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A Need to Be Special

weather

I had a beautiful, long, laying it bare, slicing the vein and bleeding it out few paragraphs written here explaining some things. I’m sensitive like that and I’m done apologizing for it. I mean, I get it DC. You’re a cynical city. Meh. I’ll stick to having a soul. Laugh if you want. Anyway, then I remembered: I have a rule against providing attention to the shallow and cruel. Those people find enough ways to inflate themselves and their “accomplishments”, and they manage to find enough people to dupe into believing the myths they promote, so I’m certainly not going to inadvertently contribute to the adulation by giving any kind of attention at all. But I do want to clear one thing up.

I met a man some time ago. He was interesting and handsome and smart and I liked him. That guy might still exist but I haven’t seen him in a while. After he almost immediately chatted up a friend of mine, I told him he should go for that, if that’s what he wanted, and I would make adjustments. I wasn’t even being snarky, just acknowledging that people like what they like, and I thought enough of him to still know him as a friend. Apparently that was unforgivable because I’ve been smacked fairly repeatedly with information about how I don’t measure up and was even a mistake compared to the woman he now sees. That’s not an easy thing to swallow when that woman is the type who will publicly destroy you should you fail to worship her. I may not have much, but I’m not that kind of girl and I don’t appreciate being told I’m less than someone who would do that to someone they ostensibly love. I mean really, f*ck you. I hate you’re (apparently I’m speaking directly to the guy now. Go figure) not the kind of person secure enough to apologize for being an ass. You might find that you wouldn’t have to settle for the merely outwardly stunning (most of which is manufactured) and could have the full monty, a good person who actually cares about you AND is a badass in life and work. There are good people who are rather accomplished and wouldn’t tell everyone they’re only sticking around for the free stuff they get for knowing you.

Anyway, I’m bored of this silliness. It’s depressing and it makes me sad for you and I don’t know you well enough to be sad for you. But I did want to get it on record somewhere that you came to me, buddy. And I didn’t pursue you, I just wanted to make things right so there was no bad blood and we could be friends. But you couldn’t just take that for what it was, right? Had to create a myth and make a girl cry, one who really just liked you and felt bad that she didn’t have the patience to put up with your bullshit. I actually did feel bad about it. And look what that got me. Anyway, you found someone who will put up with it, and that’s great. Just don’t run out of limelight or free tickets and you should be fine.

On a somewhat related note, my brother Daniel said to me once that a defining characteristic of my personality is that I don’t like to be bothered with stress or annoyances. I remember feeling bad about that at the time, like somehow that made me a bad person who couldn’t deal with the daily realities of other people. But now…I mean, yeah, that’s right. I’m sure that makes me selfish. I know it does. But I have very little patience for drama and upset to alleviate some existential boredom. I get that life and especially love means dysfunction and negotiation. I understand that very well. Shall I recount my childhood? But so much of what I see crosses the “sometimes things just happen” line into “I need for something to happen because I might scratch my skin off if it doesn’t” or “I’m feeling inadequate today so I need some other to feel rotten so I can feel pretty or powerful” or what-the-hell-ever. Some people need blood in the water. Like sharks. I’m okay not being a shark and just wanting to float. But make no mistake: I have teeth. I just use them for self-defense, not for sustenance.

I’ve wanted to write about the notion of forgiveness as it relates to the shootings in Charleston and the dystopian wasteland that is Baltimore. And I mean that last part. I walked from the Inner Harbor up to Mount Vernon at 10 pm on a weeknight recently and was legitimately worried. My friend assured me we were fine but I’m not even sure he believed it. But hey, we lived. And had a really good drink at a pretty cool bar before I hopped the train back to DC. But the landscape stuck with me. Stark, empty, depressed, and yet roiling just underneath all that with a barely contained chaos. You can feel it in the air. And I went back to a conversation I had with an Uber driver of mine recently who was born and raised in Baltimore. He expressed shock at how Charleston handled the church shootings. How the community forgave and came together to maintain the peace. “It’s the way it is down there. People see themselves as part of something larger, and they recognize their roles in making that larger community work. So they do what they can to preserve it,” I told him. “It’s not that way in Baltimore. It’s not the culture there. It’s every man for himself,” he said.

