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An Interview With Myself

NOTE FROM BRADLEY (THE EDITOR). Stream of conscious writing, be it from myself or from others, can be the most insufferable genre of writing imaginable. However, for me to come clean with who I am, I tried to have some fun with it and kick things off with a bang. A lot of you have been there for me and some of you might barely know me. However, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching recently and thought it was important to open things up. I did not edit this. I wrote it as it came to me… but fear if I go back to try to clean it up that I will second-guess myself, accuse myself of over-sharing, and castrate the very purpose of this project. I would like to thank Bradley (The Interviewer) and Bradley (The Subject) for participating in this experiment.

I first met Bradley Geiser 32 years ago. It was early on the first day of November, and after playing a hilarious prank on his parents in which he teased his grand arrival three different times before unleashing his tyranny onto the world.

At the time, he was a large, doughy child with a lot of joy in his heart and a hefty collections of eccentricities that went along with it. As he grew up, however, things began to change. Somewhere between that day in third grade when he waited at an airport for his grandpa as the news spoke about a shooting at a Colorado high school, that day before seventh grade when he watched two towers that he saw in person one-and-a-half years earlier crumble before his eyes, and the nearly 20 years since, he’s grown a little cynical.

Bradley likes to keep it light. As he grows older, however, he realizes that many of those things he’s made a staple of his personality — a penchant for uncomfortable jokes to lighten the mood, a tendency to let the small things bug him until it boils over into an angry and petulant end, and a desire to make everyone happy to the point where he accomplishes the opposite — while occasionally innocent and sometimes catastrophic, are also means to cope.

2020 was a terrible year for Brad. Two weeks in, his love of internalization came to its inevitable conclusion. He woke up feeling similarly to the way he did months earlier when his esophagus decided to spring a leak and sent him to three days inside the hospital. However, upon further inspection (and being the master journalist he was ), Bradley realized that his esophagus wasn’t the problem. It was his brain.

I asked him to sit down for a one-on-one to clear the air, set things straight, and finally open up about what caused this all to happen. The results were eye-opening, terrifying, and overall important to his growth.

Bradley (The Interviewer): Thanks for sitting down with me, Brad. I’d like to start things out by telling you that you’re doing a wonderful job. The steps you’ve taken over the last couple of months have helped you find yourself in immense ways. What was your secret?

Bradley (The Subject): That’s a great question, Bradley. About a year back a whole lot was going on in both my life and on the world abroad. Not only was I now a year removed from a college experience that took over a decade to complete, but I was working as a freelancer who was struggling to pay the bills and starting to hate myself for not being the next great American writer.

However, during that fateful night at the end of January — days removed from the death of Kobe, Gigi, and a helicopter full of innocent people and hours after I heard disturbing, more personal news — my body had enough of my shenanigans. I was experiencing something called a panic attack. A panic attack is when your body gets fed up with all the lies you’re telling yourself and forces you to reckon with the things you do that put you there. From there, it was —

Bradley (The Interviewer): — a cakewalk? A spiritual awakening?

Bradley (The Subject): A mystery. I realized that something wasn’t right, yes, but a lot of my life was unfolding as though I were playing the Sims on auto-pilot. Wake up, shower, eat some lunch, go to a coffee shop, procrastinate, rush through that day’s assignments, and go home to watch a movie, mindlessly play games on my iPad or Switch while halfheartedly binging a show or documentary, and go to bed at 2 AM — something that was now far easier thanks to a magical invention called “hydroxyzine.”

As someone who has often prided himself on an ability to remember things in semi-decent detail, I would often go days on end without ever feeling like I had a hold on myself. While the store-brand Zoloft was helping a little, I still felt an enormous void that would still take months to fully fill.

Bradley (The Interviewer): That’s riveting stuff. But what does this have to do with you?

