Another journal prompt day. This one has interesting timing. I recently sought out comfort from a friend and received vitriol, personality slamming and well, things I can’t even re-read because they were really ugly, unnecessary things to say. It’s made me question my self worth and even my own mental health, despite having a million doctors tell me I am not crazy. Only one person needs to insinuate it and you forget medical opinions and diagnosis immediately.

“Why are you worth knowing?”

If you do know me, sometimes I have a hard time determining my worth. When something goes wrong, I blame myself immediately. I figure I always fall short whether it be because of my weight, my brain issues, my social awkwardness, my stubbornness, the fact I pretty much say anything I want without filter. You name it, it’s my fault. But as I have spent my weekend going through my latest assessment of damage, it dawned on me that my “flaws” are part of my personality. They don’t make me worthless. They make me different, sometimes they make me harder to tolerate than others because I am like the darkest brew of coffee to drink. It’s an acquired taste.

I’m very much worth knowing and being in your life. First of all, I can be really funny. I am sarcastic all the time and very quick with witty response when humor is needed. As deep as I am and as heady as I can get in conversations with people, I always insert humor and sarcasm at some point to deflate the weight. My humor and ability to laugh at myself gets me through a lot. It also works when I have Irish friends in mourning because they tend to have similar DNA to mine and they too can’t be serious for too long of any stretch. I can express condolences with humor. It’s a lot trickier than you think but I can pull it off.

I’m as loyal as the day is long. I can be in the shittiest relationship with someone, or even just starting one out that I don’t want to mess up and I don’t cheat. I just don’t. I have been cheated on plenty and I have been the other woman more than once…somehow conveniently forgotten by the one who benefitted from it. But I just do not do it even if there is only a tiny little shred holding us together. The damage is irreparable. I can’t do that to someone. I also stick by my friends no matter what. I have had friends do seedy things back in the day I may not have approved of but I never walked away. I always rode it out with them because I love them. We all have our flaws and weaknesses. At no time does that mean we should be loved any less, in fact, those are the times we need to hang onto each other a lot harder because when the crash happens, we could die if we don’t have each other.

It’s weird but I think a lot about your kids. I was a pretty difficult teenager with a mind of my own. I was socially conscious and just beginning to figure out what separates people from each other. Why does one person have a nicer house than the other one? What must it be like to grow up with divorced parents? I disagreed with much of the shit my parents were pushing and I made sure they knew it. I didn’t have the words for it back then but what I saw was white privilege and I couldn’t understand why I had it and what it meant. I now watch some of my guy friends maneuver in life with their adorable, strong willed young girls and I envision them as teenagers. They aren’t going to like you very much if you don’t alter the way you deliver some of your present day beliefs. It doesn’t bode well because there will be a lot of yelling and you turn from great, protective dad to dad she needs therapy to overcome. I’m not a parent and know nothing about that role. But I do know I fought a lot with my dad and then he fought a lot with my mom who was always caught in the middle….she also being a girl and all. So, I’m the kind of friend who will listen when that happens and if anyone’s kids need a stranger to unload on about anything, I’m your girl.

I show up. There are a lot of things I go through alone that I would never allow you to. I check in. I think about you all the time. I feel your feelings from no matter how far away. I’ll be there if you need company. I’ll do your errands or I’ll give you space. Whatever you need, I know it and I show up.

You never have to wonder how I feel about you. If I love you, I will tell you. If I have been keeping something from you, I will eventually confess and trust you will understand I share something so deeply personal with you out of respect and the trite saying that life is short….because it is and I have seen it firsthand. You may not understand those kinds of extremes but I live them and so I don’t let too much time go by not letting you know your value in my life even if it leaves me vulnerable or misinterpreted. My life has been saved before due to only a few simple gestures of people caring about me checking in. So I never let life slip by not letting you know the place you fill in mine….even if you think it’s embarrassing that I fillet myself for what you think is no reason. Geez, I’d definitely be pretty proud to have a person like that in my life. I wouldn’t know what I had done to deserve that kind of person but I’d grab onto her and never let her go…never insult her, shame her, anger her. I’d just thank fucking God I have her and that there is so little I need to contribute to have a gift like that.

I’m really strong and very independent. I don’t need a whole lot in return. I go out to eat myself, concerts by myself and travel by myself because I want to and I don’t need to drag any of you into things which don’t interest you in order for me to have a fulfilling life.

I’m also a fighter. I believe in human rights. I believe we shouldn’t take rights away that have already been given to people. I believe my needs shouldn’t be at the cutting off of benefits for other people. I will march in protest. I will use my words to fight for you. I use my privilege because you can’t afford to put your neck out there so I do it because it’s supposed to be my peer group stepping up now. I am not afraid that I am going to lose any of my life comforts by others gaining some of their own. I don’t believe anyone should be discriminated against because of who they love or what church they visit, their color, gender or dialect. My sister has a healthier family life than my hetero Sunday church friends right now. Your kids are the ones I worry about as teens, not hers. I speak up against gun violence because I don’t want your child in lockdown at school or hiding in a dressing room at a mall while there is an active shooter. Currently, the odds of your child experiencing that are far higher than you believe. Sunday church isn’t what keeps them safe.

I will not stop speaking these things, not because I have been brainwashed or live in liberal New England (I have a red governor, By the way…. and Romney also passed though here) but because I am a fundamentally good person who wants the best for everyone because it’s the right thing to do. I have stepped over plaques denoting Jewish families made obsolete during the Holocaust. I have been in the Anne Frank House, seen the risk a family took to hide her family in Amsterdam and my heart is so full knowing people like that exist. I watched a monument being built in Amsterdam to honor all the gay men in Chechnya who were being killed for being gay 2 summers ago. Most of you didn’t pay any attention to it on the news. I went and prayed by that monument every morning.

I’m the daughter of a war vet. I’m the sister of a gay woman, the aunt of IVF babies. My sister in law is one of the highest quality people I have ever known and Canadian 😄. Her intelligence and awareness blow the rest of us off the map. I am the daughter of a half Italian woman who was discriminated against for being Italian. I’m an Irish girl whose ancestors were discriminated against when they first arrived in Boston. I keep a magnet on my fridge in honor “Irish need not apply.” And by the way, the Irish famine became an opportunity for the English to exploit and further starve the Irish because they wanted control of the Irish Seacoast. They pretended to help by only sending food they knew the Irish wouldn’t be able to grow and hoped they would just all die off. That’s real. I am also a proud friend of Jewish people, black people, Asian people, gay people, swingers, feminists, witches…even people who voluntarily listen to Taylor Swift and go to country music concerts. You name it. If they are kind and make me laugh, they are my friends.

I kind of think I’d want me as a friend if I stumbled across a person like me in the wilderness. Someone who will share her food even if she’s running low. Someone who will insist on telling you what your value in the world is and, if you make me laugh, I’ll pretty much die for you if I have to. Kind of not that bad a person to have in your life.