All posts by Wil

Author, actor, producer. On a good day, I am charming as fuck.

everything’s coming up wilhouse

About once a year or so, I look back through my blog archives just to see what I’ve written about, and to see where I am now, relative to where I was then. Years ago, I was writing lots of stuff here almost every day, so I got a pretty granular view. For the last couple years, I’ve been working on this book so much, in addition to all my other jobs, I just haven’t made it a priority to post here. When I have a quick thought, and a quick minute to spit it out, Facebook is where it goes.

I hate Facebook. Facebook is evil and bad for humanity, and it should be regulated like tobacco or alcohol. Zuckerberg ought to be shipped off to some island for sociopaths where he can live a life of luxury and whatever, and let someone with actual human emotions and some semblance of a conscience  make the apparently difficult decisions about promoting Fascism and genocide that Zuckerberg seems to really struggle with.

But I’m an entertainer (so what do I know) and it just makes sense to go where the audience is. You can write the most interesting stuff, make the most beautiful music, perform the most incredible entertainment, but if there’s no audience to receive it, it starts to feel a little pointless. Facebook is where the people are, and something I post there is seen by hundreds of thousands of people, while something I post here is seen by a few thousand at best. Facebook is also where the conversation seems to have moved, and I genuinely enjoy the conversation that used to happen in blog comments, way back in the before times.

“And yet you use Facebook. Interesting.”

Yeah. We’re not doing that.

I’ve taken to cross posting here most of the things I consider important enough to have in my own space, instead of a space controlled by a company that can lock me out for telling a Nazi to go fuck themselves, where I’ll always be able to find them when I do my semi-annual mental clip show. The last few days have been fairly consequential, and I’ve been posting pretty regularly about all this stuff on my Facebook thing. I’m adapting those posts into one big post here, with all my glasses, and my shoes, so I can have them.

22 October, 3:22pm. Feeling Anxious.

I should be working, but…

Huge deadline tomorrow. Just under two years of work coming up to the absolute drop dead date. If I miss it, the whole project dies. The last three or so days has just been this epic, high stakes sprint of rewrites and changes that has been at times exhilarating, exhausting, frustrating … essentially everything that the larger process was for two years, just crammed and concentrated into 72 hours. I don’t really need to do it this way ever again, and will absolutely do again because that’s how I’m wired.

I am so close to being finished! I have two significant things remaining to write. Probably about 2500 or 3000 words, total, before I turn this thing in and don’t get to mess with it any more. I feel like I should be excitedly cranking out those words instead of writing this, so I can get it out the door and get it that much closer to your hands. But I’m holding it more tightly than I have at any other point in the process, because I am so afraid to drop this baby off for its first day of preschool. I know that I have to trust my editors, my publisher, my beta readers, when they tell me they enjoyed it, when I used the valuable notes they gave me to make it better. I know I really have to focus on their supportive voices, even though this loud, insistent voice in my head that’s way too familiar, just will not stop screaming at me THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU.

I have been writing professionally for about twenty years, but I was today years old when I fully understood what it means when an author says that a book isn’t ever really finished, that it can only be let go. I’m so scared to let this go, y’all. I have this white-hot terror that, if the big, fancy reviewers at the NYT or Publisher’s Weekly or whatever even pay attention to me and this work, that they’re going to be like, “Here’s an extensive examination of all the ways you suck. Zero stars.”

I know a lot of this (okay, all of it) is exclusively in my head and is probably not really supported by an objective reading of the material. I keep reminding myself that all these professionals wouldn’t be supporting this work if my fears and insecurities reflected the material I delivered, instead of just being existential worries inside my skull.

I am doing what I can to get from trembling-with-apprehension to trembling-with-antici-

SAY IT SAY IT SAY IT

…pation. This is a big deal. This is one of those things you work hard for and hope to achieve, and you pour EVERYTHING into it. You work on it so much, it starts to define your days, and on one of those days you look up, realize it’s been two years, and it’s like, “Okay, the work is done and it’s time to put it into the world!”

