I’m not called an asshole on accident.
It’s because I’m often being one. I can come across as a little…rough.
My “assholeness”, you may have figured out by now, concerned reader, comes from a darker place. But that’s just me. Not everyone’s outlooks are made up of cherries and groovy disco, you know.
That’s just the way it is. Always has been. Always will be.
Some of you are born with a view of life filled with fairies flying through rainbows handing out pure cocaine.
Others of us are born simply grateful to have quieted a little of the distracting, blaring, off-tune polka bands in our heads while we scratch at our prickly insulation suits.
It can make one grouchy. It’s not just because I can hear you when you chew.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a feel-sorry-for-me diatribe. I have nothing for anyone to feel sorry for; I’m quite blessed.
The problem lies with those fairy-type people telling me to turn my, “frown upside down! Life is great up here on top of the rainbow!”
I don’t have time for your advice when the accordion just hit a flat F on my way to pick up my re-prickled suit.
Just because we’re frowning doesn’t mean we’re unhappy, We’re just uncomfortable.
We don’t need your help. We need you to stop.
There’s a prevailing idea that seeing things on the brighter side is necessary for a full life. We see it. We just can’t find our sunglasses and our eyes are sensitive. Just give us a second—they’re around here somewhere, hold on, found ‘em, cracked? shit!— and we’ll squint, see what you’re so adamantly beaming your huge smiles at and nod, “yes, it is bright.” Now let us Gollum back to our caves; it’s sweaty out here in the sun and we’re getting hives.
Because, for us, it sounds tiring to be doing all those cartwheels off fluffy clouds and we have other things to do. Your insistence we change is fucking with our schedule.
And, it’s not as bad as you think. There are benefits to living in the darkness.
We’re more sensitive. We pick up on the tiny changes in the atmosphere, subtle shifts in the force. We know when there is pain because we feel it, too. When it’s dark much of the time, we must feel, not see, what we’re facing. With all the uncomfortability, polka bands constantly tuning up or finding a comfortable way to sit, we can always sympathize. We can empathize with embarrassment, pain, and awkwardness. There’s little we can’t understand. And if we can’t, we will help you learn to laugh at yourself because we’re usually laughing at ourselves already.
We’re funny. Because after a while, it just gets funny. It has to be.
We’re hearty. The caves where we creep are littered with holes in the ground, twisting our ankles; stalagmites rising up to break our toes; stalactites smacking our heads. Having to navigate around with broken toes, itchy suits, and being always a little dizzy, while leading around this fucking ten-piece polka band is tiring. Yet, we carry on. It takes endurance to continue every day; an inherent toughness to reset our own bones in the dark.
We’re realistic. Because shit happens. A lot. We’ve seen it all. And we’re never blind to the consequences.
And why we’re so important to you who live in the clouds.
Because without us you’d fly into the sun. It would be the brightest yet last thing you ever saw, Icarus…without us tethering you to the ground.
So, the next time you feel the need to tell one of us to, “turn that frown upside down,” without knowing what we are, rethink. Understand that the polka never stops but we’re ignoring it right now for you. We’re the great listeners who’ll be there for when you need us, anyway, (and maybe a little happy just to sit down for a minute.) Just don’t tell us how to be.
Honor the darkness that follows us around, wrinkling our brows and breaking our toes, because that’s what makes us who we are…
And you need us. Be grateful for the balance.