There are words to describe people like me. High Maintenance, A Bit Much, Intense, or Drama, take your pick. I’ve been called them all as have all of my friends. Sometimes we even qualify as bitchy or broken or crazy.
Shitty terminology aside, all of this is technically accurate in that I am not chill.
And I’m fine with it.
The reason I am fine with it is that there is another word used to describe me. That word is Interesting. Perhaps you have heard of it. It’s when a person has done enough things out of sheer boredom and determination that they have things to say and perspectives and stories to share. Ever wonder what it’s like to live near the nations largest Amish population? I know. That’s where all the puppy mills are. Ever wonder what it’s like to be chased by a moose? I know. It’s terrifying. Ever wonder what it’s like to assemble a 75 piece cat tree with no instructions? Me too. Because seriously this is ridiculous. Can one of you come over?
I have Seen Things, such as the world’s largest Longaberger basket, Graceland, two cows having sex in the middle of a New Mexico highway while riding in a minivan with my pastor. I believe in few binaries but I believe in one very strongly: one cannot be chill and interesting at the same time. You are one or the other.
I am not easy going or chill and I don’t aspire to be. Have you actually ever heard someone described as chill by any other adjective? No, you haven’t. They are chill and nothing else. That’s because the other adjective they are is BORING. They are background filler there to contribute nothing to the party but laugh at your jokes. They are a circle of Yes Men there to giggle and smile and be nothing else. You might as well attend a party of potted plants. Chill people feel no need to contribute because they just showed up and didn’t cause any trouble. Their work is done. Chill people don’t riff with you, they don’t create bits with you, they don’t have opinions about anything.
Chill people don’t give you mean but accurate feedback on your art to make you better. They don’t challenge your ideas. Chill people don’t have your back. They are noncommittal flakes, shuffling from life event to life event, just glad to be there. Chill people don’t change the world. They don’t throw themselves into something that makes impact. Chill people don’t have opinions that matter. Their flattery is empty because they have no standards. You think Jesus or Mary Magdalen were chill? How about Dr. Martin Luther King? How about Cesar Chavez or Sojourner Truth? NO. They didn’t have the luxury of being chill. Chill is lazy and these people fought from the ground up, a Sisyphean existence, to make the world you live in better.
You know what Intense and Drama people have? Dreams that they throw themselves into. They work hard, crazed with ambition because what they have to say, build, and do is bursting from them and they need to make space for it. Intense people are your second at a duel, have your back, and will be an enemy that keeps you on your toes. They make you better and worse but they never leave you unedited. You will only keep becoming as a result of Intense people.
I called this damn thing my “Sermon on the Mount” because Intense people don’t have time for pretense. We don’t subscribe to “feel good” religions and we don’t trifle with quibbling because we are All In. You know where we stand because we don’t have time to be nice to you.
If you’re out there, getting push back for being Shrill, Intense, or any other assorted terms that are code for Not Putting Up with Your Wishy Washy Bullshit, you’re not alone. Chill is sedation. Easy Going is an opiate to numb your edges and file down your tongue until you are human wallpaper.
Don’t ever apologize for not being Chill, because while all those morons are standing around nodding like pigeons, you’re out there making the world disquiet. You are the world’s growing pains. Our work is sacred.
Praise be to all of you. Do good work.