Oh, here comes that voice in my head, only this time it’s showing me a meme. Gob Bush: I’ve made a horrible mistake.

Thanks, brain. You’re the best. I love you, buddy. Let me know when you’re ready to get back on team Me.

I gotta get back to work. I’m so close. A lot of people are counting on me to turn this in on time.

Gulp.

I think I get to drop the full announcement later this week. Or maybe it’s early next week. That decision is being made by professionals who know what timing is best, and I’m staying in my lane. I do hope you’ll all pretend to be super surprised whenever it hits your feed.

5:25pm

You are all so kind and supportive. I just did about 1000 extremely important words that had to be just right. I read them, and the whole section they go in, to Anne, and she said, “Oh, that’s so much better. I love that.”

I trust her. She loves me enough to be honest with me, and she knows how much I care about this. So I’m letting that whole section go, and heading into the next one.

7:39pm

Okay, maybe this is a little silly? Like it’s liveblogging the last mile of this epic marathon?

But I just finished a very emotional 1000 words, and I’m down to my final thing.

8:28pm

Frodo_its_done.gif

9:51pm

Okay. So.

I finished the writing I had to do. Earlier today, I thought that I needed to do between 2500 and 3000 words, I think I said?

My super great math skills tell me I did just about 2800. My super great estimation skills are just giving me that ‘sup look. Like, they see me. They never doubted me. (My math skills are the kid from Parenthood, running into a wall with a bucket over his head.)

Anyway. I did all those words, put them where they go, annnnnd … I’m done. I’ve been working on this for a couple of years, and tonight, like just a little bit ago, I finished it. This will be one of the most high profile things I will ever do as a writer, maybe the only high profile thing I ever do as a writer, and … now it is … done.

Honestly, I don’t really feel … anything? It’s a little unsatisfying. It feels like something should happen. Like a confetti cannon should go off or something.
What did happen was I leaned forward in the chair I’d been in for ten hours, took a deep breath, and clicked the save icon (which I hear high school kids don’t know is based on the floppy disk? Or what a floppy disk even is?). Then, I let that breath out, as I fell back and then sank into my chair.

I looked over my shoulder at Anne, who I had asked to come look over the last bit to make sure I didn’t leave anyone out, and I said, “Holy shit, I’m finished,” and we did the best fist bump two suburban middle-aged white people have ever done. And then I went and played Mr. Do! to unwind, because I am a 49 year-old teenager.

But I really did expect to feel … something. Maybe not a huge celebration, but at least maybe relief? Or satisfaction? I don’t exactly feel anything as much as I am aware that there had been this thing in front of me that said FINISH THIS, and now that thing isn’t there any more.

I know it was unrealistic to expect the confetti cannon. That’s on me. I would have had to plan that. I don’t know why I thought it would just show up.

I told Anne that I just hope it all holds together, you know? There are parts that I just love, that I’m so proud of, that I loved writing, rewriting, and polishing. There are parts where I feel like I got it as good as I could get it, and I have to trust that somehow nobody will notice because I’m probably the only one who knows exactly what I was going for. Then there are all the parts in between.

And that’s how a bill becomes a law!

Inside my head, that is the funniest goddamn thing I have written in a long time. Maybe in my whole life.

And that is how I know it’s probably time to go lie down forever for a few hours. I get to do a cool thing tomorrow, and I need to be rested, and way more coherent than I am now.

So all of that happened on Monday. On Tuesday, I worked on Ready Room.

26 October 2:14pm

I did an interview for Ready Room today, in our fancy new set that was built specifically for us!

Without getting into spoilers or breaking my NDA, I can safely share that Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio (who I got to interview today) are two of the most remarkable humans I have have the pleasure of sharing some space and time with. I had to keep reminding myself that they are decades younger than me, because they are so wise and insightful. I know for a fact I was nowhere close to them, intellectually or otherwise, when I was their age. They are just amazing. And Ian is the most stylish person I think I’ve ever been around. I spent WAY more time picking out my clothes for today than I normally would, because I knew he’d be there, and when he (and Blu) noticed, I had a little moment. It was pretty great.

