There is too much bullshit in the world. It’s like a pandemic.
It frequently fascinates me as much as it irks me. It’s sort of awe-inspiring that human beings can possess such amazing capacity to navigate through the ambiguity of doublespeak, such that the complex systems that govern our everyday lives don’t, in fact, crash and burn to the ground like a scene in some post-apocalyptic film. At the same time, it irks me that it robs us of so much sincerity and makes things so complicated. I wonder what we gain from avoiding saying those words that perhaps need to be said to make a point clear, a feeling acknowledged. Who are we trying to protect here? The person on the receiving end? Or our own undeserving egos?
To start, what if we actually said how we felt the moment we’re asked that banal question “How are you?” “Not so good, man. Rent is too high, I work too much, I get paid too little, I don’t sleep enough, I’m single as hell, and I squander all of what’s left of my paycheck on alcohol and shoes that give me blisters. But all that matters less than the fact that I’m actually just very lonely.” Instead, you’re all smiles as you say, “I’m good, yourself?” Your life is not grateful to you for all the connections you’ve just missed.
What if we didn’t wait to text? Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually enjoys playing “the game” — all the anxiety that takes hold of you and makes you feel absolutely stupid as you kiss a text message goodbye. Then you faithfully check your phone at a minimum of five-minute intervals so you don’t feel obsessive-compulsive-crazy (but who are we kidding here?). Then, finally, after hours of living on a constant emotional roller coaster, what do you get back? A seemingly casual “Hey!” which is, to wit, three golden letters and an exclamation mark that must mean they care. Your life is not grateful to you for all the time that was just wasted.
What if we just told the asshole to their face that they’re an asshole? “Sorry, you’ve been blocking my way to the bar for the past ten minutes during which time you’ve insulted my work, my ethnicity, and my education. I don’t care if you’re interested because I’m not, so please just get out of my face.” Instead you awkwardly laugh off the disappointment and the hurt and quietly slip away (there are always other bars right?). Your life is not grateful to you for all the pride that was just flushed down the drain.
What if we actually gave voice to our love? “You’re a really amazing person. I’m not sure if anyone recognizes this the way I do, but you make me want to be a better version of myself. I care about you a lot, I think about you a lot, and I wish we can be more than just friends.” Instead you say…nothing. Or worse, you say too much in a state of complete inebriation, and the next day you take it all back. “Here’s my heart — JUST KIDDING.” Your life is not grateful to you for its lack of progress.
So don’t be a coward. Don’t bullshit others, and perhaps more importantly, don’t bullshit yourself. If you do, you might get hurt, but if you don’t, you might get hurt anyway. There is so much to do in one lifetime, and in this life, hopefully you don’t let bullshit stand in your way.