Bradley (The Subject): It doesn’t. I wasn’t me. I was playing me on television and around the ones I loved. I was, by all intents and purposes, playing an actor. Someone who had it all together. How did I know I had it all together? Because I claimed I had it all together. The decade of sleepless nights filled with self-loathing, obsessive thoughts about my future, and questions about who I was were, in fact, not helping my cause. Turns out that for years on end, I was going through a mental health crisis that was disguising itself through eating, drinking, and putting on a facade. I didn’t have this crisis because I didn’t want this crisis. Mental health problems are what happen to others. I could not control my mental health, because in my mind, my mental health was never the issue. The issue was everyone else who bothered me for everything from bad politics to chewing with their mouth full. The fact that I got an equal mix of anger, sadness, and obsessive compulsive tunnel-vision was absolutely not the problem. To quote the poet Principal Skinner, “No, it’s the children (read: everyone but me) who are wrong.”

I’d love to say that this was the end of my problems, but this process took several months — a pandemic, a freelance job that to this day can be unreliable at best, the pent up rage of the last four years, guilt over how little I have done to change the world for good, racial tensions, personal tensions, rage over things as petty and meaningless as sports, and a laundry list of damaging yet less exciting triggers. It turns out that these things I did to establish myself as greater than or not part of the problem were my way of ignoring the voice inside my head that was screaming at me to get my mental health in check. Luckily, after going through several phases — video games, records, self-loathing, and so much more, I found an outlet that quite literally changed my life.

Bradley (The Interviewer): Writing? It says here that you got your degree in writing and also make your “meager living” writing about sports and entertainment.

Bradley (The Subject): Heavens, no. Writing is my life’s greatest joy when it comes to things I do for myself. As a result, however, it is the thing that I hate doing most. Have you ever tried to start the 15th draft of the novel that you swear is going to be your life’s defining work because you can’t stay in your own head long enough to actually write before that inner Harold Bloom keeps telling you how fraudulent and meaningless you are? That’s not writing. That’s wronging.

Bradley (The Interviewer): Good one…

Bradley (The Subject): Thanks.

Bradley (The Interviewer): You’re welcome. Well, if the thing that you love most is also the thing that you hate most, what can you do to let things out?

Bradley (The Subject): I’ve always been a creative at heart. If I can’t be creative, it often means I at my unhappiest. Whether this means shooting the breeze with friends and riffing off of each other or cooking something, I am most at piece when my brain is in the creative zone. Looking back, it’s always been that way. I am something of a low-rent autodidact in that regard. I have just enough knowledge to do several creative things and minimal skills in most of them. I have a guitar that I seldom touch (although I am working to change that), student debt from one failed year at culinary school, and a Google Drive filled with the next great idea that never was to support that.

Something that I never was, however, was an artist. Not in the visual sense, however. I have made art on a plate, on a screen, and on college-ruled notebook paper, but never on a canvas. That changed in June, when I bought an iPad and, per my tendency to combat mental health crises by spending money, an Apple Pencil. I couldn’t tell you when something clicked. I traced a picture of Shaquille O’Neal in a Celtics jersey as a bit, but found myself enjoying it. That led to more intense work. Anyone who follows knows I tend to go into my passions 145,293,243% whether its my love for an ABBA musical or a new hobby. Before long I was painting things I never knew I could paint. Even better? I was feeling happy with my creative outlook. Much as I do when I cook, I tend to shut off my inner impostor and ride the wave when I am drawing or painting. Over the next several months (and, of course, more money), I expanded this to a physical drawing passion. Time that would previously be spent doomscrolling through twitter or arguing about sports online was now devoted to mindlessly doodling without a care in the world. This, more than anything else, helps explain how I have arrived where I am.

Bradley (The Interview): You just arrived here? You’re probably 1,500 words into this textual masturbation and just arrived here….

Bradley (The Subject): Exactly. You get it. Flibbertigibbet is my favorite word for a reason. It’s why I am still a writer

Bradley (The Interview): But what does this have to do with writing?

Bradley (The Subject): This interview bit is over. I will take it from here….

