It’s unfair. It really is.
It’s unfair how easy it is to say something that deeply wounds someone else. And unfair how long that wound can hurt, even if you didn’t mean the awful thing you said. Even if it was only said impulsively, in anger, shot out of your mouth in a torrent of testosterone.
It’s unfair how deeply an insult can lodge itself into someone’s subconsciousness. How easy it can be for what you said to take root and give rise to insecurities that persist and persist.
I think a lot about that. How one day can be the end of someone’s feelings of emotional security, and for the person who ended it, that same day might just be Tuesday.
It’s not fair.
Granted, I grew up, like everyone else, being told explicitly over and over that life wasn’t fair. But I still find myself surprised some days on the myriad different ways that unfairness can manifest. It’s not simply some kind of perverse lottery in which some of us are arbitrarily born rich and powerful infants and others poor and invisible (although inherited social status in a nepotistic kakistocracy functions that way).
Unfairness is also woven into the way that our interpersonal dynamics function. In the way that conflict plays out.
Unfairness dominates the microscopic everyday conflicts we have with one another. We bear uneven shares of pain and heartache and inconvenience. You know what they say — the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And typically the squeaky wheel also thinks it’s tough and tells itself repeatedly that it self-greased. Because it was a great wheel. The best wheel.
“Suck it up,” the most squeaky, fragile wheels tell the ones that have to go without grease. These frequently greased wheels think they’re tough but can bear no hardship. They never have. Never will.
It is unfair. It really is.
“But life’s not fair,” a well-greased wheel will interject, with a smirk that indicates they think they are being quite wise indeed.