The 2010s: What I Learned

I feel I learned my most important life lessons in the 2010s. Sure, I learned my very first lessons in the 90’s, and my single-most important lesson in the 2000s (there is no god), but overall, I learned far more lessons, and lessons of greater quality and importance, in the 2010s.

Minor Stuff I Learned This Decade

I learned that many, if not most, of the things in life I thought were one way were actually the opposite. For example, I learned that feeling stupid is actually a sign of intelligence. For another example, I used to think nice people were the best people; they’re actually the most contemptible. In hindsight, it’s obvious: The worst people in the world, rather, anyone with an agenda, plays nice to get what they want. Everyone prioritizes nice, instead of prioritizing principles.

I learned people also communicate with feelings rather than with words. I’ve noticed that most of the time when I speak to someone, they are only listening to the emotions I’m displaying, or the emotion I’m making them feel in how I’m saying it… Not my words. To hell with words, right? Sometimes, people don’t even bother doing that much, and they don’t listen at all, and rather just stand there waiting for you to finish your point so that they can state their point, even if you proved their point wrong before they even said it.

I learned people think with their feelings. Whether in politics, or in day-to-day life, it never seems to matter what the truth is, it never seems to matter what’s logical. And this decade, people are getting really fond of socialism, in all of its oh-so-wonderful authoritarianism. It doesn’t matter that someone worked their ass off for decades and earned millions/billions in doing so. Nope, if you have a lot of money, somehow you owe that money to people who think everything is owed to them simply for existing. This applies to outright socialists, and people who just want to use socialist tactics, like feminists, who think they are owed what men work harder and longer hours to earn.

Think I’m done talking about feelings? Oh no. I’ve learned this decade that criticizing someone is somehow the exact same thing as attacking them. I’ve learned that hating a behavior, habit, or pattern is somehow the exact same thing as hating the person, or group, doing that behavior.

I’ve learned that people love dogs because the only love they understand is unconditional, desperate, clingy love, and that these same people think they deserve such love, or that such love is even healthy … or even real love. Not to mention the fact that dog breeds are the result of thousands of years of animal abuse, forcing canines to breed with their own siblings and parents, in order to become the breeds they became. Who cares if they’re all born with genetic damage, right? And who cares if owning pets is actually a form of imprisonment, spending thousands of years to change dogs’ brains to make them actually dependent on us. Who cares, right? As long as they’re hyper-excited to see you come home, right? All in all, I’ve come to believe dog-lovers are pretty messed up in the head. Not people who simply love them, or all animals in general. No, I mean the people who love dogs above all else, and own dogs to enjoy their “favorable traits.”

My Greatest Lesson This Decade

None of this touches on the most important lesson I learned in the 2010s overall: Most people are shit, and they enjoy it. (And yes, I attribute apathy toward one’s own shitty behavior to be the same as enjoying it. I won’t go into the psychology or philosophy about why I think that, but just know I do.) Same also applies to enablers and the complacent, who reasonably have the ability to stop shitty things around them from occurring, but they still choose to do nothing. They’re the same as the rest.

It’s poetic that my first love is the first person this decade to teach me this ultimate lesson, and it’s poetic that my ex-wife (the worst of them all, friend, lover, family, or otherwise) was the last. First love at the beginning of the decade, and (probably) my last love at the end of the decade.

First on this list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson in the 2010s is my very first love, Lisa. She and I were together off-and-on for 6 years (2004-2010). She cheated on me with 2 guys; that wasn’t the most important part. She left me for one of the guys she cheated on me with; that wasn’t the most important part. I never wronged her in any way, any of the times we were together; that wasn’t the most important part. No, what was actually the most important part involving this girl was simply this: She did those things, and she admitted that last fact to me openly while she was leaving me. She admitted I didn’t deserve what she’d done, or what she was doing. And yet, that didn’t stop her from doing any of it.

That admission is why I respect Lisa the most out of all the people who ever wronged me in life.

That opened the decade for me, and it’s the most blatant example of the lessons I’ve learned from this decade. People are shit, they know they are, and it doesn’t stop them. Just wait until we get to my ex-wife … and even my best friend. (Did I just give away the plot twist??)

