living in america is a constant onslaught of things, people and ideas that threaten who i am. i face a daily barrage of situations and events that make me question everything about the world i live in and what i thought i knew and what i think of as right or wrong. the people and the places are so diverse that it has created infinite differences in each person. no two people experience any one thing the same. im sat here in starbucks. a busy one. and a fat old white man in the corner has a radio station playing on his phone at full volume. a man sat around the corner could hear it. we can all hear it. it is intruding upon every single one of our lives. because of what that fat idiot thinks is ok. everyone thinks different things are important and are offended by different things so almost every interaction is negative for someone when another person is expressing what they are ok with. there is no common behaviour that everyone observes in order to create less impact and intrusion on the lives of people around us. there is no standard manners. no common courtesy. no mutual understanding that we are living in an ever busy and intrusive world and we should all contribute to create the least impact we can on our fellow people.
i used to be disgusted by what i thought was the mentality behind the “dont tread on me” merch people have. but over only a few months of moving around america, i feel like i am heading towards thinking exactly that. dont tread on me motherfuckers. every single one of you obnoxious self important pricks who dont have any concept of the societal disease they are and are spreading to others. this wasnt what i thougt was behind the “dont tread on me” idea. i saw it as a anthem for people who wanted to be obnoxiously themselves. but now i see it is a mentality of fear, being threatened, constantly being made to feel like you are the only one that xyz matters to and are the only one upholding the standards that you see as right.
i am pretty fucking out there myself when it comes to what i think and things i do. but i dont do it while speeding, blasting my music, pushing past people, shoving myself in peoples faces, shouting, not saying thank you or sorry, not letting age go before beauty or ladies first. i work hard when i am around other people to do what is right. i know i do this because i can also be the complete opposite. when i am in the wrong mood i will purposely try to make other people feel bad. be obnoxious, on the attack. breaking rules on purpose to piss off people, being rude to people, ignoring others. i am openly angry and threatening when things dont go my way. i enjoy making everyone around me as miserable as i am. and i especially like them to know when i think they have done something wrong or to slight me. i give people the finger tens of times in a single day. i am, right now, repeatedly looking over at mr fat radio and giving him the evil eye. i had a screaming argument in the bathroom with an old woman yesterday cause she moved my bag. so i know how to be that complete asshole. but i know who i want to be. i know what to do to make me the happiest. i know what behaviours serve me and adds to my life and which dont. ive also been on the receiving end of a huge variety of behaviours and know that they too can have a huge impact on my life, mood and mental health. i like being and getting, that positive boost in someones day. someone smiling at you randomly or smiling back at you in passing. someone making a funny joke in the line at the store. someone holding the door open for you. the chat you get in with a stranger for a few minutes. the person that lets you out of a side road in busy traffic. the person that flashes a thanks or a wave from their car. its tiny actions that are easy and make your day lighter, that could have an even bigger impact on the person on the recieving end of the gesture.
i live and work alone on the road with no family in this country and no friends for thousands of miles around. all my human interactions are with strangers on the street or in stores and restaurants, hiking, or just hanging out in the bus. i know im not alone in being alone like this. so these interactions are quite important for a lot of people. i would love there to be a few new rules written up on etiquette and manners and distributed to whole nations. we are all so different and instead of offending each other and dividing us even more, if we were able to act with common courtesy as well as being unique individuals we would all feel less threatened by the other and have less of a daily onslaught of difference and threats to our selves and identities. if i knew each time i went out in public it wouldnt be like running the gauntlet of possible ways in which strangers can unknowingly ruin my day, life might be slightly less stressful and negative.
i am constantly looking for ways to make myself happier and my life more harmonious. i want to understand the world and myself in relation to it. i asses my behavious and feelings and look into their origins in order to understand who i am and what i need. i am in constant negotiation with the world as it changes around me and within me. the daily onslaught of difference makes me think deeply about myself and what i believe, so i am constantly re defining and working these ideas, refining them and reasurring myself of them. i feel like if i can figure it all out i can write my manifesto of myself and not have to think about it any more. i will be solid in myself. but even while saying that i know that i already have it. i am it. i am me. there arent pieces missing i have to figure out. i am currently in a situation where i cant freely move between all elements of myself so what myself is feels threatened and i am worried that it isnt what i thought it was. but i have to remind myself that is just that. elements of myself that i cant be in certain siturations. they arent gone. or not valid. i dont have to rethink who i am in order to understand how i feel right now. its all part of a whole. unfortunately my whole has to be compartmentalised in certain situations. but i have chosen my life this way. i am not living a life of dealing with what comes along and taking what i am given. i do what i want and question everything. maybe that is why i like the idea of some grounding social guidelines. some behaviours i can rely on and connect to others through becuase there arent many common connections in the rest of my life. good manners are the basis of a good day for me, my grounding. without it i am wild, angry and miserable. with it i feel open, kind and positive about myself and the world and people around me.