Personal Stories, Stand-up Comedy

Storytelling in Stand-up Comedy

There’s more to stand-up than just telling jokes. Besides one-liners, the most memorable jokes or sets are usually part of a story. You are always telling a story, no matter how big or small. For example, Russell Peters may have a lot of bits and sets about different people from all over the world. But, he’s basically narrating a really long story about his travels and experiences. The only jokes that don’t need stories and narration are memes and dad jokes. Good luck trying to make a career out of that.

Basic Story Structure

As a professional storyteller, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve heard what I’m about to tell you next: a story is a sequence of events. One thing leads to another. There is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can go ahead and exaggerate anything to fit your set, as long as you don’t digress or deviate into a whole different tangent. You’ll know you’ve done that when you suddenly realize you don’t know how to segue back into the original story you were narrating. If the middle of your story is too long and you don’t have a good enough pay-off by the end, you’ll lose your audience.

Specific to stand-up, storytelling might be difficult for someone who is used to writing small observational bits because there’s only so much you can do within the time-frame of the open mic slot. I’ll get to that in a bit.

How Do I Write/Tell A Funny Story?

The short answer is – you don’t. Unless you’re naturally funny, and I mean in conversation, it might be difficult for you to take a serious incident and make it stand-up worthy on your first try. Just like every joke, you have to start with actually writing things down.

When you want to narrate an incident, don’t feel the pressure to be funny just yet. Write your story down – don’t miss any details. Once you’ve written it down exactly as you remember, you can then go about figuring out where you can make it funny. Break it down scene by scene, frame by frame. Look for details to exploit. You can use analogies, puns, one-liners, or just act it out. It will take a while, but your patience will pay off. Just believe that your story is funny, and that’s why you want to tell it so badly.

How Do I Keep The Audience Hooked On?

It is true that quick jokes might seem like they get better response from the audience, compared to long-form jokes; which is why quick punchy bits are great to start your set off, especially if you’re doing anywhere between minimum 10 to 30 minutes. Once you’ve written your story down, figure out where you want to jump into it. You don’t always have to start at the beginning of the story. Unlike fiction, stand-up doesn’t require you to develop every character in your story. Pick the most interesting part of your story and use that as a hook, like “Have you ever…?”, “Has this happened to you?” “Don’t you just hate it when…?” These are just some basic examples, but I’m sure you can come up with your own stuff. Once you have the hook ready, launch into your story. By now, you should know where each punch lands. Make sure you have a good flow so you always keep the audience guessing about what’s going to happen next. Hit them with a misdirection, then land the punch. Ride the laughs and applause, then continue without missing a beat. If you structure your story well, you will be rewarded by the end of the story.

Why Should I Try Stories?

It’s not compulsory if you really don’t want to. But, here’s why you should try it – it’s more personal than observational quick jokes. When you narrate a story, you’re always the center of attention because you’re the storyteller. First person stories, if done right, strike a nerve. If your audience walks out of your show feeling like they know you, it’s the best feeling ever. Storytelling also helps you conserve material. If I’m doing a one hour set (Fizz Out! An Hour of Soda), it would be easier for me to put together a few stories and figure out how to connect them all, instead of going from one joke to another and losing my audience halfway. Yes, that last sentence might have been a shameless ad for my first solo stand-up show premiering in the last week of October.

Stories also have great call-back value. And, if you’ve been doing stand-up long enough, you know the feeling when the audience goes berserk at an unexpected reference to a previous joke.

The Wrap Up

  • Always write your story down, and then look for ways to make it funny
  • Don’t deviate from the story too much. The point is to pepper jokes into a story, not the other way around.
  • Do not abandon it halfway. If you think it’s not working, push through. Get used to telling the story on stage.
  • If you think you don’t have enough time to do the whole story in an open mic, break it into smaller bits that you can try separately. Then put it all together and see how it works.
  • Be patient. Don’t rush through it just to get to the jokes.
  • Beginning, middle, end = hook, set-up, punch (act-out, analogy, exaggeration, call-back)
  • Be open to feedback. Ask fellow comics to figure out if it was convincing enough, whether the jokes were obvious enough, and if they suggest tags, be your own judge.

