Anyone who has ever gotten close to me has left. Except my wife. I suspect one day my daughters will leave, too. It won’t be their fault. They’ll still love me. But they won’t be able to deal with me at close range.

I used to wonder about why this is, but after a lifetime of failed relationships and trying to change myself to fit into the idea of what others wanted me to be, I’ve long since given up. I’m not for everyone. Evidently, I’m just for one.

It feels like my entire life has been a constant state of metamorphosis. As a result, I’m the kind of person that other people can’t neatly categorize. I get that. I get that most people aren’t comfortable with others unless they can put them into buckets. He’s this. He’s that. Only, I’m not. And I’m ok with that because I can’t even put myself into a bucket. Even though I wish I could. It would be a helluva lot easier.

Whitman once wrote, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” I always felt like with these lines, Whitman was telling me that it’s ok to be the kind of person that not everyone understands, or loves. After all, I’m not intentionally trying to be difficult. I wake up and move around–swinging from side to side like a pendulum. It feels natural to do so. But there are days when the edge of the pendulum is a rusted blade, and others when it feels polished and smooth.

Despite everything, I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before. Though I can’t explain why. So the only thing I constantly work on is my compassion for other people. Because I know how hard it is to move through life trying to be normal. No one should have to wear the same suit every day. But I watch you clean it and press it and smile when you wrap yourself in it. And this is why I love you.


Jim Mitchem


A Modest Proposal
On Bullying

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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