As I began to draw I unlocked a world of creativity in my head. Rather than focusing on the words I wrote, the potential for those words to be read everywhere, and the inevitable imposter syndrome that made me hate the only thing I really love, it made me realize that all these things that were holding me back creatively were not merely things that were holding me back creatively. They were holding me back, period.

It’s hard to write fiction, non-fiction, movie reviews, sports recaps, and so much more when you don’t even know the meaning behind your own words. When I was drawing, I could put that all aside and put my brain onto an iPad, a sheet of canvas, or one of dozens of sketchbooks that I have accumulated. I could make a mark, build off of it, occasionally erase what didn’t work, and make myself happy with the result. If I, someone whose handwriting looks like a platypus accidentally picked up a pen and dragged it across paper without a care in the world, could draw a decent-looking picture, I could also do that on paper.

The imposter syndrome that has held me back for years was not a writing thing. It was a personal thing. I wasn’t unable to write because I didn’t have the skill. At the risk of sounding arrogant, people I respect within the community have told me this time and time again. I couldn’t write because I had lost focus on the mental things that made me pick it up as a hobby years ago. I had turned an outlet to escape from everything into a strawman for my serious, more pressing problems. To put it simply, if I wanted to be the writer that I, despite all of my mental hurdles, believe that I can be… I had to be the person that I believe myself to be, deep down.

November 2, 2021 will always stick out to me. It was the day after my birthday. I had just spent the previous month doing Inktober challenges that put me at my creative peak. Now, I was going to do that with my writing. I sat down with months of introspection by my side and began to write. And, do you know what? Nothing. I got a thousand words in, and something still wasn’t right. However, rather than making this proof that I was a fraud, it made me wonder why this was. Fast forward two-and-a-half months, and I am starting to realize why this is. My problems were never about writing. They were about myself. If I, myself, am becoming a fictionalized version of my worst features… how can I write the things I want to share with the world?

This long-winded essay is my version of therapy (something that, for the record, I am in the process of seeking literally as we speak). I’ve written 200,000 tweets, countless works both published and unpublished, and had a million ideas that remain forgotten files in my mental documents folder. While I had good work in here, however, a lot of that was based on things I wanted others to read. They were my attempt as a perennial outsider (something I will cover in later writings) to force my way into the lexicon. In many ways, I was the clout-chaser I have mocked a thousand times.

I don’t know how to end this, nor do I know if anyone will read it. However, what I do know is that for the first time in many years, I am writing something where none of this matters. Every stroke of the key is like those pictures I’ve never shared on social media because they were little more than practice that I didn’t need any feedback on. My art is a reflection of me, and the person on the other side of that reflection is finally realizing how to make this statement true.

Don’t confuse this with me saying I have things figured out. There are lots of things still going through my mind about everything from my creative future; where I stand on religion, spirituality, and everything that this entails; and who I am as a person. I am starting to see myself peel away from the caricature of who I thought I was — who I wanted others to think I am — and starting to figure out all the danger that this entails. The results are exciting.

Now, my journey to find my creative self has turned into one to find my own true self. Bradley Geiser has always been there, and in many ways is the person that you all know. However, if you know him, you have met his ugly side in recent years, too. This will change. It has to change. I believe that after 32 years, whether I have weeks, years, months, decades, or centuries left, that I finally have a path. I have looked inside and am coming to terms that many things I believed about myself — everything from my spiritual side to my sexual side — and how I still have more questions than answers on both. And that’s okay. Six months back, that wouldn’t be okay.

For that, this belated “New Year, New Me” post was important. Not for clicks, not for engagement, not even for my writing, but for myself. I’m going to stumble along the way, but I can honestly say I am happier with who I am, glaring questions and all, and am excited to see where my story ends up next.



The last few months I tried to tap into my creative self. Unfortunately, this also meant tapping into my actual self, as well. Whether this becomes a constant blog or one off post, these are the results.

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