I wrote this as a quick manual for fellow comics, because I can see a lot of people experimenting with storytelling. If you think I’ve left something out, or I’ve overlooked anything, feel free to have a conversation about it.

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Personal Stories

My Story

Hey, there. I’m a storyteller, and I’ve got a story to tell you. Before we begin, I want you to understand something – this story is for adults. If you’re not an adult, you might just become one by the end of this story. Speaking of the end, I don’t really know how it ends. There’s definitely an ending. But, is it going to be happy? Is it going to be sad? Is it going to be an action packed climax, or a cliffhanger teasing a sequel? I’ve stayed up nights asking myself these questions. I still don’t have an answer, and that’s the best part about this story.

One of the easiest things for a storyteller has got to be telling a story someone else wrote or lived. All I have to do is tell you the story. I don’t have to relive, reminisce, remember, resent, or repent. I could even make things up in the middle, just for funsies. But, this story isn’t like that. This is my story. It’s one of my favorite stories, because I know how it all began. I know what happens right after the beginning. The characters in this story are real people with real lives. The best thing about this story for me, though, is it never ends. Now, I know I said there’s a definite end, but stay with me a little longer and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This story never ends for me, because it never feels like I’m close to the end. You know, I once tried to end this story. I thought I was done with this story – it was great while it lasted, and it was an adventure, but there was another story that seemed more interesting and maybe I should move on. I wasn’t mature enough to know the difference between the end of a chapter, and the end of the story itself.

That new story I thought was way more interesting, wasn’t that great by the time it ended. This time, someone else ended the story for me. It wasn’t the end of a chapter. The story hadn’t ended, either. But, you know how sometimes you’re reading a story and you lose interest and shut the book and leave it on a shelf you’ll probably never return to? That’s what happened. As time went by, I remembered the last story. I returned to it – not because I didn’t have a story to tell or because my new story didn’t end well. I returned because I knew there was more. I realized I didn’t consume the story, the story consumed me. I felt like this was the story I would never stop telling. The more I read this story, the more I learnt about myself. The more I told this story, the more I realized how nobody would ever say, “Oh, yeah! This reminds me of that other story!” No. This is my story. If you want to be part of this, you need to know that I won’t stop when you want. I will only stop when I want to, and that might not be any time soon.

I know I haven’t told you anything yet. Do you feel conned? This isn’t even the beginning and you’re already feeling entitled? Then, you’re exactly the kind of person for this type of story. This isn’t a story for the ages. It’s the story of an age. An age I wish I could go back to.

You know what, I think I’ll make you wait some more before I start. But, here’s a teaser: This story has drama, tragedy, comedy, romance, action, and lots more. Most of all, it has a life of its own.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Roast of VIP 2

As I write this, I’m listening to the soundtrack of the first VIP to remind myself that I liked it, and I was an idiot to think the second one would match up. I feel like a parent who couldn’t keep it in his pants; who liked his first-born so much that he made another one and paid for it as well. I feel like Brad after Angelina went and brought home a second child from the same race. I had intended to watch this with a friend who dropped out at the last minute. Dear friend, I know you’ll laugh at me more than you’ll laugh at this post. But, it’s okay. Friendship is also about pointing and laughing.

The story of VIP 2 looks like it was outsourced to a desperate content writer who’s trying their best to get work done without being caught for plagiarism – same template, different characters, some glamour here and there so the audience thinks it’s a completely different product. The music is unforgettable; in the sense you can’t forget it, but can’t remember much of it either. Listening to the soundtrack is like riding a bike when it’s raining really hard. You can’t close your eyes, but you can’t keep them open either because it’s drizzling pins and needles.

