No one has ever thrown me a surprise party. I’m not complaining, as I’m not even sure how I’d react if I did come home on my birthday and find all of my friends and family waiting for me. Since I’ve never thrown a party for anyone else, it would be silly of me to expect that from anyone else. But that’s exactly the problem: why should I have to ask everyone for everything? Why can’t I ever just get something without even having to ask for it? Bad things happen to me every day that I didn’t see coming, yet the good things only seem to happen after a lot of work and perspiration. That’s not harmony, and everyone who says it is has just grown so used to receiving nice gifts that they think it’s okay to demean people who have yet to reach that level. My birthday is coming up, and I would be pleasantly surprised if someone got me a gift that I didn’t even put on my list.

It’s tempting to tell oneself that little things don’t matter, that not getting one’s favorite parking spot or having to wait for thirty minutes on the tarmac while air traffic clears isn’t that big of a deal. And in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t. But if that’s all one has to look forward to, it feels like a lot more. When the high point of one’s day is eating a frozen pizza while watching reruns of House, it’s quite possible to fly into a rage simply because Safeway is out of pepperoni. I had a fairly intense conversation with my mother a couple weeks ago in which she called me up in the middle of the day and demanded to know why I’d been so withdrawn and cranky lately. Consider that. I’m minding my own business when out of nowhere, someone calls me and insists that I justify my behavior to them. Not exactly equal footing, is it? Eventually, I managed to convince her that what I really needed her to do was trust me for a change, and she took the hint. I could barely sleep that night. Why should I have to work so hard just to pass zero?

I am kind of an asshole. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t mince words, don’t beat around the bush, but say exactly what I’m thinking when I’m thinking it. I’m not proud of this. It’s not a good or a bad thing, just something that the people around me have to learn to deal with. But if you ever really want to see me get angry, tell me to ease up on the cursing. Tell me that you’d be a lot more amenable to my point if I just said it a little more politely. In my two decades-plus on this Earth, that has not worked once. Most of the time, what people are really saying is that they would have said it a little more gently. Good for them. I am not a gentle person. I’m not easily pleased. And I have a biting sense of humor. But I have just as much right to live in this world and speak the way I speak as the people who never raise their voices and agree to disagree even with people whose views they find abhorrent. Don’t like it? No, I’m not going to tell you to go fuck yourself. But spare me your hand-wringing. For the love of God, just leave me alone.

I don’t enjoy hurting people, although it is often a byproduct of what I do. If I could make people listen without cursing up a storm, I would. It’s just that nothing else ever works. And it amazes me that no matter how much people agree with what I’m saying, they always spend more time chiding me for harsh language than thanking me for speaking my mind in the first place. Sometimes I think that’s all they hear. And if that doesn’t leave you feeling tired and wrung-out at the end of the day, you are stronger than I am. The world is full of narrow-minded people, people who think that by virtue of who they are, they are entitled to their own happiness at the expense of others, that it is not their obligation to see things your way, but your obligation to cater to their own perception of what life should and shouldn’t be. Sometimes, it seems like they’re the only people in the world.

The most loving thing you can ever say to another person is, “Never change.” Well, I’m not going to change. Even if you think you’re just offering constructive criticism, you probably aren’t. If I need advice, I’ll ask. Otherwise, the only sentiment I have any interest in hearing is your undying support. And if you don’t know me, but have somehow stumbled onto this blog by a miracle, don’t think I don’t have something to say to you as well. I have something for everyone. Just ask.


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