Some of us have trouble looking normal.
My wig is crooked. In the feature photo. That’s why I’ve used this photo. Because, my wig is crooked and I didn’t know. I haven’t actually learned how to wear the wig properly. I have to pose my head a certain way for it to look normal. I have trouble looking normal.
There’s been a shift in my mission.
Lately, my day is spent within the mere activities of writing and speaking to people. My conversational and interpersonal offerings have become whimsically clear. I am collecting examples of humanity and subverting them for comic relief. I’ll give an example.
Here’s an example of a recent Tinder conversation I had with a man where he’s being really Smart and I’m being “Smarter”:
We’re speaking of how much I love my dog and I jokingly say, “Not in a sad way, though.”
He says, “But isn’t it weird how now we got things like furbabies?”
I say, “What. Is a fur baby?”
This Tinder chat extends itself into true confusion as I sit upright in a chair full of the pie I didn’t think I would eat, clutching armrests with my chest extended forward as if I’m strapped down and waiting for a terminal electrocution or really just wondering if the pie will kill me. I breathe too heavily for a night alone. I stare at the screen, unforgiving of this man’s quasi-philosophy regarding “Women Who Have Dogs For The Sake of Filling Voids In Their Lives” while another man in a separate chat instructs me through a stomach massage he learned in massage school which I’ve told him I am doing but I am definitely not doing. I read the screen:
He says, “Fur baby is your animal baby”
I say, “What”
He says, “It’s hard to unpack,”
The word “unpack” makes me cringe. It’s a word used in post-graduate seminars or it’s a word used to push artists into a specified discursive territory when they’re speaking about “Their work” in an obtuse way on purpose, it’s a word meant to help people who don’t know things pretend like they know things. I cringe, full of pie, propelling my nausea.
He continues to say, “it’s the significance that places the pet as a replacement for the love that one would give a child. It fucks with the loyalty aspect of the best friend connotations by emphasizing (misspelled but I’ll fix it for him) the dependency factor. I suck at unpacking.”
I say, “No. That was great unpacking.”
WE ARE NOT A MATCH.
Let’s define the word match:
- A flammable piece of a thing that you put on the thing and it sets on fire (rough definition)
- A complementary pairing. In Rachel’s case, a man who likes dogs and books and laughing, a man who seemingly doesn’t exist, she prays for him, the world will wait for this man, THIS match is on hold but most matches just seem to happen to people. Rachel is an exclusionary rule to the norm of The Match (she thinks. She eats pie for the sake of this thought. The thought is edgy but not at all edgy)
The men online have been one of two things to me. Either they are very stupid and vulgar or they are kind. Who is more dangerous, the grotesque or the grotesque? This I wonder as I smile at the man sending me South Park gifs, telling me his father wants more from him than just his comedy and I tell him he’s definitely on the right track with these South Park gifs, as I slide to the man who has asked me what my favourite yoga pose is and I tell him that I mostly like the ones that keep everyone’s heads down so that no one in the class can see me failing, as I unmatch with the guy who must be mentally whispering in a sexy voice when he says (CENSORSHIP IN PLACE TO PROTECT MY MOTHER FROM WORRYING ABOUT ME WHEN SHE READS THIS).
I am waiting for a funny man.
Being Kara has fruitfully solidified: I am not Kara. Having found the ghosts of sadness on Instagram yesterday, the literally millions of young people who are posed as Sad, I wonder if I even still want to reach the Karas. At the start of this project it seemed important to find the digital influencers, the trendsetters, to reach them with an important statement that I’ve disguised as “cool” in order to spread my messaging as far as possible. That doesn’t seem important anymore. Who cares about Cool? I’m not cool. I hate when people are cool. Cool people terrify me. I’ve made a juvenile mistake, once again. I’ve strayed from myself.
I want to speak to the ghosts. I want to speak to the young women and men who aren’t seen, who can’t face the trends, who swim in counterculture just to find excuses to be who they think they are, who they hope they are. Scrolling through Sadness on Instagram, I think I’ve found my cult.
I have arrived at The Temple of the Doomed and all I can offer is a written intelligence and a comedic haze risen above their grief.
I’m funny. I am a funny woman. It took me a long time to know that I’m funny but now I know. I’ve made many many rooms of people laugh. I have proof. I can finally handle it. I used to think my cynicism was alienating me from people. I used to think that Funny was Ugly. But, no, now I know: This is what I have. This works.
When I was growing up a ghost, I watched Late Night with Conan O’Brien every morning. I would tape it at night, wake up and watch the tape. Every morning. Conan was one of the only people, things, shows, hours, that could keep me from thinking of ending everything. He literally saved my life. I doubt he intended to do that.
One time I wrote him an email telling him, “Hey Conan, I just want to thank you for saving my life by being really funny. Thanks.”. An NBC bot wrote me back thanking me and telling me they have a lot of communications to read through but they’ll respond to me in time. I still have that email.
I don’t want to be a heroine. But I do.
I all of a sudden don’t know about Kara. She has no real offers. She walks around this apartment thinking everything is funny and she articulates it through laughter but she couldn’t tell you why she is laughing, she can’t tell you the joke. That’s annoying. She’s laughing without processing the funny thought. She’s laughing without wondering about the comedic value of what she’s laughing at. She’s Just Laughing At Things. She can’t share that laughter. She can’t influence anyone else. She’s just: Enjoying herself.