For some reason, every song in this film has at least a hundred extra dancers in the background. Dhanush is hardly visible in a crowd, now you want me to play Where’s Wally/Waldo? The choreography of the opening song looks like it was done by the Loyola Dream Team – good enough to win college cultural meets, not that great to pay and watch on a big screen. We simply cannot digest Dhanush locking and popping, when we have already seen him kuth-ing like a bau5 in the first part. You simply cannot take our Dhandachor King and make him do hip hop.

The story takes place a year after the first one. Raghuvaran (Dhanush) has become the posterboy for modesty and hard work. He is the Aamir Khan of Engineering – he’s not interested in receiving awards. Even if he wins anything, someone else will accept it on his behalf. While at home, he is survived by his dad and brother, and threatened by his wife all the time. Amala Paul graduates from girlfriend next door to housewife by choice. Following her mother-in-law’s death, she has decided to become the woman of the house. If you listen closely, you can hear feminists laughing and crying at the same time. From loving girlfriend, it takes her less than a year to attain matriarch status. Everyone is afraid of her. Ha life, Ha rulz (her life, her rules). Raghuvaran complains about her every chance he gets, but does nothing to stand up to her. According to this movie, being married is like campus placement. You might get what you want, but one year into it, you will hate your life.

Samuthirakani as Raghuvaran’s dad is one of the saving graces. His character has developed so well, he looks fitter than he did last time. Raghuvaran and his dad bond over what it feels like to have a wife who’s nice on the inside, but tough on the outside. Raghuvaran rarely gets a chance to get inside his wife. Um, I mean experience her nice side. Hopefully, the next instalment won’t be named VIP 3: Vamsam Illa Pattadhaari.

Raghuvaran’s brother finally hits puberty and grows a thick mustache. That’s all.

Kajol plays the villainous MILF – Matriarch I’d Like to Fuck (over). She has a unibrow like the bridge Rama built to Lanka; you can only spot it from afar. She looks like she lives out of an H&M trial room, and has never known functional clothing in life. Her temper is shorter than her attention span, and she yells more than she breathes. It almost explains why Ajay Devgn still has a career, because he needs an excuse to get out of the house and get away from all that yelling. Also, a word to the Censor Board – it doesn’t matter if a character on screen says “fuck” to symbolize power, if you’re going to fucking mute the fucking fuck out of every fuck. What the actual fuck?

Vivek retains his role, but doesn’t add much value. His subtle humor style is riddled with predictability and has been exploited enough since Uthama Puthiran. Balaji Mohan does his first non-cameo debut in style. The film could’ve gone without his character, but it was a neglectable addition to the cast that didn’t do much damage.

I’m going to end this post abruptly, just like the movie.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Vikram Vedha

After Batman, Vikram Vedha has arguably the catchiest theme (TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA…. TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA). After Joker, Vedha is the next worst guy you’ll want to root for. This film is a delirious mix of Vikram Vethal and The Dark Knight. For the uninitiated, Vikram and Vethal, is the story of King Vikramaditya and his adventures with the Vethal (poltergeist/ghoul). Poltergeists are supposed to be noisy beings who damage property. Thala Ajith’s Vethalam was loosely based on this premise.

A sage asks King Vicky to go to the forbidden forest and bring back the Vethal. King Vicky says “Easy peasy lemon squeezy” and sets out. When he finally faces the Vethal, King Vicky realizes his adversary isn’t an easy target. The Vethal plays more hard to get than a Tinder match who holds strong ideals of feminism, independence, and has high standards. So, King Vicky instead turns the tables and says “only here for friendship”. This gets the Vethal talking. The Vethal promptly lays down some ground rules. The Vethal states that he will ride on King Vicky’s back, and as they make their way back to the sage, King Vicky will have to listen to a story. At the end of the story, Vethal will ask him a question in the form of a riddle. If King Vicky doesn’t know the answer, the Vethal will stay with him, answer the riddle, and move onto the next story. If King Vicky knows the answer and doesn’t respond, his head will explode. If King Vicky responds correctly, Vethal will fly back to his tree, because “if you know errthang, why you need me for, biatch?”

