I can't tell if I'm escaping reality or facing it

Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a decent mantra even if it's just a TV show

This week I wrestled with this newsletter or blog or whatever it is because I’m not sure it’s mainly what the world wants from me or if it’s the best use of my time; which is a sinking feeling I’ve had before, usually whenever something starts to bring me joy. I call it Control/Alternate/Delete. because it’s not just the combo of keystrokes necessary to bring up task manager or shut down a Windows computer, but as we on the Internet continue to live our lives software update to software update, we are controlling, alternating, and deleting bugs in our systems and scanning for viruses in our mental software.

It’s not so much whether I want to write or not, but I get caught up in the dumb business stuff that I don’t like thinking about like whether I should be writing on SubStack or my website or maybe a publication that will pay me to write similar topics but edited so it’s more professional and perhaps not sound so depressing. Writing is good for me. I know that much, but it’s not as if I’m writing because I know a lot of stuff or I want to make a lot of money, so I have to assume it’s because I feel compelled to write and think out loud on the Internet. I like comments and retweets.

I don’t journal or keep a diary really; I’ve been tweeting my thoughts out into the void-slash-known universe since like 2008 and so far apart from the worms in my brain, I’ve liked it. Getting inundated with perspective and lives different from mine have informed my own experience in such a way that it feels hard to separate myself from the whole network. It’s almost as if we’re in this together.

I do keep personal notes in the Notes app on my iPhone. Still, they’re usually things I hear people say or potential song lyrics because writing music is another thing that brings me joy even though I constantly question whether it’s something people will find worthwhile and my focus towards it is contingent on that in a toxic way. Making music is harder than writing on a computer for me and probably most people so I tend to do the latter more often.

Earlier this week I wrote a song, and it’s stuck in my head, which feels narcissistic to say out loud, but if my brain is going to be home to worms, I would like for maybe one of them to be an earworm of my creation.

You can hear the voice memo of me singing the chorus on Patreon if you’re interested, and I intend to share the song’s progress in real-time as a sort of experiment. That’s kind of the idea. I want to work on my music, share it with people who invest in and care about it most and one day perfect it as my goal is ultimately to write pop music for the masses.

I wrote this chorus after I was angry with the Iowa Caucus shitshow and democracy in general, and at myself mostly for drowning in credit card debt even though I was warned about it maybe ten million times and got into debt anyway. Then I bought a pack of cigarettes because these days, it’s more complicated than it needs to be for me to feel okay and content even though I’ve been warned about cigarette addiction ten million times. I don’t want you to worry because I’m quite alright and I’m working on it.

It’s just that I’m working on it and thinking about it out loud in front of you, and that’s probably anxiety-inducing. Maybe the Present is only stressful because it unfolds second-by-second, and you can’t skip to the end, and perhaps the goal is not to want to anymore.

your tongue taste like boot

though i’m not one to judge

so excuse me, so excuse me, if i’m not feeling the love

my sights are on forever, but i’m stuck in the past

does the tattoo parlor take american express?

does the tattoo parlor take american express?

I’m working on it. Also, I’m probably gonna get another tattoo soon.

A glimmer of hope? Parasite became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture last night at the Oscars.

I didn’t include it in the list of my 50 favorite films of the decade but that’s mostly cause I saw it in 2020 and I hope Bong will forgive me.

I’ve felt warmth in 2020 despite this winter feeling particularly harsh here in Atlanta. I got off my ass and started doing canvassing work for local elections. I didn’t think it’d snow on my first day, so I was freezing but I did it and felt fulfilled and I guess I’m doing that four days a week now. I didn’t wanna be an armchair quarterback or politician or whatever metaphor is applicable. 

Grassroots canvassing is effective, and the presidential race is not the only political race to pay attention to, which we all know but tend to forget about anyway. There’s especially work to do in Georgia, and maybe I don’t want to leave until it turns Blue, even if it doesn’t end up my particular favorite shade.

Australian writer and actor Josh Thomas made a show once called Please Like Me, which is largely based on his life and relationships with friends and family. He’s a gay man, and that’s a topic explored on the show obviously, but never so much in the foreground that his sexuality isn’t wrestled with like that of a gay show like Queer As Folk or Looking. I hadn’t seen it in a couple of years since it ended but recently, I watched a few episodes with a friend who rewatches the show regularly. It’s a great show, but extremely anxiety-inducing. His style is like Woody Allen if I’m allowed to say that. He reminds me of 1970s Woody Allen and his characters crosstalk in such a way that it makes it all feel so real your skin crawls with empathy for everyone involved.

His new series on Freeform, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, is more fictional and removed from his personal life, and it feels like a show I should talk about now and continue to talk about even as the season is still progressing. It doesn’t seem particularly popular right now, and I hope that changes.

Episodes 1-5 are streaming now on Hulu.

Watching TV shows as they air is exciting to me because I like having things to look forward to. Especially a show as good as this one, which centers around Josh Thomas’ character Nicholas as he becomes the legal guardian of his two younger sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. This chemistry produces some of the most compelling high school drama and hilarious one-liners I’ve seen since at least HBO’s Euphoria. The two feel similarly real despite taking place on almost seperate planets.

How 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Opens A Conversation About Autism & Consent

The one line of dialogue that I’ve been thinking about most lately was a line Thomas’ character said to his younger sister who finds his boyfriend repulsive due to his oozing charm and annoying desire to be liked by her.

“Being nice to someone with the sole purpose of trying to make them to like you is really quite transparent.”

It doesn’t always feel that way though, doesn’t it?

Lately I’ve been leaving the house more often, sometimes to search for a new one, other times to just be offline for a while. I can’t tell if I’m escaping reality or facing it.

On Thursday I saw Chris Farren at the Masquerade, a club in Atlanta, and discovered two new great bands in the process and I love it when that happens. Both bands, Retirement Party and Macseal, I’d consider to be ‘emo’ in genre but I’ve quickly learned I might not know what emo is in 2020. Nevertheless, I found all three sets to be cathartic and validating, and it’s made me want to go see more live music instead of paying large door covers for mediocre DJs and fake friends.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I hope you get something out of them. Let me know if you do cause I like hearing from you. And if this is your first time reading, hi, hello, thank you, but also subscribe for more.

Tyler Scruggs is a writer and musician living in Atlanta. When he’s not churning out internet content, he’s paying too much for coffee and buying movie tickets weeks in advance. Feel free to validate him on Twitter (@TylerScruggs), Instagram (@Scruggernaut), and YouTube.

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