Side A: The Rules of Existing

I could walk you through this…in an audible way…

Rule 1: You must make sense.

It was a warm night in March in Los Angeles. Have I told you this story? It was a warm night in March in Los Angeles and I was in a city with no plans and no friends. I think I have told you this story. Some loft party with wine because I would only go if there’s wine. If you asked me which is harder to survive in; L.A. or the small town I grew up in, I would say the small town. There, oh there you HAVE to fit in. It’s death to be a variation in a vicious self-propagating cycle of trying to look like everyone else. The places that don’t give you room to breathe are the most dangerous because “different” is extraordinarily foreign to them. L.A. is kind of the same, I think it’s its sprawling size like an ocean, and the things most people think of L.A. like “Hollywood” are like seaweed and there’s a lot of people who can’t see the schools of different hidden fishies in the seaweed. That’s why you always have to know a guy.

I think you’ll a strange metaphorical death of exhaustion if you try to be sensible to whatever authority is highest in the room. There is always a price for lying or getting exactly what you think you want. Being able to explain your sense tends to be a coupon.

Rule 2: You must be pleasing.

If you play into the dichotomy of a creature of pleasure or a creature of power, you’re going to lose. Did you know dichotomies are shit? They are! Lol, they are for child-like mentalities that are believed to only be able to function in a world of good and bad, yes and no, failure and some other person’s idea of success. To buy into the process of one or the other is to be like that arrogant show off who only buys the most expensive wine at a restaurant because they have no real tastes of their own. That wine is $15 goddamn dollars at Bevmo, calm down. To uphold it is to announce yourself to the world, “I have the emotional depth of a cheese puff and cannot think critically for myself!”

Cheese puffs get eaten if they do not end up in a crevice somewhere that no one will find until it’s time to move to a better place. I used to date cheese puffs…what were we talking about? Oh yes, being pleasing. I used to find comfort in this idea of well I’m never going to be a pretty girl so I will be this abrasive dragon child. A child only because I haven’t grown physically since I was what like 18? In that sentence, there’s an “I can’t” which is removing responsibility from myself as if though being pretty is completely out of my control and setting myself to never be that thing, and dichotomy, if I am not x then I must be y. And if I uphold those two options as the only two options that can exist, I will never comprehend what a good hair day is or a bad relationship because I will continue this lifelong application of one option or the other to myself.

If you really look at the traits you admire and the people you admire for having them, it’s not about x or y. It’s about applying yourself to those things. No one is truly lacking in creative ability, I am almost positive of it, but if a person never applies themselves to being creative they will never find their version of creativity, or being attractive, successful. Really look at those things, they are just tiny words that are supposed to bear the weight of 10,000 hours, an entire person, and so many possible definitions. A cheese puff may seem like a laughable thing at first, but we are all going to suffer the consequences of its flavor ineptitude.

Rule 3: Follow the rules.

Before I go off saying “Fuck the rules”, you should know I actually do love them. Good rules, rules that have a logical function in a system and anything can be a system. Bad rules are the ones you want to watch for and even then rules don’t make themselves, do they? When you break a rule in a system, you’re challenging the authority of that system. It’s fun sometimes, if you’re positive the rule is a bad one and the reward of breaking it is worth more to you than the consequence. Of course, consequence isn’t limited to you alone being punished. It can start a chain reaction of other people challenging the authority of said system and then there won’t be any respect for the authority, they fall out of power and then you’re left holding a crown wondering…just wondering. Since you didn’t think this through at least six moves it’s going to be a very bumpy ride. The consequences may be greater than they appear.

I mean, if you are a “sensible” person who follows bad rules put in place by a cheese puff, then I do suppose that is one way to live, yes.

Rule 4: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.

Baby bite it and bite hard. Unless you don’t have teeth, then you gum that sucker to death. “Do not bite the hand that feeds you.” Ugh! Trust not those with no knives to stab you but those who had and did not. What madness is this on high?

What are you worth? Are the people you surround yourself ever there for you in a way that helps you grow? Challenges you? Shows up for you? But here you are, putting all that aside for the most blasé pat on the head from…you know what’s worse than lacking in emotional depth, a cheap ass paper plate because it cannot take the weight of any kind of responsibility. Whatever joy you find in licking the crumbs of affection off the fingers of someone who is. using. you. as. a. sentient. napkin. could be tenfold with people who not only get themselves a napkin but get you one too.

We are taught to find love and trust to be a black or white problem as well. But you trust in shades of grey all the time. Like when you drive, you trust the other person behind you to brake when you stop just as they are trusting you to communicate when exactly that should be. But you wouldn’t trust those same people with your baby. Love isn’t even on a spectrum. It’s not even the system or the reward for following the system. It’s something else entirely.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…is also black and white because I’m willing to bet you have a specific hand in mind, don’t you? The bite I’m inviting you to take is not a metaphor of deliberately stress testing the relationship, whatever kind of relationship that may be. It’s more like an inquisitive nibble. It also sends the lovely message that your trust is earned because this plate better not fail you or it will find itself in the damn trash.

Rule 5: You are responsible for the things that happen to you and how they affect you.

I’ve been watching those powerful motivational videos lately and that idea comes up a lot. Big words from people who have gone through significant emotional pain and conveniently left out the healing process. There’s always a heavy and a healer in video games isn’t there? Physical scars tend to be the most visible because ya just keep picking at it.

If you get, then you must have. You have something to fill in the blanks with, don’t you? Sure, we can argue against the idea you are responsible for the ulterior motives of others and how that’s nonsense (after all, that is the whole point of manipulation and the occasional gas lighting follow up). But what about how those things affect you? Do you still feel as confident arguing against that?

If you get hit by a car, it’s going to hurt. You don’t get to choose what hurts or whether or not it hurts. It’s broken bone babe and you are going to make the ugly face of anguish. That doesn’t make you weak and I don’t think it’s something to be tested. You got hit by a car, an entire car with its 3-4 tons of fuck up your whole year if you’re lucky. For some people, it will hurt less because they endure some sort of pain every day, possibly from working out often or have some fat to cushion the blow. For others, pain is unfamiliar so it’s a bright, white light pain a beacon to unleash the Kraken of panic within or there is nothing to catch them if they fall. We trust our ability to gauge that pain because it is visible and we have a frame of reference; broken bone equals bad.

“Don’t cry son, don’t be weak son because my boy is a man and a man is strong.” “Oh, what are you going to do cry over some boy? He’s not interested in you, get over it.” We erase validation and credibility constantly for a variety of reasons; to preserve a preferable image of someone “but big girls don’t cry”, to establish dominance “what a sissy”, or we believe applying pressure to the emotional wound will work just like a physical one, and of course, these statements center around a visible response to pain. I hear internal bleeding is a hell of a thing though, just because you can get up doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fine.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

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