King Vicky agrees to all of the above while mumbling “this clingy bitch right here.” He also notes that if prenups had these clauses, divorce rates would drop steeply, because ain’t nobody getting married if they know exactly what they’re getting into. Now, back to Vikram Vedha.

Madhavan plays Vikram, an encounter specialist, with a broad frame and broader smile. He is headstrong and prides himself on knowing he is always on the right side of the law. He can come back home after a long day of feeding bullets to goons and sleep like a baby, because he knows he has never killed an innocent human being. Vikram is your happy-go-lucky death dealer. This is established in the opening sequence, where Vikram and his squad take a gang by storm. Vikram clocks the most kills, but spots a runner. Instead of chasing after him, Vikram takes a walk in the park while twirling his glock. When the rowdy hits a dead end, he turn around and surrenders, and this annoys Vikram. He responds with, “You could’ve surrendered back there. The fuck did you make me come after you? Okay, tell me a joke and I’ll let you live.” The felon cracks a below average pun. Vikram is not amused and shoots the kills. Lesson for budding comedians: it’s a kill or be killed world out there. Better be ready for the day a cop comes after you with a gun, and all you can do to save yourself is tell a good joke.

Vijay Sethupathi is the best buy one get one free deal in Kollywood. You sign him, you get his acting skills for free. Not for sale individually. His performance as Vedha will surprise audiences once again. Right from the start, it’s clear that Vedha isn’t evil incarnate. He is the bad guy, because the good guys wouldn’t have a job otherwise. He is in the logistics business, and people get hurt once in a while. Every time he faces off with Vikram, he distracts him and gets away; leaving Vikram with answers to find. He teaches Vikram to look at both sides of the coin, instead of simply stopping with calling heads or tails. The story ends with Vikram and Vedha fighting side by side – forced to be brothers in arms due to circumstances. Finally, Vikram and Vedha have a Mexican stand-off, and it’s Vikram’s turn to riddle Vedha – “Should I let you go because you fought by my side, or should I kill you right here because that’s my job? Which is right?”

THE END. The best cliffhanger ending I’ve ever witnessed in Kollywood yet.

The supporting cast has also done well. There are two female characters (Priya and Chandra), and no item songs. There’s also a strong sense of casual feminism.

Priya is Vikram’s wife. She has tattoos, a serious job, and doesn’t exist just to make her man feel better about himself. She is a lawyer who hates cops. Vikram is a cop who hates lawyers. This friction brings them together, and thus begins a flashback song montage of their courtship. There’s a lot of insinuated sex, and they go to bed wearing normal clothes. It is time we acknowledged that lingerie and lip-biting isn’t always part of foreplay. On their first night, Vikram and Priya take the couch and pass out. Again, it is time we acknowledged that the wedding ceremony takes a physical toll on the bride and groom, and they’re too tired to even think of sex. When Vikram realizes Priya is Vedha’s attorney, he tries to get her to drop the case. Priya responds with “Why don’t you drop the case? Your work is work, but mine isn’t?”

Chandra also has her moments – when she gets slapped, she slaps back; when someone tries to intimidate her, she puts them in their place.

The soundtrack is great, and the songs have replay value. Karuppu Vellai is the recurring theme, and Yaanji serves as the romantic montage number. Tasakku Tasakku is the actual item numbers, where the bad guys have some fun dancing to their own tunes with a side of booze. The rest of the songs seem like they were made by the music director simply because he got commissioned for the job – much like a content writer who has to meet deadlines because they got paid ahead of time in full. The movie has a lot of subtle humor peppered in the most intense scenes, but the grit and pace of the thriller is maintained. You can tell there’s a lot of tension in the movie simply by checking out Madhavan’s nipples. After Batman, his nipples are the sharpest. This might also explain why he never wears a bulletproof vest.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Baby Driver

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Right now, I gotta tell you about… the fabulous… most groovy… BABY DRIVER!