Second on this list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson in the 2010s is Amanda. Amanda was someone I became friends with at the same time I became friends with her boyfriend, Justin. I liked Justin a lot. A whole lot. He was so nice, so selfless… But, only three weeks after meeting him, he died in a car crash … and I’m still to this day tempted to believe it was suicide. After he died, Amanda (and her sister) relapsed back into their heroin addictions. For the sake of Justin, and for the sake of these sisters being human beings, I chose to help them. The emotional drain over the next 6 months cost me my job and my apartment. The sisters got kicked out of their mother’s house, and through a little lying (I admit), I managed to get their mother to at least allow Amanda to move back in. And after moving back with her mother, she finally became sober. At the same time, though, Amanda decided she was done with me. She even outright said so. She said, “I don’t care about you or Mitch.” (Mitch is my best friend, and he helped me help them during this time as well.)

That was my thanks. No, literally, neither I or Mitch ever got a thanks for all our effort to help Amanda. But, we did get that in the end.

Third on this list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson of the 2010s is Devon. Devon, a friend I had in grade school, whom I reconnected with after Facebook became a thing, was in desperate need of $200. She asked all of her friends via Facebook for this assistance. I was living in my car at the time, and was jobless. So, I was basically homeless. $200 happened to be most of the money I had, and I still chose to give it to Devon, to help her. I did ask her to give it back, but that she could take her time in doing so. We met up somewhere, I gave her the $200 … and then I didn’t so much as hear from her for the next year. After a year, I started asking Devon to give the money back, and she outright ignored me. No responses at all. It wasn’t until I finally made a public post on Facebook, where I named her outright, to all our mutual friends, that I gave her nearly all the money I had when I was homeless, under the agreement she’d give it back someday, and that she has just blown me off, even as a friend, ever since I helped her. THEN, Devon finally contacted me and said she’d pay me back tomorrow. And she did. Point is, though, when I was more desperate than she was, I still chose to help her. It’s not that she took a year to pay me back, it’s the fact she proceeded to act as if I didn’t even exist that deeply offended me. Never so much as a “hi” after I helped her. I said nothing about it for a year, but after a year, I finally chose to push back against this shitty treatment.

Fourth on this list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson of the 2010s is Corinne. Now, Corinne was someone I only became friends with because she was dating someone who was … technically a friend of mine, named Kyle. And really, we still didn’t become friends until after Kyle did his ultimate Kyle-move, which was cheating on Corinne, with a minor, and getting that minor pregnant. Really, I only became friends with Corinne to keep her away from Kyle. Yes, she inexplicably still had feelings for the scumbag even after he did that. She still stopped by his place every so often to sleep with him … even while he was now dating another girl.

Corinne and I were just fine as friends. I never got into an argument with her, I never tried to get with her myself, nothing. And yet, out of nowhere, and I really mean out of nowhere, Corinne stopped talking to me. Better yet, I start hearing gossip through the grapevine that Corinne is telling people I’m just like Kyle……. I thought, What the actual fuck??? She was complaining that I was trying to turn her against Kyle, which is something did all the time with all of his friends, and that was what made me the same as him. I was very open about the fact I wanted her to stay away from Kyle, since he, you know, cheated on her with a minor, got that minor pregnant, and then continued to cheat on his new girlfriend with Corinne herself….. Like, seriously, I still to this day am utterly baffled how Corinne could suddenly turn on me and never speak to me again, and even think to compare me to that scumbag. What bothered me even more was the fact that Corinne was trying to equate me to Kyle behind my back to my other friends, including Mitch. It was so sudden, and so uncalled for.

There was something else going on at the same time Corinne suddenly decided to be my enemy. But, I’ll explain that later.

Fifth on this list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson of the 2010s is Shelby, my second serious relationship. Shelby was 16 years older than me, and easily 16 years less mature.

In summation, I would describe Shelby as a sociopath. To name a few examples…

She really, really wanted a dog, and begged me to buy one. So, I did, and his name is Grommet. Now, Grommet has severe behavioral issues, which we knew going into this. Grommet’s troubled past is the whole reason Shelby wanted him. But, one day Grommet destroyed Shelby’s TV, and that was when she decided she no longer wanted him, even though I replaced that TV… We gave Grommet to my parents, and I thought it was temporary until Shelby and I found a place where we could live with him, but I quickly learned Shelby was completely done with him, and all because of her TV. (Again, even after I replaced that TV.)

Shelby had a brother who was killed by a cop in the late 90s. When she told me the story of his death, she told me that she only missed him for a week. She said that after a week, she no longer cried, and in fact didn’t feel anything at all, and still to that day (many years later) felt nothing for his death.

