Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “wow, they royally screwed up their entire existence. How can I do the same?” Well, wonder no more.
Before we get on with ruining your life, let’s start with a metaphor. Metaphors are great for ruining lives. Imagine you’re in a clear, crisp oasis. The water’s gurgling, the breeze is refreshing, and all seems well in your desert wonderland. But wait, there’s a disturbance. A palm tree frond (because palm trees don’t have leaves, they have fronds) breaks off it’s tree and drifts lazily, in slow, zigzag patterns until it delicately lands on the surface of your pool sending ripples across is perfect reflection of the blue sky. Paradise is ruined. You’re going to have to get out of the oasis now and grab one of those giant nets on a stick to scoop out the frond, heaven forbid it dissolve into a layer of pond scum.
You could leave the frond alone and let the oasis turn on itself. Now why might you do that, you ask. Well, maintaining an oasis takes work. Lots of work. In reality, you will likely spend more time taking care of your oasis than actually enjoying it. Instead of keeping up with the EPA, just let the oasis burn to the ground (figuratively) until it festers into a pool of noxious, scummy liquids (literally.)
As with caring for an oasis, life, too, is difficult (see what I did there? Tie in.) Cars break down, grocery stores reorganize the second you know where everything is, and leaves fall and muck up your otherwise peaceful afternoon. And then there are people. People are just the worst. They just love to barge in, stomp all over your perfect, oasis lawn and ask if they can borrow you lawn mower. No, Dan, you’re about to say, You can’t borrow my mower. But then realization hits you like a frond to the face. You never wanted an oasis anyways: a beach cabin was always more your gig. Why not give up? A grin streaks across your face as your eyes settle on the frond slowly sinking into your oasis’ clear waters. You suddenly feel bad for Dan. He’ll never know the joys of giving up. You know what? You say as you lean on your door-frame. You can have the lawn mower if you agree to leave me alone forever.
Want to ruin your life in style? This is all about giving up and letting your figurative oasis retrograde into the dumpster fire raging in your heart. Toxicity doesn’t happen overnight, but with these simple steps, you, too, can live in a noxious wasteland in no time.
Adapt to Living in a Cesspool
Before you can begin a new life backstroking through radioactive sludge, you have to be able to survive toxicity. It takes time to build tolerance. Weeks, sometimes years go by before you can finally develop thick enough skin to withstand the battery acid and brake fluid. Consider the boiling toad scenario. If you drop a toad in hot water, it’ll jump out but if you boil the water slowly, it’ll stay put. Serve with garlic butter and voila! You’ll never have to make dinner for anyone ever again. They’ll make sure to keep you away from the kitchen after that. Getting back to it, don’t just jump into a lake of nuclear waste- you’ll dissolve. Ease yourself into that acidic dumpsite and before you know it, you’ll have gills, fins and all the other biological mutations needed to thrive in a literal atomic wasteland. Six thumbs up!
Quick clarification on adaption. By adapt, I mean change literally everything about yourself completely. Be flexible! The real you isn’t going to cut it. The best way to prepare for anything is to dress for the occasion. Construct a different version of yourself for every social scenario. Pretend to be whoever you need to be for approval and change personas like socks: black formal for work, argyle with the fam, colorful stripes around friends and simple, classic white socks for lounging at home. You have to keep up with whatever image others project on you. Opinions never take breaks, so we can’t either.
And lest you get off track and think I’m actually talking about socks, know that being yourself leaves you vulnerable to the LEGO of rejection. If you’re going to live in a cesspool, you need to wear socks. Always wear socks. Wear socks so often, you forget what your feet look. What does grass feel like between your toes? Or cold tile on the soles? Doesn’t matter. Who needs that blip of relief from taking off your socks after a long day’s work? You’ve got expectations to live up to now, and that cesspool isn’t going to pollute itself.
Make Shallow, Toxic Friendships
Now that you can survive a cesspool, it’s time to start poisoning your water source! The environment you live in is shaped by the people around you and when you invest in shallow, toxic friendships, all your negativity is concentrated at the surface where it can fester into complete putridity. When we’re through, Chernobyl will look like the perfect suburban paradise to plan your next pool party.
With friendships, well, let’s just say when things get too deep, you drown. Deep friendship-type people will try to take off your metaphorical socks. They’ll see behind the personas. Surprise: feet smell and real people are messy. Stay out of the deep end and keep your socks on. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to reflect on how my childhood traumas impact my current anxieties: I want to take pretty pictures of my latte and ignore the person sitting across from me. Those kind of low-maintenance friendships work into my busy schedule just fine, what with work, writing and watching documentaries about serial killers while I lick cheesy dust off my fingers. I don’t have time for people that want to get deep. Geez.