Days before watching this movie, I’d been listening to the soundtrack. If you have a car, and you’ve got an L board stuck on the back or front, this soundtrack is not for you. If you have a car, and are usually late to meetings, this soundtrack is definitely for you.

The trailer conveys just enough for you to buy the ticket. But, it’s more than just another fast and furious wannabe. This is a movie about love, music, cars, and cold blooded killers. The dialogues are well-written, with some seriously funny one liners being thrown around occasionally. The interesting thing about the story is there’s not much character development, outside of the title character Baby (Ansel Elgort). Everyone has code names, and Baby is no different. It is never really explained how or why these nicknames came up. Baby also doesn’t talk much, case in point, Buddy’s (Jon Hamm) explanation:

“You know why he’s called Baby? It’s because they’re still waiting on his first words.”

Baby Driver looks like Bo Burnham with a pair of shades and a driver’s license; with the musical humor intact. Throughout the film, Baby is always plugged into an iPod. Owing to a car crash where he lost both his parents as well as some of his hearing, he plays music to drown out his tinnitus. He’s a “good kid and a devil behind the wheel.

Kevin Spacey plays Doc. Doc is Frank Underwood on steroids, minus the politics and the fourth wall breaks. He is the mastermind behind each heist, and doesn’t work with the same crew twice. But, he does like to mix and match. My favorite Doc line is “He puts the Asian in home invasion.

Jon Hamm is Buddy. Buddy is what happens when Don Draper decides to act in the ads he pitches to clients. Buddy and his lady love Darling (Elza Gonzalez) are part of the first and third/final heist in the film. They’re a Mr and Mrs Smith, the outlaw version. 

Jamie “doesn’t give two” Foxx is a late but welcome addition to the cast. He shoots first, and asks questions later. Sometimes, he asks questions while shooting as well. He goes by Bats, and is Bats-hit crazy. Bats is Django Untethered. “I like the way you die, boy!”

Lily James plays Deborah, and serves as the cute waitress crush/love interest of the protagonist. She represents the normal life that Baby tries his hardest to hold onto. It is also noticeable that a lot of work has gone into Baby’s wardrobe. He looks like a date-able Levi’s store mannequin, wearing shades of grey that darken towards the end as he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, being dragged deeper into the world of crime and bloodshed.

The music is the most interesting part of the film. The first six minutes minutes has Baby Driver grooving to Bell Bottoms. This sequence is a tribute to the music video of Blue Song by Mint Royale (which was directed by Edgar Wright himself in 2003). The coffee run sequence where Baby walks to the coffee shop is also visually pleasing, with words and phrases from the song popping up in the scene as graffiti. Even the action sequences have been choreographed to music, with the bullets being shot in tandem to the beats of the track. But, Kamal Haasan already did that with Vishwaroopam’s trailer.

Overall, this is a movie you’ll definitely want to watch more than once. But, if you’re a struggling artist like myself, you’ll watch it in theaters the first time, and wait for a good print to watch online. Most if not all the stunts in the film are real, and more than 150 cars were reportedly used to make every scene come alive. The story also has a cause-and-effect method of storytelling, where the characters live to break the law and face the consequences, even if it is death.

The best part about watching this movie is when you pull into Satyam cinemas, and the guy asks you which movie you’re here to watch, and proceeds to yell, “BABY! BABY DRIVER! Park your Baby behind that car, sir.”

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Stand-up Comedy

Let’s Make Rape Jokes

Rape is a heinous crime. It’s not fun. It’s definitely not funny. But, if you’re someone who believes in pushing the boundaries with humor, there are a few things you need to consider before getting on stage and spitting some R-rated lines.

