The Thing Is

You aren’t very self aware. And you don’t check yourself like you think you do. Watch this: Everything you think is the product of your brain. Sounds like common sense. But then you tear into me like you’re objective, even going so far as to again criticize my writing immediately after remarking that I got. 100% on my English college entrance exam. You were shocked. NO ONE does that! Your words. Why doesn’t it cross your mind that my move was the difference between your 84% and my 100%?

So the thing is, you’re an asshole. A legitimate, full blown fucking asshole and most people don’t think like you. You’re human fucking garbage.

Oh Well.

I don’t know, man. Y’all keep trying to tell me I’m well liked, and that stings more than all the other bullshit. I can take an insult, if you throw the same one at me a bunch of times, I won’t even feel it anymore. When they hurt, I spin out for an hour or so until I’ve worked my way through it and I can put it in whatever box it belongs. But when you’re nice to me, it feels especially cruel. Like you’re mocking me, tempting me to believe it just so its more devastating when you take it back. Underneath all the layers of winter clothes, you somehow find the bleeding wound, and I’m both embarrassed that you saw it and disappointed that you can’t stitch it right. The gauze just makes it hurt more.

Like when I was the bullied kid, and everyone told me I was ugly. I just got used to it, kept my head down, didn’t bother anyone, practiced suicide on the weekends. My own grandmother didn’t even lie, just bought me soaps for my acne. And then my mother would try to stop the tears with, “You’re beautiful, Ashley,” and I would cry harder, knowing she didn’t mean it and doubting whether anyone ever would. Because it was such an obvious lie, I knew I could never believe it.

People don’t like me. I don’t play by the rules. I express exactly what I feel and I expect people to be morally accountable for their actions at least as much as I try to be. I fight back when I believe that I’m right and I don’t let anyone tell me who to be. People don’t like me.

And that’s okay. They never have. Except the leaches, they love how easy I am to exploit, all passive and forgiving and quick to take responsibility for their flaws. People never liked me, so I became very nice. I’m still nice, until you’re ruining my life. My guess is that if I could be more assertive from the start, and draw better boundaries, people would stop running my life. But then I wouldn’t be as nice, and people still wouldn’t like me.

You don’t have to lie to me, is the point. Look, I won’t write those proposals I was gonna write. I’ll stop getting myself into trouble with unnecessary substances and awful men. I’ll give you most of what you want, but I’m keeping the things in my life that serve my hopes and dreams. I never had a shot, this year was supposed to be it, and I never even made it to the range. Too many traffic jams.

When I die in 30 years or so, I won’t regret doing sex work until I turn 32. I’ll regret not taking my shot. Six months ago, I woke up certain that I was gonna make it. Traffic is clearing up, I’m not fucking going home.

So I’ll stay out of your way if you stay out of mine. That’s fair, and you know it’s fair. Might does not make right. Don’t confuse power with moral authority, please. Fair is all the respect you’ll get from me. It should be all you need.

J.

Why did I hit you up? Because you always believed in me. When the world was falling apart around me, you didn’t even notice. You just saw me holding what was left of it up.

I’m losing sight of me, and I hoped that you could still see her in there. You saw through me, of course. You saw my head tucked underneath both hands and my back against the wall, obviously scared and hurt. And you listened to me talk about the storms that had passed through since you left me there, like Atlas. You worried a bit, believing that I had seen some shit and weighing it against the strength you had seen before, and you decided that I would be okay eventually. But you took a look around us, and there was no more tornado.

“What are you gonna do tomorrow?” You asked. I weighed my limbs and spirit to determine how heavy they felt, how sad, I felt around to measure what was left of my will, and I couldn’t answer. Truthfully, I would have stayed right where I was, hearing rocks that had long since ceased to fall, and feeling phantom pains, for who knows how long?

Granted, the tornado had barely stopped when you dropped in, but I had forgotten all about the house I should be holding up.

Yours is the last opinion I value, you know? If you’re somehow part of all this, I just gotta say: Ouch. Do me a favor and listen to me like you do in person all the time. You know me better than that. You shouldn’t have to feel me to remember who I am.

But also, thanks for the uneasy vote of confidence. I’ll let you in on a secret, I’m no more sure of myself than you are these days. But you kissed me anyway. And I’ll try anyway.

So it’s not quite the fanfare I wanted. I mean, you yourself started off the night by noting that I didn’t seem sure I had the right to be heard, let alone praised. And I haven’t been proud of myself in a little while, either. Too many situations have compromised me too much, and I can’t seem to keep myself away from things that bring me down.

You gave me exactly the cautiously optimistic clap that I deserve.

I called you because people have been saying a lot of things, and I’ve been saying a lot of things back. I knew you’d be able to tell me the truth. So thanks.

Tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and shower and book an appointment or two. Then I’m gonna get F. to bring me the laptop he wiped for me and get back to building my empire. And I’m gonna ignore all the assholes trying to tell me what to do. I’ll have plenty of time to do it and be mediocre later if my way doesn’t work first.

Have it Your Way

So my key went missing today, following a visit with a client. Which leads me to two decisions: If I think you are involved, I will be saving all of your information, including your liscence plate and phone numbers, whatever name you give me, a physical description, what I think you did, the date, any social media accounts you’re associated with, etc.

I’ve got records from two years ago, and I’ll have detailed records now. I’ve still got a collection of IP addresses and cookies sent to my Facebook from December 2019.

Whatever your motive here, you’re flat out wrong. And I’m done playing your fucking game.