Start with shallow friendships. You’ll know ’em when you see ’em. They’ll never ask you prying, personal questions. Shallow friendships pop up just as quickly as they fade allowing you to stay in style and accessorize with the latest, trendy people. It’s all the fun stuff without any of the work!
But Caity, how can I make these shallow friends? Come around, petty people. If you’re looking to shortcut genuine connection, negativity is a really easy way to connect to other people. Everyone has something to complain about. Sunday school teachers complain about your “perfect little angels” and children’s ministry music (my lord, the music), librarians complain about people loudly talking on their phones when the exit is just ten feet away, and grandmas complain to your face about you not visiting enough. Bold, grandmas. Bold. Of course, not everyone can handle negativity. It’s like dumping pesticides in storm-drains: you’re going to fry a few rats. Here’s my trick: complain to everyone constantly. Complain to your friends over coffee, your spouse over dinner, your children on the way to school. Even the cashier checking out your groceries is a perfect ear to practice to. Those that can’t take it will weed themselves out and the ones that remain? Well, they live for complaining. Exactly the kind of shallow, negative people you want to be surrounded by.
What you complain about is just as important. It’s especially juicy to complain about a shared acquaintance. Or friend. Or family member. The potential is limitless. Everyone can be a topic of complaint because everyone has flaws (except me, of course, and you if you’ve made it this far. You’ve got your socks on.) You have to do it “behind their back” figuratively. Wait until they’re not in earshot so they can’t defend themselves. Or maybe don’t if you want to make a power move. And if someone strikes back? Well, my young toxic dweller, that’s why you’re wearing socks. Shed the old personas when they get trashed and slip on a fresh pair hosiery straight outta the package.
Protec that Sespool by Never Admeting Your Rong Ever, Even wit Grammer
Now that your cesspool is caustic enough to dissolve anybody that calls you out, you have to fight the urge to go back to oasis living. You think it would be easy, letting your oasis necrose into a insufferable hole of rot and filth, but noooo. Sometimes people want to go back. I don’t know why- I’m too busy this side of pollution-pool to care.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to addressing that problem. Apologizing is some step after that. I don’t remember which one because I don’t care, but it’s somewhere in the lineup probably. The best way to protect your cesspool is to never admit you have a problem, and by extension, to never apologize for messing up.
I’m going to repeat it for the overachievers dumping raw sewage in the back: don’t apologize. Just don’t. You don’t want to tarnish your perfect image, do you? All those starched, white socks? Admitting you’re wrong will do that. Other people will realize you’re a flawed human being just like them and we can’t let that happen under any circumstances. You’re perfect. You’ve got your socks on. Anything you say should be chiseled into stone and regarded as universal law. At the very least, other people should be thanking you for honoring them with your presence. Besides, if you don’t say anything, they might not notice you royally botched the potato salad at the company barbecue giving the entire accounting department food poisoning. Maybe they’ll blame it on Greg. New plan: start a rumor about Greg never washing his hands until he goes down for your mistake.
Apologizing is even worse than admitting you’re wrong. Not that you’re ever wrong, but in theory. It’s just rolling over and exposing you’re soft, fluffy underbelly. Don’t do it! You can’t be respected if you aren’t feared. Burn bridges with those that call you out. Build that bad-neighbor electric fence! Who cares if it’s your childhood best-friend or you spouse or even your eight-year old informing you that New York city is not the capital of New York. The audacity! You don’t need that criticism in your life. Pack your bags and start our new life in New York City. It’s the capital, I swear!
Some people (don’t worry. At this point, they’ve probably left. Only the strongest survive) will tell you that admitting you’re wrong and apologizing are the first steps at becoming a “better you.” They’ll talk about #personal growth and other catchy buzzwords so you’ll read their blogs. Personal growth? That sounds a lot like puberty for my brain and I’d rather not go through that process again. Or like scooping fronds out of my oasis. Nope. That pool floatie has sailed. Besides, I’m not like those other bloggers. I don’t care about how many people read my posts. I know I’m right and I don’t need other’s affirmation to confirm that. Pretty suave, right? Right? Tell me.
So there you have it! Just three simple steps: adapt to toxicity, make horrible friends, and never apologize for being a piece of trash. Perfect! Remember though, toxicity isn’t a destination; it’s a journey rife with negativity, pettiness, and quite a few burned bridges. Even if you’ve created the worst threat the natural world has ever known, it’s always possible to filter out the toxicity and return to your oasis. You have to keep at it to maintain that cesspool!