  • Choose A Side

When talking about rape, if you’ve not been a victim, you’re automatically going to sound insensitive. The immediate argument will be “If you don’t know how it feels, you definitely cannot make fun of it. Remember, being molested is not the same as being raped. “I was once touched inappropriately. It felt wrong. I can definitely imagine what rape might feel like.” Wrong. That’s almost like saying “I’m a man, and most rapists are men. So, by extension, I can relate to them.” Just for the element of surprise, don’t try to shock your audience and call it dark humor. You have to make it explicitly clear – are you condemning the act or condoning it? There is no middle ground.

  • Make A Convincing Argument

Don’t wait till the audience asks you, “What’s your point?” Don’t make the rookie mistake of picking on a subject like rape because it’s an edgy topic, and people will pay attention to you. Especially if you’re not confident that they will laugh at the end. Don’t make a statement like “Rape is bad, guys! Don’t do it.” They don’t need to hear it from you. They already knew it. If you’re going to tell them what they want to hear, don’t be a comedian. Join politics. If you’re bold enough to argue that rape isn’t so bad after all, convince the audience beyond a doubt – to the point where they’ve becoming accomplices. It takes a special kind of genius to do that. Do not take it lightly. Off the top of my head, the best example I can quote is Bill Burr’s bit about hitting women. He says something along the lines of “You shouldn’t hit women. It’s not right. But, I don’t think there is no reason to hit a woman. Sometimes, they ask for it. Just don’t do it.” You should be able to find the clip online. Also remember, that’s Bill Burr. A lot of people pay good money to watch him. They will listen to anything he has to say. If you go on stage on your third open mic and crack jokes about rape, the first thing I’d think is, “Who the fuck is this? What do they know about rape? BOOOOOO!”

  • Always Punch Up

The definition of punching up is pretty easy. Never make it look like it’s the victim’s fault. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. But, it takes some getting used to. When you punch up, you should steer clear of stereotypical mumbo-jumbo. It’s common sense. Do not trivialize the issue. If you’re going to start your set with “I don’t get what’s the big deal about rape”, stop; go kill yourself.

  • Rape Has Nothing To Do With Sex

This is the first thing you need to understand. Rape is more than just nonconsensual sex. It’s not an extreme state of horniness. Rape is a display of power. It’s psychological. The size of a rapist’s penis has nothing to do with it.

 

While it is true that stand-up comedy is about upsetting balances, challenging ideologies, and calling out bullshit, don’t take it too far. It doesn’t matter if they’re laughing with you or at you. It’s your duty to make sure they laugh for the right reasons. There are a lot of rape jokes online. Everyone laughs it off, because they don’t attach a person or voice to it. Stand-up isn’t just telling jokes. You’re sugarcoating an uncomfortable truth. One joke isn’t worth being branded an insensitive asshole. Always ask yourself: what do I stand(up) for?

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Offensive Personal Opinions

I’m Leaving

Whenever I’ve heard someone say “I’m leaving”, they usually don’t. They stay and wait for a reaction. And, when you don’t react, they get riled up, and start arguments. “Wow. You really don’t care, do you? I said I’m leaving and you have nothing to say? I guess I should’ve left a long time ago!” Unfortunately, no response will satisfy them, because they don’t really know what they want. There is nothing you can do. You’re stuck. If you react, your actions and words will be held against you. If you don’t react, you’re an insensitive asshole. Let me show you.

Probable Response 1: Don’t leave.

“Too late for that now. I am going to do what I want to do. I don’t care what you want. I’ve put up with you long enough.”

You are left feeling guilty, clueless, and hurt. You’re going to rewind as far as memory serves, and over-analyze everything, only to come up with nothing. You don’t have a defense, because you didn’t think you’d ever have to defend yourself.

Probable Response 2: Fine. Fuck off.

“You fuck off. You don’t get to be cocky about this. This is exactly why I’m leaving. You don’t care.”

