Reference

‘The Sadness We Share’: A Gchat With Steve Roggenbuck And Mira Gonzalez

Most people would (and, I think, have) said that Mira Gonzalez is, or seems, much more “depressed” than the average person (Mira says she would, and does, agree). Steve Roggenbuck, most I think would say, is more positive and maybe happier than the average person (and has said he’d like to “make other people’s lives less difficult and sad”). On May 24 (believing Mira had an earnest desire to try almost anything to feel better about life, and that both Steve and Mira have complicated views on this, for example Mira I think derives happiness from what, to most people, seems depressing—something Steve, I feel, can relate to because he also, I think, to a degree, derives energy, to a degree, from conventionally bleak subjects, such as death) I (Tao Lin) emailed Steve Roggenbuck a less readable version of this: “Hi Steve. I asked Mira if she’d be interested in Gchatting with you for the purpose of earnestly trying (with your help) to feel better about life. She said yes. What do you think?” Steve said he was “down to do it.” The following is the result.

mirasteve

Mira Gonzalez
hey steve!
jsut got home
im ready to talk in like 5 minutes or so if you are
Steve Roggenbuck
WOOHOO ok
Mira Gonzalez
wwoooooooooo
ok brb
ok u ready bro
Steve Roggenbuck
im readey
hehe!!!!
Mira Gonzalez
hehhh alright lets start now
was just telling tao, i have no idea how to start
or like, where to begin
Steve Roggenbuck
yea it seems weird to start but i feel like once u dive it we will be
rolling with it. u coud just start by describing 1 way that u feel bad
, now or on an ongoing basis ?
Mira Gonzalez
ok um
i feel bad about relationships a lot
im bad at maintaining relationships in general, i feel
thats an ongoing thing in my life
Steve Roggenbuck
frendships or romantic or like both, or any kind in particular? i talk
to lot of ppl about romantic relationships but mainly because i am
like curiOUS how ppl do that
Mira Gonzalez
i guess both, i think i mostly mean romantic relationships though
what are you curious about exactly
Steve Roggenbuck
like i am interested how so many people are really non-commital now,
young ppl are, and people jus roll with ambiguous open things, and i
understand that and have rolled with that, but also understand desires
for something consistent or where deeper.. shared ness.. haha. i
understand and do feel desire for long term relationship
Mira Gonzalez
i think, i have the desire for a committed long term sort of
relationship that isnt vague and ambiguous, but i have an extremely
hard time creating that sort of relationship
or convincing myself, or anybody else, that i am the kind of person
who can maintain something like that
it feels difficult or rare, for me, to feel strong romantic feelings
towards anyone
its extremely rare that i ‘like’ someone in that way, i think
and then when i do, the idea of being in the sort of relationship that
gets ‘too comfortable’ seems terrifying
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah truely
Mira Gonzalez
so i always end up in the sort of relationships where i want it to be
comfortable and secure and not ambiguous
but im too afraid of growing to resent each other because of being bored
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah i can relate to this,real talk, have u been in a long
relationship that got “too comfortable”? i have had that, 6 year
relationship that kind of.. tapered out gradually haha, until we were
basiclly jsut friends living together , i mean i still have huge
love/respect for that person, but no attraction /excitement, etc, and
yeah its not a good thing
Mira Gonzalez
ive only ever been in a relationship like that once, and it was for 3
years starting in high school. i was very young so i think its maybe a
little different, but i remember the feeling of getting bored and ‘too
comfortable’, felt awful
ive been consistently ‘seeing’ (unsure how else to phrase this) the
same person basically since i moved to new york
and i think maybe we are too similar or something
and its a continuous struggle
i think we have both done extremely hurtful things to each other
because we keep not being in the sort of relationship that has defined
boundaries
but at this point weve both acted like such shit heads that i dont
know what else we could do that would make us want to stop being
around each other
seems ‘doomed’ lol
Steve Roggenbuck
lol boost. that is interesting about being ‘too similar’ i’ve heard
people say that but ive never had that feeling abt someone.
do u feel like you’ve had clear communication w/ this person your
seeing, like have u talked about whether you want boundaries, or
why/why not, etc
Mira Gonzalez
yes
god yes
so many times
weve had so many ‘talks’ its insane
so many ’emotional relationship talks’
lol
i guess its better to communicate than to not communicate
like now we know we are ‘on the same page’ or something, with regards
to how much we like each other and how we want to continue seeing each
other
often feels nightmarish though
all relationships feel nightmarish….
