So, some backstory: I am currently deeply unhappy.
The why isn’t worth getting into, because part of the reason that it feels so crushing is that I know the solutions, and many of the things making me unhappy are, logically speaking, manageable with a bit of gumption and belief in myself.
Sadly, at the present time, I am woefully lacking in both gumption and belief in myself.
That leaves me in a city I don’t know, living with my parents despite being full-grown, underemployed and being rejected and/or ignored left/right/center, without people I know and like nearby, my creative juices are like the inside of a packet of Crystal Light, and also I’m ugly. It’s a hum-dinger of a time to be me.
My most recent crying jag left me being hugged by my dad. Blessed man that he is, he didn’t try to buck me up or offer solutions – he knows I’m trying. He instead imparted words of wisdom that were as far from trite as they could be, and used only one … well, thing that one might call a cliché.
“Life’s not fair.”
You hear it all the time when you don’t get something you want. Person in front of you in line gets the last rush ticket for Great Comet? Life’s not fair. Someone else gets the award for Best *Whatever* even though you really wanted it? Life’s not fair. Terrible, crap bag men in your field get fawned over while the people they’ve hurt are left to struggle? Life’s not fair.
In pop culture? Look at this phrase’s iconic use on Drag Race All Stars 4 when Naomi Smalls eliminated her idol (and the competition’s frontrunner) Manila Luzon. Manila had already lost Drag Race twice – wasn’t it her time, at long last? Nope. Slashed from the show without even a rug burn on Naomi’s famous scooting hip.
But today I heard it differently.
Life is not fair. Just because I feel like this doesn’t mean I deserve it.
i’m sure I’m not the only one who has this tendency: if things are going badly, I chalk it up to my inadequacy as a human, and assume that I’m getting my due. The way that I talk to myself is too mean to even admit, because obviously I know you’re supposed to love yourself, it’s 2019, Jameela Jamil exists.
Still, every time I feel low, there’s this voice in my head that sounds alarmingly like me saying, “Well, yeah. Who would want to hire you? Who would ever want to date you? Who would ever want to be your friend? What did you expect, happiness? Fullfillment? Ridiculous notion. This is what you deserve.”
Well, bitch, life’s not fair. I don’t deserve this.
(sorry I called you a bitch i know I’m supposed to be nicer to me)
I like this new philosophy. You might want to try it. Maybe I’ll write a song about it for a new musical called You’re A Good Person, Marina Toft.
In the grand scheme of everything, who’s to say what anyone deserves? I’m of the mind that talent deserves opportunity, hard work deserves recognition, kindness deserves reciprocity, and pain deserves comfort.
But those simple and obvious “if-then” scenarios are messier in real life. Those wires get crossed all the time, through endless routes of coping mechanisms, miscommunications, random happenstance, manipulation, weather changes… There’s too much uncertainty behind anything, from where I’m standing, to decide who deserves what.
There’s only one thing that’s clear to me: the outcome does not determine the cause.
I plan to remember this next time I’m driving around listening to “Green Light” on loop (my clearest signifier of a downward emotional spiral.) I may be suffering, but it’s not because I deserve it.
Life’s not fair.