Fuck off was your bye. But, because you chose to honestly verbalize your thoughts, you’re the villain now. Now, you’re angry, frustrated, and this close to breaking something. But, there’s no use showing your anger, because these days, the definition of abuse and harassment is pretty inclusive and vague. You don’t want to become the subject of another social media outburst. Keep calm, and slaughter them a thousand different ways in your head. Your mind space is your only sanctuary.

Probable Response 3: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to piss you off. Let’s talk about this. What happened? Let’s have a conversation like adults. After that, if you still want to leave, I won’t stop you.

Now, this is interesting. I know this seems like the best response compared to the other two options. But, that’s only because it’s the most passive (aggressive) response, and you’re not trying to really express yourself here. There’s a 50-50 chance of this response leading to peace. You talk it out, you realize each other’s mistakes. You vow it won’t get this bad again. You live to see another day. You’ve won the battle. But, you are going to lose the war.

When it comes to defending yourself, there is one problem you cannot avoid. Every time you try to protect yourself from an attack, you will hurt yourself. It’s like covering your face when you’re getting slapped. You might get away with a spotless face, but your hands will hurt from the impact. Compared to your face, your hands are dispensable. So, you don’t give it much thought. But, you need your hands to apply the cream that keeps your face spotless and glowing. You need your hands to hold onto someone when you really need them. You will need your hands to stop someone from leaving you.

But, the slapper gets stronger with each strike, because they know your pain threshold has increased. And, finally, the one time when you can’t lift your hands up to cover your face, it will be lights out. So, in retrospect, while Probable Response 3 seems the easiest, it is actually the worst thing to do. It’s like building a fortress. It might keep you safe from assault, but it will eventually become a prison you’ve built for yourself. Not because you were a coward, but because you were thinking of quick fixes. Probable Response 3 is a quick fix. You’re choosing concentrated moments of peace, happiness, and glory, over being free, owning yourself, and getting stronger.

Announcing arrival or departure is nothing but attention seeking behavior. They want you to prepare yourself to greet them when they arrive. When they depart, they want to be missed. They want to know that they can affect you in some way or another. If you miss them, you will treat them like royalty when they come back. And, hence begins a vicious cycle. Throughout this cycle, you end up simply reacting and responding; like a reflex action. Unconsciously, you’ve practiced it a thousand times, and it’s muscle memory now.

Stop, and think about what you’re doing. “Do unto others, what you want done unto you” is bullshit. If that were the case, every time you needed a haircut, you’d have to cut the barber’s hair first. Do unto you, and stop there. Let others do unto you whatever the fuck they want. You will handle it. Trust me.

We live in a world of selective asshole. Selective, because they choose to shit on only those they know will take it. We are creatures of habit. We are also arguable the most competitive species out there. We have never naturally owned anything. We have only claimed ownership of something, enslaved it, raped and plundered, and moved on. Take ownership of yourself. There are no benefits to slavery. The light at the end of the tunnel is only visible because you are in the dark. Accept the darkness, and you will enjoy the light when it gets to you. There will be pain. You will suffer. You will doubt yourself every step of the way. But, you’d rather feel all of those things and do something about it. Maybe you deserved it all. Maybe you didn’t. It doesn’t matter now. You still have your sanity. You are the master of your own free will. Do not seek revenge. Do not seek closure. Just get used to existing as a lump of flesh. It’s not that bad. Babies are technically big lopsided lumps of flesh, but people still find them cute for some reason.

Nobody truly leaves. They only leave one thing for another. If somebody walks out on you, they’re going to go someplace else and bitch about it the first chance they get. It’s like being a walker in a joggers’ park. Every time someone runs away from you, they’ll come around soon enough. Meanwhile, you just keep walking.

Change isn’t always bad. Sometimes, changing is about staying the same when everyone around you changes for the worst. Stay strong. The next time someone says “I’m leaving”, just say “have fun!”

If they come back, you’ll know they didn’t have too much fun.

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