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Hi readers, I’ve started writing a series of posts about caring for mental health while engaging with the rocky political situation in the US over at my Patreon site. Financial support is always appreciated (and how we get to not look at ads when we hang out here), but this particular content is free for anyone to read and share.

Posts so far in the series:

I’m still messing about a bit with Patreon rewards that can be both maximally attractive to you and sustainably delivered by me. I will be reviving the Search Terms posts and the Friday Short Answers very very soon, but for now I’m also going with: MORE CONTENT, as I realized in December when all my attempts to answer reader questions started turning into book chapters (alas, not from any of the same books) or Twitter rants that a slight separation between “the advice blog that I dearly love writing” and “ALL OF JENNIFER’S THOUGHTS, EVER” might be wise, if only to keep *myself* a little more organized.

In other news, if you missed it, a bunch of people who write advice columns talked to each other about our processes over at BuzzFeed Content notes apply for mentions of abuse, animal harm, and something called “the jizzcliner.” Next time I’d love to hear from ¡Hola Papi!, Dearly Beloved, Asking Bear, Everyone Is Gay, for starters, the advice column form is rich and varied right now.

If you’re in Chicago, Mr. Awkward is telling a story at The Stoop’s Six Year Anniversary Show on January 31 (I think it’s about how his dad founded a second franchise of the family), and I’m telling a story at You’re Being Ridiculous at Steppenwolf on February 1 (My plan is to tell the story about the time I lived with a roommate ripped from the pages of The Gift of Fear, but I might write 6 more things between now and then, shhhhhhhh don’t tell the producers).

Here’s a song:

 

Your host, Jess, proposes an outdoor excursion. Here are the details:

Friends of Captain Awkward meetup – Perth, Australia
I have decided to host an outdoor meetup for a change.
When:
Saturday 17th November, 2.30pm
Where:
Bibra Lake – a shady spot on the grass north east of the Bibra Lake Reserve Car Park. This is the car park near the intersection of Progress Dr and Gwilliam Dr. (Google maps knows which car park it is).
See the red outline on the map – I will find a nice shady spot inside that area.
bibra lake
Details:
BYO coffee/drink of choice. BYO folding chair/something to sit on (optional). I will bring some snacks to share, a bird watching book, and a board game/card game.
There are public toilets next to the car park but no cafe. (There’s a Red Rooster on the corner of Gwilliam Dr and North Lake Rd – about 500m walk). Sometimes I’ve seen an ice cream van in the Bibra Lake car park, but I don’t know how regularly it’s there.
How to find us:
I will get there 5-10 early and will have a sign that says FOCA. I have medium length dark brown hair.
Bad weather plan:
The current forecast for sat says partially cloudy. However if does rain, meet at the undercover picnic tables near the small jetty south of the meetup area. The meetup will only be canceled if it’s bucketing down or a thunderstorm. I will keep the discussion thread on the FOCA forum updated so check there if the weather is iffy.
Questions? Suggestions for future meetups? 
Please join our discussion thread in the Meetups section of the Friends of Captain Awkward forums. (Note: you will need to log in to the FOCA forum to see the thread).
Have a wonderful time!

Hello everyone!

We’re doing the thing today, where people can submit short questions at Patreon or on Twitter (@CAwkward, #awkwardfriday) before noon Chicago time and I will answer as many as I can this afternoon between noon and 2pm. Comments get turned on once everything is posted

Please enjoy this artsy photo of Daniel Striped Tiger hanging out in his new rainbow tunnel/bifrost.

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Image: Daniel Tiger inside a rainbow tunnel, walking toward camera like he’s in a Kubrick movie.

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Hello readers,

You can submit questions at the Patreon thread (advantage: you get more than 280 characters and first dibs) or on Twitter (@CAwkward, #awkwardfriday). Submissions close at noon. FYI answers will slide slightly later today and probably won’t be updated piece by piece since I have a last minute appointment at noon. Like, everything will get answered today, but if you’re planning to refresh over your lunch hour you might be disappointed. Comments open when the whole thread is posted.

In other news, I’m reading the true story of the person who inspired the Darth Vader Boyfriend tag on my site at You’re Being Ridiculous at Uncommon Ground in Edgewater tonight, and some tickets are still available as of this morning, come & see! The venue is accessible, the food is great, the lineup for the rest of the shows tomorrow and next weekend is also great (I’m gonna try to go tomorrow and see Lily Be & Clarence, two of my favorite Chicago storytellers. We couldn’t all be on the same bill or the awesomeness would shut down the city).

