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  • Writer's pictureNick Hartkop

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

I am writing on some basic gear that I enjoy for this album. A fender Strat, Orange Crush 20, a Boss distortion pedal, and an acoustic. I have been starting with the acoustic and building off that to stick to my roots. Once the EP is recorded I will give away the guitars I use to write it.

The song I wrote today has a nice blend of older sounds (similar to I Hate This Body) and electric that brings out sadness but it is a faster paced so it’s something that’s catchy and fun. I have a name for the EP and am working with my artist on ideas for cover art currently. Because of the heavy interest in merchandise, I am going to be meeting with a production company tomorrow to see some options for very limited items. If you have something specific you want to see about, send a message through the contact form. There are no items planned at this time, but with the EP this fall I would like to give those interested something they would enjoy. ——— The Jackass Forever trailer came out today and it was fun, but sad to watch it. Jackass was the show my father and I bonded over growing up. He showed it to me in 6th grade and we would stay up late in our basement watching the DVDs of the show and CKY on school nights when I should have been asleep. I was obsessed. It was like finding this deep dive into skating culture and bad behavior. My mom was a conservative Christian who wouldn't let me watch anything, so my dad gave me that glimpse into a world I didn’t know existed and it truly changed my life. The music, the language, the idea of fucking with people for you and your friends to get a laugh at the expense of others (I particularly loved the Golf Course Airhorn skit), it was eye opening to me. It made me, a reject, feel like I had found a group of friends that let me in on their jokes. I wanted to be like Steve-O so badly growing up, an obnoxious loser who would do anything for a laugh, and that’s how I based a lot of my humor. I always tried to be the guy who took things too far, didn’t have boundaries, would hurt myself for attention and to make people laugh, it’s cringey and embarrassing to reflect on. The humor within the culture of those films was something I took with me into parts of my life where it wasn’t acceptable. Where that was a film and it started and stopped on set, I would do things like that at my jobs, at studios, and in social situations where it was unacceptable. Immaturely, and selfishly, I was in love with the idea of being a boy in adolescence. With all its insanity and grotesque coming-of-age tales, I chose to ignore the understanding of how “edgy behavior” plays into a larger role in our lives. I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t funny. I used to thrive on that kind of energy, the manic destructive high, and It was easy for me to attach myself to it because I was out of control and failing in my own life. Failing to control my own anger, failing with accepting my sexuality and how sex works, failing to be honest and admit I wasn’t a good person. I wanted to be so destructive that people would eventually leave me alone and just watch the show. But now as someone who has failed publicly and privately, I see how awful that is. I shouldn’t have had to fail that way. I shouldn’t have been an asshole with the social and emotional intelligence of a child. I wish I could go back in time. When I started treatment. I was at a point of utter failure with no place to turn. I emailed Steve-O and Brandon Novak for advice, they are two people I looked up to in my life who had severe public failures and I wanted to learn from them. I was inspired by people who had messed up their own lives, and I wanted to ask for direction on how to navigate into the next part of my life despite my past. There are a series of videos by Brandon that are really motivating, whether addicted to a substance or any kind of behavior, you can check it here: When I was in high school, right before Jackass 3 came out, there was a kid named Cody B. that I shared a study hall with. He was a troublemaker, getting in school suspensions and always starting fights. I liked him a lot and we would talk about our favorite skits from the films. The year the third film came out (senior year) he snapped his neck and died on his motorbike. Every time I see it, I think of him, and I hope wherever he is that he can see it, because I’ll be thinking of him when I see it, 10 years after his death. Looking back at my obsession with skating and things like Jackass from my youth, they make me feel pain and love. I feel pain because for the life of me, I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know why I thought making misogynistic jokes, or being toxic verbally and dismissing other people’s pain because they “weren’t in on the joke” was cool. It wasn’t. That culture was never about that, I just twisted it to fit my own behavior. The situation with Bam Margera is eerily familiar to me. He's Bipolar Manic spewing acid at everyone around him. He won't accept he is ill, won't get off social media, is constantly calling everyone out and is in a spiral of self-destruction. I hope to see Bam get the help he needs. It hurts seeing him constantly sticking to his sickness and manipulating those around him, causing his "fans" to harass the other JA guys because he got himself removed from the movie. The first step of getting help as a public figure is to leave the public eye. Social media and mental illness are a deadly combination. But I know how it feels to be narcissistic mentally, to feel grandiose, to live in an echo chamber. I hope seeing the movie release without him will make him want to begin rehabilitation. Even if the entire world begs for him to get better, he won't until he wants to commit to helping himself. I have so much shame about my past, and I want to be a good person so badly, I hope someday I’m able to earn that. I am not afraid to embrace my failures and to accept the way things are, everything is up to how we grow from it. I am thankful that my ongoing treatment will allow for me to grow privately and to stay healthy. I want to be the person I need to be. I am looking forward to seeing the new movie with my partner this fall, and all the things it will make me reflect on. Nick ————