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah that is realy interesting to me, it felt liek inspiring to read
the bit about “how much we like each other and how we want to continue
seeing each other” like that seem’s kind of amazing if u have been
shitheads. its like the end of ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’
u know.. the girl says “im gonna get bored with you, and your gonna
get sick of me” and the guy says “okay”. and they laugh and.. but yeah
the movie ends there lol. seems beautiful .but in real life it
continues and u actualy DO get sick of them hmm
Mira Gonzalez
yeah thats a big thing for me i think
even if i get into a relationship where i am happy and not bored and i
like the person a lot
(which is extremely rare for me i guess)
i always end up thinking ‘this is temporary anyways, whats the point,
this is going to end’
which makes me feel bad about the relationship
seems dumb though
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah, that may be a key point..to focus on, and like, work on how u
perceive it. maybe im projecting some of my own need to do this also..
there was an interview with tao , and im not just including this
because i know tao will read this haha, ive referred to this in like
10+ talks about relationships.. in the interview tao was asked about
his divorce with megan, and tao said he just thinks his ideal
relationship is 1-2 years. and it was jarring to me at first, but now
i feel like.. this is probably realistic, and helpful.. to admit from
the beginning that its only gonna last a while, that a life-long
relationship is maybe not possible or even desirable.. but that its
still worth having that 1-2 years where it does work well enough. u
know.?
Mira Gonzalez
yeah, that seems like an extremely difficult thing for me to accept
but also helpful. feels very sad in the context of my life right now,
to think that any relationship i am going to be will only be ‘good’
for 1-2 years, but that seems completely realistic to me
i think maybe the way i view relationships and sex in general is
extremely different from the way other people i know view sex and
relationships
if im being honest, even being in a relationship that is good for 1-2
years seems foreign to me
‘relationships’ are never something i pursue, i feel like, in a
fundamental way, i dont ‘deserve’ anything, im not entitled to a good
relationship
Steve Roggenbuck
mmm lot of diferent things in here. im curious why a 1-2 year
relationship feels sad in the context of your life right now.. do u
have the vision of like, marriage and kids/family? or just something
consistent that lasts longer?
Mira Gonzalez
i do have a vision of marriage and kids/family, in the long term i
think thats something i definitely want
but i think right now, in the context of the relationship im in, it
seems really sad to think about how not permanent it is
no matter how strongly i feel about this person it is going to go away
in 1-2 years
seems extremely sad
Steve Roggenbuck
mmm yea. in a broad sense that is the human condition haha.
impermanence.. i dont know your ‘spiritual’ belief’s exaclty but ive
been v influenced by buddhist thought, and like the entire religion is
based on that.. change is inevitable, the things we love will go away,
and so the practice of the religion is like..tryin to find some way to
roll with that or appreciate the beauty in that sadness.. idk tho,
maybe thats so broad of a scope, maybe there is a more helpful and
specific way to consider relationships or this specific one
Mira Gonzalez
no that makes sense to me, it does seem beautiful in how extremely sad it is
Steve Roggenbuck
truely it is the sadness we share
Mira Gonzalez
i think if im being honest i almost never even think of things ‘long
term’ enough to think about a relationship 1-2 years in the future
Steve Roggenbuck
‘the sadness we share’ could be a title of somthing
Mira Gonzalez
99% of the time if i sleep with someone i have already decided that
they arent a person i want to be in a relationship with
lol ‘the sadness we share’ seems like a movie starring hugh grant
Steve Roggenbuck
haha truely .. mmm how do u feel about what u said, “99% of the time
if i sleep with someone i have already decided that they arent a
person i want to be in a relationship with”… is that something u
feel like, passionate about, like do you value casual sex? or would
you like, want to change that about yourself? or somthing besides
those two answers ?