No kidding. And isn’t it fascinating that they live under a system that is the result of the American version of progressive socialism, where the social justice warriors are always extolling the virtues of working for the common good? I’m sure there’s a larger piece to write there. Perhaps I should write it. I need to write something…I’ve just been so busy…

Anyway, people were shocked and critical of those who would forgive that horrible and misguided child that chose to shoot up a church. But here’s the secret of forgiveness: it’s not altruistic. Not at its heart. It’s ultimately about the self. Forgiving means you let go of the baggage of hate that would sit in your belly and turn you necrotic from the inside out. You choose to be free when you forgive. So don’t get it twisted. It has less to do with the forgiven and most to do with the forgiver. Do with that what you will.

Okay, release complete. I could go into what I think of the Iran deal but suffice to say John Kerry scares the ever living shit out of me and I think we are reacting more than negotiating. Unless I’m wrong, Iran has the bomb. All the talk about keeping them from getting it is a lie. The entire deal is a weak peace treaty so they don’t use it. I’m convinced of that, but would love to be convinced otherwise.

Finally, I’m sorry if anything you read here was harsh or hurt your feelings. But mine get hurt all the time and sometimes you just need to throw up the wall and speak the truth and let the chips fall. I’m sure you understand.

Saw this recently. Adorable. I'd like to not still relate to this kind of thing anymore.

Saw this recently. Adorable. I’d like to not still relate to this kind of thing anymore.

I’m going to be cursing. Fair warning and I’m sorry.

The Braves, okay. Their bullpen makes me deeply sad… Pops thinks that Gonzalez is figuring out who fits where and we’ll see a different team after the All Star break and we’re only 3 games out of first, etc. and et al. But they don’t, improbably, look terrible. They actually look…kinda…good. What? I know, right? I’m not sure what to do with it either…Let’s just hang on to that for a while and be chipper and hopeful about it, shall we?

There’s something else, before I get into the politics of things, I want to talk about and hang on to if I can. It starts with that scene from the movie Dogma. When Bartelby, the exiled angel, cruelly tells Bethany that her ex husband — who left her because she couldn’t have children — lives in wedded bliss and genuine joy with his new wife and their kids, and Kevin Smith’s character lunges at him out of protective anger for Bethany’s sake and has to be held back, presumably because he’d be quickly neutralized by an angel? I like that scene. Because it illustrates two things: 1. using the childlessness of a woman who hasn’t been blessed with that miracle to hurt her is evil. You hear that?

EVIL.

Twice recently I’ve had women do that to me, in different ways, but both times intended to make me feel inferior and shitty about myself. And their men were kind of — wait. Strike that. Absolutely were. — complicit in it. Which brings me to 2. there are still some men who know how evil that is and will instinctively fight someone for it. Even if they are likely to get their booties kicked. And I need to hold on to that. That there still are good men — good people — out there. I forget that a lot. I’ve seen things, man. Grasping and clawing and ruthlessly lying things. And I can get low about it. And this is partly, I think, why I like music and film and literature so much. That’s where people preserve some of the beauty of humanity. The brutality as well, to be sure. But the stuff that transcends all that, the stuff that we “stay alive for” to borrow a phrase, lives in the arts, both physical and mental. There’s a movie — I actually think it’s National Treasure, oddly — where the female love interest tells the idealist male love interest that no one talks the way he does anymore. “But they think that way,” he replies. And I think that’s true. So I look for it. My hope is that that will matter to someone — to a good man, specifically — sometime soon. And that I’ll have friends that will let me have it. That won’t get in the way, that won’t let their own egos and insecurities ruin it for me. I have great hope that these things will happen.

Speaking of…I don’t easily put myself out there. It’s a little scary for me, and it’s hard for me to process when I do and get treated like it doesn’t matter that I let myself be vulnerable. I’m so careful so much of the time. So, I don’t feel bad for you that things aren’t panning out for you right now, and likely won’t no matter how much you pretend otherwise. You have a little bit of karmic stuff you have to address. You’ll figure it out. Pulling for ya buddy.