I want to enjoy myself too but I want to work hard. I want to transfer that joy to a room of people, to give an hour of relief, if that’s the time I have to do it in, an hour of relief to the hopeless. Not hope, I don’t know how to give hope. Hope is a big goal. To give hope you need real plans, real political or religious plans but I just want to lift people for moments, take them away from their obsessive sadness, from their commitment to being Sad, and let them laugh.
I seem to have accidentally begun my mission on Tinder (which I think is a dating App but for me is obviously just an entertaining peek into the lives of men) targeting the men who speak to me with no regard for my actual presence in the world. They’re lonely. I’m lonely. We are looking for connection in a virtual world. We are trying to move on with our lives and “get out there” which sounds progressive but it feels sad.
In a new conversation with another Kind Man:
I say, “I see you’re polyamorous, that sounds like a lot of work”
He says, “I think of it like: we can love one person at a time or we can love everyone, why not share love”
I say, “wow, that’s a super dated philosophy but I get it, let’s move to the mountains, wear suede and lie on blankets in the dirt. That’s…is that what it is? Did I do Polyamory right?”
He says, “lol that would work I’m already high”
I ultimately hate Tinder. Everyone is high. I don’t know where I am. It’s like I’ve walked into a high school house party and the sauna door is open and there’s a guy wearing nothing but a hat ushering me in to come sweat with him (that’s an actual high school party memory of mine), meanwhile Kanye is blurred in the background and everyone knows the words but me. I hate Tinder. I feel awkward but then ashamed that I’m excited but then sad that I’m ashamed but then happy that I’m sad because TINDER IS SAD– I don’t know how to do this. I feel funny. I am funny. This is my state of being.
There was a librarian at my high school who had blonde hair, an Irish accent and the worst personality ever. She always told me I was really loud which was impossible because I didn’t speak to anyone. I think she might have been referring to what I was wearing. I used to wear only colour, only patterns and they would clash. It was fun to look the part of Weirdo. I didn’t really know how else to do The Day.
I would sit in the library a lot at lunch because I like to read and I don’t like people. Helpful Hint: If you ever find yourself feeling similarly, go to the library. I walked in, she mentioned I was “particularly loud” for my yellow tie-dye long sleeve and my red polka-dot corduroy skirt. I looked at her for a long time. I remember I was really on the verge of tears that day because this guy who ended up dropping out of school in eleventh grade called me “No Tooth Girl” referring to my missing tooth (later replaced with an implant, missing and blank for a while). He had everyone laughing at me. This was my second high school, just transferred. It was my second week. I could only assume that “no tooth girl” was the name I was called when no one could think of my name, or no one cared to.
I said “Do we have any Irish dictionaries because you keep calling me loud and I’m a bit fuzzy on the definition.”
I didn’t know I was funny. Sometimes it’s good not to know. But, I want to elevate the beauty of laughter.
There are people who sentimentalize everything. These are artists I know, poets, maybe, who search for beauty through the precision of sentiment. Everything is precious, they insist. But, if you look around, that’s not true. If you look around, this is all a joke. Nothing is forever. Nothing is severe. There is severity in the world. Of course. But, it has nothing to do with my missing tooth or my lack of companionship, or the existence of the term “furbabies” or most things in our lives.
We can photograph ourselves and argue our brilliance but it’s all one big joke. Someone is laughing at us somewhere. At all times. The most we can do is understand the laughter and materialize into something we can share.
I like Kara because she is a joke. She is a joke I invented. You will watch the web series we’re creating and you will likely laugh. She is a formatted, mechanical joke that I have invented so that we can look at our shallow behaviour, manifested in this woman who can’t seem to understand anything below the surface, and we can laugh at her, we can laugh at ourselves, we can get the joke. Together.
My instinct to have her reach the population of people that she is satirizing was misguided. I can’t reach Cool people because they take themselves too seriously. They are too alert to the things that make them look better as if looking better is our purpose.
Is it our purpose to put a few pictures online and contrive a friendly or maybe sexual or maybe intelligent conversation with someone we don’t know? Is it really our purpose to find a match and mingle our way through life? I don’t know, that seems like a steep curve towards hopelessness. Sure, it’s our evolutionary goal to spread our genes but sometimes we have to overlook our macro-evolution just to get through the day.
We’ll each never be more than Just This One Person Right Now. I am Just This One Person Right Now. I am not a depository for popular interests. I am not an amalgam of things that You might need. I am just this one person. If I’m working to communicate anything to anyone, it can’t be because I believe I Look Good. It has to be because I believe that This Is Funny. This is Funny: Look, laugh, move on. This is Funny: Don’t hate yourself. This is Funny: It’s momentary and it’s changing. It’s still serious. It’s serious enough to experience and comment upon but it’s funny because it’s already happened. You have already happened. You are already here. If something hurts you, look to someone else for their Funny. Something is funny. It’s worth finding.
I seek a popular audience because I know I am right. I am right in insisting that This is Funny. I can make you cry too. I know what’s sad too. But, sadness only helps us identify our pain. Funny helps us get through it. Cool is that thing we do when we’re avoiding what’s real. Funny is that thing we do when we’re confronting being okay with that reality.
There are ghosts walking amongst us, they need help to look away from themselves for just a second, just to be in that room with that Conan recording or that one thing, that one sane thing, that one window into Okay. I’ll bring them Kara. Somehow I have to bring them a clown they can thank later.
This blog is updated daily, detailing my transformation into a fictional character who is being crafted for a larger theatrical project. If you like it, please share to social media, follow the blog and come back soon
You can read Kara’s blog at http://www.okkarablog.wordpress.com
or follow her on Instagram @karakarrara