We are members of a very small club, made up of people who were young actors on Star Trek. What are there, like … six? Nine? Of us? It won’t mean to them what it means to me for another decade or so. I hope I still have the privilege of sharing time and space with them when that happens.

I can’t say anything about the episode we shot. That would get me into all sorts of trouble. But I loved every second of it, and I am so grateful.

Sometime between when I posted that, and when we ate dinner, I had a long conversation with my manager about an acting offer I was considering. I’d spent a lot of time talking myself into it and then out of it and then back into it and I just needed some objective counsel from someone who I knew I could trust to have my best interests at heart. I knew he’d help me make the best decision for myself, and for where we hope to steer my professional career in the coming years.

27 October 1:04pm

Okay so I can’t say anything specific about it, but … I just accepted an offer to work a couple days on a network series, even though I’m pretty much retired from on-camera acting.

If you’re familiar with my journey, I think you’ll understand what a big deal it was for me to tell my manager, “I’m really not interested in acting on camera, but I’ll read the script, and if I like it, maybe I’ll do it because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.”

So I did, and I did, and I said yes. On my terms. On my terms, y’all!

What a crazy week this is turning out to be, and it’s only Wednesday.

And because all of this isn’t cool enough already, if everything goes the way we think it will, I’ll get to do a whole book reveal thing tomorrow. It will happen on my Facebook and my Instagram, and eventually find its way here. And then I get to do Ready Room again on Friday. What a crazy week this is turning out to be, and it’s only Wednesday.

Ensign Wheaton, reporting for duty.

As many of you know, I absolutely love Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Many of you also know that since 2019, I have had the pleasure and privilege of hosting The Ready Room, your home for all things Star Trek Universe. It’s one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had. Top three, for sure. Maybe top two. I’m so grateful that I get to do this thing that brings together my love for all things Star Trek, my 30ish years of experience being part of all things Star Trek, and gives me the opportunity, if I do it right, to be a Trekkie who brings my fellow Trekkies into the room where it happens. I do not take a single second of it for granted.

There’s INSANELY COOL Ready Room stuff coming up that I can’t talk about. In fact, I’ve already said too much, and you should probably forget I said anything. But there’s also an INSANELY COOL thing that I can share right now.

Continue reading… →

sweet and tender hooligan

Yesterday, I accidentally discovered that a friend of mine loves the same midcentury asthetic the same way I do. Not only that, but she and her husband love the same Exotica, Lounge, easy listening, Hi-Fi Souunds Of Tomorrow music that I love. I’m talking about artists like Esquivel, Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and their contemporaries.

I discovered this genre of music in the mid 90s, and fell in love with it instantly. I thought it was so weird that this guy I was, who loved punk and grunge and metal just absolutely fell head over heels in love with the soothing sounds of midcentury America. Around that time, I also discovered Squirrel Nut Zippers, Asylum Street Spankers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and their contemporaries. So I kinda lump my midcentury obsession together with those bands, even though they aren’t exactly Hi-Fi.

Well, it turns out that my friend and her husband did the exact same thing, and we never knew it about each other. Pretty cool.

I was inspired by this revelation to build a mega playlist that I could enjoy while I played arcade games last night (this is part of my self care routine, I tell myself). So I fired up the old Spotify + Sonos, and I got to work. I started with my KROQ Happy Place playlist, added a couple Exotica and Lounge playlists to the queue, threw in Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s Halloween playlist, and finally added a Dark Wave playlist to the whole thing. I shuffled it all together, and it was really great. I think it was like 2 days worth of music?

I’d been listening for like half an hour or so. I’d heard a deeply satisfying mix of Hi-Fi and classic punk, some new wave, even some of the Halloween stuff. I was enjoying the SHIT out of it.

I was playing Mr. Do!, as one does, when A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours, by The Smiths, came on.

Holy shit I loved this album when it came out. It was really important to me, when I was in high school.