On a related note, it comforts me somehow that the guys I know who are seemingly incapable of not messing around on the women they date are the strongest adherents to this idea that a woman must play their waiting game regarding how quickly they, ahem, put out. It’s so funny to me. These women ultimately get treated just as badly as the ones put in the — pardon the expression — smashbox. And maybe worse, because they’ve invested time and emotion into the man who, ultimately, just sees them like he sees every other woman. That’s why I’m fairly — ahem again– efficient as those things go. I want to know who I’m dealing with as quickly as possible if I’ve an interest. Because a man will treat you how he’s going to treat you and I just like to know early what kind of man I’ve got on my hands. But again, I’m probably overly cautious with my interests. See above.

Speaking of raging douches, there was this chick that used to be among one circle of my friends and, after said chick left town, I was informed that she liked to talk a lot of trash about yours truly. Thinking back, there was always this weird tension with this particular group of friends, and I could never quite put my finger on where it came from. Turns out that pump was primed quite a bit in my absence. Lots of eyerolling and “she can’t sit at our lunch table” kind of stuff. Jesus. WHY CAN’T I LEAVE HIGH SCHOOL? I only mention it because I recently became aware of the fact that there are some who still hang onto whatever myth that girl promoted. Let it go, man. I get that, for a time, I was the object of ridicule. But that silly girl has been gone a while now. Try relating to me in a different way. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Okay, enough of all that. My personal stuff is really boring, right? I just want to get married and have babies. Seriously. Always have. You got the wrong idea, didn’t you? Most people do.

Happy birthday to the Magna Carta. Brilliance should always be commemorated.

Um…this wasn’t hard to figure but I have been pulling my ballet posture out a lot more lately after reading it.

No way this is a myth. Because trust me: women are way meaner to women than any man ever is. And I mean I’ve had men do horrible things at work. But really, come to think of it, they were kind of girly men.

Speaking of, it was tremendously satisfying that another victim of one of those awful men at work went on to do great, really great, work. While that awful man? Meh. He languishes in mediocrity. Sorry, but it’s absolutely true and I defy anyone to challenge that.

You want to know what The Twerp was like? Here. This is pretty close.

Ahhhhhhh….The madness of MacBeth and the murderous ambition of the Lady. Out, out damn spot. This one should be a good one.

I hope it never makes me paranoid, but I get why Nixon felt this way. Again with the catty and petty high school. You pretty much just have to laugh at it and not take it all so seriously, something I think Nixon wasn’t great at.

All the talk of leadership lately made this a pretty good read.

Yeah.

Want to know what’s wrong with Baltimore? Compare this story to this one.

At some point, I feel certain, I’ll write about this. I’m not sure it’s done. Wait…I know it’s not.

And now for some awesome. Great song, great band, great cover, great guest appearance. All around good.

eve-movieposter

Chick-diary post follows. Fair warning…

I offended my Pops tonight. I didn’t intend to, I just — well, I guess I just spoke the truth as I see it without tempering it, something I don’t very often with Pops. I speak the truth with him, but I choose my language carefully. He demands it. Diplomacy is a skill he admires and I can’t tell you how many times growing up I was told that I needed to learn some tact. He is definitely displeased with any deviation from civilized discussion of difficult topics. Seriously, It’s a challenge. Aaaanyway…

We were talking about my frustration with some women-folk I’m having to deal with and how their behavior is downright baffling to me because I don’t see the benefit of their machinations to anyone — including the individual trying to rule the world, as it were. (As an aside, I definitely don’t see how you can date these ladies, guys. The manipulation is…wow…I mean, I feel both dirty and depressed after negotiating it. And after the attempt at rational discussion and the ensuing crazy that occurs, I want to punch something or go for a mile swim. Is that what you go through regularly? Because damn…)

So, at some point in the discussion I asked Pops if he thought a man who has some interest in this lady’s behavior could see what I see.