haha i am just.getting you to explain your sex life to the entire
internet :P u dont have to answer anything u dont want
Mira Gonzalez
lol as if i havent already divulged way too much about my sex life on
the internet already
feel 100% fine with sharing anything about myself on the internet i think
Steve Roggenbuck
boost
Mira Gonzalez
i dont think i ‘value’ casual sex necessarily, i also dont know if it
would be something i want to change about myself
i wouldnt necessarily say that ive had sex with ‘a lot’ of people in my life
but i can only think of 2-3 people ive had sex with more than twice
i think thats probably another aspect of my issues with relationships
i dont feel very strongly about people romantically very often, but
also the type of sex that i want i have normally only gotten from
people who do not treat me in a way that i enjoy
or even from people who i sort of dislike
Steve Roggenbuck
dang i see uyeah
Mira Gonzalez
ive had long term ‘things’ with people who i earnestly dont even get
along with for that reason, i think
seems unhealthy, maybe
Steve Roggenbuck
seems understandable tho i mean good sex is valuable idk its like one
of those primal experiences of human lief
idk if this is a thing for you, but for me, geography is such a huge
factor in like, potential relationships. like i meet way more people
on the internet than IRL, so its statistically likely that the next
person im interested in enough to commit to, will be in a different
city. but its a lot of pressure to move somewhere for someone. idk, i
feel like a big issue in what you’re talking about is SELECtion, like
u need to find someone who ur romantically attracted to, doesnt treat
u in shitty ways, has the kind of sex u want.. i feel like this person
exists. the internet will give you more chances to meet people, u
might find that right combination of things in a person via the
internet.. i guess u live in NYC, which also has high population but,
not as high as internet
Mira Gonzalez
yeah i mean, i think half the reason i moved to NYC was because i met
people on the internet who i identified with way more than most of the
people i knew in LA. it hadnt even occurred to me how alienated i was
in LA until i started meeting people on the internet who lived in
other places, mostly NYC
since moving here i think i have felt extremely emotionally unstable
like, i have felt 100% depressed and horrible and unable to move from my bed
but also extremely good, better than i have ever felt maybe
i think a lot of that has to do with the relationships ive developed
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah. those kinds of swings are interesting to me. ive experienced
them in a couple more ‘unstable’ periods in my life too.. in a sense
you are ‘most alive’ maybe, if you’re experience very high and very
low? but i also know someone who was swinging back and forth like that
emotionally and ended up commiting suicide, when like two weeks later
she had sent me a reallly beautiful message about like appreciating
her life. its wild, for me i think something like a meditation
practice really helps with those extremes.. like. just breathing, and
getting to a place emotionaly that is a bit less dramatic
Mira Gonzalez
i think thats really important to, stability is extremely important to
me, i have always had an intense desire to feel ‘grounded’ in some
way. i also value the instability so much though. i think one of the
most valuable things to me is not only having extremely positive
feelings but also extremely negative ones
i want to literally hit rock bottom
i want to know what the worst possible thing feels like
so that when the really good feeling arrives its that much more valuable to me
having extremely good experiences and extremely bad ones seem equally
valuable at this point in my life
im not sure if i will always feel that way though
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah hehe. that is interesting, that is cool u can have appreciation
of the very bad. do u ever feel the appreciation in the moment of
feeling bad? i’ve had a moment or two when i was crying sad or
something, but i like acknowledged to myself that it was beautiful..
very rare..
