SLS: My mother’s extended family originated in West Virginia, so half of the family has accents. While I live in Pennsylvania, I can still point out and label the southern states, and I adore the Waffle House.
*Ya’ll need to read this today. Really.
“You simply need to exist, millions of years of other humans are behind you, cheering you on.”
A Love Letter to Humanity
The other day, my therapist gave me a new homework assignment. This isn’t new for her, per se, since she usually gives me a new one every session, but this one really stuck out to me. Basically, you sit down at the end of the day and write a short list of things you did. It could be one thing or ten things, the things themselves don’t actually matter. After you have your list, write down three positive traits associated with each thing. For example, if I went to class even though I didn’t feel like it, I could write down dedication, perseverance, and determination. When writing the traits, however, you want to avoid words that imply you are doing something solely for somebody else, like helpful, useful, or care-taker. The point of the exercise is to highlight your achievements, and give yourself credit for the little things you do, without turning yourself into a people-pleasing production machine. That’s an issue I tend to have, I base my personhood on what I can do for others. It doesn’t help that that is both the fault of our general culture in America, as well as my deeply Christian family upbringing who believe “you only are what you do for other people”. Newsflash: that sentiment isn’t true!
Every single person on this Earth has inherent worth, even if you do absolutely nothing with it. Billions of years of evolution and complete happenstance culminate into creating you. And while I don’t personally believe in a higher power, there is some kind of magic to that. To think that all these falling domino pieces landed exactly the way they did in order to make you happen, exactly the way you did. It’s fascinating. I try to think about this when I’m feeling particularly down, to remind myself that yeah, we may be specks of dust in an otherwise infinite cosmos, but we’re here, and conscious by some weird miracle of history. We are put on this earth to tell stories, write music, and honestly an uncountable amount of things, though I find the stories and music more fun, of course. We could’ve been completely artless, drifting through life as endless cogs in a machine, but here we are, writing stories, and trying to do things with them. We can create limitless amounts of new worlds, characters, and ideas, and despite all logic of our society, we’re still here doing that! We have the unfathomable need to learn and grow and be with other people.
I’m sure, like me, the rest of you can get stuck in a spiral of catastrophes that seem to be happening too fast to keep up with, whether it be a mass extinction, inequality, or the seemingly evil nature of people, but at the exact same time are hundreds of amazing little things happening too. There are babies being born, animals brought back from endangerment, and constant, untold kindness by so many that goes totally unnoticed. Our generation is unique in the sense that we grew up surrounded by tragedy, being told that nothing we ever do will change how the world runs and we’re doomed from the start, but I say fuck that. Every day, someone writes a new song, a new story, they make a friend, they hold open a door for a stranger; even if they don’t do any of those things, they’re here regardless, which I know from experience is a really hard thing to do. You don’t need to do anything to have worth. You simply need to exist, millions of years of other humans are behind you, cheering you on.