November 18, 2019
In her work as a community organizer, this caller loves listening to other people’s stories and asking tough questions. She tells her story and it includes a lot of struggles particularly with her father and his alcoholism including things like a warrant for murder and being surveilled by the State Police.
This episode is brought to you by Morgan & Morgan (www.forthepeople.com/stories), Teladoc (www.teladoc.com/stories), Joybird (www.joybird.com/beautiful25), and Aura Frames (www.auraframes.com/stories).
190 — Chill (with Justifiable Rage)
CHRIS [00:00:05] Hello to everybody who regards Damn as a curse word. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
THEME SONG [00:00:14] I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me too.
CHRIS [00:00:28] Hi everybody, Chris Gethard here. Welcome to Beautiful Anonymous. Couple things to announce. Don’t hit that fast forward button just yet. Save the date, my friends after many, many jokes. May 14 through 17, Brooklyn, New York Beautiful Cononymous is happening. It starts off with the preshow May 14th, we’re screaning content at the Alamo Drafthouse. And then three days at the Bell House. Live calls, meet past callers. All sorts of crazy stuff and a lot of comedy, lotta music. It’s going to be really fun and I’ll plug it again when we get closer to it. But keep your eyes peeled. Join the Facebook group if you want the immediate alert on when tickets go on sale. It’s going to be a real good time. Also want to remind you that on Stitcher Premium we got Beautiful Follow-ups happening every Friday. Use the code stories. You get a free month. All of them have been fascinating to hear from former callers. One of them in this run, I’m telling you we recorded one that has so epic that you’re not going to believe it. And you’ll hear more about that when it comes out. That’s all right. This week’s call. It really shook me up, man. Really shook me up. I’m telling you, you’re gonna hear about this caller’s childhood. There’s so many things where you’re going to hear and go, ‘Oh, wow, that sounds rough. Oh, that sounds rough, too. Oh, wow, that wouda messed me up.’ And it’s just you can tell this is one of these people who just got handed, you know, a hand in life. It’s just like I mean, why do some people have to deal with so much stuff? And then you realize that after taking it on the chin, she still just standing, fighting through, it making something out of herself. And it’s so commendable. I do want to apologize. There stretches of this where I felt like maybe I made it too much about me, but I had a very, very eerie experience because you guys have all heard in a lot of my work, I’ve been very honest that I have some some mental struggles. And it has been rare in my life that I’ve heard someone express their feelings about it in a way that rang so true to me and it messed with me. Messed with me, it got in my head. I, yeah, I’m still kind of raddled, it was it was, I gotta say, it it felt both like jarring and and and in a way kind of less lonely to hear like, oh, wow, your reactions to things kind of echo mine on my darkest days. And the caller gave me that gift and I thank her for it. I think a lot of people are gonna get something out of this one. There’s gonna be a lot of empathy, a lot of sympathy. And I hope I hope this one rings true to you as well.
PHONE ROBOT [00:02:57] Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
CALLER [00:03:05] Hello.
CHRIS [00:03:06] Hi.
CALLER [00:03:07] Hi.
CHRIS [00:03:10] This one already feels like secretive and mysterious to me. I feel like we’re both being kind of guarded.
CALLER [00:03:17] I actually just left therapy talking about that, about how I’m very guarded.
CHRIS [00:03:23] Really?
CALLER [00:03:26] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:03:29] Look at that. Look at that. And then I nailed it.
CALLER [00:03:32] You’re super powers. You did.
CHRIS [00:03:36] I get that.
CALLER [00:03:36] You’re gonna have to really put your superpowers to work today.
CHRIS [00:03:41] Wow, that’s a nice tease.
CALLER [00:03:48] Also, my best friend just texted me, ‘Oh, my God, that’s the guy from Broad City.’
CHRIS [00:03:53] I’m just happy when anyone knows who I am. I’m just happy that anyone has heard of me. Not really. Actually, I’m not happy about that anymore. I want some privacy back. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s not about me. Hi. How are you?
CALLER [00:04:10] I’m OK. I’m at home, sick from work. Very nervous. Nervous laughter, as you can tell.
CHRIS [00:04:24] Well, no need to be nervous about me. I’m, I’m fine with whatever happens. We’re good.
CALLER [00:04:34] Well, I know I’ve listened to your show many times and many people have said that. And you’ve said very similar things. I think it’s just it’s different when you on the other end.
CHRIS [00:04:44] I hear you. And I’m sorry to be so repetitive. Sorry to, I’ll try to shake things up moving forward. Thank you for the constructive criticism.
CALLER [00:04:59] Oh goodness. I didn’t mean to criticize. So one thing that we have a little bit in common is that I spend a lot of my days listening to people talk about their stories.
CHRIS [00:05:18] How’s that now?
CALLER [00:05:21] I think, I do community organizing work and a big part of the work that I do is meeting with people and really meeting them where they’re at and hearing about all the things that our lovely political and social and economic systems have put them through and um yeah like building, building long term deep relationships in the communities that I organize in. Um so when I first heard about your podcast, I was immediately attracted to it as I obviously love lifting people stories. But also people think it’s weird, my type of organizing, the organizing model that I use in asking people tough and hard questions about themselves. And it was cool to see that there are so many people out there who really, you know, who want to tell their stories. And it’s not weird. Normalized it for me for a little bit.
CHRIS [00:06:25] That’s cool. Happy to help in some small way. When you say community organizing, I think that that sounds like a very noble thing. That’s very hard because I would imagine, if you’re on a in the trenches, grassroot level, organizing people and talking to them. This means that these are people who are put upon or marginalized in some way.
CALLER [00:06:50] Yeah, a lot of the times and all the times it’s also just regular ass people–sorry Sally. Also at the top, I want to just very much apologize to your mother because I have the mouth of a sailor.
CHRIS [00:07:01] I mean, you said ass, ass is not a bad. I don’t even think my mom would care about ass.