Mira Gonzalez
yes all the time i think
Steve Roggenbuck
oh cool that is interesting, that seem’s good
Mira Gonzalez
i remember one time specifically, recently, i was standing in a
persons bathroom looking at myself in the mirror
and i left the bathroom and got back into bed and he said something
like ‘what are you thinking right now’
and i responded something like
‘i think i sort of like to feel bad’
which is true
i think i sort of enjoy feeling really horrible sometimes, in a way
thats very hard for me to articulate, maybe because i dont fully
understand it
it seems important somehow
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah truely, i also see a possible connection to your writing style in
that.. like the parallel experience i had was in early 2010, i was at
my peak of being heavily influenced by tao’s writing, which is much
more minimal and talks more of depression than anything else i’ve
gotten deep into. i was also very into donnie darko and some loosely
emo music. i remember being a little sad and having my hood up, and
just thinking like.. this is cool.. haha like, ok im sad but, at least
when im sad it fits into my idea of what is cool, aesthetically. its
like, it makes it feel more ok to be sad
and yet ive moved away from those aesthetics mostly
Mira Gonzalez
yeah it seems like you made a massive shift away from that aesthetic,
seems interesting to me
i think i tend to enjoy art by people who are depressed, but i dont
think i am interested into fitting into any particular aesthetic
when i feel sad i never feel positively about it because it fits into
a particular aesthetic, or seems particularly appealing to me in that
way
i think its maybe that feeling sad feels fundamentally like it makes sense
because of the person i am, i ‘should’ feel sad
seems important to feel extremely sad in the same way its important to
feel extremely happy sometimes
but beyond that i think, in a way that i also maybe dont completely
understand, being sad ‘fits’ somehow, like thats an emotion i deserve
to have because of [some aspect of myself as a person]
Steve Roggenbuck
mmm thats interesting. i mean it makes sense that diff ppl have their
different like, resting place emotionally, where they usually come
back to. one thing that interests me is this: do u feel that you are a
better person when you’re sad, or happy, or some other emotion? are
you more generous or kind or productive, in a sad mood? or happy or
somthing else?
Mira Gonzalez
that seems like an interesting question to me
i dont think i ever really feel like im that ‘good’ of a person
sometimes i feel that specific things i do are ‘good’ in the sense
that they help other people, or make someones life better or
[something]
i think i have made the art which i personally enjoy the most during
times in my life when i wasnt feeling extreme emotions
i guess i would say i am the most productive during times in my life
when i feel ‘passively sad’
when i feel alienated from other people and unfulfilled because of the
lack of extreme emotions in my life
thats when im most productive creatively
but i feel the most fulfilled personally when i feel less alienated
and when i am having a lot of extreme emotions
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah that is interesting, whats best for the art is not necesarily
best for u otherwise… for me i think a main reason i’ve gravitated
toward ‘positivity’ is because of these practical reasons like, i need
to realy believe that something is possible in order to convince
myself to work hard on it, and when im sad i’m not generous to other
ppl. some people seem very kind when their sad maybe, but for me, i
just put myself first like, “i cant help you right now, i need to help
myself”.. ive writen some good poems when i felt sad, but yeah it has
to be a managable level of sad in order to work creatively. if im
totally drowning in sadness then i cant be creative.
Mira Gonzalez
yeah that makes a lot of sense to me also
i think i am the same way in a sense
since moving to new york i have experienced a kind of sadness that i
didnt used to experience, it feels sort of ‘crippling’
Steve Roggenbuck
there was a scientific study that said that people are more generous
when they are in a happy mood. but i could still see there being
exceptions
Mira Gonzalez
like the kind of sadness that makes me not be able to leave my bed or
answer emails or be kind to people who i want to be kind to
Steve Roggenbuck
yea h thats rough
Mira Gonzalez
i think i spent a lot of my life being too passive to feel that kind of sadness
it is rough but it seems better than what i was doing before
i would rather put myself in situations where i risk feeling that kind
of sadness because those are the situations where i can also feel the
most happy
but at the same time, in the past i have been the most productive when
i felt neither of those things
when i felt emotionally unfulfilled and incapable of feeling anything
besides ‘mostly neutral’
which seems like torture to me
Steve Roggenbuck
dang yeah. hashtag yolo. feeling neutral sseems.. not yolo
Mira Gonzalez
lol yeah
seems extremely un-yolo
i think the relationship im in now has caused me to feel completely
fucking insane, and i often wonder wether or not that is healthy or
something
but it seems fulfilling to me
somehow….
Steve Roggenbuck
so hey this is interesting, we got back to relationships with this new
context.. i was talkin to a friend recently about these relationship
terms like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and.. a lot of people dislike
those terms, and i think i maybe agree, even tho i feel desire for a
long-term relationship.. and anyway, i remembered someone i met last
year and got close with, on my travels of the country, we talked about
the potential of being otgether more in the future and we referred to
being “yolo partners”
Mira Gonzalez
throughout this whole conversation, i keep repeatedly thinking
variations of ‘im an insane retard

yolo partners, lol
i also feel aversion to the term ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah i like “yolo partners” a lot, and i feel like its because, the
term itself insists that its not going to be boring. like, if it
becomes boring, then you are not yolo partners. so its gotta be yolo.