Some minor things: When we were together, Shelby said one of the things she loved about me more than her previous relationships was the fact I didn’t let her control me. The whole time we were together, Shelby had to get her way, all the time. I was a welder at the time, working in North Portland, and she fought me to move to Salem, and didn’t stop fighting me until I agreed to move to Salem, which I did. After we broke up, she called me in the middle of the night just to tell me to kill myself (and mind you, I was deeply heartbroken at the time from losing her, spending many nights crying myself to sleep, which I had told her). Last minor thing, and it’s a very minor thing, but still important (to me)…. Shelby gave my first novel, Remnant, which I published while I was with her, a very positive review, both to me directly and online, but when we split up for good, she went on to Goodreads and gave my book 2 reviews (yes, 2 reviews), each for just 2 stars. For all that praise for the book when we were together, only for it to turn out to be a hell of a lie the entire time… Wow.

When you take all these things into account. Openly admitting not missing your dead brother whom you were close to his entire life… Begging for a dog and then tricking me into getting rid of that dog when he just broke a TV (that got quickly replaced)… Admitting you try to control your boyfriend and every boyfriend before him… Telling your heartbroken boyfriend to go ahead and kill himself and that literally being the last thing you ever said to him… Yeah, I have no doubt in my mind Shelby was a sociopath.

You may be wondering why we broke up. Well, on Shelby’s 39th birthday, she was offended that I even acknowledged it was her birthday. She was very sensitive about her age, as girls are regardless of their age. So, for her 40th birthday, (which, you know, began a whole new decade in her life) I went out of my way not to acknowledge it. And she was deeply offended by that, too. I chose to push back, pointing out how ridiculous that was. So, she left me. (We had arguments and fights pretty often already, over equally-stupid things, so I’m certain those factored in as well.)

I used to have a friend named Miza, who also knew Shelby. Miza was a total dude-bro, obsessed with girls and wasting money on material possessions, as dude-bros are. He and I had been friends for about 5ish years when I told him about what Shelby did. Know what he did? He actually went out of his way to become better friends with her. They weren’t even friends on Facebook, but then they suddenly were. When Miza did that, I immediately cut him out of my life. I was thinking about it already anyway, given how shallow of a person he always was. I heard through the grapevine that Miza now has a girlfriend, and her description actually sounded like it could be Shelby. I thought, You have got to be shitting me… I tried adding him on Facebook, just to see if it was her, but he deleted it, because of course he did. I don’t have tits. At the very least, I know for sure that he and Shelby are still good friends. I bring up Miza to just further demonstrate how you can be good friends with someone, never a single hiccup in your relationship, and then they can still say, “To hell with you, I want your ex now.” (Things like that.)

Sixth on the list of People Who Taught Me My Greatest Lesson of the 2010s is my ex-wife. I can’t possibly describe everything there is to say here in this post. Besides, I already did in this post, though, even then I still didn’t cover everything I could have. I could easily write a Pt. 2 to that post. If you read this blog even somewhat regularly, you’ll have a good idea already. But I will say this about her here:

I’d say she’s worse than all the others combined. The main reason I think this is because what she did, and what she’ll continue to do, are very unique in their reprehensibility. She is unique in 2 ways: 1), Her character flaws (to put it lightly) are the most numerous, multi-layered, and symbiotically complex. Meaning, her character flaws are numerous, and each of them bolster the others. Each one feeds off the other. All the other people on this list, and all the people I could have put on this list, they’re despicable nature was simple and sometimes singular. Not my ex-wife. And 2), I am cursed to have to deal with her for the next 16 years, and in a way, the rest of my life. Something that most certainly never applied to any of the others I’ve listed here.

All the other shitty people who have effected my life with their disregard for others, they all, including my mother, had the redeeming quality of at least not sticking around, eventually. My mother, my father, most of my siblings, my first love Lisa, my 2nd girlfriend Shelby… At least they’re not in my life anymore. They at least gave me that blessing.

Seventh and finally, and probably the part you’ve been waiting for since I blurted it out… My best friend. I’ll give away the ending here and now: We’re still friends. I’m quite convinced we’ll never stop being like brothers. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty shitty things he’s done. I do believe in principles above all, and part of that means nobody is an exception to criticism. Not myself, and not even my best friend.