CALLER [00:07:10] But I’m sure there will be more worse words that come out of my mouth. But yeah, I think the really beautiful thing and I think your podcast has also brought this out is that like there are just like we don’t, vulnerability is hard for our culture in general. And so I do, I organize people who have been through it, who’ve been through a lot and who are very marginalized. And I also organize people who haven’t and really help people like connect, you know part of what keeps us so separate is that we don’t actually get to know one another. And I think that’s what helps racism continue and sexism continue and all of these isms continue is that we, we don’t find common ground with one another often. And so part of my job is to sort of politicize people’s experiences for them like white dudes. If you had you know experiences in your life, which most white dudes have of being, you know, affected by other men putting you down for the way you look or the way that you present for being called feminine, you know, all of those things. It’s part of my job is to politicize for them that hat’s part of patriarchy. And that patriarchy hurts them. And. Yeah. So it’s it’s both, it’s people who’ve been very marginalized and people who may have some some real privilege who need to see that they need to put their privilege into action.
CHRIS [00:08:37] You don’t really hear too many people fighting on behalf of white dudes these days.
CALLER [00:08:45] Well, I will put out there I’m not fighting on behalf of white dudes. I would like to fight alongside white dudes who want to fight for the same shit that I’m fighting for.
CHRIS [00:08:53] That makes more sense. Yeah, I don’t. There’s not too many. Although I should say there there are some groups out there mostly that you find on corners of the Internet that are like definitely like, ‘White dudes, gotta, gotta unite.’ It sounds like that’s quite different than what you’re doing.
CALLER [00:09:15] It is very different from what I’m doing. But I would posit to say that if we want to build a more cohesive and just society, that it’s not helpful to always say that white dudes are bad. And that’s the problem. And I think that that, you know, siloing and criticism leaves a lot of space for people to create, yeah, like these enclaves of really horrible, terrible groups of people.
CHRIS [00:09:47] I gotta say I will just say, thank you for saying that, because I’d like to think that my reputation is that pretty sensitive white dude and I do my best to try to use my work to help understand other people’s stories and help spread their stories. And then sometimes I see you do sometimes see people who put stuff out there like I had a I once had a conversation with someone who’s a really good friend of mine who, I won’t say too much, but someone I was very close with who’s very, very feminist, which I respect, who put on Facebook just a status that just said ‘all white men should die.’ And I understood that on some level it’s a joke. But there is also like a part, we had a conversation where I was like, how am I supposed to feel? Like I am, how am I supposed to feel like I’m allowed to even help? If all white men should die like how, this is making it hard for me to even understand how to try to be a part of things in a positive way, because that’s just so harsh, and I understand it’s a joke. But on some level, it does make me feel like, whoa, like how do I, you did just say I should die like, I did just read those words. Joking or not it’s tough.
CALLER [00:11:17] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, rage is real.
CHRIS [00:11:23] It’s true and justified. And rages is earned.
CALLER [00:11:26] Women of color are feeling that rage.
CHRIS [00:11:29] Absolutely. I get it. I get it. I do get it. I’ll say I do get it. But it was just hard to hard to understand emotionally of like, ‘Well, should I even, like like you said, using your privilege to towards good. It almost feels like, well is even that productive when it hits that point. Am I helping? Am I offering help people want. But I like what you’re saying and I’ve now I’ve now made it too much about me. I apologize.
CALLER [00:11:57] You’re good. You’re good.
CHRIS [00:12:00] Now, how does one get into this line of work, because this, this sounds like if I make make some assumptions, this sounds like it can be difficult work at times. It sounds like it could be emotionally trying work at times for someone who just mentioned therapy. So I would imagine that this is a sacrifice where you might be putting yourself through a lot. I don’t know that work like this has a reputation for making people millionaires. No offense. Don’t want to assume.
CALLER [00:12:25] All those assumptions are very correct. Very hard and trying work. Gotta work really hard to make any money at it. But for me, that’s not really what it’s about because it’s about changing the world from what it is to what it should be. But your original question, how did I get into it? So, I guess the easiest way to say it is through college. But that is the easiest way to say it. So when I was in college, Occupy, the Occupy movement was starting to grow and build. And I am one of the people whose family, my family lost our home in the foreclosure crisis.
CHRIS [00:13:20] Oh no.
[00:13:20] My, yeah, we lost our home when I was 16, shortly after my mom had passed away from cancer. And it kind of, you know, from 15 until the time I got involved in the political world, it was like very, I was very angry and rageful and didn’t really know why. And this was like the first Occupy march I went to was like the first time that I had ever felt the, like, safe enough to raise my voice. And like safe enough to be angry outwardly with others. And it also sort of gave me a frame of, you know, a framework of putting my life experiences into perspective. Like, it wasn’t just my parents who were, my parents worked so goddamn hard. Like, sorry Sally, my mom was a waitress. My dad was a construction worker and built homes. And like, you know, there’s this narrative that if you lose your home, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough, because you’re lazy, because you should have done X, Y and Z differently. And that was where I was at with my dad. And it sort of gave me a little bit of liberation to be like, wait, like my parents actually really struggled my entire life to afford their home. Like my parents went into bankruptcy, they like had to file for or refinance their home a bunch of times. And like, you know, when you’re a kid, and you hear that you don’t really know what it means until it’s put into perspective. And so like a year after my parents home was foreclosed on, one of my one of my neighbors actually bought it for like nothing like less than what my parents owed on it. And they’re just like really framed for me, like, you know, being a part of this movement that’s saying like, you know, our our political officials like they sold out our families and then they bailed out the banks. Like it put in perspective to me about like how much the system is rigged for a certain type of person and that a mixed race family like mine, working class family. You know, we’re lucky to get by in this system. So I have been fighting ever since that moment.
CHRIS [00:15:55] I’m really sorry you went through all that. I mean, to have that all happen in the same era where your mom passed away, which I’m really sorry about. That must I mean, that stretch of life would put a lot of anger in any young person that’ll make you want to go hang out at Wall Street and throw a brick through the window of Goldman Sachs, that’s for sure.
CALLER [00:16:20] Well, I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t that radical
CHRIS [00:16:22] Yeah. But, yeah I bet that’s only because you couldn’t, you couldn’t get to New York at the time.
CALLER [00:16:32] Correct.
CHRIS [00:16:34] Do you have any siblings?
