You Don’t Owe Them

Originally published May 8, 2019, but re-posted here today.

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My friends: this is one of the best things I’ve seen on any social media platform. We ALL would benefit from this. ESPECIALLY ME. So I will try to do it if you will try as well!

We all move through life in the middle of a blob. As we do, people enter our blob. Most of them pass right out of the blob in a few minutes. Sometimes they hang out in the blob for a while. And sometimes, they stay forever.

The people who stay in your blob are our lasting relationships. But not all relationships are good, even if that person stays in your blob for a really long time. So if you’ve got someone in your blob you don’t like, you don’t have to interact with them! Maybe you can get them to leave your blob, maybe you don’t, but YOU DO NOT OWE THEM ANYTHING.

And the thing you owe them the least is residence in your head. Sure, you can’t stop them from talking bout again YOU DO NOT OWE THEM ANYTHING — especially your attention.

If they’re not someone who’s opinion you respect enough to ask for it? They’re not someone who’s unsolicited opinion you need to listen to. Give ’em the boot! Banish them to the fringes of your blob! It’s YOUR blob, not theirs!

Happy blobbing, friends!

(h/t Davius for the meme and inspiration)

It only takes a little.

Originally published on September 12, 2020.

I’ve posted about this clip before. About how much I love it, about how it’s the best scene in Doctor Who, even though I don’t really much like Amy Pond.

I’ve been thinking about it today, and why it affects me as deeply as it does. Part of it is just that it’s well written and well acted. It’s a moving moment.

But here’s the thing: a lot of us (in general) feel like they’re not having an affect on the people around them. That we don’t really make much of a difference. I felt like that for a very long time indeed, and I convinced myself that if I just tried harder, and did more, it would finally be enough that folks would recognize it.

Van Gogh died in pain, demoralized, mentally ill, believing himself to be a failure. And he died not knowing how his art affected the world.

We can prevent that. We can tell each other that we love them, that we value their contributions, that even the smallest act can be an act of love and support.

In these days of social distancing and anger, despair is insidious and runs silent and deep. So reach out to the people around you. Show them how much you mean to them. Because as much as I wish it was so, no madman with a box is going to show up and take you into the future so that you can see how you fared in the history books.

We need to be each-others’ madmen in a box. Send a text or a DM. Actually call someone up on the phone (did you even know that your cell phone could connect you for real-time audio communication?). Set up a zoom. Comment on FB posts. It doesn’t have to be much.

I see you. I appreciate you. You matter. I love you.