You Are Not Special

People tell me that I have a strong voice. I’m getting tired of it. The funny thing about having a distinctive style is that it can actually be a hindrance when you’re trying to blend in with a crowd. I have a talent for blending in when I’m trying to stand out and standing out when I’m trying to blend in. Maybe a lot of people feel that way. Still, looking back at my history, I honestly can’t think of a single thing that I’ve ever done with the express intention of getting someone else’s attention that actually worked out that way. Even if I got attention, it was the wrong kind. So understandably, I still feel a little isolated at times. The constant pebble in my shoe is my single-ness. I know people close to my own age who are married. Hell, my parents got married when they were younger than I am now, so it’s a good thing that I don’t waste time comparing myself to them. There’s a lot I can learn from them, but I definitely don’t want the same (boring) lives that they have. My mother’s birthday is coming up, and my one wish for her is that she feels not just older, but wiser. It depresses me that I have to look forward to gray hairs, achy joints and all that other shit, but hopefully, I will have learned enough by the time I hit that age that I don’t want to go back and relive my twenties. Always forward, as a certain missionary used to say.

It’s fascinating to think that Darth Vader was in less than fifteen minutes of the first Star Wars movie, that Moriarty appears in only two Sherlock Holmes stories, that Hannibal Lecter has just over twenty minutes of screen time in The Silence of the Lambs (though Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for the film). I’m trying to pick apart what makes a good villain here, and I think that part of the answer is that they have to demonstrate what would happen if the protagonist stopped giving a shit about being a good person. Evil has its own risks, but it’s comforting in a way that good isn’t. Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”, which essentially means that evil, in a way, is entropy. It’s what happens when you lapse into what feels nice rather than what feels difficult, but right. Sooner or later, the good people have to be able to stop, take a breather, and then move onto something else, right? To take a certain important social issue, the parallels between the arguments against gay marriage and the arguments against interracial marriage are so obvious that you can literally just substitute the word “interracial” for “gay” and have the same points people were making in the 1960s. There, that’s it. People don’t want to allow gay marriage because it makes them uncomfortable. That’s wrong, but it will not change overnight, which is why I don’t anticipate it being legal in all 50 states anytime soon. Real change takes time, no matter how desperately it is needed.

Good antagonists have a way of getting inside your head even though you really don’t want them to. That’s why our culture is so preoccupied with homosexuality and so unwilling to change in the face of rock solid arguments for the end of homophobia and heteronormativity. When you don’t have anything else to talk about, it’s so easy to fall back on one of the least interesting aspects of another person’s existence. I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, so I think I’ll divert my attention to something else, but for now, I would just like to say that the Borg were only in, like, half a dozen episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but everyone remembers them. The Westboro Baptist Church has a congregation of about 70, but is world famous. Get the picture?

I don’t usually go for inspirational rhetoric, but I think it’s important for people to understand that if they honestly have ask whether or not they give a shit about anyone else, they probably do. Most of the bad people in the world just say, “I’m a good person”, as if it’s that simple. What does  that really mean, anyway? It’s just a label, and labels, as I always say, have only the meaning that we give them. I’m still not sure what I really want to be, anyway. A writer? An activist? A writer/activist? None of those seem to quite fit, but I can’t think of anything that works better. I suppose I’ll happen upon something sooner or later. There’s nothing wrong with being able to boil down your professional interests to a single word, you just have to understand that it only describes what you do–which does, in a sense, shed light on who you are. Of course, it’s not the whole thing, but what is?

I’m writing this late at night. I’m tired of going to bed, then getting back up when I discover that there is something I didn’t do that really needs to get done, but it’s been happening more and more lately. I’m fucking sick of it. Why can’t I decide when I want to go to bed? I still don’t know the answer to that question, and it’ s one that interests me far more than what I want to do with my life. People settle into a groove after a while, but it’s hard to really make that work unless you make it clear that you can abandon it anytime you want to. You have to know that it was your choice, is what I’m trying to say, because you really never know when you will decide that you want to do something else entirely.

Speaking of which, I think I’m going to go to bed again soon. I am tired, after all, and I have much work to do. As usual.


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