My best friend didn’t invite me to his wedding nearly 4 years ago. He also lied beforehand, saying he’s only inviting relatives to be in it. Sure, I was invited to the reception, but that’s nowhere near the same. I quickly learned that not only did he invite non-relatives to be in his wedding ceremony, but ALL of his groomsmen were non-related, and one of them was my own adoptive-cousin, whom he hasn’t even known for as long.

Around the beginning of the decade, I lost 2 friends, one of whom I valued greatly; the other was Corinne (described earlier). Shortly after I lost them as friends, I found out that Mitch was the direct cause of it. He told them to avoid me …. for reasons I just plain don’t know. With one of them (who’s name was Stephen), he said to never speak to me again because I’m an atheist. Technically that’s a reason, but it makes absolutely no sense, since my best friend is, you know, still in my life all these years later, while I still am and always will remain an atheist…. Mitch never confessed to doing this behind my back. Never. I finally brought this up to him a few weeks ago. He still didn’t fess up. He didn’t even bother talking about it.

I could talk about how he’s tried to ‘befriend’ girls I’m interested in behind my back (and lied about that too, denying he was seeing them at all), in the past. I could talk about how he twice slammed my head into the dirt when we were teenagers, and never apologized for that either. I could talk about how he actively tries to pick fights about religion to this day (though it’s now only once every few months). No, I will lastly talk about…

For most the time we’ve been best friends, I’ve expressed to him the fact that I’m excited for our future-at-the-time kids growing up together. When we actually had kids, I additionally looked forward to us helping each other out with our kids, such as babysitting, borrowing items, etc. You know, things families do. I take the subject of family very seriously, and for most of my life, I’ve had to go out of my way to craft a family, since the family I was born into and adopted into were, let’s just say, massive disappointments. I’ve always loved my best friend like a brother. This kind of connection was the peak, in my mind. The idea of our kids growing up together, as if they were actually siblings … that was a big deal to me, and was for many years. One day, Mitch tells me that he’s moving 100 miles away. No exaggeration, literally one-hundred miles away. And he revealed this one month before it happened. One month. I didn’t get so much as a, “How would you feel if we moved?” Not even that much.

One day very recently, out of the blue (I admit), I exploded at him. It’s been over a decade of being treated like I hardly matter, feeling our friendship (brotherhood) is rather one-sided, and it only got worse with time, not better. The wedding thing, the moving abruptly thing, the starting arguments for no reason, and even several other things I haven’t even mentioned… Those particular things happened within the last 4 years alone. Anyway, when I brought up this 10+ years of being treated essentially like dirt to him, he didn’t reply at all. Even as I’m writing this, he hasn’t said a single word about all these things. Perhaps I shouldn’t have let them build up over so many years, but still…

Conclusion

I can’t remember the last time I cried. Over sadness, anyway. I’ve definitely cried recently from feeling so blessed to have such an adorable, healthy, affectionate, fun, and even generous(?) daughter who’s not even reached 2 years old yet. I’ve cried from joy, but I can’t remember the last time I cried from sadness. I didn’t cry when my wife left me (I was actually thrilled and relieved). It may have been when Shelby, my 2nd girlfriend, left me. That might have been the last time. I’m really not sure if all my emotional energy has been diverted to my daughter, and I’ve finally achieved the power of “everyone else can go fuck themselves”, or if I’m actually becoming colder. I’m really not sure.

All I’m certain of is I can’t help … I really can’t help … I can’t help but look at most people around me as what I’ve described in this entire article. All this is what I expect from everyone now. The reason I talked about my best friend is to show that it even goes all the way down to him. Even he doesn’t hesitate to either disregard me or outright treat me like shit. I’ve been difficult to him in the past, no doubt, but I sure as hell never went as low as he’s shamelessly gone (multiple times). And he’s the Christian.

I see everyone as shit now. I see just about everyone as waiting for the opportunity to disregard principles and standards for selfish gain.

People are shitty. It’s just a fact in my mind now. In all my life … in ALL my life … the number of people who have consistently been in my life to any degree who have never done anything despicable to me (or anyone else), is maybe 7 in total. I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, of people in my lifetime, and I can only count 7 who never stooped too low. Everyone makes mistakes … I’m talking about intentional and shameless shitty behavior here. Only 7 are excluded. So, good people exist, but they are extremely, extremely rare. Everyone will either screw you over, or they’ll willingly stand on the sidelines and allow it to happen.