I stopped playing and let the little dragons kill my Mr. Do! guy, while I listened to the music. Before I knew what was happening, I fell deep into a memory.

I remembered my first significant, meaningful, head-over-heels-in-love experience as a teenager, when I was fourteen, almost fifteen. She was older than me. I think she was a senior when I was a freshman. She was in a drama production with the girl I was dating (and by “dating”, I mean, “endlessly making out with because we were horny teenagers”), and I met her at the cast party for that show.

God, I haven’t thought about this in decades. The girl who was my nominal girlfriend at the time, on our way into the cast party, told me that she’d decided it was time for us to see other people. This blindsided fourteen year-old me. It turns out that there was some dude in the cast she wanted to hook up with, like you do when you’re a teenager, so she sort of … I guess broke up with me for that night, hooked up with this other guy, and then wanted to get back together with me a few days later. I was like, “you broke up with me to hook up with that guy. That’s not cool. We’re staying broken up.” And that was it.

Remember stuff like that when we were kids? How it seemed like the most consequential thing that would ever happen in our lives until the next thing happened to eclipse it, and now when we look back on all of it, with perspective, we’re, like, “Oh boy. LOL.”

So at this party, the girl I was dating pretty much ditched me, and I was kind of alone. Or, more accurately, I was totally alone. This woman (I mean, she was probably 17? But to 14 year-old me she was a woman, unlike the girl I was dating. I feel like this is offensive to say now, but at the time, it made sense) sits down next to me and just starts talking to me about stuff. She’s super kind, and within a few minutes, we’re talking like we’ve known each other forever. We spent the rest of this party just sitting on this balcony, talking about stuff I wish I could remember, until it was time for everyone to go home. She drove me back to my house, in her BMW 2002, and we listened to KROQ on the way. When we got to my house, she gave me a hug, and suggested that we should hang out. I didn’t get any romantic interest from her at all. I just felt like this person and I clicked for whatever reason, and I was totaly into being friends with her. I wrote down my phone number for her, she wrote down hers for me, and I went into my house, much happier than I should have been, considering that my girlfriend essentially dumped me on our way into a party and hooked up with some dude under my nose just a few hours earlier.

I’m not going to name either of the ladies in this story, but I’m going to call the girl who drove me home “Kara”.

Over the next few weeks, Kara and I became insanely good friends. She lived in an apartment with her mom, and we spent endless hours sitting on the floor in her room, listening to records. She is the person who introduced me to Violent Femmes, Siouxie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, and The Smiths. I’m positive there were others, but those are the ones that I can clearly remember.

I should have told you this earlier: she was the first real goth girl I knew. She wore a Bettie Page haircut, had incredible style, and was ALWAYS totally put together.

I honestly don’t know what 14 year-old me brought to the table, but she saw something worthwhile in me that I didn’t, and she nurtured the hell out of that part of me. She took me to plays, she took me to art shows, she introduced me to the most interesting people I had ever met to that point in my life.

Once, when I was in my 30s, related a little bit about her to a friend of mine, who is also a giant nerd who married a super cool woman who is way out of his league, and he said, “She made you cool.”

I am not, was not, and never will be cool, but I appreciated the sentiment. She certainly got me as close to cool as I’d ever get. And she opened my world to all this incredible art and culture that I never would have found without her.

So one day we were listening to records, talking about The Stranger, which she had recommended I read, because I liked the song Killing An Arab by The Cure. She pulled out this stack of 12 inch singles. Each one had gorgeous art on it, photographs of old movie stars, it looked like, with a sort of silver tone over it all.

“I collect import singles,” she said. “This is my collection of The Smiths.”

I sort of knew The Smiths, because Strangeways had recently come out, and after hearing Girlfriend in a Coma on KROQ, I went to the Warehouse and bought the CD. But to that point, I hadn’t listened to any of their other records. The extent of my New Wave at that moment was Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, maybe a very little Tears For Fears. I was still mostly punk and (I know this is incredibly weird) Pink Floyd at that moment in my life. It makes no sense, then or now. But it’s where I was, musically.

