Hey there. It’s me. John.
John who? Yeah, I thought you might say that.
It has been a day. It has been a week. Hell, world … it has been a life. Oh. Wait. You need to grab my file? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Give it a good read. Yeah, don’t skip over that chapter. That’s the one where all my friends spontaneously decided in sixth grade that, en masse, they didn’t want to hang out with me. Yeah, it’s a tough read, but that chapter is important. So is that one. Aaaaand… that one too.
You’re tired of reading it? Yeah, frankly, I’m tired of living it.
Want to hear what else I’m tired of? I’m getting kind of tired of being the one who cares and who reaches out and who makes time and who is THERE when there is so GODDAMN LITTLE that comes back in return. I’m tired of being the one who works to attempt to restore a relationship that I didn’t break in the first place, tired of the one to reach out and say, “Yeah, what you did there was kinda shitty — actually, more than kinda shitty — but what the hell! I’m up for another round!”
Oh, but what about social media? You have meaningful relationships on social media. Really, world? Let’s talk about that. This Facebook thing? It’s bullshit. Yes, it can be used as a tool to bring people together, but does it? Does it really? It sure as hell doesn’t in my life, not in a way that actually translates into, ya know, real-life stuff.
Yeahyeahyeah, people are busy. Funny… I’m a people too. You’ve got a family? Huh. I’ve got one of those too. You’ve got a job? I’ve got a job. But your job is really busy? Hmmm. I rebranded a company and came up with and started execution of an entire strategic marketing plan, redesigned an entire website and created all the collateral you can find on allenbrake.com/learningcenter plus a whole helluva lot more … SINCE AUGUST. But yes, please tell me how your job is really busy, too.
Let’s be honest… it’s not your job. It’s not your family. It’s not your responsibilities. It’s your priorities. That’s what it really comes down to, isn’t it? The priorities of the great almighty world. Now, I’d be an IDIOT if I didn’t point out now that … OVER AND OVER AND OVER again for DECADES … I seem to be somewhat of a priority if people’s lives are turning to shit and they need free counseling and/or moral support. Then, I’m great for a two-hour conversation and some hand-holding and some empty promises about what the future between us is going to be like. Or maybe if you need some graphic design work or a press release written or a website built or edited for free.
But outside of that? Well, that priority doesn’t seem to hold up very well.
So maybe it’s me, world. Can you check the file to see if there’s anything in there about that? I can be cantankerous. I can, frankly, be an asshole sometimes. I’ve got a past. I’ve done stuff and felt stuff and said stuff.
Of course, I’ve never denied any of that and have always owned up to it and tried to make amends where amends-making was called for. I get that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.
But then can we stop pretending? Can we stop saying that I matter? Because, honestly, that’s not the message you’re sending. The message your sending isn’t the one in which I’m loved and appreciated and valued and seen. It’s not the one in which the things I’ve done and the things I do and who I am really land with no one except the tiniest handful of people.
Ya know the message you’re sending, world? It’s that you don’t have a place for someone like me to exist in you. You don’t have a place for someone who is searching for nothing more than honest connection and kinship and distraction from this crazy fucked-up thing you’ve created here.
Oh, don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for what you have granted me. Trust me. There aren’t many people who could be more grateful for what he has because he recognizes how much little else there is out there for him in you. You see, I’ve tried. Over and over and over again, I’ve tried. I’ve been the one to reach out and invite the person to the sports game and I’ve been the one who created the monthly event to which no one RSVP’s and I’ve been the one who goes to the thing and does the thing and keeps his head up instead of in his phone just in case anyone else out there is as pissed off and fucked up and isolated and tired of the status quo as I am. I have been the one who has driven six hours to make the visit and I’ve been the one to make plans to host a return visit only to have that return visit somehow disappear into the ether. Or maybe it’s the metaverse. Whatcha thing, Marky Boy?
In return for all of this, you’ve slapped me in the face. The thing is, you didn’t do it just once. A smart person wouldn’t have allowed you to do it more than that, but I guess I’m not half as smart as I think I am. Because I do it and do it and do it over and over and over again until my cheek is imprinted with the smack-stain that is you.
So I guess at this point, my question is this: What the hell do you want from me? To keep trying? To provide the free counseling whenever any of your people need it? To be the shoulder to cry on and the voice of reason to guide those folks back from fucking up their own lives just so they can forget about me once they actually step away from the precipice? To reach out to people who won’t even hold themselves accountable for the shitty things they do? Because, um, yeah, if you haven’t guessed … that’s not very rewarding and not all that healthy.
So what do you want? What exactly do you want? Should I just be happy with my small little tribe of people who are able to tolerate me in whatever dose they have to and not think that there’s something more and that my small tribe’s lives wouldn’t somehow be better if there were others to distract me from consistently being there with just them?
Never have I been the person who needs a battalion of friends. Always have I been happy and content with a cadre of meaningful relationships and some other people around the periphery. And yet here I am, devoid of even that cadre, able to count on one hand the number of people who would honestly give a rat’s ass beyond the mourning pleasantries if my heart exploded and I dropped dead right here in this oh-so-comfortable executive office chair. When you reach my age, world, and you can essentially use no fingers to count the number of people outside very immediate family who could stand up at your funeral and say with any authority anything that I am or I feel or that I’ve been doing with my life for the past you-pick-it number of years, well, that makes me sad.
But not just sad. Tired. Very tired.
Because I have worked hard to try to fit into you. I have. I really have. But I haven’t figured it out, and I’m starting to honestly believe I never will.