A lot of older people get away with saying lines like these: “In our times, we weren’t so sensitive. We weren’t afforded the luxury to be upset about all these tiny things.” And it’s true. They were not so sensitive. They did not have that luxury. Because they lived in a time that had very rigid boundaries separating what it was to be a man and what it was to be a woman. Life was, in many ways, binary.
Unfortunately, that’s led to something quietly terrifying. It’s led to the rise of bots who pass of as human beings as they grew up. You’ll see a lot of these people-bots all around you. Typically, they look like adult males. You can’t miss them. They’re often close-minded, averse to accepting other people’s belief systems and above all, they’ll be floating along nice and manly in their puffy white cloud of privilege. Or at least that’s what the bots and their lives look like at first glance.
They do not understand what it feels like to have things weighing your mind down, such that each second feels like forever, and you just lie there waiting for the days to pass you by. They don’t understand how debilitating it can be to be able to do nothing. Perhaps they would know if they saw. But they cannot see, because this society did them a great disservice by teaching them early on that these things are not there. If, all your life, you were told the colour pink did not exist, would you see pink? You’d just interpret it as green, or blue.
“Clamp down on those feelings!” “Your mother died? Cry softly, for a short while. Do not wail like a woman. What will everyone think?” “Hate your job? Too bad, so does everyone else. You can’t have happiness and provide for your family.” Is that puffy white cloud privilege at all? Perhaps that’s what it was originally. When they were young, in their twenties, they had it all. Women they married were at least in a few ways, their subjects, and their objects. Yes, even the nicest of them. They had education, they had jobs, they were on top of the world. But the twenties don’t last forever. The puffy white cloud curdles into something else.
Gone are the days when your sisters cleaned up after you, when your mother carried you on her metaphorical shoulders (because come on, she did the carrying much after you were very big and heavy) and the world sang your praises. The world has moved on from that, from you. And you have no idea how to move forward, because you were always told the world would follow you. You didn’t have a contingency plan, did you?
Perhaps this started out as privilege. But it has since left a whole generation of men in the lurch. You are left a remnant of your flamboyant self. Your jokes jab people, and they do not hesitate to jab you right back. That won’t do. Jabs were only funny as long as you were doing it, huh? And suddenly, it’s like the political correctness has robbed you of your very speech. This is you now, full of resentment and bitterness. What’s that? You want a safe space where you can continue to talk exactly like you used to? Perhaps you can take a trip to space and yell into the vacuum there. That would be okay, I guess.
But as long as you still live in this planet with us, know that the time for those “safe spaces” are gone. I don’t know how your generation can be helped. You don’t believe in therapists, you don’t believe in venting, and you don’t believe in real relationships with people. You’re screwed up. I see what you do to the world, to young people. And yet, there is mostly just pity. Because I think we’re stronger than you. I think we know to process hurt, to understand people and to move on. We don’t live in a land where Denial reigns supreme. That was all you, and when we pass you by, we roll our eyes at your presumptuous town.
And so, despite the things I have suffered at the hands of your generation, and the things people I love have suffered through, you are the true victim here. Some of you have taken to going that way, painting yourself the holy victims because you feel like no one likes you and no one wants to lunch with you. But that’s not the real reasons you’re the victims here, perhaps more than anyone else. It’s because you seem to entirely lack empathy. It’s like you’re missing a sense. I’m sorry you have to live this way. I wish you could all be helped.
If you’re reading this, I’ll confirm some things for you: if you tell us what to wear and how to dress, or our mothers how to live, we will come for you. It will be hurtful, when we refuse. Our intent is, believe me, not to hurt you. It’s just that we cannot live like you, and we do not want to, ever. Thank you for all that you’ve done for our generation, by providing for us in many ways. But please try and understand our lives are going to be separate from yours. Careers, love lives, friendships, lifestyles, religious beliefs, how we eat and what we do on weekends. We care about so many different things, accept that.
To my generation: the next time someone arrogantly tells you you’re too sensitive, that they were just making a joke, it might not be easy to not tell them to fuck off right away. But if you can at all help it, stop for a moment. Try and see where such thoughts come from. Gauge whether it’s worth your while to continue forth. If it is not, smile and walk away. You don’t need to do the fake laugh at their sick joke. But perhaps an enduring smile will not provide them with the requisite satisfaction. They just might think about what they say the next time they say it.
That happens too, you know? Like a blue moon, just every once in a while. Then you will have to rapidly find a way to pop your eye back into place as you scramble to not say anything to ruin the moment, lest they take back the nice, accepting thing they just said. Shh, quiet … you don’t want to spook the man-bots, do you?