One of my favorite songs, Dreamy Journey by The Peggies.

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Trigger Warning: Suicide is discussed in this post.


I go to the movies because it makes me feel safe. I like to sit in the top right corner of the theater, the seat closest to the aisle. It's relaxing because I can see the entire auditorium, which eases my paranoia of someone coming after me to hurt me. Today I went and saw the Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner. I didn't know much about him before I watched the film, but I'm glad I went.

As someone who has struggled with suicide and overdosing, seeing the things he would say and do leading up to the end of his life were hard to watch, because he was hurting and needed some meaningful help, but he also didn't help himself which makes me sad for him.

There is a scene where he is putting up a sail on a boat with his friend and he says, "At least we know it'll hold my weight". His friend asks, "For what?" Anthony replies, "For when I hang myself."

When he says it, he does this little laugh and looks away while everyone is uneasy because he is trying to use shock humor to mask how he was feeling and actual thoughts going through his mind. It's really awful. When I was in 7th grade, I started struggling with suicidal thoughts and being obsessive about death and started using that same kind of humor. When I got my first cellphone, it could have a message that popped up when you powered on, and I made mine say "End it all". That was a joke I would frequently make with my friends because me committing suicide was a running joke I had created because I wanted to use edgy humor to mask the feeling of truly wanting to kill myself. I have this vivid memory of standing against my wall, my shirt off, with scissors against my chest and gathering the courage to jam myself against them.

My mother had found the phone and grounded me for the message, saying it was "weird and disturbing." I agree with her, and if I would have found those messages I would have been there for my child who was suffering mentally. My home didn't believe in mental illness and would shame it. My dad would say things like, "If you are really crazy we will send you to the doctor who will send you to an all boys home." which of course scared me. So I just kept it to myself. But I still remember that feeling of a million stones on my chest and that feeling of falling you constantly have, like there's no way for you to lift the weight.

Suicide, in a way, made me feel like I had control over my life. Like it was on my terms, my way, when I say so. It stemmed from my control issues and the need to have total dictatorship over everything that happened to me. But the way I feel about suicide is the opposite. Suicide is not romantic, its terrifying. It feels like such a waste. I fear the afterlife is what my mom said it was, all fire and brimstone, and that's a lot worse off than my life now.

I think it's important that every person realizes there is only one "them" in the history of forever. I know it is cliched but how you think, what you feel, your hopes and dreams, those are all unique to you and only you. I think that should be celebrated. We all are going to die someday. You reading this will die, as I who am writing this will die. I used to only focus on that, and miss the stuff in between. Death is inevitable, and happiness is hard to find. It takes a lot of effort to focus on the good sometimes but life is a blessing and people are happy you are here. It's like winning and losing the lottery when we are born. The human experience and earth is cool. It's such a weird impossible thing, and to be able to be here is incredible. I want to feel happy to be here, and worthy of love and acceptance. I think all humans want that ultimately.

When I first started treatment, I struggled with how misogynistic my humor and language was. I was so insecure and angry over my sexuality that I projected that into "dark humor" that in reality was an excuse to get away with saying hurtful things that were in no way funny. At the time, I thought they were funny, but no one else did. My skin crawls when I think about the humor and anger I had in my youth and past. I needed to be ashamed of it in order to recognize it, and now I feel disgusted about it. It made me feel regret that was hard to overcome. I am thankful for the education I have, but I felt like I shouldn't have needed it. There's no excuse for it. I was so sickened by it that I was constantly saying I "wanted to die."

