When I was a kid-think 6 or 8ish, somewhere in there-I remember looking into the darkest part of my bedroom at night and wishing, with all the fervor of a child, that I could be that. In the dark, unseen. Because then, maybe, things wouldn’t be so bad: if people didn’t notice me, then I couldn’t be picked on or blamed when things went wrong. I did that a lot and of course it came true, just not how I expected.
Today, I am a sad cloud. A sad cloud with a Hop Head double IPA from Bend brewing, which is a well rounded, tropical influenced IPA. I can’t taste the alcohol, despite it being 9%, the hop bitterness isn’t over the top, although the bitterness definitely lingers, and while the tropical fruit qualities are in the nose and somewhat in the body (which has a nice, weighty viscosity to it), nothing is overwhelming.
The reason I am a sad cloud is because it will be my birthday soon and typically my method of asking if people would like to meet for my birthday is just to ask them, or to make a passing remark on social media and if people wanted to come great, and if not, hey no big deal. This year is different. This year, an event has been created.
I did this because people who keep tabs on me via social media kept telling me that they were sorry they missed coming to hang out. I realized that those people did not use social media like I did and maybe I should approach things differently.
So I made an event. All I have to do now is invite people to it.
The trouble is, I would apparently rather cease existence entirely than create the burden of inviting people. Asking people to pay any attention to me at all creates a level of anxiety that I would, quite frankly, rather wink out of reality entirely to avoid a la George Bailey, than do the very simple act of asking people to have a beer with me, because it’s my birthday.
Now, I know that some friends and family read this blog (hi there!) but I want to emphasize this: I don’t need anyone to affirm my existence or tell me that I matter or anything, really at all.
That’s what therapy is for and I promise y’all, I am trying to do that work.
But it does bring me to what I want to discuss today. I talk a lot about how we deserve better and we have to do that work against the exploitative systems (here defined as racism, sexism, capitalism, basically anything that attempts to reduce human beings to either cogs in a machine to make money, sycophants promoting the exploitation, or nothing at all) that are enforced upon us.
However! There is another kind of work worth doing as well-if we deserve better, do we not deserve to be better ourselves?
And that shit is hard, yo. Maybe harder than changing the external forces, because more than anything the internal work can feel lonely and scary. Trying to fix external things, you can at least be scared with people.
I don’t know if I’m going to follow through with the invite. I’ve been wrestling with it for three days now and it isn’t getting any easier. It some ways it’s getting worse; going to the invite, seeing everything set up and how many people are attending: one.
I wish that it didn’t list me, that nobody was attending. This insistence that I exist is troublesome.
But I do and for this moment, this is my work. Ain’t nothing to do but have at it.