Lately I feel like we’re living inside a practical joke. It’s the sick, mean-spirited kind, where the people the joke was played on end up being so ticked off that they can’t even muster up a fake, awkward laugh when the jokester finally makes his big reveal and hollers, “Psyche!” I wish I knew what it’s going to take to get us to that moment where Ashton Kutcher jumps out, tells us we’ve been punked, and we can get back to reality as we knew it. I don’t know exactly what we need, but I’m pretty sure it’s not yet another person writing about this presidential election.
But I have to do just that, at least in a roundabout way. I’ve avoided it as long as I can, but this election has stolen something important from me that I can no longer sweep under the rug. I’m not talking about my confidence in the primary process, my hope for the children of tomorrow, or my faith in humanity—although those have all been tested and stretched close to the snapping point.
No, this is a more concrete loss, one that, if I can get self-reflexive for a few minutes, puts this blog in peril and calls into question its very existence.
One quality of a certain orange-tinted presidential candidate Who Must Not Be Named that we can all agree on is he’s great at inflaming anger. For some, his speeches inspire rage against the speaker himself and the awful things he utters, while for others, his words incite rage against entire segments of the population whose race and/or creed differs from the listener’s.
Personally, I’ve also been enraged over his repeated use of the word ‘winning.’ The first time I heard his so-much-winning-we’ll-get-sick-of-winning speech I felt like this:
Nooooooo!!!! Not that word!!!
In a split second, it was as if the word ‘winning’ had been acquired in a hostile takeover against its own will, its connotations forever twisted, co-opted, and sullied. In that moment, I was already sick of winning. I was tempted to delete my whole Winning at Life blog.
But I refrained, telling myself he’d soon disappear from the radar, a barely remembered anomaly of the summer of 2015, like the hit song “Want to Want Me”: something annoying that temporarily got stuck in the collective consciousness before fading back to oblivion where it belongs. Then I could have my word back, none the worse for wear. But the orange one has the maddening persistence of bedbugs, poison ivy, and Jason Derulo. Getting free from them is never as simple as you’d like.
So it’s time for me to admit defeat.
I mean, every winning streak eventually comes to an end. We had a good year together, winning and I, but now it’s time to shift focus and accept the fact that I have lost the word “winning.” Maybe we all have. Maybe it’s only temporary, and it could be I’ll eventually get back to winning. But for now, this blog is folding up its wings, crawling back into the chrysalis, and emerging from the other side as a worm.
Welcome to Losing at Life.
I’m actually a little relieved about this transformation. Repeatedly telling the world how great you are …well, it gets exhausting after awhile. I don’t know how the writers of rap songs do it, but I give them mad props* for tirelessly sticking it out and writing song after song of self-praise.
This might get depressing for y’all, but I, for one, look forward to wiping off the thick layer of concealer, shining a light on my shortcomings, and wallowing in my losses. And holy cow guys, the universe of material this opens up to me…well, it’s nothing short of mind-boggling.
*my apologies. If I were less of a loser, I’d know how to translate the phrase “mad props” into 2016 lingo