In other news: Kittens.

snuggles

Image description: Two brown tabby kittens snuggling the everloving shit out of each other. Daniel is on his back with his belly exposed, Henrietta is spooning him.

henrietta

Image: Henrietta, a classic brown tabby kitten, looking all elegant and fierce as she lounges in a window.

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Image: Daniel Tiger, a “mackerel” tabby kitten, hanging out on his round ball toy and staring into camera with his pretty green eyes.

Ok, let’s do this!

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Hello Chicago Awkward People,

Tomorrow, August 1, I am telling a story about what it’s like to be an advice writer and answer questions like “How are you keeping your shit together when the world is :frantic hand gestures: like this?” when you are not necessarily keeping your shit together at a mental health-themed storytelling and comedy show. Show is at Schuba’s, 3159 N Southport Ave, it starts at 8pm, admission is free, the place serves food & drinks, the show space is up a flight of stairs with no elevator.

Thursday, August 9, 7pm, Uptown Underground Lounge, 4707 N Broadway. I am telling a different story (still working on which one) at my brilliant friend’s web series fundraiser & cabaret show. Look at his adorable cast on this poster! You can buy tickets here or at the door. FYI, getting into this venue also involves stairs.

FOMObanner

Banner for Fear Of Missing Out Web-Series and Show, with show information (also posted as text above the image) on a background with a blue sky. Across the bottom of the image are 8 adorable people variously on their cell phones or making eyes at each other. 

Maybe I will see some of your faces there?

Ahoy Captain,

I am a part of a lovely circle of friends that at its core is good and strong and free of toxicity.

If you graduate out a bit in the social circles, we have a couple of friends that kind of move in and out of the friend group that are prone to dramatics (openly untreated depression because they say no therapist understands them, say things like “I don’t know why anyone even wants to be my friend, I’m a terrible person”, have chosen particular diets but never bring their type of dishes to potlucks so they passive aggressively make comments about having nothing to eat OR the host will make a special dish and at the last minute flake. Probably due to the depression(s), their homes are also at various levels of hoarding/uncleanliness-literal bags of garbage in corners, filthy litter boxes, etc. offers of “are you doing ok? Do you need help with anything” aka reaching out are met with indignation and weeks of “can you believe they insulted me that way!”.

These folks also smoke a lot of weed. Inside their homes and outside at other people’s homes (although if you ask them not to at your home because of piss test concerns from secondary they will begrudgingly stop). I am terribly allergic to almost all kinds of pot. I can be around the liquid form in vapes for whatever reason, but raw burning weed gives me a full body migraine that can last for days.

However not inviting these people to my home for gatherings would be…..well I don’t have the spoons to deal with the fallout. But when I don’t go to their house often enough for one of their parties, i inevitably get a message or text “why don’t you ever come over? Did I make you mad? I feel like you’re mad at me? It’s because I’m a terrible person isn’t it? It’s a wonder I have any friends at all” and literally I want to chuck my phone into the river from frustration.

Because I’m not going to be THAT PERSON and go to someone else’s house and demand they not smoke pot. But I also can’t be in bed for two days to protect someone else’s feelings. And as an addendum, my spouse does have a piss test issue so I worry about it showing up if they get checked at random.

Help?

Not a Narc, just got bad genes
(They/them for anonymity)

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Hi,

I’m a 30 year old man with a family of four, and I’m a member of a church community of about 140 people, 80 active members. I’ve been mostly inactive for over 10 years, but go to things occasionally. My parents have been active my whole life, up until five years ago my mother got very ill. My father has kept going to church and doing activities, up until the last year. His reason was that he was sick of people asking how my mother was doing and never asking him how he was doing, and has stopped attending.

Initially, I didn’t think much of this and felt my father’s reasoning sounded a bit selfish. My wife has pointed out that it was our community’s way of indirectly asking how he is doing and showing they care. I had experienced some of the same, but didn’t think much of it, until I started getting active again in the last couple months, and honestly, I’m starting to see what my dad means.

Week to week, my mother’s health does not change. Every couple months she has an episode of some kind and recovers afterwards. But that is the question, every time single time I attend an event, multiple times per event. It is surprisingly grating over time. I feel like it would rude/passive to aggressive to add, “I’m doing fine by the way” or “She’s not getting better, stop asking.” I do think it’s coming from a good place, but I’m seriously thinking about attending a church that doesn’t know my mother.

Thanks,

Random Dude

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