and the girl disappears. I don't know why but I flipped to the back where there was an interview with the author. I wanted to know what happened to the girl. I wanted a spoiler. I never do that.
I flipped to a random page in the back. I didn't even read the question. I just read the author's answer. I can't remember it, and I can't find it online. But she said something like, there is no person who is just sadness and no levity, or vice versa. We all have both in us.
And I felt this great sense of peace because I knew God was giving me a message I really needed. I have been trying so hard to pick which me to be, or to reconcile them both somehow. And I know now, today, that I can't. I can't do either one of those. I can't pick a me, and I can't reconcile all the different mes, and I'm always going to freak out or disappoint SOMEONE while delighting lots of others, and it will always feel half great and half fucking awful.
I am a paradox. I am sane and insane, reverent and profane, obscene and innocent, wild and calm, smart and stupid, confident and afraid. I am a comedian who says "fuck" a lot and a conservative writer who tells people abortion is bad. I am one half of Freezin Beggar and one iota of New Wave Feminists. I am a child who will never grow up and wants to be Peter Pan and I am a wife who wants to have a baby. I dwell half in light and half in shadow. I want to be a writer and a lawyer, and I want to be a comedian and an actor. I know exactly who I am, and I have no idea. I have 177 dreams, and zero plans.
I am a paradox, and as of today, by God, I am a-okay with it.
Because you know, in the end, I think whether or not you are a unique snowflake of awesome crazy contradictory coolness or a total crazy fucked-up mess of neuroses is a simple decision you make. Either way, you get to be right. So I'm choosing, for once and for all, to be a snowflake.
And so I am from here on out just going to let it all hang out. And anybody who is offended by FB can fuck off, and anybody who is offended by NWF can fuck off. I just don't care anymore. I'm going insane with the caring and explaining myself and the hoping to be understood and the doubting my own heart. That shit is over. That shit is too hard, it ain't healthy, and I'm through with it. I'm Mary Poppins saying, "I never explain myself."
I don't know why I am who I am, but I know none of the parts of it are bad or wrong. I feel like I am supposed to be this way, I am supposed to make this little fucking sense, and I am going to embrace it. Every day lately I watch Freezin Beggar videos and pray to God to lead me on the right path towards more of the pure joy I know when I make comedy and more of the righteous goodness I feel when I help people understand important things.
I don't know what the future holds for me. It's hard because any path I choose in life will leave some of me unfulfilled. But meanwhile I'm going to make comedy and do things I love and do my very best to be all of me, to be true to all the mes that are me. Good grief, it takes a lot of energy. But I'll do the best I can. And hope that the people I love and accept can love and accept me back.
 
Now that that's done, by way of introducing all the mes to those of you who may know only parts of me, I hold these truths to be self-evident:
 
1. I swear a lot. Not as much as I used to, but I say swear words and I don't care if you like it or not. If you're watching my comedy, you're gonna hear f-bombs. Embrace the eff or turn it off.
 
2. I love Jesus and the Catholic Church. I am not a perfect Catholic. I have things I need to "get right" with the Church about. But I am proud and happy to be Catholic. I am supposed to be Catholic.
 
3. I love gay people. I don't know why gay people are gay. If God wanted me to know, maybe He would have told me. Maybe it's a test to see if we're gonna be loving or not. Who knows? I'm fine if you don't want your kids around gay people - they're your kids. I'm fine if you don't like gay people. That's your decision. We shouldn't be forced to have anything shoved down our throats, but neither can we deny free will and individual liberty. So I love gay people, and not just in the forced "I have to love them" way. I have a great time with gay people and every time I'm around a bunch of them we always end up hugging and feeling like we should be friends forever. They also make the best brunch dates. Are they sinners? Yes. So am I. Fiddle-dee-dee.
 
4. I don't believe in gay marriage. I'm not a homophobe. I love all kinds of people of all kinds of orientations, but I don't think marriage is an equal rights issue, and it's looking like I'll never change my mind. Don't ask me to explain myself. I'm tired of explaining myself.
 
5. I don't care whether you believe in gay marriage or not. It is not on the pop quiz that determines whether we can be friends.
 
6. In fact, I don't have a pop quiz. I am friends with Obamatons and Paulbots and Mormons and alcoholics and radical feminists and sluts and survivalists. I am not afraid of you, humans. In all your infinite variety you are wonderful to God and therefore to me.
 
8. Unless you are an asshole. Don't be an asshole.
 
9. And when I say "friends," I don't just mean Facebook friends.
 
10. Yes, I know I skipped 7. Don't worry about it.
 
11. Seriously, let it go.
 
12. I really, really don't like the current administration and the direction in which our country is moving. I think about these issues - about socialism and the decline of the culture and the national debt and racial demagoguery - a lot. I also think about whether I should be one of the characters from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life for Halloween, and why I've never filmed myself throwing up, and how bad I need to work out, and which season of South Park was the best season. Sometimes I get panicked and disgusted about political and social issues and post passionate, kind of mean things on Facebook. It doesn't mean I hate you if you disagree. It means I'm insane and contradictory, which we've already established. Try not to take it personally.
 
13. I feel like the world would be better if we all roller skated more often.
 
14. I love my husband and I won't say anything bad about him, ever. He would have to stab my puppy or kick my mom to get me to say something bad about him. (I don't have a puppy. Damn.) But luckily he's wonderful so I don't have to worry about it. I'm never going to be one of those bitches who's all, "Ugh, MEN." I just think it's belittling to everyone involved. Yeah, we argue. But that's between us. If you're looking for dirt on him, look elsewhere.
 
15. I hate abortion. I think it's evil and horrifying and needs to be abolished like slavery was abolished. It is part of my life's mission to be a part of that abolition. But! It is not my entire life. There is more to me than hating abortion. I hate abortion because I love life, and how can I love life if mine isn't happy? So while I participate humbly in abolition, I also participate joyfully in things I love: writing non-abortion things, making people laugh, being with my family and friends, and watching Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
 
16. I need a puppy. No, two puppies! Two puppies.
 
17. It is impossible to be sad on a trampoline. (That is less a fact of Kristen and more a fact of life.)
 
18. Four to ten of these things might change tomorrow. I reserve the right to be a completely different person on any given day and not apologize for it or explain myself.
 
There's way more, but that'll do for now.
 
This is a new era for me. It's an era in which I stop trying to reconcile all the mes, and start reveling in the fact that they are irreconcilable.
 
Thank you for reading this. It is humbling that you care enough about me, for good or ill, to read all this. I promise I am not as self-obsessed as this post makes me seem, and I don't spend all day stewing in my own brain muck. But hey: "Know thyself." Right? It's the beginning of all knowledge. I needed to get this done.
 
I think I'm this way for a reason. And it's so totally gonna be okay.
 

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