In honor of today's premeire of her new webseries, Touching the Art—the first episode of which is viewable above—Gawker is pleased to present an exploration of digital life by artist and comic Casey Jane Ellison. This essay takes place from the time Casey wakes up to 10 minutes later.
I open my eyes. I know the meaning of life. I'm without desire. I'm not scared, not ecstatic, not discontent. I'm pure existence. I am a monk. Then, my Diva Cup explodes.
Or I remember all the suffering in earth's history, or something else earthly happens. The answers and the wholeness is gone and the void resets. It's just me, Your Girl Casey, lying in bed, waking up, being mortal as fuck.
Then, my arm extends to my nightstand without any electro conductivity from my brain. I am a bot. I feel the tranquilizing ridges and smoothness of my phone. The weight of it in my hand switches on my brain. It's time to look at shit. It's time to consume. Desire, fear, excitement, hope. Chemicals flood.
What am I looking for?
I want an update that 50 Cent followed me back.
I want an email from the President saying, "Hey."
I want to be unblocked from that bitch's profile. JK. I don't want to be unblocked.
I'm looking for purpose. I'm looking for proof of existence. I'm looking for…Me. Lol.
Instead of finding me, Your Girl Casey, I find a gorgeous pic from my frenemy's trip to Barcelona; a news story on how baby piglets are being systematically thrown off cliffs; a hilarious new webseries by a white male. All of it, crushing!
Oh thank God!—a red "2." A Like from an important hottie and a Share from my frenemy?!
No. It's two identical comments from Ymujitki Cortansipipi, on my labored yet playful tweet about my art practice, about how he (she?) lost 13 pounds in 17 months, please check it out.
It's like, I can't check it out, because there's no link, IDIOT! And before I can post my response, Ymujitki deletes her comment. We're just two bots trying to connect, but can't. Is it me? Can't be. I guess Ymujitki doesn't exist.
This exercise proves I'm alone in the universe. My chemicals are depleted. I can actually feel my heart hurt. Lol.
Unfortunately self-induced mental torture disallows sobbing. Sobbing alleviates sadness, but is not possible in this case because there are only two kinds of tears produced by hormones conducted by the brain. Reflex tears are triggered by dryness of the eyes while emotional tears are triggered by actual loss. I'm not experiencing anything dry eyes or loss, just full-blown nothingness. So, I can't cry even though I'm sad. Lol.
My mind asks me, Your Girl Casey, "Why are you like this?"
"I don't know."
"Why can't you be grateful? Grateful for life."
"I am. Let's meditate."
"Go. Do it."
"K, I'm doing it …Where's my phone?!"
"OMG where's your phone?! You just had it."
"I know! …K, I found it."
"You go, GIRL!"
"Yes! We're safe now!"
My mind and I rejoice in finding our phone, which we just put down so we could meditate. The cycle continues.
Wow, she is part of the problem! I continue to scroll. He's in pain and doesn't know it! Still scrolling. They're on a steep spiral. Referring to Coldplay.
Why do I bother? How dare I? My excuse for this behavior is that everything is meaningless and it's meaningless that it's meaningless so fuck you. But shouldn't that motto make me feel bomb instead of lost and angry? Free instead of captive?
At least I'm not posting and spreading h8. I'm just wasting time talking to myself in bed, festering as I continue my trudge toward oblivion. Is this how I'm spending my only time on earth?
If I met a guy at a thing IRL and he said, I like your shit. Let's say the way he said it made me hate him and let's say I never saw him again. I'd project whatever I thought of that interaction onto him and live my whole life knowing that this guy was dumb or whatever. Never mind the fact that in this case I would have disliked him only because I can't take a compliment.
The same is true if I saw that he Liked or Faved something of mine online. I'd be all like, Oh, you like my shit, Bro? You don't know me! Same shit. Same shit, Dawg. My systemic loathing applies to real life and net life, Dawg. It's me. I'm my problem.
Did you know that eyes don't see? The brain sees. Each of our brains is unique based on our experiences and biology so our individual memories, moods, traumas, and habits inform what we each see. So really, there is no such thing as reality. Lol.
My eyes introduce the light of my screen to my brain, my brain receives the images, headlines and/or lack of fan mail, and I decide to see a hole. Now, I'm living my life from inside that hole. I'm defined by that hole and I believe that everyone who sees me, can see I'm just a big fat hole of a girl. I didn't know it was possible to radiate a vacuum until I realized I was doing it everyday!
My mind asks me, Your Girl Casey, "Case, what's up?"
"I feel scared and alone."
"Because you actually are scared and alone?"
"Yeah, but it's actually my fault I can't connect."
"But most people are fucking dumb."
"Yeah, but I have to learn to love them anyway."
"Sure. Let's do that now."
"K! I feel better already!"
"You go, GIRL!"
My mind and I think that's really cool of us.
It must be my fear of loving that perpetuates this insistence on emptiness. I'm only as empty as I fear I am. It's like, my emptiness is only matched by my shallowness.
Some days my shallowness is profound.
Other days I'm grateful and I'll see things online that turn me off, hurt me, weird me out and it's amazing. I say Thank you. Her work is completely inverted, but thank you. Thank you for this moment of life.
I'll just get like a real life donut and I'm just like, Thank you. We're all alive right now and I'm just like, Thank you.
I know I've created these problems because I'm not dealing with real problems like starvation that isn't self-inflicted or any real pain ever except for cramps.
A lot of people might advise to, Get offline, bitch! And while that is an excellent suggestion, it's not practical. What you should say is, Stop hating yourself and be of service every day and everywhere you can, bitch! That is true.
I have to change how I h8 everything if I want to change how I h8 myself.
After all, if I wasn't online, you couldn't read this essay by me, Your Girl Casey.
I'm going to clean my bloody sheets now and try to continue to love every day.
Casey Jane Ellison, artist and comic, is a bicoastal bisexual. People think her mole is fake, but it's not.