but if you’re also partners, there is some comfort and stability in
that
Mira Gonzalez
yeah, yeah
what you are expressing with the term ‘yolo partners’ seems like
something i am interested in
seems so much better than ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ to me
even those words seem a little weird…
like, why not ‘manfriend and womanfriend’
Steve Roggenbuck
yea truely. this will be a revolution
everyone reading this g-chat.. go forth. and become yolo partners
Mira Gonzalez
‘ladyfriend and non-ladyfriend’
lol
imagined like, millions of becoming ‘yolo partners’ and anarchy ensuing
people start burning down buildings
blowing up banks
Steve Roggenbuck
lol. that woud be truely yolo
Mira Gonzalez
i feel interested in asking you about your stance on drugs and
alcohol, even though i think i understand it mostly
doing drugs or not doing drugs both seem 100% okay to me as long as
[any person] is doing what they feel is good for them at that point in
their lives, im not interested in projecting my own subjective
viewpoint onto anybody
seems like you made a decided shift at some point though
have you never done drugs?
Steve Roggenbuck
i havent done a lot of drugs, ive dabbled in a couple of entry-level
substances. i think its interesting that so much can get attached to
drug use in your mind, but realistically it varies a lot for each
person and each experience. lately i have been giving a lot more
credit to uses of drugs that seem ‘spiritual’.. u know like, a lot of
people do acid and like have this beautiful moment that changes their
perspective of life, and i really respect that. i think the exposure i
had to alcohol and drug use in high school and college made me
associate it with being apathetic, escaping/hiding from your problems,
and hurting yourself financially/health-wise in the process . i feel
like i want to have a clean and direct focus on making the world a
better place and being the kind of person i believe in. and substances
have felt like a distraction from that. i get home from a party at
midnight or something, my friends are incoherent and sloppy, but im
ready to get on my computer and build my following and my community on
social media for 3 more hours. there are other things i’ve tried to
cut out of my life for similar reasons, forms of procrastination and
like, for example, chasing casual sex, i have mostlyy stopped having
casual sex because it started to feel like a distraction, i’d spend
time like courting someone that i didnt really even LIke a ton. so
anyway, that is my general direction.. i still frick this up, but im
trying to be devoted to my work and what i believe in, and like
disciplined i guess.
Mira Gonzalez
that makes a lot of sense to me, i think
im interested in what you said about people using drugs in a ‘spiritual’ way
Steve Roggenbuck
yeah, ram dass is a spiritual bro who inspired me a bit in 2008-09,
and he followed lots of spiritual practices, but it all started with
doing LSD, and he had this epiphany about his ego and etc
Mira Gonzalez
i dont think i have ever done that, and i honestly dont know if the
way i use drugs is even necessarily healthy or productive, and i
definitely use drugs to ‘escape’ from whats happening in my life
sometimes
but what interests me most about drugs in general i think is just that
they make me feel different
i will pursue almost anything that will allow me to have a new or
different experience
wether its sex or drugs or a book or a movie or [any other thing]
but it makes a lot of sense to me if someone would feel that drugs
arent the kind of thing that would allow them to have an experience
that is productive or interesting
i think drugs have made me feel productive and allowed me to have
interesting experiences
but they have also caused me to feel extremely, extremely bad
both of which i guess i value
at this point in my life
i could easily see myself not valuing that at another point in my life though
Steve Roggenbuck
yess i see that. i could see our personality differences being 1
factor in approaching drugs differently. in a sense i feel very yolo
but im also averse to trying some things, ive historically been a very
picky eater and i there is probebly similar dynamic in not wanting to
try various drugs
Mira Gonzalez
yeah that makes sense
ive always been the opposite, i think
im not a picky eater at all, i feel interested in a lot of different
kinds of experiences
i have a hard time thinking of things i feel averse to trying
im not sure if thats a good quality though, i think that maybe has
been problematic in my life in the past
Steve Roggenbuck
i think its not inherently good or bad mayb jus something to be aware
of and like, manage, haha, and same for me i think probably..