CALLER [00:16:38] Yeah, I have two older siblings, brother and sister.
CHRIS [00:16:45] Wow. And your mom. So I’m just trying to do the math here cause I don’t know how old you are. So your mom passed away after all the house stuff or during or before?
CALLER [00:17:01] Before. My mom passed like a year before the house was foreclosed on and like my dad, my dad had already, he was already screwed. Like my mom did everything, like my mom did all the finances. She knew like my dad wasn’t like your typical machismo like I’m never going to do the dishes like my dad did dishes like did what you would call domestic work. But my mother like did all of the other parts of emotional labor that are I think are forgotten by a lot of people in terms of relationships like, you know, managing finances and managing the calendar and, you know, just like the day to day operations of a family. And my dad sort of like refused to, and I think part part because he didn’t want to lose his wife. But, you know, the other part was, you know, my father was an alcoholic and, you know, I think struggled to be a full fledged adult most of the time, so yeah, like essentially the reason why I said this is because after my mom had passed a sort of like that, I kind of had to take on that role of being the caretaker, the manager and you know really had to start taking care of my dad, who was involved in you know, my dad it early in my life was in and out of jail for drinking and driving too many times and my whole life he didn’t have a license because he was, he had a warrent out for his arrest and he didn’t wanna go back to jail. And so like once my mom had died, it was like a, he had to drive. I was still in high school. I couldn’t take care of him all the time, do all the things. And he got caught driving. And then, like, yea like it just everything got fucked from there. He lost his job. And once he lost his job, like that’s the only thing he’s ever known, he stopped going to school when he was 10 or 11 to help his mom. And he’s only ever known construction work. And so he was just like in this deep depression and didn’t really know how to cope and didn’t really know what to do. And so, yeah, we just kind of put him on a train back to New Mexico and which is where he’s from and fended for ourselves really.
CHRIS [00:20:00] Wow. That’s brutal. That’s a lot. And he was already working in an industry where, I mean, he’s working in construction around the time of the housing crisis. Your house is foreclosed on, and it’s also an industry that completely dries up around that time, too. That is. That’s hard. That’s hard. And obviously, you hear about drinking and driving and stuff and it’s hard and you know this there’s not not much sympathy on that side of things. But it’s hard not to feel like, well, if you’re Jesus, man, you lose your wife. You’ve got three kids. You’re prone to drinking and you’re in an industry that dries out like, oh, my God. That’s that’s a really hard stretch for all of your family, huh?
CALLER [00:20:52] Yeah. And like, part of, so part of a part of the reason why he was even in the first place involved in this like, so he got caught essentially, so my father is Mexican. And he had had this warrent out for his arrest my entire life. But he never got caught because he didn’t drive like my mom drove him everywhere. And then in 20, probably like 2000 or 2001 somewhere around there we were being surveilled by the state troopers, the state police, because they had identified my father as this other Mexican dude who killed a whole bunch of people in Mexico. My dad never grew up in Mexico. He grew up in New Mexico. So they were like tapping our phones and like like watching our house. And we didn’t really know this until the day they, like, battery rammed our door.
CHRIS [00:22:05] What?
CALLER [00:22:06] Like arrested my father. Yes.
CHRIS [00:22:15] [transition music] Let’s pause, because that is clearly certifiable, undeniable, A+ cliffhanger right there. That’s that’s a game changer. And I’m telling you that the when this conversation keeps going you’re, it gets unbelievable with the specifics. Everything we just heard about. So definitely keep listening. On the other side of the advertisements for that. In the meantime, check out everybody who sponsors the show, they got promo codes for the things they’re selling. And if you use those promo, good, it helps out a lot. Be back in just a minute. [transition music]
CHRIS [00:22:52] Thanks to all of our advertisers. And now let’s get back to this conversation.
CALLER [00:22:57] We didn’t really know this until the day they like battery rammed our door.
CHRIS [00:23:01] What?
CALLER [00:23:02] And like arrested my father. Yes. Yeah.
CHRIS [00:23:10] That’s–.
CALLER [00:23:10] Just happened.
CHRIS [00:23:11] I did not. So wait, did they was, was this, did they think was it like they did they think he was someone involved in like gang killings or what did they think he was a serial killer?
CALLER [00:23:30] I don’t. I don’t remember the details of that, but I like about who the person they were looking for is or what he did. But it was like it was definitely killed somebody, some people.
CHRIS [00:23:45] Whoo hoo hoo hoo.
CALLER [00:23:49] Yeah. And so they identified my father as that man. And so and they like paraded him around, so I grew up in a very white community. They paraded him around like literally took him to a shopping center, like made him take off his shirt and like examined his tattoos and his scars. And like, they did all of this before they actually took him to the police station to get him printed. And like my father at that point in his life was like, you know, you like you respect authority and like because he had been you know, he’d been in jail a couple of times. And so it was just like this really surreal moment of seeing, like this big, scary guy who is my father, who’s like, you know, so strong in this and that, like being pushed around and made to feel small. But yeah, so they found out that it wasn’t him, but then they found out that he did have a warrant out for his arrest for not going to court for his last arrest for drinking and driving. And so this was when my mom was sick with cancer. And they had to pay for a lawyer and go through all this shit in order for him to like not have to go to jail, because if he went to jail, like while the mom was going through chemo and radiation, like, I have no idea what would have happened to me. To be quite honest, I was still pretty young. So the court like luckily, like, gave him some grace. And they ended up he ended up having to pay a bunch of fines and like to like some sort of amount of community service. And then once he got caught, once my mom died and then he got caught again driving after she died, it was like he was going to jail because he did what he wasn’t supposed to do.
CHRIS [00:26:02] That is an epic story.
CALLER [00:26:07] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:26:07] It’s not ideal to be a central figure in that story. Wow. Wow. You’ve gotten through a lot. Did you would you say, because it sounds, you’ve been very fair and you’ve been very open. And it sounds like sounds like your dad has a bit of a past and maybe a bit of a dark side. I don’t want assume. Or some flaws. I don’t know. I’m not judging, but do you feel. I would do if I find myself, how should I say it? I’m sorry. I’m stammering because it’s so much information. But I’m finding myself. I’m finding myself feeling like, is, he’s something of a tragic figure. Huh?