I forget what was on her turntable, but she took it off, put the record back in its sleeve, and pulled out one of those Smiths import singles. I want to tell you what it was, but I don’t remember. I feel like it could have been Bigmouth Strikes Again, or Shoplifters of the World Unite. Maybe it was This Charming Man.

Remember the first time you heard some music and you thought, “oh my god they are talking about me. They GET me,” and it changes your life?

That’s how I felt about The Smiths. We spent the next hour or so playing all of her import records, and when she drove me home, we stopped at The Warehouse so I could buy Louder Than Bombs, Meat is Murder, and The Queen Is Dead. I remember that she threw a bunch of shade at Louder Than Bombs, because it was the American compilation of the import singles she’d spent considerable time and effort collecting.

Once I started listening to The Queen Is Dead …. wow. It was … everything. I was so sad. It was so lonely. It was so sardonic and biting. He sang about my story, about my life. Oh my god “I know it’s over”? “Bigmouth Strikes Again”? “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”? Holy fucking shit fuck fuck fuck are you serious how does this even exist. This album was taken directly out of that part of my heart I hadn’t had the courage to share with ANYONE.

Okay, real quick, I’m just going to take a moment to make meaningful eye contact with all of you who know precisely what I’m talking about.

I see you, and I just want to remind you all: we made it.

For the next year or so, Kara was one of my best friends. We hung out all the time. We drove around town in her 2002, listening to the music that I still listen to and love today. I don’t remember many of the things we did, but I clearly recall how she made me feel. She was a kind, caring, gentle presence in my life at a time when I desperately needed that person. She exposed me to art, to poetry, to literature, to all the stuff that ended up defining me. She helped me pour the foundation upon which my entire adult life is built. My mother had kept me in a box for my whole life, and Kara showed me that there was a way out of that box.

And then she graduated, moved away, and we lost touch with each other.

The whole year we were friends, I was just completely in love with her. She made me feel so good about myself. She took a genuine interest in me. She just made me feel special. She made me feel, without ever saying anything directly, like I wasn’t the unlovable, unworthy piece of crap my dad made me believe I was. In one year, she did more for my self-esteem than anyone else had in my entire life. And nothing even remotely romantic ever happened between us. I mean, I would listen to The Queen Is Dead on repeat and just fucking pine away for her to love me the way I loved her, but I never said anything because I knew that she was out of my league, probably not interested in me that way anyway, and I didn’t want to risk upsetting what was one of the most important friendships I’d ever had. If she knew that I would have crawled over borken glass for her, (and honestly, I don’t know how she didn’t) she never let on. She was just kind to me, and such a good friend.

I haven’t thought about her in 20 years. But when I thought about her last night, I missed her again the way I did when she moved away back in 1988 or 1989. It only lasted a second, but I felt it, hard, in that little part of teenage me who comes out from time to time and needs to be hugged.

I don’t listen to The Smiths anymore. After Morrissey turned into … what would we even call him, now? He’s such a dick. I can’t stand to hear his voice any more. He’s like kind of a fascist, he’s kind of a bigot, and he’s just gross and awful. Is he an incel? It seems like sad kids like us can go that way, if we don’t have someone to love us and guide us through it, if we don’t have a Kara. I feel like this man who wrote so many songs that were so important to so many of us who felt alone, and alienated, and unlovable, we felt seen and validated by his lyrics. And I feel betrayed by him, now. Like, how did that guy turn into this guy? It’s a giant bummer. And The Smiths was SUCH a significant and meaningful part of my life, I can’t just look past him and separate the art from the artist. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But yesterday, when my massive playlist kicked out one of the Smiths songs that I suspect was part of the dark wave collection I added to the queue, I didn’t skip it. In my head, I created this static warp bubble where 15 year-old me could sit next to me now, and we listened to The Smiths, together. I doubt very much that Kara ever thinks of me, if she remembers me at all. But when I was 14 and 15, my life was so much better because she was in it. Teenage me wanted adult me to remember her, how kind she was to me, and how she exploded my world with her music.