“How could he not?,” said Pops

“Well I mean you guys are such dumbasses about women from what I’ve seen pretty much my whole life that I can never tell what you know or what you don’t…”

“…”

“…”

“Thanks for the compliment, kid.”

Damn. I’m a bad daughter. (But I do kind of feel that way. A lot. And I hate that it came out of my mouth. I mean, I get it guys…sometimes it pays to look the other way. But as one of the girls who was the little sister, or the girlfriend, or the friend, let me just say KNOCK IT OFF. If she’s a raging, mean-spirited harpy it’s just a matter of time before she turns it on you. Jeeza pete. How do you not know this?)

One other thing: character counts in sports, too. Bryce Harper, you are a cute kid, and you can swing a bat, and your streak is hot. But, like Nuke LaLoosh, you’re letting mold grow on your shower shoes a little early, my friend.

A’ight. Listen to this cool song. I’ve got choreography in my head.


 

3 am Thoughts

grill

It’s just after 3 am and I was jolted awake by a thought. Well, jolted awake because I’m battling a cold and the meds have worn off. So, while I wait for them to kick back in, here’s what went through my head as I awoke nursing a very raw throat:

All this past evening I watched as an attitude of “mine!” pervaded social media, punctuated by a nasty tendency to speak in hyperbole, show little remorse or loyalty, think only of oneself, pass questionable judgment on immediate surroundings (because your ability to judge anything is questionable), use the occasion of society collapsing as a way to play victim, demand protection, and stomp around crying “justice” with a false sense of caring about anything or anyone besides the immediate needs of the individual (fine, but don’t lie about it), and generally just exploit the chaos to get attention. All eyes on me, and all that. And good people got in the way, tried to help, and will suffer for it.

Also, some kids burned down Baltimore.

And it occurred to me: that is the difference between the classes. Opportunity doesn’t make you a better person. Just gives you a more refined way of being a bullying thug who uses people to elevate one’s sense of importance and throw tantrums a little less dramatically (but only a little. Because, God, the hyperbole is painful. “Overwhelmingly blessed!” Gimme a break. Does anyone buy that nonsense? How many times can someone use the word “wonderful” or “perfect” without it losing some (read: all) of its meaning?). What an inspiration to young people. On a related note, sheep are dumb.

In short — I don’t see a ton of difference in the goals and aspirations of the kids running around the streets and the bourgeoisie (that’s an historical term, darlin’) filming them from the ivory tower. Different methods, same cavalier and — ahem — disgusting behavior.

There’s your class war. Everyone needs to watch Trading Places again.

Charming.

Charming.

mybad
Let’s talk about karma for a second, shall we? I question all the great mysteries of life on a regular basis — and now, because I’m a little more involved with people that don’t see much mystery but are rather highly pragmatic — I’m questioning a lot of things again. I don’t believe I’ll ever give up a faith in the idea that life moves — is guided? — by mysterious and rational forces, but it’s interesting hearing people who don’t agree with that idea still pay great homage to things like ethics and benevolence. And that’s where I’d like to start with karma.

It seems to me that people that just bulldoze through life because they believe they are ENTITLED to, or because they DESERVE to, or because they have always been treated a certain way and, by God, they mean to always be treated like the precious flower or rare coin they’ve always been led to believe they are, don’t care much for the idea that you will reap what you sow. You plant those bitter little seeds, you’ll get some pretty sour fruit. Use whatever negative descriptor you like there. It works in the positive, too. Which is fantastic, although sometimes it feels like it takes so much longer to see the positive yield from being kind. But the nasty stuff? That’s pretty instant. John Lennon wrote a song about it.

Anyway, consider yourself lucky when it happens, because then you have the opportunity to start again (I do know from experience) and do better. And maybe listen this time. Stop thinking that just because someone joins you in whatever grumpy ass approach to life you need to feel comfortable it means they care. The best people will expect you to be be the best version of yourself. That’s hard, yes, because it means there’s an expectation. And sure, there are plenty of people that will just take that laptop to find a job, as it were. And that’s okay, if that path of least resistance floats your particular device. But know that all that stuff’s conditional in a way that’s less about wanting what’s best for hearts and minds of everybody involved, and more about control, and things, and image, and stuff. And you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re sleeping with the enemy who’s going to blast all your personal stuff all over social media and try to make you look like you’re an absolute monster. My point is: don’t put too much faith in the wrong stuff. Character matters.

