It’s hard not to be bitter.
In the macro sense, it’s hard for me because, well, my life hasn’t turned out the way I imagined it would. I’m 32 and haven’t walked in more than five years, I’ve been through intense physical and emotional trauma, and because of my illness, I haven’t been able to get married or have kids.
In the micro sense, I find it hard to not be bitter mostly because some people suck, especially online. Whether it’s someone saying something mean about me, or an editor rejecting an essay that I pitched, or just an innocuous comment that I take the wrong way. It’s all there, and it all sucks.
So how do I deal with it? Usually I sulk for a few days and eat several large bags of tortilla chips until the part of my brain that says none of it really matters prevails over the part of my brain that wants to even the score, to get revenge for every slight that has ever been thrown at me. That, my friend, is called thin skin. Do I have it? Yeah, sometimes. And I hate it. I want thick skin — the kind made of Kevlar and a flame resistant coating.
The worst is when my micro bitterness and macro bitterness combine to create the perfect storm of bitterness — when some shit head online says that I’m a burden on my family for being disabled or that my writing goes off on too many tangents (By the way, did you hear that a coronavirus vaccine is coming out soon? Oh sorry, what was I just talking about?). Right, it is this perfect storm of bitterness that I hate the most. It makes me angry about the way my life has gone, and defensive about every little negative comment directed at me.
But there’s a silver lining, and boy is it a shiny one. As much as I sometimes hate my life and all the shit I’ve had to deal with, I still have a lot to be grateful for. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in at least six years — standing on the side of my bed multiple times a day. I have people in my life who care about me and support me. I have a book coming out that has been an immensely helpful therapy session. As for all the shit heads online? They don’t matter. None of it really matters.
I say this knowing that it is exceedingly hard to change how I feel. It’s hard to flip the switch and just let everything go. It’s a constant battle to not be bitter. But it’s a battle worth fighting, a battle that I’m determined to win.