And when it was all over, teenage me felt kind of … soothed, I guess? I can’t explain that part of it. I feel embarrassed and awkward when I try, kind of the way teenage me felt all the time.

Kara is the reason I still clutch my heart when I see goth kids or theatre kids. I remember being them, and I wouldn’t have even known I was one of them, without her.

I will never know why she decided to come sit next to me that night. I was just a weird kid, in a house that was filled with weird kids. I wasn’t special. There was no reason I would have stood out among them. And yet. I like to believe she saw a fellow traveler, and she helped him get as close to cool as he was ever going to get.

I’m so sad that Morrissey is such a shit. I’m so sad that I can’t listen to The Smiths like I once did, because I just can’t separate the art from the artist in this specific case.

But I’m so glad that I heard The Smiths last night, and that it inspired me to build that static warp bubble. I’ve spent a LOT of time lately with teenage me, and he’s been telling me about a lot of his pain and trauma. It was so wonderful to hear him share joyful memories, from an otherwise really tough time in his life.

Kara will never see this, but I’m putting it out into the world, anyway: Thank you. I never told you how much you meant to me, but I think you knew. Thank you for being there for me, and for being exactly who I needed. Teenage me will always miss teenage you, and I hope that adult you is happy and healthy. I hope you have kids, because I bet you’d be the most amazing mom.

growing up, most of the best acting of my life took place off the set

TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE

I read this post on Tumblr, and it spoke to my lived experience in a loud and familiar voice. I posted it in comments on my Facebook yesterday, but I think it’s worth promoting to Main for other survivors who may take some comfort from it the way I did.

“Living in long term abusive situation, the abusers will often require you to ‘act normal’, as if everything is fine and good, even if you don’t feel okay. They present it to you as necessary, polite, ‘don’t be rude to xyz’ or will straight-up belittle and humiliate you until acting ‘normal’ will be the only safe option for you. It creates the illusion that everyone is secretly falling apart inside and suffering silently only to be polite.

“Acting normal in every situation can become a compulsion, something you do automatically to protect yourself against possible or imagined backlash; you live as if you’re unphased by anything, because showing pain feels like showing weakness, and being hurt while you’re weak is worse. You additionally might feel that your feelings are too much, nobody would want to deal with them, you’re oversensitive, overdramatic, over-emotional disaster of a human and you keep it all in to save yourself rejection and embarassment.”

I said:

“My father did all the abusing, and my mother did all the gaslighting, so I would act okay around not just him, but everyone.

“To the day I ended contact with them, after trying so fucking hard to heal with them, he denied ever doing anything to hurt me, and she gaslighted me about it.

“I was so good at acting okay, most of my biological family doesn’t believe me about his cruelty and abuse.”

https://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/664252004001071104/furiousgoldfish-living-in-long-term-abusive

I was telling Anne yesterday afternoon that my childhood was defined by a father who clearly didn’t love me, didn’t even like me, and a mother who somehow convinced herself that he wasn’t hurting me. Like, after raising two kids together, I had this realization one day that nothing happened in our house that we both didn’t know about. If one of the kids was upset about something, we both knew about it and we talked about it, together, so we could be the best parents we could be.

There’s no way my mother didn’t know that the man who was my father was cruel to me. There’s no way she didn’t know he was so mean to me. He humiliated me, he teased me, he picked on me. He put me down, he mocked me, he minimized everything I cared about. He did it in front of the whole family, endlessly. There’s no way she didn’t know he clearly and obviously and demonstrably loved my brother and sister in a way he did not love me. I mean, look at pictures of me. Pictures where I was putting on my best face for the whole world! The sadness and pain in my eyes is painfully obvious. Some of you are mothers. I know that every single one of you would recognize that pain and sadness if you saw it in your children. I know that every single one of you would do everything in your power to help your child.

