No One is Perfect But Everyone is Lovable

Design by Jack Reed

Disclaimer: This is an account of partially fictitious events. All homunculi and harrowing self-dialogue are real; I do not purport to be a Fizz-fluencer nor is this reflection endorsed by Fizz. However, I do enjoy scrolling the aforementioned amusing, Reddit-adjacent app when I really should be finishing that Econ P-set. 

I must not harm the virtue of others or myself. I must not harm the virtue of others or myself, I chant to an audience of one, as if this makeshift hymn will coax my morals out of scoliosis and into uprightness a la The Republic.

Come on, a new voice croons. Socrates got no bitches and argued with 18-year-olds for fun. Are you really going to take that nerd’s advice over mine? I wrench my eyes shut, as if that will absolve me of my upcoming sin, and press send on the passive-aggressive Fizz post calling out people who have soul-piercing conversations at 4 a.m., then leave you on delivered—in text and IRL—days later. If I can’t have love, give me five minutes of semi-viral fame. Or vengeance. Or, god forbid an Almond Joy. 

This soap opera is not unique to my sleep-deprived brain, nor is it one that will stop airing any time soon. After all, demons never move in a linear fashion; my thoughts tangle together, becoming less coherent. Something more along the lines of should-have-said-a-warning-before-that-guy-walked-into-the-glass-door or could-have-listened-more-attentively-to friend-but-was-too-busy-thinking-of-something-witty or groundbreaking-to-say-when-really-silence-was-the-most-helpful-answer-because-you’re-not-a therapist, at the last second, stumbling and gliding across the floors of my mind in a grotesque waltz. Some faceless creature plucks a single violin string in the distance, tinny yet resonant. Halloween decorations and ’70s slasher films are different; you expect ghouls to lash out at you with as much battery power as they can muster. That the girl-next-door side character who you end up liking more than the protagonist within the first 30 minutes will freeze in place instead of calling for help when the swings down on her with an axe. The pitter-pattering of your heart fades as quickly as it starts, the children shake the parents awake to warn them about the bloodthirsty spirits in their house to no avail. The murderer escapes on a rampage and ends up having their way with the victims. 

My mind is a little different. Jealousy, unfettered rage, the loss of a family member who’s still living; these monsters overstay their welcome and don’t bother to wipe their shoes on the doormat. If they leave, they’ll make sure to leave a token of gratitude––a handwritten note with the following words scrawled on it: You’ll hurt everyone with your honesty. Even if you gathered up the courage, you wouldn’t know how to handle success. What if you relapse and what if no one comes and what if and what and what if.

But seraphim don’t fall from heaven. They claw their way out of hell and collapse when they reach earth, wings drenched in sweat and tears. They pay their price in blood. Demons and angels, failure and success, guilt and pride—these may be opposites, but the coexistence of these elements is the foundation of humanity, of everything that makes us lovable.Mary Oliver writes in one of her most famous and most heart-stopping poems, “Wild Geese”: “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees.” The point isn’t to be good, in some fixed, omnipresent sense, but to understand goodness in the same way we understand love; as an act, one that requires forgiveness of the self while holding space for memory: sorrows, joy, and everything in between. Reclaim agency however and whenever you feel ready, but don’t sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of displacing trauma through art. Join the waltz as an observer or for your own spin. There is no prerequisite for love other than being human. In the least live-laugh-love way possible, I want to convey this: the only way to reconcile your personal demons is to stare them in the eye, shake hands, and leave when you’re ready. You are more than what shackles you to your worst days. You are more than anything less than everything you deserve, and just as you were born clawing your way to earth, joy is your birthright.

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