A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me the name of someone who doesn’t like me. My friend wasn’t trying to hurt me and it came up completely organically, and really, once the subject was mentioned, I’m the one who asked for a name.
I was surprised when I found out who it was. I’d always liked this person enough and, while we aren’t friends, I thought we were friendly acquaintances. I’m nice to him. I’m nice to his wife. I can’t think of any one moment where I could have offended this person, or was even given the opportunity to offend him by accident. I’d never even given a thought to whether or not they liked me. They always seemed like they did and were at least pleasant every time I’d seen them for the past several years.
After the initial surprise, I was sort of pissed. Not enraged or driven to promises to kick this person in the dick, but annoyed that this person’s previous friendliness was evidently faked. Look, I’m an adult. I understand and accept that some people will like me and some people won’t, and some of both kinds of people will be motivated by things that are beyond my control. So it’s not that this person doesn’t like me. It’s that they faked it. That’s what bothered me. Here I’ve been all nice to this person and their family, and I could have just put out lit cigarettes on their arms the entire time. It wouldn’t have made a difference.
The sort of pissed part lasted…truthfully, it lasted about a day. I was going to say about 30 minutes, which was true. I was pissed for about 30 minutes and then I forgot about it until the next day, where it occurred to me every couple of hours or so and I got irritated again. Later that night, I realized that I this person could not like me all they wanted for whatever reasons they wanted, and that was fine because until that point, I had never once thought about their opinion of me. Not because I’m selfish and terrible and think everyone loves me no matter what, but because I don’t care about their opinion of me. I’ve never cared. And realizing that felt great.
The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t care about so many things that would have consumed me when I was younger. See, when I was younger, I spent a lot of my time surrounded by people who were selfish, spiteful, careless, ignorant, and dishonest. In other words, not the people I should have been caring about. Forgive this psychotherapy sort of speech, but being around these kinds of people made me internalize a psychotic amount of stress, which on one hand made me introverted, suspicious, and kind of weird. On the other hand, it made me independent, creative, and tough. While I’m grateful for those latter qualities, ultimately, I realized that continuing to put myself in certain situations and surround myself with certain people once I could control those aspects was ridiculous, and that if I ever wanted to stop vacillating between incoherent rage and stupefied disbelief, I should probably make the decision to knock it the fuck off. And to support my decision, I decided to stop caring. About all of it. Them. Etc. The past several years have been the best of my life, because all the things and people I don’t really care about aren’t a big part of it anymore.
This is not to say that I no longer care about anything at all, or that I think that no one else should, either. Of course you should still care about things like compassion, manners, people you love, and whether or not there is justice in the world. Of course. But that other stuff? Useless. Why be a part of something to which you don’t want to contribute? Why care about the opinion of a person if it doesn’t affect your life?
Although if I was really taking my own advice, I wouldn’t care that Rielle Hunter wrote a book, or that if I ever want to get published, I should probably start thinking about my stripper name now. Sinnamon is already taken. This is going to be harder than I thought.