There’s no way she didn’t know, unless she deliberately chose to ignore everything I was going through, for whatever reason. Honestly, that’s worse, I think.

I’ve talked to my sister about it, and it’s like she grew up in a different family than I did. She says she never felt unloved, or like she had to be good enough for their affection and approval. She felt like she was enough, just because she existed. She never felt like our parents didn’t love her or accept her exactly as she was. Watching my parents worship our brother, it was obvious that he was more than enough for them.

But I was a thing. When I was seven, Mom made me a thing that she could use to chase fame and fortune in Hollywood, and that man who should have been a father to me … I guess he resented that thing.

He wasn’t physically abusive toward me until I was a teenager. I mean, they both spanked me and my siblings all the time in the 70s and early 80s. I understand now that we consider that physical abuse, but in the 70s I understand that corporal punishment was more common than it is now? I don’t know. I think using the threat of physical violence and pain to make your kids behave a certain way is monstrous, but I also know it was a different time and … well, my parents were kind of monstrous. I just didn’t have anything to compare my experience to at the time.

I wonder if she convinced herself that, because he wasn’t hitting me or leaving marks on me, that he wasn’t abusive. And I wonder if, having made that choice, the emotional abuse and endless cruelty was that much easier to ignore.

I’ll never know, because all the times I tried to talk to her about it, she just gaslighted me. As far as I know, with the exception of my sister, my birth family sincerely believes I am the villain in their story. And that really, really hurts.

As I said in my post on Tumblr, I got so good at pretending everything was okay, just so I could survive, I fooled everyone in our family, in our neighborhood, and at work. To this day, people I trusted don’t believe me, because I was such a good actor.

It hurts so much to know that people I love don’t believe me, or believe that I’m anything other than a survivor. It hurts, and the lingering vestiges of those childhood survival skills occasionally assert themselves, making an argument to me that I should just reject everything I know to be true, and accept their version of reality, just so I can have the family my brother and sister have.

If I’m being honest, the thing that hurts the most is knowing that my parents had unconditional love to give, because I saw them give it freely to my siblings. The man who was my father made a choice to treat me like shit, and my mother made a choice to ignore or justify it.

My sister told me she has these memories of going on family vacations without me, and that she always missed me being there. I remembered them taking a few trips when I was in my late teens, and how I didn’t want to go with them, because the way our parents and our brother made me feel was just so awful.

I am having a little bit of a flashback right now to one of the many times my brother and father gleefully ganged up on me, teasing me, humiliating me, mocking me. Just relentlessly bullying me. And when I punched back, it was always, “WOAH why are you so sensitive? Learn to take a joke!” and etc.

This has gotten much longer than I intended, and a big part of me feels like I should just delete it all. That part of me is always scared and vulnerable and anxious about everything. But when I posted this yesterday, the ensuing comments helped me feel so NOT ALONE in knowing that all of these things I endured, all the gaslighting and all the pain and trauma were REAL because those things didn’t happen just to me. It hurts to know other people experienced these things, but it also helps me know that I’m not alone, I didn’t make it all up, and none of it was my fault. I hope it helps them, too.

If you see yourself in any of my experiences, I want you to know that I see you, right back. I believe you. We didn’t deserve any of it, and I am so sorry.

Evangelical White Fragility in action

Last week, I came across an image that sparked a reflection on a lot of the trauma I experienced as a child. It’s trauma that lingers in my life, and it’s trauma that I discovered a whole lot of other people share.

Well, I posted about my trauma and how it affected my philosophy and life choices on my Facebook.

Here’s that post:.

 

 

This is, apparently, what the actual Jesus of Nazareth looked like, according to an artist and an algorithm and actual, historical, data (as opposed to a story that white people tell each other).

I am an atheist. I do not believe in god, or the devil, or heaven, or hell. But I like and respect this guy. He was a rebel, he was an antiauthoritarian, he dedicated his life to helping the poor, the sick, the indigent, the people who were discarded and rejected by society. He hung out with sex workers and lepers, and gave comfort to the sick and suffering, and he loudly and relentlessly called out the hypocrisy of the church and its leaders. As I understand it, he was like, “Hey, you’re a sinner. That’s a bummer. Let me help you be a better person. No, I don’t expect anything from you for that. I just want to be as loving as I can be.” He was a really cool guy.