I’ll talk about someone who I’ve always liked and respected, but regretfully have to exclude from the 7 good people I described. This person is my ex-wife’s grandmother. She and I crossed paths recently, on Black Friday of all days, actually. She was friendly toward me as always, and welcoming too. She said (in summation) that she’ll never close her door to me, but (and here’s the important part), she will always be loyal to my ex-wife because she’s family.

I found that despicable. Not just the notion, but I was also disgusted by the fact I already knew that. She’s never, and I mean never, done anything to stop my ex-wife from doing any of the inhuman things she’s done and tried to do. She just stood by and let it happen. It’s worse than that. She did that to my ex-wife herself! Going all the way back to my ex-wife’s formative years. This grandma of hers just stood by and let my ex-wife’s stepfather be a complete asshole to her while she grew up. Never interfered. I have to wonder, is THAT the loyalty she’s talking about?

Many, many people use the excuse of, “It’s not my place to interfere,” and that always makes me think, When IS it time to interfere? I’m not talking about physical confrontation here, though that could be applicable in many situations, I’m talking about interfering in any way at all. You know, like maybe talking to the person who’s behaving like a piece of shit? Maybe just mentioning something once in a while?

This is why I blog here. This is why I went from just writing whatever, whenever, to actually trying to use this blog to influence people. It’s just words, it’s just my thoughts, but I’ve come to learn that words and thoughts can make the biggest impact of all. It was listening to other people’s thoughts that made me abandon religion. In fact, I’d say most of my knowledge and education has come from reading the thoughts of others. I do this because I can’t go everywhere and do any task. I’m not Superman. I can’t fly into a corrupt government’s capitol and demand they change their ways. I can’t do much at all. But I know I can improve myself, and I know I can share my thoughts. It leaves the door open for anyone reading to consider not being a piece of shit to others.

No, being honest and blunt is NOT, at all, being mean or cruel. That’s your sensitive feelings talking. I only make an exception, in the way I talk and how patient I am with the failures of others, when it comes to children, whether it’s my own child or not. I make kids the exception to my bluntness because their brains haven’t even come close to fully developing. Otherwise, I am blunt and honest and frank, because full-grown adults should be better! They should know better, they should try harder, and they DON’T have the excuse of having undeveloped brains. Adults have experience as well, not just better-developed brains. This is why I don’t hold punches when I criticize people. All I really do with this blog is tell people, “Stop being shitty!”

And it looks like I’ll always need to do it. People don’t change, but I have to try anyway, or I’m no better. I want to be better. I choose to be better. I will no longer be better if I stop trying.

And yes, I am better than most people. I don’t care if that’s not “politically correct” to say. I don’t care if that sounds arrogant. After this decade alone (not even talking about my mother, father, siblings, and other people from the previous 2 decades), I think I’ve earned the right to say this. Read or reread what my ex-wife did, and read about what I didn’t do. Yes, I think I’ve earned the right to say this.

All my life, until the end of this decade, I believed it’s wrong to see yourself as better than anyone, let alone most people, but I’ve drastically changed my mind. People time and time and time again keep being shitty, and I keep NOT being. Imperfect for sure, but not shitty. I don’t care who finds it ‘arrogant’ for me to think of myself as better. I’ve never cheated in a relationship. I’ve never been manipulative. I did not exclude the ones I love most from my wedding. I have never physically harmed my partners, my child, my friends, or even strangers. I have never been imprisoned or even arrested. I’ve never destroyed or defaced property. I’m not a liar. I’m not a cheat, in relationships or otherwise. When I was going through my divorce, I didn’t try to ruin my ex-wife’s life, I didn’t try to take her money, I didn’t even try to ruin her character (she did that herself anyway), and I ESPECIALLY didn’t try to take her child from her. I chose not to do everything in my power to achieve victory, like she did. Anyone want to disagree with any of this? I’d love to see you try. I have nothing to hide or dodge. The worst I’ve ever done is said some words that hurt the feelings of some infantile adults, and even then, it’s never for the purpose of hurting, it’s for the purpose of making people see their errors, because people NEVER own up to their shit. I’m very critical of even myself, which I’m sure people will conveniently say is just fine (of course), and I’m not sensitive about it. Funny what people say is totally okay, until they’re on the receiving end of it. Well, with words, especially good-faith critical words, it’s nothing harmful.

People are shit. I choose not to be. Every minute of every day.

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