CALLER [00:26:52] Yeah, very, very much. And like I like there’s such a my dad is very flawed. You know, alcohol is something that made my father mean. So like a lot of my life, like I saw that part of my father. But I also saw my sober father, and especially because my mom worked nights for most of my life, she actually worked at a restaurant at night. And so, like, my dad was my caretaker. And my dad also was, like, you know, he’d be laid off because of weather, because he built houses. And we can’t really work when it’s subzero freezing and all that. But he’s in a union so they actually gave a shit about that. So like I spent a lot of time with my dad and I was really, really like you know, for lack of a better word, like I was a daddy’s girl. And then once I was old enough to really see alcoholism for what it was it was just really I don’t know. It’s like it’s like it’s own special grief, to like have consciousness of oh like this is a different person. You know. That I see year after a certain time of the day.
CHRIS [00:28:40] Wow.
CALLER [00:28:40] And like balancing those two things, like, you know, my whole life I’ve had to balance like the extreme amount of love that I feel for him with the extreme amount of anger I feel for him. And also, you know, the political aspects of it all, which is that he’s a Mexican man who grew up in a world that really isn’t set up for him to win. He started drinking and smoking and doing drugs when he was like 11. Even before then, probably, you know. So.
CHRIS [00:29:24] I’d have to imagine that ugh, this relationship must in some ways be sort of like the defining relationship of your life too.
CALLER [00:29:39] Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
CHRIS [00:29:43] How do you think it made you who you are? For better or worse? Because I have to imagine, that is, that is a, you are describing a life where during many of your formative years you didn’t you didn’t have the foundation that I think people would want for any kid. And that’s so hard. So who are you today? How did this help get you there?
CALLER [00:30:09] Yeah. I mean, I think I’m incredibly empathetic. Like, it’s like. I think it can be a fault of mine. Like it’s a good thing, but it also could be to a fault like I see this in people until it’s like very much proven wrong to the point where sometimes I got hurt. And I’m like I think just like years of watching shitty things happen, like, I just don’t want shitty things to happen to other people and that’s like part of why I fight and yeah. I don’t know, you’re going to have to pry a little more, I think.
CHRIS [00:31:08] Certainly. I mean, if you’re giving me permission.
CALLER [00:31:12] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:31:14] It’s not something I would just put upon people. But if you’re saying, hey, get out the crowbar and try to crack this case, try to crack this one open. I’m happy to try. Yeah, I get it. I get why you want to get into communities and and help. I get it. I mean, on a basic level it sounds to me like you’re going you’re going into communities where people need, are kind of forced to fight for themselves and you’re there to try to help assist that. It sounds like you maybe going into communities where like you said, this was a system where your dad was, this was not a system designed for your dad to win. So it definitely makes sense that you’d go into a field where you go into communities where it’s not built for those people to win and you try to help turn the tides on that. I would have to imagine a lot of the altruistic aspects of what you’re doing are a reaction to the unfairness of what you grew up with.
CALLER [00:32:20] Yeah, 100 percent, I would say that as well.
CHRIS [00:32:26] You’re pretty chill for a person–.
CALLER [00:32:27] Yeah and I’m really stubborn.
CHRIS [00:32:29] I’m gonna, it’s starting to come out now. I’m just going to say something blunt tell me if I’m right or wrong. You’re pretty chill on the phone for someone who has a lot of justifiable rage inside you. True or false.
CALLER [00:32:46] True. True.
CHRIS [00:32:49] There must be a part of you that your base level kind of starts with and again, sorry, Sally. Oh, it’s adorable. You’ve said sorry, Sally, where I think you’ve said ass and damn and said sorry, Sally and then you’re like, I’m sorry I’m such a potty mouth. But it sounds to me like your base level might be a very quiet fuck the world, man. Let’s try to change it.
CALLER [00:33:19] Yeah, 100 percent.
CHRIS [00:33:20] You’re pissed off. You’re like super nice on the phone, but you’re pissed off. I get why. I get why.
CALLER [00:33:31] Well, and they’ve been like there have been ways like I’ve grown. So there’s like, you know, there have been many, many times in my life where I’ve like, you know, I think part of, part of how screwed up our society is, is that we get taught, especially women, get taught that we can’t speak or say how we feel or express big emotion. And so, salut.
CHRIS [00:34:04] Thanks. Thank you. So. So sorry about that.
CALLER [00:34:07] Don’t feel sorry. So I think part of that has come out for me in really unfortunate ways. And sometimes, you know, like I think I don’t think I know that I have also struggled with, like, consumption when I’m really stressed or in the parts of my life when I didn’t have a therapist or like a good support system. But yeah, I don’t know. People often say this like you’re very calm for, for your, I don’t really see that, like it’s hard for me to see that, like I have a two year old. And like, sometimes people come to me like, you’re so patient. And I’m like, literally inside of my body right now is like ten thousand nerves going off, being like, I fucking hate that. I fucking hate this, sorry Sally.
CHRIS [00:35:08] There you go. That earns a sorry Sally. There you go, that one what makes sense. Not damn.
CALLER [00:35:18] Yeah. So it’s hard for me to see that. I don’t see myself the way that other people see me. I don’t think I really ever have.
CHRIS [00:35:25] Well, that’s the thing, right? That’s the thing is the more you get real world experience. And look, I work in entertainment. I’ve had a little success. I got a cushy life now, but I did grow up in North Jersey. And one thing you learn is when you’re in these situations where people are trying to act tough and they’re trying to put on a show and act scary, they’re not usually the ones you gotta worry about. The one you gotta worry about is the person who’s just like, kind of sit and silent in the corner, steely eyed, taking it all in. That’s the person who really, really the person who’s keeping all those thoughts in their head about all the anger and the injustice and how it’s pushed me a little bit further. And it might be go time. Those are the those are the real deal people. And I think you might be one of those.
CALLER [00:36:17] Yeah, I think I am one of those.
CHRIS [00:36:21] You mentioned consumption. Was that, I took that to mean maybe, maybe booze and drugs and some of the other stuff that you saw growing up.