This guy, in this picture, is not the Jesus I was introduced to in parochial school. The Jesus I was introduced to was soooooo white, like super super super white, and he was keeping an eye on you so he could snitch on you to his dad, who was SUPER PISSED AT EVERYTHING YOU DID all the time for some reason. The Jesus I knew was, like, maybe going to be okay with you, as long as you knew what a giant fuck up you were. And he was absolutely not accepting of anyone who didn’t do exactly what the authority figures at school told us we had to do. And Reagan was essentially his avatar sent to Earth. If we didn’t worship Reagan the same way we were supposed to worship white Jesus, we were going to have a REALLY bad time. Did I mention that I was, like, 8 when all of this was drilled into me?

I deeply resent American Christianity. It has brought nothing but pain into my life. I deeply resent and despise evangelical Christians who turned this guy in this picture, who was reportedly a cool, loving, gentle, dude, who was a legit rebel, into someone who hates all the same things they hate, and who LOVES authoritarians the same way they do. I despise the people who do all sorts of cruel, hurtful, hateful things in this guy’s name. And they are EVERYWHERE in America.

I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world. What I do know is that, in America, this person has been perverted into a weapon, a cudgel, to be used against the same people the actual Jesus loved and stood up for. It’s disgusting.

And, look, if someone professes to follow the teachings of this dude, whose WHOLE FUCKING THING was “love everyone. Period. No exceptions”, and they don’t, like, do that? They are as bad as the money changers in the temple. I know that this dude loves them, because that’s his whole thing, but I suspect that, if this dude exists, he is disappointed and maybe a little embarrassed by them.

As an afterthought: I can’t stop thinking about how this dude was an immigrant, and poor. I keep thinking that, if he showed up in … let’s say Texas, today, how badly he would be treated by the very same people who use his name and pervert his teachings to exert control over the very same people Jesus spent his entire life looking after.

And, honestly, none of this would even matter if the American Christian extremists would keep their white Jesus out of our laws and government.

https://old.reddit.com/…/portrait_of_jesus_by_digital…/

The most unexpected, and ultimately healing result of this post were the literal thousands of comments (over 11K last time I looked) from people who shared my experience in their own way, who said “your experience is valid, I share it, and I am so sorry.” There were literally hundreds of comments, many from clergy, who said, “I do not share your experience, but it is still valid. I’m so sorry.” And then there were about a dozen or so angry, judgmental, proselytizing people who exemplified why I despise what I defined as American Christianity and the Evangelicals who use it to hurt and control others. I spent more time participating in comments and discussion on that post than I have on anything else I’ve ever written, and it was profound. It was healing. It was supportive. It was valuable. And, for the moment at least, it’s all gone, because Facebook has decided that post is hate speech.

What?

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing hateful there. I mean, after I was so abused by self-professed Christians, I am allowed to despise them. I am allowed to reject their world view, and I am allowed to talk about it. There’s nothing hateful or bigoted about that. I am allowed to draw a boundary, express why that boundary is there, and defend it.

And yet, as happens so frequently when I write something that right wing authoritarians get angry about, I’ve been locked out of my Facebook account, again, for what they claim is hate speech and bigotry. Clearly, someone or group of someones brigaded my post, and Facebook responded as it always does.

They should at least be honest, and call it what it is: White Evangelical Fragility can’t handle someone like me expressing these feelings and beliefs. It threatens everything they hold dear, and we just can’t have that, not in White Jesus America.

I’ve appealed the action. It will take days to get a response, if I get any response at all. This, coupled with yesterday’s outage, is a good argument for breaking up Facebook, subjecting it to more rigorous and responsive oversight, and for having our own personal spaces online where an untouchable corporation can’t interfere with our communications.

UPDATE:

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