The post went viral.
Months after it had been written, a short and fun post I wrote about women, and gossip, and nude pumps, and leggings went viral. And it spiraled into the hands of people I could have never imagined. It may very well be the most popular thing I will ever write.
It was a post I didn’t think much of when I was writing it. It was an assessment of the funny & brave & integral lessons I have learned in my short 25 years of digging heels into this earthy soil. I didn’t claim to be an expert. I’m not a scholar in womanhood. I didn’t even proofread it, really. I just never thought thousands would digest it, and pass it on, and criticize it, and get their tears and snots all over it.
I have real control over the things I say and the messages I put out there in the world. A post gone viral has taught me that. Once you put it out there, once you release it from your hands, the control is gone. People get to take it and make it into anything they want it to be. It can be a ballad. A love song. A reason to get up every morning. A final goodbye. It could be so much to someone else.
Make sure you know what you are saying. I want to tell myself that daily. Make sure you are intentional when it comes out of you. Try your hardest to not want to take things back when you release them.
In the deep of me, I believe a lot of those things I wrote in that post. In the deep of me, I want to erase 23 of those things and just focus on one or two. Honestly, I could say something that would reach the world, it would never touch on nude pumps or tuna and barbecue sauce or leggings as pants. That’s not my heart. That’s not what I truly care about.
If I could say anything, it would be just this:
This world isn’t about you, and love still wins.
That’s it. Maybe that’s all.
The world revolves around none of us and reminding yourself of that on a daily basis feels a lot like freedom. And love wins. Over and over again. No matter how much we try to say that something else matters more than it, love still wins. We still want it most. She’s still the prom queen. She’s still the thing that keeps this broken world spinning. Somehow, somehow, she does.
I feel like I am drowning sometimes.
Drowning in a place where everyone wants to size you up and call you worthy based on the platform you have or the “likes” you gather in. Drowning because the world only teaches me to fix myself instead of saying quietly into the softer parts of me, “You’re whole. You’re not missing a thing.”
I struggle in a world that tells me the goal is to be known. To have a platform and a following, though I am not sure why.
If I am known, I want it to be because I solved problems. If I have a platform, I only want it to be because I opened my mouth to actually say something that added substance to the conversation.
And followers? They are a complete mystery to me. Followers don’t change the fact that you fail people. Or let people down. Or regret people. Followers don’t mean you’re not still the regret of someone else. They wash away quickly. They don’t show up for you at 2am. Don’t get so crazy about them. Don’t think you are so important. Just do something that is follow-worthy. Keep the focus on others. Make people think. Think more on your own actions. Above all, be who you say you are. Convince others that they are capable of things.
I’d follow that.
We’re trained to believe it is about us though. Me & Me & Me.
The culture we live in right now is a cheap party host. She’s not feeding us right. She’s giving us plates and plates of marshmallows and chocolate chips and Twizzlers and all these goodies that feel good & right & sweet for about 5 minutes. And then we are hungry again. And we want something more. And we crave substance. But it’s just more and more garbage that never grows us stronger or makes us better or opens our eyes up to the fact that a lot of things we focus on are petty & stupid & not worth the time.
But if you look her in the eye, and if you ask her why she feeds us this, she will tell you straight, “You asked for this. This was what you asked for. This is what you choose to shovel into your mouths and I am just showing up with the platters.”
I can say the culture is a mess but I am still listening to it. I am still in the thick of it. I am still attending the party. On a daily basis, I am forgetting the people I could be calling “brother” because I want a latte in a red cup, and I want to be skinnier, and I want to meet someone, and I want my business to thrive, and I want my writing to be good. And you might have just passed me on the street and I didn’t look up. I am sorry but I didn’t look up to give you something you deserved this entire time. My attention. I’m trying to be better. It’s a daily kind of thing.
We say we want more than this. And yet we care so darn much about the latest gossip from celebrities who will never touch us, or know us, or feed us, or kiss us, or care to ask us how we are doing. And we are angry over trivial things. And we give up on one another too easily.
It’s like that old computer game. Minesweeper? Was that it? Where it was only just a matter of time before you clicked and caused an explosion. That’s the world we live in today. Setting one another off. Good ways. Bad ways. Irreparable ways. Damaging one another and walking away. There’s something wrong with that. We should focus more on remedying that than on lip gloss, or party favors, or what we are hoping he brings through the door this holiday season.
We say we want to be better than this.
We want to be good humans. We want to master this “randoms acts of kindness” thing. Kindness should drive you insane. It should hurt you deep because it’s hard to love people constantly. It should make you want to grit your teeth. You should sign up for those kinds of feelings every, every day. Kindness shouldn’t be the thing we turn on and off like a lamp switch or check off a list when we’ve helped some elderly woman across the road. Kindness is just Love without makeup. It’s just the basics. It’s just the starting point. It’s not some cute little word that implies love letters and babies giggling. It’s absolutely everything in a world that is starving for more of it.
To think we should only sprinkle love upon the worthy & on the ones who cross our paths & when it is comfortable and convenient for us is weak thinking. Love is the kind of thing that screams in your face, “Plaster me everywhere. Smear me on everyone. Cake me thick in your conversations. Don’t stray. Let me push you to meet the neighbors I have placed absolutely everywhere for you.”
“Make me famous,” Love would say. “Make me absolutely famous.”
There is a reason you are sitting up at midnight, eyes red & puffy, watching videos of humans being good to one another. Watching proposals that show a kind of love that can be enviable and extreme. Bursting at the seams.
You want it too. No matter how many times we twist and morph that word into something that gets flung around and pushed out and falsified and changed for the sake of cheap commercialism, you want it. You want to believe it is still out there.
You want someone to show up for you. Man. Woman. Friend. Lover. We might all need to learn how to take care of that delicate thing better. So it doesn’t break so often. So we don’t devalue you with our careless human hands. You might need to change things. You might need to grow more. Know your weaknesses and resolve to be better. Get help. Tell someone. But don’t go another day thinking you can’t have it. Or that you can’t give it away.
I want that kind of love. The kind of love that is awkward and uncomfortable. And it makes something inside of you want to explode. And it isn’t always pretty but it promises to make you feel alive. I want it. In friendships. In family. In relationships. All of it.
I don’t want the followers. I don’t need a grand proposal. I don’t really want the marshmallows anymore either. I just want that feeling. The kind that makes the tiniest hairs on your forearms stand up because you never knew you could mean that much to someone else.
I just want to hear someone stand in the doorway, or the hallway, or the bookstore, or the street, and say, “You showed up. I didn’t think anyone was coming but you showed up.”
You showed up. I didn’t think anyone was coming but you showed up.
That would be enough for me.