CALLER [00:36:30] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:36:32] That’s rough. That’s scary.
CALLER [00:36:34] And sex. I’ll say that, too. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. But this is anonymous. And anyone who listens to this probably knows who I am, but I think sex is part of that. And I don’t think often gets talked about, especially by women, about a way to cope.
CHRIS [00:36:50] Yeah. And I have to imagine, too, in a, you know, it’s such a reductive phrase, but you mentioned you were a daddy’s girl. There’s the whole phrase daddy issues, and I would have to imagine if you feel like a sense of abandonment. Well, if you feel like a sense of abandonment, you feel a sense of foundationlessness, then, yes, sex is going to feel like this you know, I’ve been there, too, in the sense that it can feel like a very validating, intense, dopamine driven connection with another human being. And at the end of the day, that dopamine can be a drug and you can crave it and seek it out. And then just like other substances, when the high goes away, you got to chase it even harder. Right. You got it. If it’s the thing that makes you feel good, sometimes you gotta do it. I get it. I get you know, people go down these roads that become riskier or more ill advised behavior because you’re just chasing. Just want, you know, depending on the experience, either that that, you know, I want that night in my life that feels connected to go or maybe maybe you’re with a lovers night. And it’s like, I want that 90 seconds that, you know, a person who can’t, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. But I get it.
CALLER [00:38:06] No, I think for me, it was more like I’m like, I want somebody to care for me.
CHRIS [00:38:12] Yeah.
CALLER [00:38:12] Which is so sad.
CHRIS [00:38:14] Of course it is. Of course it is. But I do understand. You want that good feeling, but and then another issue I’d imagine. I don’t know if you ran into this. Sometimes there’s people out there who can sense that and manipulate it. And then when they don’t care for you, you feel very used and abandoned yet again.
CALLER [00:38:36] Oh, yeah. Hit the nail right on the head.
CHRIS [00:38:39] Well, hey, you told me to pry. You told me to start prying.
CALLER [00:38:46] Yeah, I like have been through, like there is not, there’s maybe been a three month stretch of my life where I’ve been not partnered since I was 15, 14 probably. So I’ve had a lot of relationships and or like, you know, partnerships, I wouldn’t say some of them are relationships. And when that happens, there’s bound to be some that are fucking awful.
CHRIS [00:39:23] Yeah.
CALLER [00:39:23] Actually one that drove me to therapy, which I’m like actually really grateful for. Like it was a fucked up relationship and it was terrible. Sorry, Sally, but it like got me to a place where I was like, holy shit like all of this is happening in this relationship is, like, this is not good. And like, I don’t do this anymore and I need to talk to somebody about it.
CHRIS [00:39:51] Yeah.
CALLER [00:39:51] And that’s how I found my incredible therapist.
CHRIS [00:39:55] I’m sorry that whatever this whatever whoever this person was that put you through some sort of duress at the very least.
CALLER [00:40:05] Well, you know it might surprise you, but he was an alcoholic and a drug addict.
CHRIS [00:40:12] Wow, look at that. Look at that, the least the least surprising thing in the world that, but man I get it. I get it. I got to say, I haven’t been. I mean, you have you have you have been through some stuff and I can’t I can’t claim in any way that I’ve walked in your shoes. But I will say expressing a lot of things where you’re saying that throughout your life there’s been a lot of feelings I would imagine of loneliness. A lot of that is what this boils down to. And I feel that, too, all the time. And whenever whenever I feel I was just saying to my wife, lately, I’ve been in a bad spot. I’m just feeling these intense feelings of loneliness, which is so shitty because I have my wife and my kid and you have your two year old and I’m sure you feel the same thing of like just like, can’t, sometimes you can’t get past your past and that loneliness sets in and it feels so desperate. But I do just want to say that one thing I just wanted to make sure I express that, because one thing I’ll say is like when you’re feeling really lonely, you forget that you’re not alone because there’s other people out there who feel that same desperate loneliness and I get it. I get it.
CALLER [00:41:36] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:41:38] I have to–.
CALLER [00:41:38] Yeah for sure and like. Oh go ahead.
CHRIS [00:41:43] No, you go ahead.
CALLER [00:41:51] Part of, part of what like, part of what sort of came out of my lonely childhood was like, really, like I’m like a grifter. I don’t know if that’s the right word. But you can tell me you read things and know good words. I’m like a person who–.
CHRIS [00:42:15] I mean, I read mostly comic books.
CALLER [00:42:19] Well, didn’t you like study English literature or something like that?
CHRIS [00:42:26] No I was American Studies, I mean, I took a class in college where I raised a goat, no joke. I took a class called animal husbandry, where I raised a goat. I farted my way through. It was it was a waste of everybody’s time and money. That’s what that was.
CALLER [00:42:42] You know, I feel the same way. And I also sorry to your wife, but I also agree with you that college is a joke and there’s only a handful of people who should go.
CHRIS [00:42:54] Well, look, I’ve amended this. I’ve amended this. College is a great thing, but I think the idea that every teenager’s sense of self worth and this implication that their entire future depends on college–.
CALLER [00:43:10] Yes.
CHRIS [00:43:11] Is a little bit of a sales technique and a little bit of something that’s at a fever pitch that’s first of all, unfair because of the pressure it puts on kids. And secondly. I almost feel like every kid should be required to take a gap year because the idea of I’m going to decide what I want the rest of my life to be when I’m 17. Not everybody has that in them. And at that point, why spend a hundred thousand dollars till you have a better sense, go get a better sense yourself. And then, by all means, spend spend the money to go figure out your craft. But this idea that, oh, go, you’ll just go figure it out. And in the meantime, you’ll be drowning in debt. Woo! No thanks anyway. You were saying.
CALLER [00:43:47] Yes. Agreed. I chose to go to college based on the least amount of people from my high school going to the school I went to. That was a really great choice. That landed me sixty thousand dollars in debtt. But I don’t know what I was saying before that.
CHRIS [00:44:08] Yeah, we, we both went, there you go, we found, here’s what happened. As you and I finally found a mutual lane where our rage really echoed each other and we both went a little haywire from it. Yeah, I forget what you were saying too. I do have a question, though.