Mira Gonzalez
yeah, i think im not great at ‘managing’ things lol
moderation perhaps isnt my strong suit
Steve Roggenbuck
mmm truely. well . i dont know if i have achived much of the original
goal, not sure if u feel better about anything yet lol.. i have been
very interested by the conversation
Mira Gonzalez
lol yeah, i have also been interested in the conversation
unsure if its possible for anyone to make me feel better besides
myself, but i enjoyed the conversation so it seems ‘worth it’ lol
Steve Roggenbuck
i feel like if i tried to give anything like earnest ‘suggestions’ to
you about these ways of feeling bad, like if that was something u
wanted, it would just be something like.. meditate.. which is strange
because i have not been deep in meditation practice for a while, altho
this week i’ve come back to it a little.. maybe its because a lot of
what ur saying feels like its based on your perspective, not like
actually based on needing to do different actions ? i coud be wrong.
666
Mira Gonzalez
that seems like valuable advice to me
its funny you say that, brad listi has been repeatedly telling me to
meditate also
i think the last couple times i tried to meditate i ended up falling
asleep, perhaps im doing it wrong
Steve Roggenbuck
generaly your supposed to sit up straight and firm so u dont get
sleepy haha, but idk i think the ideal posture can vary for each
person. sometimes if i’m too rigid or exact in posture then i almost
feel like, stressed about it lol, like its too much of an act
Mira Gonzalez
lol yeah
i used to do yoga a lot, that was helpful i think
Steve Roggenbuck
but something like.. just focusing on ur breathing and hearing the
sounds.. yeah i think yoga could be awesome because it gives you more
variety and stuff with your posture while still asking you to stay
very aware of your physical body. also physical exercise BOOST. i have
been exercising every day recently, like basicly just jumping around
my aparmtnet to music haha, jumping jacks and sometimes push-ups and
stuff.. and i feel very good from it
Mira Gonzalez
yeah i have been so shitty about physical exercise lately. i used to
run and stuff but now i dont do any of that, i just walk far distances
i guess
every time i think about doing a lot of physical exercise i
immediately resign to being fat and depressed for the rest of my life
ill be like, an obese old lady on her porch on a rocking chair
yelling at people to get off my lawn
ill have like 200 cats
Steve Roggenbuck
for me the music has realy helped make it enjoyable, like it gets me
pumped so im basicly just dancing for 45 minutes, and its one of the
best part s of my day haha. i think the usual ideas of exercise seem
like, you are just doing it for the result, and i could see why that
becomes a chore you dont stick with
Mira Gonzalez
yeah definitely, i guess thats the key is not doing it for the result
Steve Roggenbuck
mira should we end this in some cool way like, woud u wanna tell
anyone reading this like, anything? i get pumped on asking people
“what would u tell the world, if you could only say one thing?” haha
but, usualy people dont have anything too profound on the spot so,
maybe thats not a good way
Mira Gonzalez
lol damn yeah
i wanna end this like, with a bang, but i have no idea what profound
thing i want to say, no idea at all
i wish i had fireworks or something
i wish every person who read this through to the end got to see a fireworks show
Steve Roggenbuck
lol we could link people to a youtube video of fireworks, do u wanna go find one
Mira Gonzalez
yeah im gonna find one, good idea
Steve Roggenbuck
i have a story in the meantime
Mira Gonzalez
ok go for it
[i found the video, going to link it when you finish the story then
thats where we can cut off the conversation]
Steve Roggenbuck
one time i was walkin with a girl in chicago and, it was agreed
beforehand that it was just, as friends.. but anyway it was night
time, and we walked to the lake side because its my favorite place.
and when we got there, the city lights from downtown were so
beautifull.. and like.. a big low orange moon was rising over the
water, and it was like so beutiful and romantic haha, but it was this
situation where we explicitly said that it was platonic haha, and so
that was funny but, the true kicker was.. then fireworks started going
off in the distance too
Mira Gonzalez
and ready, here we go
are you ready
heres the grand finale
y’all ready for this, here it comes
grand ass finale
Steve Roggenbuck
im ready just do it, i keep wanting to say another attempt at a
profound thing but it wil never be enough
Mira Gonzalez
itll never be enough, but let me tell you
this video of fireworks is gonna say it all for us
we just have to sit back and let the video do the work
HERE IT COMES

Steve Roggenbuck
:) TC mark

This post is part of Tao Lin Day. To read more posts in this series, click here.

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