One of the things that has always irked me about Canadians is how powerless they believe they are about dictating their own lives. They always have an excuse. Or lack motivation to make changes that will positively impact their futures.
Because I speak to people, I talk to anyone, I often hear the same message: I’m unhappy, I know what I have to do, but I can’t do it. “Yes, you can”, is usually my reply. I find this type of helplessness unattractive.
I know too many people who don’t exercise, don’t make their own food, and if they do, it’s microwaving something. People who don’t make their own beds, or clean their own homes.
And then they blame everyone else for their misery, or they are consumed with gossiping about other people, spreading rumours, becoming overly involved in the personal lives of their friends, or people they barely know. This is always a tell-tale sign of someone who is struggling with depression.
In the last decade I purged a lot of these people from my lives, mostly because they are toxic. Chronically unhappy. They have no respect for themselves, so it’s clear they don’t have respect for anyone else. And they prove it over and over again. The problem is that people like myself give them too many chances. And they aren’t appreciative of these chances, they take advantage of such generosity.
Years ago I was friends with a woman who was not the most attractive person. She was obese. She spent a considerable amount of time gossiping negatively about her friends. She had nothing nice to say about them. Now, I’ve always maintained that if they’re talking shit about everyone to you, they’re talking shit about you to everyone. Don’t be fooled, you’re not that special to be exempt from these verbal bombs. They are untrustworthy people and should be treated with suspicion.
One day, after a trip, I went to visit her at her studio flat in the west end of Toronto and was mortified upon entry. There were pizza boxes and fast food paper bags everywhere. A parade of Dr. Pepper cans littered the entire apartment, and she was smoking, heavily. I sat with her for a couple of hours and listened to her. It became clear to me that she was out of control. And clinically depressed. Someone like that needs a lot of help, but they have to want to get that help, and there was nothing I could do.
She was the type to demand that you find her beautiful. That beauty comes at every size, that if you didn’t believe so then you were part of some misoygnistic patriarchy that was out to get women, to degrade them.
Again, there is no personal accountability, no responsibility, no ownership taken for one’s personal feelings, and what they need to do to improve their situation. There is only blame.
I allowed the friendship to continue for many years, against my better judgment, until finally I decided to burn a bridge that was no longer serving me. For years I told myself to forgive certain indescretions because she was insecure about how she looked. But, that wasn’t helping me. I was giving and she was constantly taking.
You cannot be friends with those who are manipulative, or vindictive, or who marinate in their own self-pity. I believe that a lot of us at some point in our lives have done this; have allowed our anger to get the better of us, or our depression, but we don’t stay there, we move our bodies, we take control of our lives.
I maintain, and always will, that most people, not all, if they have enough ambition, and enough determination, can achieve their goals. But they have to want it.
For many working class people they have no choice. They have to have ambition and drive, because they need to survive.
Unfortunately we live in a very different time than my parents’ generation. Now it’s all about complaining, about pretending we aren’t in control of our own destiny, that someone else must come in and save “me”, usually the government.
It’s really a shame that these individuals limit themselves to such extremes, that they will never understand how much more they can reach.
I see how limited people around me are all the time. Provinically minded. They limit themselves, and then, to justify their own choices, attempt to shame others into limiting themselves too. If you dare to reach further, to be uncoventional, to make your own rules, you threaten them, because that’s too brave, it comes with far more courage than they are capable of.
Yesterday I had a thought, one that has haunted me for some time. In my life I have argued with far too many champagne socialists.
Listen, if your mommy and daddy paid for your education, your rent, and/or gave you a down payment for your first home, please go fuck yourself. Stop preaching about socialism to anyone and vilifying those who resist this nonsense.
You have no real idea what it means to build a life on your own, so stop telling others that they need the government to come in and help them.
It is perfectly possible to build a life without any help. All you need is dedication, grit, determination and willpower.
I tell people this all the time: I have not asked for a single penny from anyone since I got my first job at 16. Over the years, I’ve been presented with monetary gifts, and have accepted them, that is true. But nothing was asked for.
When I graduated from university I did so with a debt of $38,000. I paid that off myself. I worked to pay for my first, and as of yet, only apartment in downtown Toronto. I did that myself, and any gifts I’ve received since then have gone to alleviate the burden of a mortgage.
Sadly, I see so little of those traits in my peers. And they’re resentful of those who go out in the world and get what they want.
I wonder often where we are going as a society. The generation behind me are babies, incapable of self-regulating their own emotions, incapable of dealing with anyone who thinks differently than they do, so they lash out, throw tantrums, like little children. They believe that their universities and their employers should protect them from outside stimuli.
And then they provide little in the way of a personality. They speak in memes, are uninteresting, incurious about others and the world, travel only to be seen, not to learn. I find it all rather bland, to be fair.
It’s all quite shocking, still, to me, and though I’ve watched this trend build for 20 years now, I still, like so many others, don’t quite know how to combat it.
By building your own life, and making tough choices, you build a rich character.