I could barely squeeze the words out of my mouth. “All I ever wanted was to be good,” I said and exploded into sadness and a loud sobbing. The Moroccan held me tighter and comforted me, regardless of how shitty I had been to her just a few minutes prior. I left her flat and her life soon after. For a while, at least.
My left ankle is broken and I’ve spent way too much time ruminating depressing thoughts and memories, and questioning the existential condition of my present days, as time goes by painfully slow, my bones hurting as they -hopefully- heal.
What’s a “good person”? I’ve spent my life crossing paths (and, the latter years, sharing beds) with people I deemed “good,” yet nothing came from most of those interactions other than misery and this feeling of emotional depletion. How can “good” hurt so bad?
I know for a fact that certain traits considered good aren’t empirically good, although many use them as a way to portrait themselves as outstanding -or, at least, decent- people. Take honesty, for example. Honesty is not a quality in itself; you can be a dick and honest about it, which doesn’t make you anything but a fucking sincere asshole. “The fact that it’s true doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt,” said Laura, her heart breaking by my sudden unfaithful confession. Point taken. Then, what’s “good”?
Doing good things for others, that seems to be in the right track. Though, if you are a total piece of shit on the side, isn’t this a zero sum game? Marie was cool to hang out with and can’t say she wouldn’t help you if needed, but she consumed a lot of energy with her constant dragging you into her self-destructive rampage. Her alcoholism and drug addiction didn’t add anything positive either. Again, then what’s fucking “good”?
I wonder if it’s a generational thing. Have we reached the point of maximum self-absorption? These fucking Millennials with their fucking phones and grand ideas of never ending accomplishments and unrealistic goals. Formerly oppressed genders and minorities using overcompensation, so-called “empowerment” and white guilt as an excuse to do whatever the fuck they want, without ethics, morals, taking responsibility nor facing consequences. White privileged fuckers and toxic men doing what they always have, business as usual. Spoiled brats demanding more and more from their parents and the whole world, as if we owed them something -or everything. Nobody giving a fuck about anyone other than themselves. Or giving just as little as they can, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their own agendas nor it requires for them to give up anything nor have the slightest “loss” -or perceived loss. Everyone so fucking, undeniably, goddamn selfish. The “Me, me, me” culture. There’s no “good” in the 21st century.
So, what’s a “good person”? Nowadays, the bar is pretty low. I believe it comes down to a few common sense directives: Keep your selfishness in check. Take care of yourself as much as you take care of others. Be honest, when it matters, but not when unnecessary. Yet, live a life that doesn’t require you to lie to get by. If you can’t say what you are up to, that’s a clear sign you are not doing the right thing. Also, do not hurt others, unless unavoidable and for the greater good. Again, if to go about your life you need to damage those around you, it’s easy to see you aren’t playing nice. This applies regardless of how many good deeds you do to compensate for the shit you do. And be selfless, open, direct, mindful and respectful. Empathy does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to that. Putting yourself into other people’s shoes should be a priority. And, lastly, surround yourself with people that enrich your life and broaden your perspective, that challenge your values and your worldview. But always be careful not to get caught into relations that drain you and barely add something positive to your existence. Be the change you want to see in the world, though don’t let the world strip you of what makes you be the positive change in it.
That being said, I don’t think I’m a “good person” just yet. I’m on the way to become one, though. Life’s been really fucking tough, specially the last year. But I want to cry just enough to get the worst out, and fuck up just enough to learn the last things I haven’t learnt yet. I’ve been a dick for quite a while already, which suffices for a lifetime. Now all there’s left is following my own rules for a change. And taking it from there.