The slogan has been around for years now. I just read a story where “Weird” Al Yankovic said that nerds saw him growing up, and they find that it gets better. I want to love that kind of certain optimism, but I can’t, because it simply isn’t so.
Look, it CAN get better. Bad things in your youth can be shed (mostly) when you become an adult. When you grow older, you can take your life in your own hands, and work to fashion it into something worth living, if that’s something you wish to do. That does not mean it will get better, not with any kind of certainty. “It gets better” is, at best, a statement of faith because there is no evidence to support it. So I can’t help but cringe every time I see that slogan get tossed around.
I don’t like it because it does two things:
A) It reinforces the idea that things can only go up from where you are. That if you wait just a little longer, things will improve and good things will happen for you. It reminds me of the old saying “good things come to those who wait,” and if you remember, I have a few choice thoughts on that particular piece of advice.
B) It makes those whose lives stay the same, or get worse, start believing that there is something wrong with them because it’s not getting better. That the reason it’s getting worse is because of something they did or didn’t do.
Then there’s those of us who see it and take it for feel-good bullshit. I can honestly tell you I have heard so many of these sayings in my life, and they’re all about as useless as tits on a bull. Oh, sure, some people are motivated, and they manage to make it work in the end, rising above their circumstances, but that’s the exception, not the rule. We live in a world that fights hard to close off access to a better life in order to afford those who have plenty to have just a little more.
Life simply doesn’t work that way. “It gets better” just makes me angrier every time I hear it, because I remember hearing these things from the very people who did not lift one finger to help me out of the situation I was in. Anyone can say “be of good cheer.” There are plenty of those in the world. Hell, you might get a million likes on Facebook when you post that you’re down, but what’s a million likes worth? What does any of it mean? How valuable is good will if it’s not followed up by good action?
To say “it gets better” is fine if you’re following up with “and I’ll tell you how to make it that way, and help you with the resources required to make it happen.” Otherwise, you’re selling empty hopes to someone who will face crippling disappointment further down the road when they find out it was just more empty words from a society that possesses a surfeit of pithy expressions, but a dearth of willing action.
So look, if you’re in a bad place right now, I can’t tell you it gets better. I can’t tell you that you’ll find what you’re looking for someday, that your nightmare will end, that before you draw your final breath you’ll achieve your dreams, or even simple peace of mind, because that’s not how the world works.
All I can ask is that you don’t let the bastards get you down. They’re going to hit you, and hate you. They’re going to attack you with every breath they have, and then they’re going to keep doing it because they don’t give two fucks about your life, or your feelings. Those who push you down do not care. They do not give you a moment’s thought outside of their perverse pleasures.
I’m not going to pretend it will get better. It may not. Hell, it may get worse. A lot worse. I know that each and every person has a different level of determination, they have a finite amount of stamina, and you shouldn’t feel bad for being exhausted. You shouldn’t hate yourself for not wanting to deal with this awful, awful shit. Goddamn, I wish I could encourage you. I wish I could tell you the world will one day be your oyster, and that you’ll live a long, happy, prosperous life with all the love and fulfillment you need. If I could snap my fingers to make it happen, I would.
I can’t. Fuck me, but I can’t. I want you to hold on. I want you to do whatever you can to stay in the game. I want you to live, and I really want you to succeed. I want you to show those assholes up, whomever they are, with a mighty “fuck off!” by being successful in whatever your heart desires. Just don’t let them get you. Don’t let them push you over the edge of a precipice from which you can never return. God, I know how it feels, I know how close it is, and you’d be surprised how long you can dangle your feet over the edge, wanting to push yourself forward and go into freefall, but I ask that you don’t.
I can’t promise that it gets better, because I would be lying if I did, and I sure as shit am not going to lie to you, or anyone. I despise false hope, the idea that you just “fake it til you make it.” All that leads to are fake people with fake smiles and fake hopes telling you how really awesome they feel, when they’re just dead inside, and pretending that everything is what it could ever hope to be. Fuck that. I’m going to tell you exactly how I see things, I promise.
So don’t let the bastards get you down. I know you’re tired. Fuck me, I know you’re tired. I mean, I’m tired as all fuck, and every day I ask my body whether it can handle yet another day of this living nightmare, and it usually responds with “fuck if I know, but let’s goddamn try anyway.”
It might not get better, but every day is a new chance. I’m too goddamned nosy not to try and make it to the next day in the hopes that things will turn around, and I hope they do, with all of my heart, because I’m so tired. So tired. Eh, I never know when to quit anyway. Maybe it’s all that relentless fucking optimism.