CALLER [00:44:28] Oh.
CHRIS [00:44:29] Oh, go for it.
CALLER [00:44:30] OK, go.
CHRIS [00:44:30] No, no, no. You remembered a thing go.
CALLER [00:44:32] No I want to hear your question?
CHRIS [00:44:33] No, I want to know what it was. It’s an unresolved thread.
CALLER [00:44:36] I just wrote it down.
CHRIS [00:44:36] You wrote it down. You keeping notes?
CALLER [00:44:39] I’m just joking. I did not actually write it down.
CHRIS [00:44:41] Well let’s finish off that thought and then we’ll move on to my question.
CALLER [00:44:44] OK. So I was going to say that I sort of learned how to survive by like creating like other families. So like, you know, there is this house literally next next door to my house where for the first half of my life, there is a family who lived there, who I was like I was literally at their house every fucking day. They took me on vacation and shit. Sorry Sally. And the, you know, when they moved out, this woman literally the day, you know, some somebody else moved in there and it sucked. But then literally the day of my mother’s funeral, this family moves in next door. And the woman, the mother of the family is like this dope lady who has been through some shit on her own. And like she hires me to babysit her kids and she becomes like literally a life saver. And I think there’s been like an every moment in my life where I’ve needed somebody like that. There’s been somebody like that. And I am not religious. That’s a whole nother thread of crazy if you want to go down that about my family and religion. But I I really struggle to not see that there is like some sort of connectedness because like, I don’t understand how in the world I found, especially women like older women who were there to guide me like it was. It’s like uncanny how that happened and take care of me when I needed them to.
CHRIS [00:46:18] You crying?
CHRIS [00:46:24] Hello, I’m not crying, no.
CHRIS [00:46:28] Oh it sounded like you started crying and I was trying to sit in that emotional moment. But you just kind of ended your sentence I guess.
CALLER [00:46:35] Oh I might have started and then I’d choked it that down. That’s what happened.
CHRIS [00:46:41] [transition music] Look at me over here, trying to exploit emotion for the entertainment, value of this show. That’s not cool. Anyway you know what is cool products and services that might enhance your life. We got advertisers. It’s the reason we get to make this show. So listen and support them and use the promo codes if anything might help you out in life. Helps the show when you do. We’ll be right back. [transition music]
CHRIS [00:47:06] And go ahead and finish off a conversation that that really has come to mean a lot to me personally.
CHRIS [00:47:13] You crying?
CALLER [00:47:15] Hello, no, I’m not crying, no.
CHRIS [00:47:17] Oh, it sounded like you started crying and I was trying to sit in that emotional moment. But you just kind of ended your sentence I guess.
CALLER [00:47:25] Oh I might have started and then I’d choked it down. That’s what happened.
CHRIS [00:47:28] I bet you do that a lot.
CALLER [00:47:31] I do.
CHRIS [00:47:33] Yeah. People who are people are emotional at their core, but have trained that they need and been trained to be tough. Yeah, a lot of that. It’s very good that you found those those guiding hands in older women. I worry too, because I tell you, you and I have been through very different things and I’m not, I would never presume to say that my dad was not accused of murder, murdering a bunch of people in Mexico. I’m not, there’s no it’s not a pissing contest. But I will say I think we have some very similar similar roads we’ve gone down in how we’ve tried to deal with it for better or worse. Here’s a question I have for you on that. Very positive to create these families. I’ve done a similar thing in my life. And recently, I’ve been reconciling the fact, though, that I wonder if you’ve dealt with this and I’m not trying to scare you this almost bad because I’m gonna put a bad thing, I found that sometimes these–
CALLER [00:48:32] No I’m ready.
CHRIS [00:48:34] Well, these created families, these families that you seek out, these communities that you become a part of the end of the day it’s not the same bond as like a blood family and they can let you down. I’ve been I’ve been let down by my communities recently and I’m really feeling burned and lonely. It’s making me want to quit a lot of the things I’ve invested in my life not to make it about me. But I wonder if you’ve run into the same thing.
CALLER [00:49:03] Oh, yes, I definitely have. I wanted to ask and maybe this isn’t, I’ve started feeling that more once I became a parent.
CHRIS [00:49:21] Yes.
CALLER [00:49:21] Because there is like a real, so my husband’s English. His mother is in England. I stole him from England and brought him here, and because he is one of the world’s greatest men. So all those Englishwomen, I’m sorry. You lost a wonderful England–.
CHRIS [00:49:46] What a beautiful thing to say.
CALLER [00:49:48] Or men I don’t know.
CHRIS [00:49:49] He’s gone and he’s gone to hear that you said that about him and he’s going to beam with pride. That’s awesome to say that about your partner.
CALLER [00:49:55] No. No, he’s English. You know what he’s going to do?
CHRIS [00:50:00] What?
CALLER [00:50:00] He’s gonna be mad because he cannot take a compliment and everything that is in his being is like hardened, you know what I mean? Like, you talk about that with Irish people, very similar with English people like I will like, look at him and be like, oh, my God, you’re so handsome. And he’s like, he doesn’t know how to deal with that.
CHRIS [00:50:22] Every time my wife tells me I’m handsome, I respond. Yeah, right. Every single time. Every time she says–.
CALLER [00:50:29] Yeah and I want.
CHRIS [00:50:29] I’ve made it a bit.
CALLER [00:50:30] Actually, when I got when I got on the phone with you, I wanted to say that you need to stop doing that because it actually like it limits intimacy.
CHRIS [00:50:41] Well, look.
CALLER [00:50:43] I just I just listened to Four Kids No Sex, again, I listened to that this morning the second call.
CHRIS [00:50:52] Yeah.
CALLER [00:50:52] And like it’s moments like those that if you just let yourself be in them, that you find like the deepest amount of intimacy with your partner. And and you’re even if you don’t want to do it for yourself like you’re stealing that moment from her.
