So you’ve been called selfish.
Congratulations! You’ve just passed the first test of adulthood. Solid A+
Maybe you took a sick day on a day your office was short staffed. Maybe you decided that you weren’t going to bail that friend out of jail (again) or maybe you decided to shut off your phone last night and ignore your incredibly needy boyfriend. Needless to say, you were selfish. Or, at least that’s what the people “affected” will tell you. And you know what? Good for you!
By definition, Selfish is: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
Sure, I lacked decent consideration when I decided not to think about the means of my job while I lay lifeless on the bathroom floor with the stomach flu. I was concerned with my own profit when I decided the $2,500 I would have to shell out (again) for Nicole’s bail would cut into my savings for which I really need to pay my rent and credit card bills...and it’s not like I’ve been paid back for last time anyway. And as far as the “needy boy” thing goes, I mean come on, that was for my own pleasure. Sixteen text messages in an hour without a response? Catch the fucking hint guy. I'm TIRED.
As an only child growing up I spent a lot of my adolescence being called selfish. I never lifted my feet to move over to fit a stranger in a full lunch table. I didn’t share my notes or pens with the scum bags that showed up empty handed and late to class, and I most certainly wasn’t going to offer a ride to those whom wouldn’t stop to help me in the rain. But it’s true. I was selfish. And I still am.
In fact, I maintain my selfish behavior as a means to self medicate.
Had a bad day at school? Argument with your best friend? Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Tell your mom and dad you won’t be making it to dinner. Go out and get your nails done, go for a long car ride, smoke some weed. Whatever you need to do to gain back the mental strength to deal with what may hit you tomorrow, because if you think today was bad… imagine what’s behind door number two.
(My sincerest apologies to the parents of the world, but you know you do this too. Think of the times we’ve stressed you out with doctor’s appointments, run arounds for school functions and our overall childhood neediness and you’ve compensated with un-scheduled afternoon playdates while you’ve spent it shopping?)
But the reality of the above scenario is that it happens. And sometimes we just need to walk away from what may be an obligation, to take care of our own mental needs. Have you ever been running late to work and said “fuck it, I’m already late. Let me just stop at Starbucks anyway!” I know you have, because that morning your alarm didn’t go off, and you didn’t get your eyeliner juuuuust right and the pants you wanted to wear had a rip in the thigh… so fuck your morning. Self medicate with some coffee and take it for what it is. A slight inconvenience that will restart the next day.
***Easier said than done. As the manager everyone hates, I know the shit storm you’ll get will suck, but sometimes that sip of coffee is so worth it. And for that, I’ll let it slide.
It's okay to cancel plans for naps. Rainy days inside reading will always be my priority.
My friends will tell you that I will go weeks without answering a text message, I’ve even gone months. But for the personal need to take care of my life, my shit. Many a times I have put others first. Put my own wallet on the table to help those in need, my own mental and physical health to mend those depleting, and I have and will always be the first to extend a hand during tragedy for anyone. For every time I have used a sick day, I have given the benefit of the doubt to the cashier or sales associate whom used one when I know they just went to the beach because their class was cancelled. I have looked the other way for those walking in ten minutes late with coffees whose bags beneath their eyes stretch down to their cheekbones, as I know they sat up all night studying. I have shrugged off cancelled plans from friends whose days are more emotionally draining than my own, even if that means birthday's are the only day's we see together.
We sit around waiting hours for the friend that never shows. We drive into traffic to pick up those that don’t like to drive… but all have cars. We sit up all night mending the hearts of those broken and expect nothing in return besides exhaustion the next morning. We wait silently for the recognition at work, crave attention that’s not given and beg those whom abuse us to take a day off.
Move on. Say no. Walk away. Shut off the phone. Lock the door. Clock out. Go home.
There is the selfishness in those that say no to plans, and cancel while having made no attempt to dress for the occasion. Stomach aches and deadlines for work will replace dinners and parties… but we all know you’re scrolling through Instagram in pajamas; Grey’s Anatomy blaring in the background. The trip home you could make, but you could also catch up on reading and shopping online. You’ll somehow get over the missed snapchats, move past the passive aggressive texts.
You could care, but then you wouldn’t be selfish, right?
But when it comes to me, what I have grown to need to wake up in the morning, to gain the strength to exist in the day to day bullshit that is this “place”, I will always be selfish. I will walk away from anything that doesn’t serve me and find something worthy of my time. I will leave someone behind whose friendship has only cost me pain in more ways than bruises, and I will not look back. I will expedite the process of eliminating family from my life if their presence is only to do harm to my psyche.
I will drop you like a bad habit, I will not pick up this phone.
I will find peace in my loneliness, and I will find peace in yours.
I will be selfish in my own pursuit to my happiness.
And I will not apologize for it, and neither should you.