On The Road : Specialness edition

Usual place, usual space.

Warning, none of the following truths are gentle.

All my life, I have known I was special. Different. Unique. Many times in my early life, I was told I had so much potential it was scary. I have grown up thinking I was really something special.

And I am. So what? That and five bucks will get you a Starbucks coffee.

Specialness is shit. It has no inherent value. In a world where everyone is special,specialness is the cheapest thing imaginable.

In the real world, specialness doesn’t mean shit. You don’t get marks just for showing up, Nobody is going to show up and hand you a check for a million dollars “just for being you”. Nor are they going to give you a free pass for unlimited pussy (or whatever) just for being such a nice guy.

All society cares about, like the man says, is what you can do. And that’s not the world being cruel or cold to you, it’s exactly what you expect of the world.

If someone knocked on your door and said “Give me your brand new Bluray player!” and you said “Why?” and they said “Because I’m such a nice guy, and I have a lot of potential!”, you’d laugh and slam the door in their face.

See how it suddenly changes when it’s your stuff on the line?

And let me tell you, a lot of people waste a lot of years waiting to be rewarded for their specialness without having having to do anything. On some level, they feel like having to do something for their reward means they lose and life wins.

Wins what? The battle to make them do something in order to get something and thus deny their inherently wonderful extra special specialness. It’s a battle that is absurd on the face of it and absolutely unwinnable, and of course, most people don’t know that it was they are doing.

But they are. Take it from someone who knows. They waste years upon years waiting for life to make the first move. Like some cosmic agency is going to show them exactly how to get to happiness without effort or risk and then they will just do that. Like life should be without struggle or risk, and anything else is cruel injustice.

Like they expect to win the lottery without ever buying a ticket.

So you know what? Fuck your specialness. And mine…. especially mine. Society, with the best of intentions, fed you a false narrative that because you were special and unique and wonderful…. that’s all you would ever need to be. Nobody said that you would actually have to do things. Things like taking risks, investing effort, making yourself vulnerable to the world, and fighting like hell to get what you want.

School was great. It was clear that the system liked people like you. You were the right kind of person in school. And whether you worked hard to get those high marks, like a lot of people, or just took them for granted, like my lazy ass did, it was clear that you were destined for greatness, or at least respect.

But nobody told you about the fighting, and the struggle, and the stress. Why, you will just major in your favorite subject from high school and get a job in that! And that will lead effortlessly to a job doing that exact same thing, and you will love that job so much that it won’t even seem like work.

Nobody told you that all those academic degrees like art history and English lit can only lead to one career, and that is teaching it to other idiots like you. And that you will be competing for those tiny numbers of jobs in your field with hundreds of your fellow idiots, so it’s either become the Type-A competitor you have never been, or resign yourself to getting the exact same kind of job you could have gotten without going to college in the first place.

And should you get one of those kinds of jobs, you know, the sorts of jobs anyone can get, it will only be a matter of time before it occurs to you that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t middle class any more, and suddenly you won’t feel special at all any more.

That will be your crossroads. In one direction lies depression, self-loathing, self-destructive behaviour, and feeling like a colossal loser. On the other path lies ambition, drive, passion, and a healthy sense of self because you have decided that you are special, god damn it, and you are going to prove it.

Luckily, it is never too late to change the road you’re on. I am living proof of this. I languished on that first path for twenty years simple because I was unable to grow up and face reality and accept that I really did have to do things that were scary, uncertain, and difficult if I wanted to change my situation. I had to take responsibility for my own fate, and push myself to find the place where the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be was small enough for me to jump across.

As it turned out, that was Kwantlen.

And maybe you are reading this and thinking I am mean and sadistic and a total prick. That’s your right. You can totally throw all your hate and anger at me and convince yourself that I must be wrong about everything and a horrible evil person besides.

I just want you to ask yourself this : Why am I so mad? What is it about what I have said that makes you so furious. There’s lots of opinions in this world with which you disagree, many of which are far more evil and offensive than anything I have said here tonight.

So what is it about these particular statements that makes react so strongly?

You’d better figure out what it is if you hope to defeat me.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

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