Also, as an aside, what do you call it when someone enjoys being spoken to harshly and disrespectfully to the point that if someone is actually nice to them it freaks them out?

So that’s all I’ve got for the time being. I have a lot of things happening at the moment. I’m supposed to be in Southern California for the first time ever for several days next week. I’ll believe it when it actually happens. Because the flight man…I don’t want to talk about it.

I’ll write about the Iran deal, and religious freedom versus discrimination, and what I think China might be up to at a later date. Right now I just want to process all that stuff, and you can probably guess how I feel about most of it. So I’ll save it for later as things continue to develop. But I will say one thing: I fully expect Hillary’s email scandal to intersect with this kind of thing. Don’t underestimate her. She knows how to spin very, very well.

Also, I hope this is true.

Okay I’m out. I leave you with more from the former Beatle. I have a love hate relationship with John Lennon. He was a massive ass to the people in his life, and it’s hard for me to support that in general. But this song…

One other thing, because it’s been on my mind: hey Twerp, you’re still a ridiculous, pitiful egotist who actually doesn’t think much of himself and my mom and I laughed about that stupid email you sent last night on the phone for a while. Sad man. Really sad. Enjoy that karma.

Little Monsters

Little_Monsters_Under_Your_Bed_by_Mimisaurus

Not too terribly long ago, someone asked me what I was afraid of. He was asking from a context of war — something I know about only academically, never having seen one, but have an interest in because, well, I think it matters — and the question, coupled with recent suggestions that I need to allow myself to “be more vulnerable” just got me to thinking: what am I afraid of? Because apparently this is holding me back in relationships and may be a fundamental problem for me, if recent events are to be believed. So, in the interest of trying to work that out, and with the understanding that I won’t be talking about the larger issues, like war and pandemics because everyone’s afraid of those things, here goes:

I’m afraid of liars. Because you don’t know what they think, what they believe, or what they’re capable of. And that makes them prone to be irrational actors who can, at any moment, throw a monkey wrench in any well-laid plan.

I’m afraid of cruelty. I don’t understand it. I separate it from what appears to be cruelty but is actually self-defense. Cruelty to me is unprovoked and happens because the person inflicting it simply enjoys it. It causes a lot of damage and is generally non-productive besides providing amusement to the sadist.

Even more than cruelty, however, I’m afraid of those who stand around and watch cruelty and do nothing. I hate the look in their eyes, rather helpless and ashamed, because while they don’t condone what’s happening, they prefer not to call it out as ugly and unnecessary. Those people are somehow both pitiable and infuriating. And they cause so much conflict within me personally that my heart just breaks to see them.

I’m afraid of people who feel so out of control that they attempt to control others by manipulating feelings or withholding affection (or even more basic needs) so that one becomes nearly dependent on them. They are dangerous people because they misunderstand a basic truth: there is no such thing as control. The best you can do is treat people well and hope they stick around. Anything else, even if it lasts, becomes a dark game of co-dependency. And people are broken by that kind of thing, either by becoming hard and controlling themselves, or by becoming controlled to the point of inertia.

I’m afraid of watching people I care about be hurt or put down because of something I may have done, or some influence I brought to their door. I’m afraid I can’t protect them when someone tries to hurt them. Worse, if that person is someone I let in the door.

That’s the short list. And here’s the secret: I’m not really afraid of any of those things. I’ve been negotiating all of that stuff my whole life, just like everyone else has. But I say it because if you need a reason why I don’t want to let you in or give you much time, you can call it my fear or my inability to be vulnerable if that’s what makes sense to you. The truth is, I’m vulnerable all the time. I let people wreck me, I give them the opportunity to do that, or not. And when — if — they do, I make a judgment and maybe close a door. That’s not fear of being vulnerable. That’s giving a chance, getting a result, and then acting accordingly. Basically, I can’t continue to think there’s something broken about me (fear of being vulnerable) because I opened up the emotional door and you didn’t do good things with trust.

