please yourself, please everybody

a greek chorus lives in my brain. it populates every possible reaction to a comment i make, something i create, a stance i find myself taking... its consensus is almost always a "well, actually"-ian counterpoint or criticism because, in my mind, there is always a line of decision-making that yields the least amount of ego-bruising and puts the best of me on display. if it's not bullet-proof, it's not worth saying. if i can't find this line, i freeze. i do nothing. i say nothing. i let ideas bake to the point that they burn and by the time i'm ready to take it out, it's ready for the trash.

i started a new job recently. it deals with providing goods and services to extremely affluent people. i get paid well. i can finally start eradicating my debts. i can start planning for the future (whatever the fuck that is) beyond the bare minimum. to be clear this is not "buy a house" money, it's more like "stop putting groceries on my credit card" money. it's, all things considered, a pretty cushy gig. my last job was borderline abusive; a realization i've come the more i distance myself from it. i deserve this break.

my political leanings have taken a hard, HARD left since college. it did have its share of smug neoliberal professors, a stereotype that deters a lot of people or keeps them firmly "somewhere in the middle". but there are different (and better!) ways to think left. it's as simple as advocating for racial and gender income and social equality. improve the system, improve the individual. life should be an obstacle course, but it should be more Nickelodeon GUTS and less Full Metal Jacket. overcoming adversity owns! now imagine if that adversity never existed in the first place.

i try to reconcile these two worlds on a daily basis. a true leftist would never take a job that does nothing but allow the ultra-wealthy to flaunt their ultra-wealthiness in their ultra-wealthy seventh home that they ultra-wealthily don't need. but... i need to pay my bills. i need to play this game. i can't fuck the system and live off the grid. does it make me a coward? a hypocrite? a piece of shit? in some peoples' eyes, absolutely. this kind of Barbie Dream Job should only exist for anne hathaway's character in Bride Wars 7. but it's how i make a living, and if i can get to a point where i have enough money to live comfortably, i can use that extra capital to help others who were born 5, 10, 900 spaces behind me. 

the greek chorus rarely comes to a consensus, so i just have to pick the option that will give me the least anxiety in the future. the problem is the things i don't "give a fucking shit about" at any given moment could very well be life-altering in a future so uncertain. it's all very overwhelming. sometimes. see?

people look at me and see ugly. others see beautiful. others see loud. others see mumbly. some see smug, arrogant asshole. some see bumbling, quiet, submissive nervous wreck who blinks too much. some see oscar, some see felix (ok felix is pretty rare). some see friend who cares and asks thoughtful questions. some see someone dismissive of their feelings. some see annoyed lady on the subway telling people to get their stupid backpacks out of my face. some see a flirt.

i will be 31 on thursday and am still having the same sort of self-reflections i did as a teen. i'm better now, i want to believe, but the things i do and say and think have some more weight to them than they did then. growing up is learning the program. being an adult is using it. more importantly, it's telling the greek chorus to stfu every once in awhile.



there are subjects and situations you may have an odd opinion about. you may feel like you are the only person on this planet who has this opinion. you may have this opinion for years- decades, even. you tell this opinion to people who may laugh, or think it's weird, or misunderstand, or don't have a reaction at all (the worst). then, one day, you find someone who feels the way you do. this shared quirk becomes the foundation for a wonderful relationship. a friend.

it's so satisfying to the soul, and makes you feel a little less alone in the world. plus, unlike a romantic relationship, much less is at stake, so your behavior toward a friend is more natural. they see the real you, and you see the real them in return.

i look at the people i surround myself with and am so happy that they are in my life. i gravitate toward those who are smarter than me, factually and emotionally. i learn from them. i bust a gut laughing with them. i get into trouble with them. i cry to and with them (usually the first). it's very very rare that i get into an honest-to-god fight with them. i am lonely without a partner, but cannot imagine the level of loneliness i would endure if i'd never found my shared-opinion-havers. i'm grateful.