CHRIS [00:51:06] And I get that. And I’ve dealt with that. And I like that you and I clearly get each other well enough that you’re able to nail my, my intimacy issues and my self-esteem. I’m also starting to wonder later in life if I have some sort of body dysmorphia, as I’ve learned that because sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, I’m a reasonably good looking person and sometimes I look in the mirror. I go, I’m a monster man. And it changes by the hour. So we, we only got 12 and a half minutes left. We can’t get into my issues because that could be a whole separate podcast. That’ll be our next Stitcher Premium series is me explaining all this swirling deficiencies in my brain. Even more than I did on HBO. But I like what you brought up. That was the question I was going to ask you. I’m having the same thing. Having a kid, when you have a past that has some rough parts, it has thrown me for a loop and I have really felt this profound sense that my job is to build a world for my son where he doesn’t have to deal with some of the things I had to deal with.
CALLER [00:52:09] Yes, I very much feel that. Yeah, and one thing that my therapist has been really dope about is like helping me realize like moments that I’m feeling that are also about me re parenting myself.
CHRIS [00:52:28] Oof, that’s–.
CALLER [00:52:32] So like, yeah. Maybe bring that up with your shrink. What’s her name again?
CHRIS [00:52:34] Barb.
CALLER [00:52:36] Barb talk to Barbara about it. She’s probably she’s probably down with this analysis.
CHRIS [00:52:42] Reparenting myself.
CALLER [00:52:43] But, and, but it’s hard and it’s like it is like opening wounds that you don’t even know. Like, that’s why it probably feels weird to you and probably also why you’re like feeling some stuff about your friends. Like the minute I fucking had a kid. Sorry, Sally. I like it’s changed now that he’s a little bit older. But like your kid, your childless friends or your friends with kids are older than you like, it’s just it doesn’t even matter. Like people don’t understand where you’re at because they’re not in it. And so a whole bunch of weird ass shit fucking happens. Sorry Sally. Because they’re all dealing with you being in a new fucking phase of your life and everybody’s selfish and it sucks.
CHRIS [00:53:30] Yes.
CALLER [00:53:31] To answer your question.
CHRIS [00:53:31] And I work in, well, and it’s what you just said rings so true because not only are people in general in their own lane and selfish, I work in stand up comedy, a culture of people who like to get on a stage and have a spotlight shown on them so they can share their opinions. And it’s just inherently selfish thing to do. And I tell you, and I don’t know how many of my comedian friends would listen to this but there’s people in my life who I felt really close with for years and I see them at comedy shows. These are people I’ve hung out with socially too, people I’ve worked with every day, you know, for stretches of time or in jobs and always say to me, oh, I’ve got to come meet your kid, I gotta come meet your kid. And I’m like, yeah, I’m around all the time now. And he’s six months old and some of these people were people I thought I was really close with. It’s like and if if every time I see you for six months, you say you got to meet the kid and you don’t.
CALLER [00:54:27] Yup.
CHRIS [00:54:27] I guess we weren’t friends ever. I guess we weren’t the types of friends I thought we were at this point. I got to stop feeling bad about this.
CALLER [00:54:37] But, yes, I think that the other thing that you have to like, retrain yourself, find when you become a parent and you have relationships with other people in the world, is that like there are people in the world, like I said, who aren’t going to get it, but they serve a different purpose in your life. And so like if they’re will, like my best friend just we just had a really, you know, tough time together. And it took her time to process like how, you know, me not being as available as I I used to be. We’ve been friends since we were in middle school. Like, you know, it was affecting her and like, we just had this, like, really beautiful moment of like reconciliation and felt like we were like we renewed our friendship. But like, yeah, like some people are just aren’t gonna be, they’ll say that they want to come see your kid and they’ll say, like, I’ll do this and that for you. And then they’ll never fucking do it and you’ll be like, well, you’re not my friend, but also like you might need to make some new friends and they’ll serve the purpose of being your parent friends and your other friends will serve the purpose of being your comedy friends or whatever.
CHRIS [00:55:44] Yeah, I’ve got to figure that out.
CALLER [00:55:46] It’s hard, but.
CHRIS [00:55:49] It’s like it’s like you sort of like circle the wagons and you find, you find out really fast who’s on the inside of that line and who’s on the outside. I’m not necessarily mad at them. It is what it is, but it itt hurts a little bit and people don’t realize that and I’ve done that to other people. There’s people in my life who when they had kids before I had a kid like I can think of a very a handful of very specific friends of mine who I was intensely close with. And now we’re not and I realized, oh, that’s because of I was in I was at an age and a mindset where I was very selfish then I don’t even know it. And I get why this person doesn’t reach out to me very often anymore. I get it. It’s on me. So I’ve done it to people too so I’m not mad, but it’s this instinctive thing.
CALLER [00:56:34] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:56:34] I want to ask you because you and I could talk forever, we got a lot in common in the inside of our fucked up brains, are you finding that in the course of raising your own child, it’s I understand my father a lot more. And there’s my dad was the best. He’s still the best, but he was a hard guy. And I’ve realized like, oh, the reason he went out of his way to make me tough was I had to be tough. And he saw that I was in I was in a world where there was a lot of shit flying around and he knew I had to be tough. So he toughened me up. And not, I’m not implying he hit me or anything. He didn’t. But like, it was harsh. And and now I’m a dad and I see it where I’m like, oh I had, he had to do that. All right. I got to raise my son in a place where I won’t have to do that. Like realizing that, you know, since my son was born, my my aunt and uncle told me that when my parents got married, they had four hundred dollars between them and when they had a kid, everybody’s worried. And when they said they’re going to have a second one, they actually sat them down. Their families sat them down and said, ‘What are you doing? You’re gonna be in the poorhouse.’ That was me. It was like an intervention to try to prevent me. And I realized if my dad like fell down and broke his leg, we would have been on welfare, of course, the guy was hard. Of course he had a hard edge. Are you finding, and I would imagine much tougher for you because your dad went to some really dark places. Are you finding more empathy for him from the perspective of being a parent?
CALLER [00:58:10] No, not for my dad. I found empathy for him in other places. I’m actually finding it harder now to want to talk to him. Now that I’m a parent.
CHRIS [00:58:20] So he dropped the ball that far in some ways.