In short, I’m not afraid. I just know how much I can let you in.

Okay, I have a thing later that I’m fighting not falling asleep to attend, so I need to get this wrapped up and get ready. Y’all have a good weekend, okay?

The 47 traitors letter is fascinating. I tend to agree with Steve Hayes — it has already been effective. Although, the argument that Obama will take it to the UN and have it ratified, thereby leading to a dropping of sanctions against Iran by European nations, thereby making the letter ineffective, is well taken. But I think it signals something greater to Iran and the world: the US Congress is not in the tank. You can misinterpret that for some political reason like they just don’t like Obama, but I think most understand that it’s more about national security. And I believe the world is listening. Because, look, this is true.

This is also true. We are a cynical nation, as we would be given the divisiveness of the last 7 years, but there’s hope out there. People are watching us. And there’s a reason that the bastions of liberal news are suffering under the weight of promoting failed policies and cynicism. So, good for Cotton and the 47 “Traitors” for still believing.

You guys know narcissism fascinates me, so this study was of course an interesting read. I’m not saying you shouldn’t encourage your kids and praise them for their accomplishments, but I think treating children like they are “better than” — indeed, requiring they think that about themselves — is generally creating some pretty nasty adults. It’s true that narcissists can become very successful. But they will also always be that asshole boss that breaks people’s spirits and makes creepy decisions that benefit themselves over the health of their business or relationships. Ebenezer Scrooge is an archetype for a reason. Why not raise people who have a healthy sense of accomplishment and encourage others in their own? Seems like even a stupid question to ask, frankly. But all this talk of self-love (which I think is what leads up to really crappy writing like 50 Shades of Grey) makes me want to read this.

For the trolls.

Sorry Netflix. You helped foist this crap law on us and you will suffer more than the rest of us. Your bottom line is going to hurt. I have little sympathy for you.

They’ve needed to get it together for a while.

Hillary and her emails. Seriously, I get why people are tripping. But it’s not surprising and she will get through it and run. Will it haunt her? Maybe. But here’s the thing: The Twerp taught me one very important thing about life and people — some people like weasels. They respect them. They want them at the top. That is Hillary’s base.

Americans trying Southern food for the first time goes pretty much as expected.

I made this. Pretty good, but probably needs a little more oil in the recipe. A little dry. Tasty, though.

A post for Pops

My father doesn’t trust me it seems. I think it stems from a desire to be protective, but when I tell him, “I think I need to write about this stuff,” he gets nervous I’ll go too far or that I’m focusing on things that don’t require my attention because they’re not worthy things to ruminate on. It’s rather sweet, really. My Pops wants to protect me from myself. Always has.

And that’s why guys, even when you’re kinda rotten, I don’t have bad feelings for you. I’ve had the great, rare privilege of being raised by a complicated, brilliant guy who puts those he loves before himself and is still just a dude, in the best sense of the word. So I know what you’re capable of. And he defends you guys, when I cry and complain about how you’re being weird or not making any sense to me. He tells me that anything is possible — even when it looks like there’s been too much misunderstanding to repair. He says that time and a closed door do a lot of work on their own and that optimism is key. And I believe him over the other voices of well-meaning friends who say, “That person will never be nice to you again. And even if they try, after being that mean to you, why would you want them to be?”

I don’t have a good answer for that except I try to fix things if I can. And I don’t think life is best lived with an outlook of hopelessness or a feeling that the next time I see someone there’s no chance for a meeting of the minds, or even just a decision to cordially high-five and never cross paths again. Seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy and that feels like a silly thing to program. So Pops reaffirms that for me and reminds me that no one can control circumstance and you must deal with circumstances as they come.