I used to threaten suicide as a way to control people when I was scared. In my past, I had become accustomed to creating and burning bridges impulsively and permanently, so I figured I would have that same relationship with life, and die suddenly in a wave of mania. In reality I was a coward and selfish. I won't be killing myself. I tried and regretted it, and am lucky I was able to get taken to the hospital by the police.

Anthony Bourdain made the wrong choice. He lost a lot in his life, but he had so much waiting for him. He had a daughter who was 8 years old and who will never see or hear their father again. He had a fanbase that he left behind. His friends in the film are all permanently scarred by it. It was his friends who found him. It was selfish. He had too much to offer. Even with being mentally ill, he deserves more than that from himself. Suicide is like killing a flower, but not thinking about its roots. There are so many ripples in the water and people affected.

In the moment, life can feel like too much, but moments later we can experience happiness. We can't do that if we are gone. You don't get a do over, and I think even at our lowest, fighting to be here is the right choice. If you are struggling, don't leave. People are glad you are here.

If you have thoughts of suicide or need someone to talk to contact:

Their phone number is: 1-800-273-8255

They also have a live chat you can use.

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Borderline Personality Disorder is the worst for me in regards to the distorted self-image it gives me, and wanting some sort of confirmation that I am doing well. It feeds intense feelings of grandiosity and narcissism. When I was younger, I had this drive to "be something" because of the insecurities I had from the abuse I experienced from my parents. That grandiosity mixed with my mania made me feel invincible as a way to put up a permanent wall of insecurity to shield myself from criticism. I believed that if I kept writing that narrative for people to think I was a good person, eventually I would make everyone believe that and I would feel content and happy.

In reality, I wasn't anything I made myself out to be. I had this super fake salesman-like energy that just didn't feel honest, and that's because it wasn't. I would get into these manic highs and jump on social media pretending to be the best version of myself, because I would be sitting alone thinking about things and think "If I don't post something right now letting people see I am doing great and a great person, they will forget about me." It was that feeling of not wanting to be forgotten that drove a lot of my mania. It's cringey and embarrassing, fake, obnoxious and manipulative. I think a lot of public figures feel like that, maybe not driven by BPD, but just that narcissism of not wanting to "be forgotten" and the over compensation of trying to not only be likeable, but the best. When in reality they are the worst. I still can't hold a job and fail continuously in public situations, and wake up with no drive for my future and self-worth, but the thing I am most thankful for is the empathy that my situation has given me for other people. Before starting my treatment, I had such a discontent for people. I really hated human beings and saw them all as selfish animals. It was a really weird, angry way to live, and now I see people as I should have. I know everyone on this planet is going through something and that each individual person has struggles. I also like to think that they want to be the best version of themselves.

If you have been something you regret and truly want to get better, it is possible. It feels weird picking a day and going, "Okay, today is the first day I start to get better," because it feels like the journey may be too big for that, but every journey starts with that first step. One clean day turns into two, two turns into four, and it continues. But it can also reset if you are not accountable, and that is the daunting part. 100 days can become 0 days if you subject yourself to the same unhealthy routines and behaviors. Whether that is mental illness, drugs, abusive behavior, or anything else. If you feel helpless, send a message through the contact form, I have been trying to answer everyone back when my team sends me the messages. I will do my best to respond. Sometimes its just helpful to know you are not alone. Every journey begins with that first step.



Up until my second album, I never wrote any lyrics down. My writing process consisted of me just starting to talk about anything while playing some chords, and once I found the right random thought that came out, I was able to follow it by just talking to myself.

That’s how I wrote a majority of my songs and I think that’s what worked best for me, because each song became a manic venting story. I became lazy and started writing lyrics down as time went on for more recent releases because it was easier and faster. I’ve returned to the style of lyricism I wrote back then, nothing on paper, just all spoken words as I write. I think it makes words go together thematically as well as being better written because it’s a challenge for me to write a line then remember that line as I write the next line.

When I wrote Trees and Snakes, I wrote them consecutively (Snakes first then Trees) in a single session, and I remember struggling to remember the lyrics as I wrote them, but I think the opportunity to practice memorization made the songs better because they captured exactly what I was feeling then, without the barrier of pen to paper.

My memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, but I’m trying to challenge myself again like that in hopes of making something honest and raw.

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