CALLER [00:58:23] Oh, yes. One hundred percent. Like, yeah, you know, there was this one time it was after my mom had died where he like went out drinking and like puked all over our computer room floor and like it was carpet. It was old ass carpet. So it was like that matted shit that, like, you can’t get anything out of. And like, so my dad used to sleepwalk when he was drunk. And this is one of those moments. He was like he was trying to clean his puke up with a vacuum cleaner. And so I got woken up by the vacuum cleaner. And I went downstairs and I was like, oh, shit, he’s sleepwalking. And so, like, I just. He was literally zombie zombie eyed, like, staring at me. It was fucking scary as shit. And I just like, got down on hand and knees and started cleaning. And then like the next day, you know, for like a week, I didn’t talk to him. And he approached my brother about it and was like, why isn’t your sister talking to me? And he was like, well, you probably don’t remember this, but the other night she had to clean up your puke because you’re trying to clean up with the vacuum. And then she had a clean out the vacuum. And my father’s response was ‘Well. How many times did I have to clean up her puke as a baby?’
CHRIS [00:59:45] Yeah, that’s not.
CALLER [00:59:48] Like literally had the empathy of like a fucking napkin, like there, and a lot of that is because his brain is not did not develop because of the amount of shit that he did to it. But like so that’s that is the like empathy that I have for him. But as a parent, it’s a lot. It’s a lot harder. My brother’s found this too. Like it’s just a lot harder to connect with him because we’re so angry at how he wasn’t a good parent to us and we don’t have our good parent. Like, I’m like I’m finding my grief for my mom, like just like ballooning at this moment because, like, I want to call her. Especially when, you know, you’ve been through this the first year is like you’re still going through it. It’s brutal. They, they are animals and they’re awful. And they scream and you want to scream at them and you feel like an asshole because you want to scream at them. And like all I wanted to do so many times in those moments was pick up the phone and call my mom and be like, please tell me that you also wanted to, like, throw me out the window, because that’s what I want to do right now.
CHRIS [01:00:53] I told my son to shut the fuck up when he was 6 days old. I was so terrified. I was like, it was 4:30 in the morning. And I was exhausted and terrified and I didn’t know what he needed. And I just in a moment of desperation was like, shut the fuck up, man. And then I was like, oh, God, I can’t say a 6 days old. His head is still cone shaped. What’s wrong with me?
CALLER [01:01:21] Oh, my God, I’ve done that too. I promise you, I’ve told him to shut the fuck before. And you know what? It’s fine. And the like the reality is, is that like we don’t talk about this enough as a society because we’re especially women are taught that we should be like beaming and glowing and so happy that we have a child when like, you know, that’s never the case. Like, that’s not that’s not real.
CHRIS [01:01:47] It’s hard. It’s exhausting.
CALLER [01:01:50] We don’t get to talk about it.
CHRIS [01:01:51] Yeah. It’s true and I see that from the inside, even I 2019 feel like I’m someone who tries to connect with people. I find myself falling to things where I assume my wife is gonna do stuff because every movie and TV show you ever watched and past generations did it that way. And I have to actively break those habits. And very often I need to be told, hey, break that habit. This is shitty and my wife’s right. I would have to imagine–.
CALLER [01:02:23] Good for her.
CHRIS [01:02:24] Yes. Yes. She doesn’t let me off the goddamn hook like I do. I do my best. Well, she as long as I try my best, she’s okay with it. As long as I’m trying my hardest, even when I drop the ball, it’s okay. She’s very fair about it. But there’s times where she’ll see me sitting there texting or on the computer and she’s like, hey, you do the goddamn dishes right now. And I’m like, Yeah, you’re right. You’re right, you’re right. You’ve been breast feeding all day. You held hostage. It’s it’s funny because you said it. I thought it was really eye opening to say, like, you know, I don’t have empathy for my dad, but I have a lot of empathy for my mom. And that’s that’s an amazing thing to realize. Sounds to me like some of this stuff with your dad, like, I’d imagine when you were a kid, that vomit thing, you’re like, that’s fucked up. And now you’re a parent and you’re like, oh, actually, now I know that that was completely unacceptable.
CALLER [01:03:14] Yes. One hundred percent. Yeah.
CHRIS [01:03:22] This one flew by.
CALLER [01:03:24] It did.
CHRIS [01:03:25] I, I really my heart goes out to you. You dealt with more stuff than any kid should have to deal with. But I have to say, we didn’t even really get a chance to talk about your career. But the idea that you’ve dedicated yourself to trying to help people in need and reshape the world is such a beautiful thing and hope you succeed at it. I hope it helps you feel like you’ve pushed back against some of the bullshit you had to deal with.
CALLER [01:03:52] Awesome. Thank you. And same goes to you. I think this podcast has done a lot for a lot of people. Definitely has for me too.
CHRIS [01:04:02] I hate that we’re ending when you sound so sad. You sound so sad on the way out the door. Oh no.
CALLER [01:04:09] Oh can I end on something though. Wait wait my husband leaves the cabinet doors open and it’s infuriating.
CHRIS [01:04:14] Oh, my God. See me and you should–.
CALLER [01:04:15] I’ve always wanted to share that with you.
CHRIS [01:04:17] Listen, someday if we cross paths in person and you tell me we got to sit down and grab a grab a cup of tea or something, because me and you, we process things in very similar fashion, these goddamn cabinet openers. My wife is mad, though, because now she’s like a meme. People will find cabinets open and they will put up pictures and tag me and her in them. And it makes her so upset. And I get it. I get it.
CHRIS [01:04:55] [Ring] I have to say to our caller, thank you for opening up, I can imagine that that was not easy. There are a lot of places that cut deep and I was feeling it and I can’t imagine how you feeling that cause you were the one to put yourself out there, so thank you. I have a feeling. As with all of the calls that get emotional. I have a feeling it’s going to help some other people out there in the world, and I hope that that feels worth it to you. And thank you for doing what you do. Trying to make the world a better place. Thanks to Jared O’Connell in the booth. Thanks to Harry Nelson in the booth. Thanks to Shellshag for the music. Go to Chrisgeth.com if you want to know more about me. If you like the show go to Apple Podcast. Rate, review, subscribe. It helps when you do. See you next time.