I said all that to say this though: despite my Pops saying it’s unwise to write about these things in short form (Twitter) or long, I have to do it. I have to. I do my level best to be as cryptic as I can (something the Twerp found annoying, presumably because he knew I was writing about him in many cases and I think he wanted the attention, negative though it was. And that, my friends, is just weird as all hell and a completely crazy concept to me. Who wants attention for being a complete doofus in the eyes of someone? My God, man, do you need eyes on you that bad?…). But when I discover that someone who, for example, I rather admired (possibly still do for what I think actually lives inside him) but who wasn’t all that cool to me for whatever reason has said some pretty inflammatory things unfairly (albeit some time ago but I’m just hearing about them), I mean…damn…I don’t know what to do with that. There was some snotty little remark about “associations” that just resonated with snobbish mean-girlness that I’ve not really experienced to that degree since high school. I’m pretty sure I know where it came from but yikes, man…Trust me, there are people out there who are actually accomplishing pretty impressive stuff against great odds (which is to say they weren’t just handed a ready-made opportunity) who could easily look down a nose in contempt. But they don’t. Because they know, in the world where you have to get along with no one to catch your fall, it’s exceedingly unbecoming and tragically stupid to behave that way. But I digress…

Anyway, I’ve spent a great bulk of my life not standing up for myself. I was trained not to, to be the peacekeeper, not make things worse, be the bigger person, take people’s nastiness and rise above it. And I’m so sorry Pops if this is disappointing to you — I truly am — but I have to stop absorbing that stuff and letting it chew me up from the inside out. I have to have my quips and comments and thoughts because they help me not feel like a victim of the selfishness and bullying. Particularly in a case, for example, where my finer tendency — that one that tries to fix things — is used against me. Where my need to make things cool and friendly is allowed to continue until it’s a nice little weapon. In short, when I get played a little. Not sure why that was necessary exactly, but I think certain people are always looking for weapons. And they’ll make them if they have to. And that’s okay. I’m empathizing if not sympathizing. I just don’t want it to be the last word. I may not be able to control that, but I can control not just taking the hit without laughing about it and using that great intellect you’ve always said was my best asset. And I can control turning a nasty attempt to tell me what an absolute piece of sh*t I am in an email from someone I don’t know, and for no reason other than a desire to throw some weight around (which is to say, I had committed no crime against this person) into a hilarious joke (which I feel kind of bad about except it probably matched the nastiness of the email). All so I don’t get beaten down by the ugliness. Because if I’m beaten, I’m unable to move forward. And moving forward is the goal.

Which brings me to the other guy I’m not angry at but don’t quite know how to deal with. A very good man I care about a great deal. He’s a friend and I love him. And the best and greatest thing about him is that he would never use my finer instincts against me. If anything, he takes issue with the not-so-finer ones, the pettiness and gossip-girl stuff that’s pretty useless on the grand scale. He has always communicated with me, even when what he had to say was hard. And I listen to him and respect him for that. And he warns me about letting people craft weapons and has been legitimately proud of me for standing up for myself when he knows how difficult that is for me to do.

And yet…

I seem to have disappointed him as well. I can’t go into the specifics (which are actually hilarious and mom knows so ask her but be prepared to be slightly shocked) but suffice to say I didn’t understand the protocol of the place we were at and he called me out on it. And I got embarrassed and excused myself and went home. And now I don’t now if I should apologize or be indignant (and I have good reason to be the latter). And so the boys are confusing me again. And I don’t have that thing I see in so many of the young ladies these days, that ability to be snarky and ignore, and then take up the mantle when it suits me again. Or to be as cruel as possible and publicly embarrass the person you profess to care deeply for. I don’t have it because I don’t want it. It’s a silly game and a power trip and every — EVERY. Every single one.– relationship I’ve seen that employs it fails after a time. Because it sucks. It’s no way to relate to people.

And so my Pops, I wrote all of this — leaving off politics, about which I have many, many thoughts that I might actually address in this space tomorrow if I have time — so you wouldn’t be disappointed in me. So you wouldn’t think the chunky toddler you trained to be thoughtful and kind had become hateful and sarcastic as a general rule. I’m just negotiating harder people who think nothing of throwing their “loves” under the bus, and negotiating nicer people than I who expect me to be better than maybe I am.

But I’m still your chunky toddler and don’t worry about me. You gave me the right tools. I’m just figuring out how to use them.

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