I woke up one morning in a terrible rage. Like I hadn’t been in decades at that point. Fire and fury.

In the old days, it had been a defensive mechanism to keep people at bay. Keep them from getting too close and hurting me. And a lot did, at least until I learned to play with fire.

But that was the 80s, and we were different people then.

That morning though, the rage threatened to utterly engulf me. Tear me down permanently and control me for the rest of my life.

If I’d let it.

So I let it go. Let it pass and left it behind, as I set out to become happy. It was 2013, and I hadn’t known such a thing in nearly thirty years at that point. I can pinpoint the day, but I haven’t spoken with her in nearly as many decades, and there is no value in resurrecting old pains.

Instead, I decided that I wasn’t happy being angry, and didn’t want to be that guy.

So I became someone else.

Its been eight years now, and I still strive on a regular basis.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is to curate the list of people allowed to belong to my circles.

We all have circles of friends. Rings headed outward from closest buds to occasional hellos in the hallway.

I had let too many sour people into my life. Too many narcissists. To many gaslighters.

One day, I decided to curate better. My mother once told me the most powerful thing I’d ever known as an adult. “It’s okay to outgrow your friends.”

For many of them, I did. Didn’t understand then that most people stop becoming better people in their teens and just coast into death after that. Know it now.

They won’t ever change. And nothing can make them.

Most importantly, however, was the realization that it wasn’t my problem. These were not my monkeys. That was not my circus.

I didn’t have to tolerate it.

Frequently, it was a passive-aggressive form of abuse. People being dicks because usually you don’t snap back at your friends.

I’d gotten tired of it. But snapping back at many of these people was the thing they wanted most. They wanted the validation of knowing that they’d gotten to me. Provoked me.

Assumed power over me.

Ya know what? Fuck that. And fuck you.

So I began curating. Getting rid of folks that seem to be rageolohics. Gaslighters. Chronic and inveterate insulters.

Along the way, the folks with radically different ethical viewpoints went as well. We’re past politics. Politics is a discussion about what the tax lexy rate should be or how many fire fighters the county needs, not whether or not entire groups of people deserve legal protection.


Happy required that I jettison the riffraff. The punks. The scum. The folks who had never evolved one bit from their fourteenth birthday.

I could leave them behind.

You could do that in the old days by moving to another state and not telling anyone your address. Or phone number. Or leaving it unlisted. Did that. More than once.

These days, the entire world is (currently) bound up in a single set of networks that allow me to have conversations with friends in Costa Rica, Nigeria, Egypt, England, and Australia in a single day. And I have.

But therein lies the problem. Everyone is there.

I have to rely on other folks to help curate things. If you want to be my friend, I ask who your other friends are. And airlock those folks with no ethics. No human decency.

A few sneak through from time to time. Maybe they hide themselves until later, when the truth comes out after some terrible event where they forget which set of lies they’ve been telling people.

These days, my curation standard is often to block random strangers I’ve never met or spoken with, because the words that have come out of their mouth on someone’s wall where I can see them were so utterly atrocious.

The world is going to hell. Has been. We’re in the Fall of the American Empire. Rome fell. France fell. Britain fell. China fell.

Everyone falls. Our fall will be ugly and painful and last for the rest of my life and then some.

But I don’t have to be angry at the world. Because I don’t have to deal with bad people.

I’m willing to curate my friendships. Toxic people get airlocked. Don’t care if they are family or long-time pals.

Toxicity is bad, and I don’t have time for your bullshit, bubbles.

I refuse to give you power over me and my happiness.

I can always find better places to go, and better people to share my time.

What have you done lately to ensure your own happiness?

2 thoughts on “Curation

  1. Caroline Wolfram

    Yes! I find I’m just too tired to fight. Its easier to avoid the chaos. People don’t want to talk any more…like a real conversation….I think I miss the opportunity of exploring different ideas with curiosity and good will the most. Everybody has a “side”, a “tribe”, or “label” now. And I’m tired of being put in a category the moment I say anything…no one’s listening…everybody’s yelling and and and and I’m tired. 😦

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