Commissioned by Aleph Null
Bojack Horseman is another example of a show I’ve been told to write about that I don’t feel I can do justice with the limitations of the commission process for the Patron Tier of $5. It’s a show I haven’t watched much of and what I have watched makes me not want to watch it. Not because it’s a bad show or anything, just… look, I’m working on a book that’s largely about a guy coming to terms with his failed suicide. The major project I worked on prior to that (that has been released to the public) was in large part about me coming to terms with the death of my grandfather and was about a guy having a near death experience to come to terms with a depressive period of his life. Bojack Horseman is a show about a depressed actor who is self-destructing. There are loads of reasons for me not to write about it.
And yet, here I am writing about it. More specifically, Free Churro, the best episode of the whole series… the one where Bojack gives a eulogy for his mother, a woman who died not even knowing who he was because of a stupid disease. It’s structured like a joke. “A man goes to a funeral to give a eulogy for his mother. He had a complex and depressing relationship with her, one that didn’t end well, and yet he had to give a final statement on her. He doesn’t know what to say, so he starts rambling, as we’re wont to do. Then, an epiphany happens. He realizes the nature of his mother’s relationship to him and looks at her body. But she’s not there. He went to the wrong funeral.”
Not funny when told in that context, but still. It’s the structure that matters. We are all trapped by the structures we find ourselves in. The face we’ve given ourselves, our style. I’m going to change things up once I finish One Must Imagine Scott Free Happy. I just can’t stand doing the same kind of writing over and over again. Being stuck in that rut ultimately has me saying the same five or six points about myself. I need to shake things up and do something new. I’m not in a place where I can actually write about what I want to write about when it comes to Free Churro. It hasn’t ended yet and so it’s too soon to actually talk about it.
I have it planned out though, probably… five years from now? I have the next project and a Chris O’Leary riff to get through first. But for now, I’m writing about something else… Why do I write, I sometimes ask myself. Why do I write the way I do. These stories about the things I watch and read. The ways I talk about myself through them. There are many reasons for that, but the one relevant to this one is… I want to be seen. I want people to be able to see me for me. Not the whole of me, there are some things that I don’t bring up in the very personal old post that’s coming up on the 29ththat make me look worse. I don’t talk about what I did to compensate for my failings. Or, rather, “failings.”
I’ve done things I regret. Things I wish I never did. Things too recent to just throw them under the rug as the actions of a dumb teenager in high school. I’ve said the wrong word, done the wrong action, made the wrong call. And I don’t want to talk about them. Not yet, not here. Even though Bojack Horseman, a show about imperfect people trying their best to be better despite doing some truly horrible things, would be a fitting place to talk about them. I keep trying to find the right place for them, but they’re too raw at the moment.
Because that’s the thing about being seen, it’s different from being shown. To be shown is to not have agency in being looked at. We all want to be seen, but part of that is a level of agency. We decide what other people see. A corpse can never be seen, for a corpse has no agency in being looked at. An author, likewise, cannot truly be seen through a text. For even in my honesty, there’s still a level of artifice to such things. I can say that my name is Sean Joseph Dillon, a 23, soon to be 24, year old man who writes and edits for a living. But that doesn’t tell you much. Even when I talk about personal things, memory cheats and makes them seem better or worse than they actually were.
There is one thing I could tell you, something that’s relevant. When I was a kid, I was bullied. Frequently, and I didn’t take it well. I’d do a lot of things that were, for lack of a better word, awful. I won’t go into specifics, but there were times when I was a genuine creep who thought my loner status put him above the rest, even as I was self aware enough to know that such archetypes were a bullshit artifice to hide my own insecurities. One of the ways my bullies would torment me was through calling me “Seen.” That would always get to me because I didn’t want to be “Seen.” Because I wasn’t “Seen.” I was Sean. I am Sean.
Over the years, I’ve contemplated a lot of the implications of that statement. What it means to be Sean and whatnot. There are times when I don’t like being me because I’m a fuck up, an ass, and a jerk. Sometimes, I wonder about aspects of myself, if and how I should change my behaviors and outlooks. I try to look at myself through the lens other people, other versions of myself. I’ve even pondered my gender, especially after two major influences came out as trans within a month of each other. (I still haven’t come to a full conclusion, but being trans myself doesn’t feel right for me. I’m comfortable in my masculinity, but not in traditional masculinity, if that makes any sense.) I’m a bit too anxious about how people see me, intentionally or otherwise. And that anxiety causes me to sometimes lash out at people. But ultimately, I try to be better. I sometimes fall back into bad habits and attitudes, but in spite of that, I feel like I’m a better person than I was when I was younger.
I’m trying to be, at least. That’s the best we can do really.