Dear You and You and You
It takes a long time to love yourself. You won’t ever love all of yourself, trust me. You’ll always wish you were more social, less loud, more of this, less of that, better at this, not so good at that. You’ll wish you had a more stable job, an apartment with newer floors, a laptop that’s less than 5 years old, a better roommate, easier classes, an easier life. But, in the dirty, toothpaste-stained mirror is still you. And the world won’t bend for you. Not now. Not ever. That you in the mirror, the one with all those insecurities, is meant to bend the world. You’re alive and you have a job to do. I’m not talking about your job. I’m talking about your job.
The news is supposed to make you mad sometimes. Let yourself be mad. The trick is, figure out what you can do about it. Don’t let jargon fool you - hate and intolerance are hate and intolerance no matter how they’re dressed or what forum they’re on. If something makes you pissed, the best thing you can do is learn every single thing about it. Intelligent conversations between informed people are far more valuable than most other things. Be tolerant, no matter where you’re from or how you were brought up. You don’t have to believe what your parents believe. You’re you. They’re them. To that end, you don’t have to be afraid of a dialogue, yes, even with your family, even on holidays. If your uncle says something racist, and all the adults are laughing, you don’t have to laugh along. You can get up and leave the room. Wait. You should get up and leave the room.
Technology gives you a voice. Go on Facebook. Scroll through your newsfeed. Are people you know using their very permanent, very in-pen, voice for good? Maybe not. Probably not. What you say, tweet, leave in the comments section, write to a girl or guy on a dating app, that stuff is yours. You own it. I know it doesn’t look or feel like face-to-face communication … it’s a lot closer to face-to-face than you think. That’s another human behind that corgi avatar.
I’m amazed by how many women are just looking at the ground all the time because of how often they’re disrespected, harassed, everything. Not even eye-contact, but just looking up in general has become a reason to ogle a woman like a maniac creep. It’s even worse when it’s accompanied by misogynist dialogue. It’s okay to be a feminist. We need more feminists. That’s how this thing is going to change. I’m a man and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had, in bars, at diners, at shows, have been with feminist friends. The best people have no lines. They won’t approach you in a Starbucks while you’re there trying to read. They won’t try to talk to you on the train, in the gym, at Chipotle. They won’t bully you into a conversation. You don’t owe anyone a conversation, or your phone number, or anything. The people meant to be in your life … they have this way of showing up. They show up too soon, too late, but sometimes, right when you need them.
Everyone experiences loss differently. If your friend loses a parent, grandparent, sister, brother, dog, I guarantee you it’s different than when you lost someone. Do the little things, the behind the scenes things, to help. Healthy people experience emotions in a spectrum, and that spectrum is huge. The more life you live, the more you lose. That’s the human condition, and, somehow, that’s okay … because we gained each other. Don’t force it.
Smoke pot sometimes. Use a vaporizer when you do. Watch shitty movies, trash TV, but read as much as you can. Write lyrics and listen to songs you wish you wrote. Type the first few lines of your favorite book out … walk in that writer’s shoes for a second. Be outspoken, look outspoken. If you make your voice count for something, notoriety will come. You’ll have more worst moments than best moments. Those few best ones? They make up for everything.